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Backstage And Beyond

Orchestra musicians love Mahler’s music because it’s fun to play. Hard work, yes. But what other music of the Austro-Germanic repertoire has the clarinetists raise their bells and point them straight at the audience, or lets the concertmaster play a solo on a mistuned violin, or asks the timpanist to come down hard on the […]

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Europeans have a different concept of the passage of time than we do. The “New College” at Oxford and the famous choir associated with it were founded in the 14th century (imagine how old the oldcollege was!). Six centuries later the Choir of New College continues to sing services six days a week at one of […]

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We have a fascination with tales of man-made things that come to life — whether to fascinate us (Pinocchio), hurt us (Frankenstein) or steal our hearts (Tales of Hoffmann, the Pygmalion of Greek mythology). In ballet, the favorite doll-come-to-life-(but-not-really) story is Coppélia, the tale of a mysterious inventor who creates a beautiful doll that is so lifelike […]

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A well-oiled operatic production relies on the convergence of so many elements that it seems a miracle when it actually does all come together. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City was thrown a curve-ball recently when the singer contracted to sing the title role of Don Giovanni pulled out because of illness. Less than two weeks before opening, the […]

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Dolls that come to life, a village love story, iconic ballet moves: Coppéliais hard to resist even in a so-so production. The version by the Moscow Festival Ballet, presented here on May 1st by the Harriman-Jewell Series, was a considerable cut above the average, with youthful dancers, faux-naïve set designs, and fine dancing in the Russian tradition. […]

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As recently as 20 years ago it was rare to find works by women on the programs of professional ballet companies. That’s changing, albeit slowly. On May 6 the Kansas City Ballet opens its spring program with new works by not one but two of the most sought-after choreographers in America — both of whom just happen […]

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The Kansas City Ballet has scored a home run with its spring program that opened May 6 at the Lyric Theatre, with an appealing lineup ranging from classical ballet to Balanchine-does-jazz, from Todd Bolender to two adventurous new ballets receiving their world premieres. It was a gratifying conclusion to an erratic 2009-2010 season that has […]

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Like many Southerners of her generation, choreographer Mary Pat Henry had a front row seat for the explosive events surrounding desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement. As a child in Columbus, South Carolina, she remembers being continually jolted by the racism she encountered all around her. For two years now she has grappled with reenacting some of […]

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Symphony in the Flint Hills this year features not only the live strains of the Kansas City Symphony echoing out over the verdant hills of Chase County, Kansas, but also the hickory twang of country superstar Lyle Lovett, who will sing a few tunes. Scheduled for June 12th with a rain date on June 13th, it’s an all-day […]

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