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Backstage And Beyond

THREE, BY THREE: New companies join the Lyric Opera in presenting audience-friendly fare

One of the many things that we owe Mozart is his determination to wrest opera from the clutches of European nobility. Beginning with his 1782 Abduction from the Seraglio, a “singspiel” written in the language of the Viennese public, he helped establish opera as an art-form “for the people.” Opera has been striving to maintain […]

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KNOCK KNOCK: Theater companies embark on daring collaboration

Few moments in theater have stimulated discourse on the role of women in society as compellingly as Nora’s abrupt departure at the end of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. “The door-slam heard ’round the world,” as it’s been called, was one of the boldest acts in all of literature, yet it remains almost as controversial today […]

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SOUL OF THE CELLO: Cathedral series begins with that warmest of instruments

Even at age four, Ho Anthony Ahn was absolutely certain he was not going to be a violinist. His father, a prominent violinist and teacher, had assumed his firstborn would play “first fiddle” in what he pictured as a family string quartet. Ho wanted no part of it. “It just hurt so badly, that metal […]

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DEATH & DESPAIR IN DES MOINES: Metro Opera continues its remarkable ascent

The best summer festivals highlight the unexpected: The juxtaposition of idyllic landscapes with the sort of high-end performances that we usually experience in urban settings sometimes permits us to view great art in fresh ways. Three hours north of Kansas City, nestled in verdant Iowa hills, stands one of America’s most delightful and distinguished opera […]

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ANYTHING GOES: Musical conventions for weddings are all over the map

At the end of Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, the source of the most famous bridal march of all, poor Elsa collapses and dies as her heroic groom (who is a Knight of the Holy Grail, after all) sails off to a higher destiny. Misogynistic much? Perhaps it’s a relief that this tune, “Here Comes the Bride,” […]

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LOVE AT FIRST PLIÉ: Dancers find love through artistry and understanding

Lilliana Hagerman and Lamin Pereira dos Santos may thrive on dancing the hyper-romantic characters of 19th-century ballets, but in real life their romance is as contemporary as it gets. They met, in fact, on Facebook Messenger: After a mutual dancer-friend “introduced” them, they spent three months getting acquainted online, through chat and Skype. And already […]

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TELL ME A STORY: Summerfest makes new friends (but always keeps the old)

Continuity and renewal are key to any arts organization that wants to stick around. Summerfest, now in its 29th season, has remained vigilant on both fronts, with a core of chamber musicians (many of them Kansas City Symphony members), a solid if at times shifting pool of additional colleagues, and a long-term view of artistic […]

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GREEN GRASS, GOLDEN JUBILEE: Theatre in the Park celebrates 50 years with big musicals

What could possibly motivate someone with a full-time job and perhaps a family and a mortgage to devote an entire month of his or her life to something that will not reap one red cent? Gene Kelly said it best in Singin’ in the Rain: “Gotta dance! … Broadway rhythm, it’s got me, everybody sing […]

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IN REVIEW: ‘Hamilton’ finally takes the stage in Kansas City (and good luck getting a ticket)

Part of the genius of Hamilton lies in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recognition that rap and hip-hop, which have already brought enormous energy to nearly every aspect of American culture, might also cast light into some of the more obscure, moribund corners of the Broadway musical. From the very first number of this instant classic (“Alexander Hamilton”) one […]

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