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Backstage And Beyond

IN A WORLD: Unicorn stages dystopian comedy of ideas and pop culture

By Paul Horsley What will we do in the evenings when the lights go out? How will we entertain ourselves when the nuclear cataclysm brings down the grid and there’s no electricity: no television, no internet, no cinema? These are questions playwright Anne Washburn asks in her brilliantly provocative Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, which […]

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WATER EVERYWHERE: Lyric stages cautionary tale set to lush music

By Paul Horsley Fairy tales may be populated largely by imaginary characters, but they exist to tell us things about ourselves. Jaroslav Kvapil’s libretto for Dvořák’s Rusalka concerns a water-nymph who yearns to be human; at the same time the 1901 opera, which opens at the Lyric Opera on November 7th, teaches us to be […]

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OCTOBER THE BEGUILING: Harriman Series challenges concertgoers with a busy month

By Paul Horsley “O hushed October morning mild,” Robert Frost wrote, “beguile us in the way you know.” If you want a good sampling of what the Harriman-Jewell Series has presented over the last 51 years, look no further than this month’s offerings. The Series offers half a dozen performances drawing on an amazing range […]

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CAN’T FIGHT THIS FEELING: Lyric Opera ‘Giovanni’ exploits visual, emotional contrasts

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera’s newish production of Don Giovanni, which opened September 26th at the Kauffman Center, embraces the opera’s light-dark contrasts in ways both external and internal. By setting the 1787 opera as a film noir the production opens up design possibilities that exploit the chiaroscuro nature of such movies as The […]

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ART, LIFE: KC Rep production evokes deep thoughts about art, which is perhaps the point

By Paul Horsley The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park with George, which opened September 18th at the Nelson-Atkins Museum’s Atkins Auditorium, is visually so complex that it keeps the eye occupied even at points where Stephen Sondheim’s drama lags. Perhaps that’s appropriate for a piece of musical theater that is […]

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SING YE UNFETTERED: Symphony Chorus given a chance to shine in program of Italian opera favorites

By Paul Horsley Opera choruses: You know you love ’em. The big splashy numbers in the drama where the lights go brilliant and dozens of boisterous singers fill the stage will color and sound. Sometimes the music is so good that you wish you could hear it without all the distractions of costumes and stage […]

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DEEP, DARK LOVE: Lyric uses classic cinema to cast light on Mozart anti-hero

By Paul Horsley Don Giovanni: despicable misogynist, or dashing ladies’ man with anger-management issues? When the Lyric Opera’s creative team, led by director Kristine McIntyre and scenic designer R. Keith Brumley, set about to craft a fresh concept for Mozart’s and Da Ponte’s most troublesome opera, they sought a world with all the ambiguity and […]

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MADE GLORIOUS SUMMER: Fine performances have graced the city’s summer months

By Paul Horsley One of the most satisfying concerts I attended this summer was that of tenor Joseph DeSota and pianist Natalia Rivera, who gave a sophisticated performance of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin on August 9th at Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral. It was part of the “Summer Music at the Cathedrals” series sponsored by […]

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MOVE ON: KC Rep and Nelson-Atkins Museum team up for essential Sondheim classic

By Paul Horsley So let’s say you’re a major theater company and you need a big splash for your new season, but your building is under construction until late fall. What to do? In a word: innovate. Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George, a multidimensional reflection on the nature of art and creativity, […]

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