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Backstage And Beyond

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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Bruce Sorrell has spent a great deal of his life thinking about Mozart, and it shows when he conducts the composer’s music: He has a special understanding of this most challenging of Classicists. Astonishingly, the founding music director of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra finds that he has never conducted Mozart’s iconic Requiem, and this week […]

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The Kansas City Ballet continues to be the envy of mid-sized American companies, maintaining fiscal health while continuing to challenge itself artistically. At Thursday’s season finale opener, veterans and younger dancers mingled like a well-oiled machine in two distinguished world premieres and a reprise of Twyla Tharp’s elegant Nine Sinatra Songs. And the company showed that it has a […]

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