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In Review

IN REVIEW: Recital by local piano student suggests that Cliburn Silver was no fluke

By Paul Horsley Trying to gauge the artistry of a musician on the basis of a performance at an international composition is like trying to identify a future Oscar-winning filmmaker on the basis of a YouTube “short” he or she made in high school. This most unnatural of settings (for which the Van Cliburn International […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric Opera delivers a ‘Figaro’ of polished sophistication

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s The Marriage of Figaro, which runs through November 13th, bears the marks of a master director: Its fluid, natural interaction of characters, its moments of sly but seldom overplayed wit, and its sharp focus on essential characters at essential moments all keep the mind and the […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric ‘Carmen’ keeps us intrigued, introduces stunning mezzo-soprano

By Paul Horsley The highest compliment you can pay an operatic production is that you went out of the theater thinking not about stagecraft, acting skills, catchy tunes or vocal prowess but about the ideas in the piece, the “meaning” even. The Lyric Opera’s Carmen that opened April 23rd is just such a production: It […]

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IN REVIEW: MARRY ME: New concerto inspired by wedding but not bound to it

By Paul Horsley David Ludwig knows better than to attach a “back-story” to a piece irrevocably, although he has openly stated that his new Violin Concerto was inspired by his recent marriage. Composers over the years have learned the perils of announcing beforehand a narrative or program for a piece, only to find later that […]

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IN REVIEW: KC Ballet’s new ‘Nutcracker’ is boisterous, busy, dazzling fun

By Paul Horsley Each production of The Nutcracker is to some extent a balancing act between spectacle and dance. At best it seamlessly integrates the colors and stagecraft that keep holiday audiences coming back with the ballet traditions on which the 1892 Russian classic is based. When the Kansas City Ballet under Artistic Director Devon […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric’s ‘Rusalka’ explores beauties of ‘Little Mermaid’ tale

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera of Kansas City deserves applause for taking on an opera in Czech for the first time in its history, but the opening performance of its Rusalka on November 7th at the Kauffman Center offered mixed results. Dvořák’s shimmering score—with its delicious colors, sophisticated use of motif, and seamless integration […]

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IN REVIEW: KC Ballet’s spring production shows off its contemporary chops

By Paul Horsley Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments is a work of such startling visual clarity, musicality and modernity that it’s astonishing to contemplate that it predates not just most of the contemporary dance we see on the stage today, but also a large portion of the choreography by which we know Balanchine himself. It was […]

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IN REVIEW: Harriman-Jewell delights with ‘Acis,’ KC Rep fascinates with ‘An Iliad’

By Paul Horsley You have to believe in Baroque opera to make it convincing, and Mark Morris believes in it absolutely. His Acis and Galatea, a delightful amalgam of dance, music, theater, costumes and lighting design, remains true to the madcap spirit of Handel’s original masque-opera, and on February 6th and 7th at the Kauffman […]

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CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: Lyric delivers solid, well-sung version of Puccini classic

Many 18th- and 19th-century operas are just too complicated, with superfluous subplots and random servants running about doing little to further the central story, if there is one. By the end of the 19th century composers and librettists had begun to pare down what I think of as Shakespearean “character overpopulation,” as they found this […]

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