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In Review

Unicorn production of ambitious war drama rides on fine direction, choice performances During the second Iraq war that began in 2003 we had plenty of movies, books, plays, documentaries and news stories about the impact of the war on those who fought it, and on the Iraqi people who lived through it. But there’s been […]

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Tenor displays suave lyricism, broad emotional range Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti possesses a clear, honest voice that is imbued with pathos and a sort of sunny heroism in the upper range, as well as firm pitch control overall. But his real strength is his wide emotional range, which can embrace everything from sorrow to ebullience, resignation to […]

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NATIVE DAUGHTER: A Colorful Homecoming for DiDonato at the Kauffmann Center The Kauffmann Center’s Helzberg Hall has certainly seen its share of impressive performances throughout this auspicious inaugural season, and last night’s Symphony spectacular proved to be one of the more ambitious and successful of these endeavors to date. For the first time, the hall […]

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KC REP PRESENTS POWERFUL DRAMA OF SLAVERY, FREEDOM, FAITH In one of the first exchanges of Matthew Lopez’ The Whipping Man,former slave owner Caleb DeLeon begins shouting orders to former slave Simon – fetch this, fetch that. It is days after the end of the Civil War, and Simon winces, surprised that his former master has not […]

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Lyric strives toward new levels of achievement with ambitious opera. Nixon in China is drawn on a scale that is as grandiose as anything in opera, and the best productions of it embrace this cultural, historical and conceptual expansiveness with all their hearts. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City has taken up that challenge, intent on […]

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Così fan tutte is a bit of a conundrum. Its plot is as ridiculous as that of any opera in the repertoire, but its music is so magnificent that we can’t not take it seriously. The Lyric Opera’s production of Mozart’s final opera buffa, which opened on November 5th at the Kauffman Center, makes for a satisfying evening because the company […]

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Rational Exuberance: Ray Chen’s KC debut showcases substantial interpretive strengths A classical musician’s devotion to the intentions of composers long deceased often finds itself at odds with the present day’s realities of myriad stimuli and instant gratification. Therefore, it is becoming quite uncommon to encounter performers capable of captivating audiences while simultaneously revering thousands of markings in […]

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OLD WINE IN NEW BOTTLES: KC BALLET PRESENTS FINE ‘NUTCRACKER’ IN KAUFFMAN CENTER The production of The Nutcracker that the late Todd Bolender created for the Kansas City Ballet is 30 years old this year, but at the opening performance on the afternoon of December 3rd it had a bright new look. That’s partly because it was […]

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The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of Peer Gynt must count as one of the loopier local theatrical experiences in recent memory. A Troll King with three heads, a priest in crimson high heels, a pig puppet on a stick: Director David Schweizer has taken Ibsen’s massive play and condensed it into two hours of zany antics—with lavishly whimsical […]

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