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In Review

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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Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious spring, through a series of collaborations the likes of which Kansas City has rarely seen before. “Chromatic Collaboration” fused the Owen/Cox Dance Group with the musicians of NewEar, and “Symphonic Quixotic” saw the Kansas City Symphony joining forces with Quixotic Dance Fusion, both to great impact. […]

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The Alexander Nevsky Cantata is a big, raucous masterpiece, one of Prokofiev’s most richly detailed compositions and an orchestral tour de force to boot. The Kansas City Symphony’s performance of it on May 20th did not stint on theatrics, and the orchestra rose to the virtuosic challenge, with Michael Stern’s natural affinity for Russian music on full display. From the rich string […]

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If you like everything spelled out for you in black and white, Harold Pinter is not your playwright. The late British author deals in alienation, love, power, menace, marital stress, sexual longing, and the sort of quotidian absurdity that lurks around the edges of bourgeois life. But such a description hardly embraces the entirety of […]

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