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Backstage And Beyond

MUSICAL ALCHEMIST: Kansas City-based composer creates magic from diverse elements

Ed Frazier Davis has the Latin word “SOLVE” tattooed on the inside of his right arm, “COAGULA” on the left. “To take apart and to put back together,” said the 30-year-old composer, describing what has been called the Alchemist’s Motto: dissolve and re-coagulate. “Which is what we do as artists: We take the elements, and […]

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THE NEXT STAGE: Ballet hires major talent to lead Second Company

One of the harshest moments in a dancer’s life is the moment when he or she realizes the spirit is more willing than the body. “It took me about four years to retire,” said Christopher Ruud recently, with a laugh. “I could still do it at 42, but it was past time for me to […]

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CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL: Singer wins hearts while defying categorization

Stacey Kent’s lush, limpid voice can melt your heart in an instant, it can transport you to Antônio Jobim’s Brazil or Jacques Brel’s Paris, or it can make you fall in love as if for the first time. Though she is considered a jazz artist (one critic called her vocalism “the epitome of jazz sophistication”), […]

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A ‘MESSIAH’ LIKE NO OTHER: Spire employs unique model to build world-class performances

Spire Chamber Ensemble, now in its 10th season, distinguishes itself each year for what can quite honestly be described as one of the most bracing versions of Handel’s Messiah one can hear anywhere in the nation. A peculiar alchemy can result when you bring musicians of the caliber of the Juilliard School of Music’s Elizabeth […]

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WEB OF TRADITIONS: Guitarist formed local group to explore a myriad of styles

Career and family: It is possible to have both, but it takes work. Guitarist Beau Bledsoe is a peripatetic soul by nature, and over the years he has explored the roots of music he loves through travels to Seville (flamenco), Lisbon (fado), Buenos Aires (tango), Istanbul (Middle Eastern styles), and Mexico. More recently he has […]

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STUCK IN A LOOP: Fugard play speaks to America’s racial stalemate

The more you examine the work of South African playwright Athol Fugard, the more you realize that the racial dynamics in his dramas reveal as much about our own social ills as they do about the specific culture in which he was raised. Though it’s true that many of the 87-year-old author’s 40 or so […]

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ROADS LESS TRAVELED: ‘Yule’ not want to miss these four holiday offerings

Every arts lover has a favorite holiday performance or two, traditions which over the years become part and parcel of the season. And while I wouldn’t want to discoursge anyone from attending one of Kansas City’s more durable large-scale presentations of music, theater, or dance, as the holiday season becomes ever-more crowded with (often quite […]

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TOP CLEF: Harriman presents local debut of refreshing new star

Nadine Sierra shot to the top of the opera world with a glittering burst of speed. At age 20, the Florida-born soprano became the youngest-ever Grand Finalist at America’s most prestigious vocal competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She went on to score big at major houses (San Francisco, Paris, La Scala, Berlin’s Staatsoper). […]

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ONE GIANT LEAP: Symphony opens season with world premiere commemorating American milestone 

“The last rail is laid. The last spike is driven. The Pacific Railroad is completed.” Thus began the report that was telegraphed to the Associated Press on May 10th, 1869, announcing the completion of one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century: The North American Continental Divide had been spanned by rail, and […]

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