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Backstage And Beyond

It’s often said that choreography begins with music, but the Kansas City Ballet’s upcoming spring season suggests that the situation is a bit more complex than that. In fact the program presents three works with three very different relationships to music: one that clearly grew out of a preexisting score (William Whitener’s Mercy of the Elements), […]

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Richard Harriman, the William Jewell College professor who spent a half century building the Harriman-Jewell Series into one of the nation’s premier performing arts presenters, died July 15 at Liberty Hospital. He was 77. A gracious and amiable man who always greeted his audience members as they arrived at Series concerts, Harriman had suffered from […]

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George Harter has a message for all who will listen: Just as jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll are indigenous American musical genres, musical theater was born here, too. And just as those forms drew from elements as disparate as hymnody and African folk song, the musical drew from European operetta and other sources but brought those elements […]

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n the early years of the 17th century, at Nipe Bay in northeastern Cuba, three fishermen weathered a tumultuous storm and prayed for deliverance. When the skies cleared, they found a statue of a girl floating in the water, with an inscription saying I Am the Virgin of Charity. As a tribute to this miracle, La Virgen de […]

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Nobody knows for sure why the Basques came to Idaho, but come they did: The state boasts one of the largest Basque populations in the world. Even the mayor of Boise is Basque. So when choreographer Trey McIntyre was invited to create a piece celebrating this fascinating culture, he knew he had to immerse himself completely to […]

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It began with a circle. R. Keith Brumley’s scenic design for the Lyric Opera’s new production of Carmen took as its point of departure the circular shape of the bullfight ring of Act 4, where the searing drama of Bizet’s opera reaches its breaking point. In the three acts leading up to that wrenching moment, the curved walls that […]

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Kansas City lost one of its greatest artists in November, when pianist and UMKC Conservatory professor Richard Cass died after a brief illness, aged 78. It was quite a blow to the musical community here, as Richard had been hearty and vigorous to the very last: In fact he and his longtime collaborator, violinist and […]

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On October the 9th there will be two world-renowned musicians performing on the stage of the Folly Theater. The fellow seated at the piano will be Bradley Moore, who studied with legendary teachers Maria Curcio and Claude Frank and has performed in most of the world’s major recital halls. Never heard of him? Just ask soprano Renée Fleming who he is: She’ll […]

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A year from now, Kansas City audiences will be taking in opera, symphony, ballet, country music, jazz, rock, Broadway and all manner of things in one of the finest performing arts centers in the world. On September 26th on the KC Live Stage of the Kansas City Power & Light District, the Kauffman Center for the […]

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They are an elite group: the dancers and choreographers who worked and trained under George Balanchine, the greatest choreographer of modern times, over the course of a half century. After the great Russian-born émigré’s death in 1983 they scattered, spreading the Balanchine technique, methodology and artistry throughout the world. Some became choreographers, others headed up […]

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“It’s show business, my dears, we’re entertainers!” George Balanchine used to tell his dancers, and in few of his ballets is this notion more overt than in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, which forms part of the Kansas City Ballet’s fall program running from October the 14th through the 17th. In addition to the choreographer’s hallmarks — the detailed […]

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Australian-born Stanton Welch, artistic director of the Houston Ballet, has established himself as one of the world’s most inventive choreographers. Dance fans in Our Town have had ample opportunity to see Stanton’s work thanks to the Harriman-Jewell Series, which has brought his company to town seven times beginning in 1979. On October 30 the Harriman presents Houston […]

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Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov has always been an anomaly among operas. In addition to hovering, like much Russian opera, on the periphery of our Italian- and German-dominated repertoire, it has for most of its history been performed in a souped-up re-orchestration by Rimsky-Korsakov that glazes over much of its austere, at times intentionally raw flavor. To add to […]

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When men flake out, women just have to look after themselves — and each other. That’s a primary lesson in Norma, Vincenzo Bellini’s 1831 opera about love, betrayal, heroism and female friendship, which opens November the 6th at the Lyric Opera. The druid priestess Norma is caught in an impossible situation: Her companion, the Roman proconsul Pollione, has […]

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Alessio Bax has made a career of taking roads less traveled. The Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient from Bari, Italy has circled the globe performing the widest variety of music, not just in Europe and Asia but in Tel Aviv and Mexico City. He has explored interesting corners of the repertoire, both in recital and with […]

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Imagine a full-length ballet like Swan Lake or The Nutcracker,but based on an American subject and crafted by an entirely American creative team. You’ll have to imagine it, because such a thing has not existed – at least not until now. More than a quarter-century ago, composer Maury Yeston began to ponder this gap in the repertoire, and he determined to do […]

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Paris in the 12th century was a hotbed of student unrest, corruption and greed, and lively political discourse – and it saw a ferment of artistic, literary and musical creativity the likes of which the Western world has rarely witnessed. Within the walled Notre Dame Cathedral complex on the city’s Ile de la Cité lived hundreds […]

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Marc Wolf’s one-man play Another American: Asking and Telling is not just about the American military’s bizarre and soon-to-be-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, it addresses the whole history of the armed forces’ harsh and often cruel treatment of gays and lesbians. Therefore the recent repeal of the policy – an event that could easily have kicked the […]

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Violinist Joshua Bell delighted a sold-out Folly Theater audience on January the 22nd with his signature earthy-sweet tone and lovely, long-breathed phrasing. This generous Harriman-Jewell Series recital included three meaty masterpieces of 19th-century Romanticism, and Josh tackled all three with aplomb. Brahms’ Sonata No. 2 began a bit perfunctorily but built momentum. The Andante tranquillo was […]

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The Kansas City Symphony’s first season in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts looks auspicious indeed, with Mahler’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth, Brahms’ German Requiem and commissions from composers Chen Yi, Stephen Hartke and Daniel Kellogg. Performers include former Cleveland Orchestra music director Christoph von Dohnanyi, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Joshua Bell, pianists Emanuel Axand Yefim Bronfman and Our Town native and Metropolitan star mezzo-soprano Joyce […]

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Of all the local organizations who will be presenting for the first time this fall in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, none will be more thrilled to “stretch its legs” than the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. After decades of performing in the cramped, moldy Lyric Theatre (among other venues), the company has […]

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