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Backstage And Beyond

GLORY BE: Trumpeter, composer, visionary brings magnum opus to the Harriman-Jewell Series

By Paul Horsley In 2008 the world-renowned trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis determined to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church with an ambitious mass for choir, soloists and jazz orchestra. Abyssinian 200: a Celebration was a hit, and on October 19th the Grammy-winning performer, author, classical celebrity, ambassador of peace […]

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WELCOME BACK: Dance company returns in fine form after eight-year pause

By Paul Horsley What a delight it was to see the Dance Theatre of Harlem back on the local stage, in its first appearance on the Harriman-Jewell Series, or in Kansas City for that matter, since April of 2001. After experiencing an eight-year hiatus, the performing company returned to the stage last season, and it […]

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RING OF FIRE: In anticipation of her third Harriman-Jewell appearance, soprano looks to shining future

By Paul Horsley Deborah Voigt is at an enviable point in her life where she can make career choices on the basis of what she wants to do. “I’m very lucky in that I’ve sort of already done the dream roles,” says the Illinois-born soprano, who recently captured the world’s heart in the Metropolitan Opera’s […]

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CONTAINING THE FIRE: Violinist continues to establish his place in the string firmament

By Paul Horsley Violinist Stefan Jackiw’s official bio and press clippings read pretty much like those of any young musician these days. He is “one of his generation’s most significant artists” who possesses “talent that’s off the scale” (Washington Post) with playing that is “striking for its intelligence and sensitivity” (Boston Globe). Like their biographies, […]

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EMBRACEMENT OF RICHES: Ballet’s ‘state-of-the-company’ season-opener offers rewards

By Paul Horsley One of the challenges of the Kauffman Center these days is for the resident companies to prove that the brilliant successes of the first two seasons were not a fluke. The Kansas City Ballet’s first 2013-2014 program that opened October 11th augurs well for the company’s attempts at constant renewal: Its generous […]

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SUM OF PARTS: Choreographer creates freedom, innovation from a wide range of life experiences

By Paul Horsley Jodie Gates has danced, choreographed, staged ballets, created festivals, served as mentor for young dancers. But few things excite the California native more than creating new choreography, not only for its invitation to creative expression but for its potential for passing on the huge amount of knowledge she’s gained over a 30-year […]

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FAMILY TIES: Eternal ‘clash of clans’ shines in Lyric’s polished, beautifully sung production

By Paul Horsley The operatic version of the Romeo and Juliet legend that Bellini and his librettist Felice Romani created from Italian sources predating Shakespeare is at least as action-packed as the bard’s telling, perhaps even more so. The Lyric Opera has devoted considerable resources to its production of this gripping bel canto opera, The […]

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By Paul Horsley Always look both ways before crossing, because sometimes the car that hits you comes from the place you least expect. The season-opening productions by the KC Actors Theatre and the KC Rep offered meaty subjects and impressive performances, but the show that I’ll most remember is the Unicorn Theatre’s Venus in Fur, […]

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By Paul Horsley Not every child prodigy makes it through adolescence to emerge as an extraordinary adult artist. One such musician to arrive recently at the “other side” is pianist Ji-Yong, who is quietly gaining attention as a brilliant pianist on the rise who has been willing to take some alternative roads toward his goal. […]

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