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Backstage And Beyond

SCHIFF DIGS IN, DANIELPOUR ‘SINGS’: Two events show that classical is still alive and reinventing itself

By Paul Horsley András Schiff’s recent Friends of Chamber Music recital stood out chiefly because the Hungarian-born pianist truly interpreted each of the sonatas he’d chosen to play: four late works by masters of the Classical tradition on which much Western tonal music rests. These days not everyone in classical music “interprets,” or when they […]

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DECEPTION THAT KILLS: Ballet brings classic tale of love, betrayal and apotheosis to Kauffman Center

By Paul Horsley The Kansas City Ballet’s current Giselle is a lavish affair, with exceptional dancing, delicious scenic designs by Simon Pastukh, tasteful “period” costumes by David Heuvel and fine musical direction by Ramona Pansegrau. The set includes an attractive drop depicting the feudal village’s ducal palace high on a hill, a series of leafy-green […]

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ART TRUMPS POLITICS (AGAIN): With wars and revolutions behind, pianist continues spinning poetry

By Paul Horsley Her mother tried to keep her away from the piano, but three-year-old Dubravka Tomšič insisted. Soon afterward, having learned how to read notes, she acquired a teacher in her native Slovenia, former Cortot pupil Zora Zarnik, who had never taught children before. “She was a very sensitive, very beautiful pianist,” Dubravka said […]

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A HISTORY STILL BEING TOLD: KC Rep’s ‘Angels’ lifts us from our smug seats and slaps us in the face

By Paul Horsley Angels in America, currently playing at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s Copaken Stage, is an odd duck in American theater and is likely to remain so. Set during the height of the AIDS crisis in the mid-1980s, the two-part, six-hour epic contains some of the greatest writing by an American in modern […]

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JUST NORTH OF HERE: Chorale’s program of music by Canadians draws attention to America’s ‘other’ border

By Paul Horsley Even the humblest of choirs can sound good in a lush, warm acoustic, but it takes an excellent choir to come across as clear, accurate and well-balanced in a dry space. The Kansas City Chorale sounded lovely in its February 22nd concert “Oh! Canada! Music from North of the Border,” sung in […]

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JOYOUS MOMENT: KC Lyric tackles bold new opera asking ‘big questions’ about war

By Paul Horsley Silent Night is the product of a top-flight librettist, Mark Campbell, and a marvelous American composer, Kevin Puts, and it features some of the most beautifully intricate sets, projections and costumes that the Lyric Opera of Kansas City has put on the stage. Created and designed for Minnesota Opera and three other […]

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SHE DIES, HE LIVES, THE END: KC Ballet seeks inner core of problematic classic

By Paul Horsley Rich Boy disguises himself as Poor Boy in order to win Poor Girl, who falls for him despite Mom’s suspicion there’s something a little “off” about him. Poor Girl, who has a heart condition, can’t stand the shock of finding out he’s actually engaged to Rich Girl. She dies and joins a […]

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REALMS OF GLORY: KC Rep takes on ‘Angels’ with preeminent storyteller at the helm

By Paul Horsley Maybe all you know about Angels in America is that it’s a monumental, mystical, two-part, seven-hour stage work that wrestles with gigantic subjects such as good and evil, sex and human frailty, love and hypocrisy, and death. Or that it changed the course of American theater. Or that it dealt with AIDS […]

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LAST LAUGH: Performance suggests that a composer’s final thoughts are his best—or are they?

By Paul Horsley Composers throw us a curve ball when they drastically revise works and leave the original for us to mull over alongside the new version. Of course there’s nothing that classical listeners love more than to debate the relative merits of the results: Dresden Tannhäuser, or Wagner’s more elaborate Paris/Vienna version? Bruckner’s original […]

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