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In Review

IN REVIEW: MARRY ME: New concerto inspired by wedding but not bound to it

By Paul Horsley David Ludwig knows better than to attach a “back-story” to a piece irrevocably, although he has openly stated that his new Violin Concerto was inspired by his recent marriage. Composers over the years have learned the perils of announcing beforehand a narrative or program for a piece, only to find later that […]

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IN REVIEW: KC Ballet’s new ‘Nutcracker’ is boisterous, busy, dazzling fun

By Paul Horsley Each production of The Nutcracker is to some extent a balancing act between spectacle and dance. At best it seamlessly integrates the colors and stagecraft that keep holiday audiences coming back with the ballet traditions on which the 1892 Russian classic is based. When the Kansas City Ballet under Artistic Director Devon […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric’s ‘Rusalka’ explores beauties of ‘Little Mermaid’ tale

By Paul Horsley The Lyric Opera of Kansas City deserves applause for taking on an opera in Czech for the first time in its history, but the opening performance of its Rusalka on November 7th at the Kauffman Center offered mixed results. Dvořák’s shimmering score—with its delicious colors, sophisticated use of motif, and seamless integration […]

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IN REVIEW: KC Ballet’s spring production shows off its contemporary chops

By Paul Horsley Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments is a work of such startling visual clarity, musicality and modernity that it’s astonishing to contemplate that it predates not just most of the contemporary dance we see on the stage today, but also a large portion of the choreography by which we know Balanchine himself. It was […]

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IN REVIEW: Harriman-Jewell delights with ‘Acis,’ KC Rep fascinates with ‘An Iliad’

By Paul Horsley You have to believe in Baroque opera to make it convincing, and Mark Morris believes in it absolutely. His Acis and Galatea, a delightful amalgam of dance, music, theater, costumes and lighting design, remains true to the madcap spirit of Handel’s original masque-opera, and on February 6th and 7th at the Kauffman […]

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CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION: Lyric delivers solid, well-sung version of Puccini classic

Many 18th- and 19th-century operas are just too complicated, with superfluous subplots and random servants running about doing little to further the central story, if there is one. By the end of the 19th century composers and librettists had begun to pare down what I think of as Shakespearean “character overpopulation,” as they found this […]

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POISED BETWEEN STORY AND GORE: KC Ballet’s ‘Dracula’ impresses the eye, frustrates the soul

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is on one level a love story, though it seldom resembles one. In many of the “translated” versions we know of the original 1897 novel, from Murnau’s 1922 film Nosferatu and its Hollywood spinoffs to various literary, stage and even comedic versions, the story of a pitiful creature living under a curse […]

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IN REVIEW: Pianist opens Friends season with enigmatic blend of expression and head-scratching

Clear and mild with occasional light, gusty winds. A weather forecast, perhaps, but this could also serve as a description of Vladimir Feltsman’s recital on September 27th at the Folly Theater, the opening of the Friends of Chamber Music’s 38th season. It was a low-key affair, with flashes of brilliance and no small measure of […]

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BEL CANTO GETS BELLICOSE: New opera tells sad, amazing tale of boxer with surprising secret These days we’ve become accustomed to gays and lesbians inhabiting any field you can imagine, from politics to professional sports to the U.S. Marine Corps. But still – boxing? Champion is a powerfully theatrical piece, and its premiere last month […]

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