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Backstage And Beyond

Elizabeth Caballero has built an opera career playing strong women, and she knows a bit about mettle herself. When she was 6 she and her family boarded a boat off the shore of Cuba and set off for America, as part of the 1980 mass immigration known as the Mariel Boatlift. “Being a child, it […]

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One of the highlights of each holiday season in Kansas City is Quality Hill Playhouse’s annual New Year’s Eve Cabaret, which executive director J. Kent Barnhart and friends have been performing for 18 years. This past New Year’s Eve, Kent was joined by vocalist Molly Hammer and double bassist Brian Wilson for a program they […]

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Deborah Sandler traveled many roads before finding her niche: She sang, played the piano, studied mathematics, worked on a doctorate in musicology, wrote grant applications. But when she started working in opera, she knew she’d come home. “Producing opera is really my passion,” says the Philadelphia native, who on July 1st becomes the Lyric Opera of Kansas […]

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Sure The Barber of Seville is a frothy, wry and at times deliciously silly comedy. But it can’t be played as pure farce, says William Theisen, who directs the Lyric Opera’s production opening on April 21st at the Kauffman Center. “These characters cannot be cartoons,” said the director. “You do have a heightened reality here, and certainly Bartolo is very […]

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Unicorn production of ambitious war drama rides on fine direction, choice performances During the second Iraq war that began in 2003 we had plenty of movies, books, plays, documentaries and news stories about the impact of the war on those who fought it, and on the Iraqi people who lived through it. But there’s been […]

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The Heartland Men’s Chorus has an uncanny knack for picking timely, even “hot” topics for their programs. In 2003 they performed The Few, the Proud, a multimedia concert that told stories about gays and lesbians in the armed forces throughout American history – literally the same week that we entered into the Iraq war.  All God’s Children dealt with […]

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In 2007, Giuseppe Filianoti feared his opera career might be over. The Italian-born singer, whom critics were calling one of the leading tenors of his generation, underwent surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid gland, and in the aftermath one of his vocal chords became completely paralyzed. But Giuseppe, a native of Reggio Calabria in the far south of […]

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Some dance companies are formed with a clearly etched vision of what they want to do, and they just go do that over and over. Others grow like Topsy, evolving with the vicissitudes and needs of the company itself and of the community it serves. A prime example of the latter is the Aspen Santa […]

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Can an opera teach us things about historical events that we can’t glean from factual accounts alone? John Adams’ opera Nixon in China provides one of the most compelling answers to that question, for by general agreement it is a piece that deepens and broadens our understanding of President Nixon’s famous 1972 visit to Mao’s China and […]

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