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Backstage And Beyond

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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Joyce DiDonato, who grew up in Prairie Village, is fast on the way to becoming the world’s greatest living mezzo-soprano. In anticipation of her February 13th recital here on the Harriman-Jewell Series, we asked what she’s up to these days. She was entrenched in a production at Houston Grand Opera — and looking forward to two Metropolitan […]

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Sometimes the best way to deal with the horrors of war is to break into song. Yes war is ghastly, but it is also rife with absurdities that often cry out for satire, and for the lighter touch that a song can bring. Oh, What a Lovely War! – whose very title cues us into its sardonic […]

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The Metropolitan Opera’s Nixon in China rides on powerful performances and a meticulous, lavishly outfitted production. Through the miracle of HD, I was able to see the February 12thperformance live at the AMC Town Center multiplex, along with a sizable handful of other opera buffs. John Adams, the work’s composer, conducted the production, and of course he […]

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