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Paul’s Perspective

A THOUSAND NIGHTS: Series marks milestone with brilliant soprano

Just about everybody who is anybody has appeared on the Harriman-Jewell Series. Or so it seems these days, 58 years after the Series was founded by two William Jewell College professors, Richard Harriman and Dean Dunham, Jr. Let’s put it this way: If you are a classical performing artist or ensemble or dance company or even […]

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REVIEW: Ballet outdoes itself with annual holiday classic

Dance is live theater, and thus every performance of a work of choreography differs from every other. Standard works evolve from year to year, as well: Since 2015, when Devon Carney introduced his version of The Nutcracker to Kansas City Ballet audiences, we have witnessed fine-tuning and often barely perceptible alterations that, to be sure, […]

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REVIEW: Lyric presents distinguished production of Verdi’s well-worn tragedy

La traviata continues to fascinate us some 170 years after its inception partly because it presents the viewer with no clear-cut heroes or villains. Its principle characters are a lot like the rest of us, imbued with glaring defects and endearing, even transformative strengths: in roughly equal measure. Francesca Zambello’s 2018 production, which opened at the […]

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REVIEW: Ballet’s revival of 19th-century classic shows solid professionalism

Giselle is as beloved as any ballet in the repertoire partly because it contains some of the most beautiful choreography in the repertoire of Western dance: much of which has, miraculously, been preserved for nearly two centuries within the story we still see today. Thus the version of this classic that Devon Carney created for […]

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REVIEW: Lyric’s ‘Carmen’ succeeds on vocal prowess, uncluttered direction

Georges Bizet’s Carmen is an opera best presented in a direct and straightforward manner, for its strength lies not in deep complexities of character development but in its infectious music and playful archetypes of 19th-century French opéra comique. The Lyric Opera’s most recent version, which opened on September 24th at the Kauffman Center, is refreshingly […]

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REVIEW: Rep storms into new season with wackily successful Shakespeare comedy

Shakespeare’s humor often stirs deep, mirthful reflection on the human condition and yes, sometimes it makes us laugh out loud. We don’t normally think of the bard’s subtle, fleet-footed humor as cause for continual belly laughs, and yet that’s pretty much how I reacted to the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s raucous Twelfth Night, which opened […]

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SIBLING REVELRY: Two Kanneh-Masons will bring their magic to the Harriman

Pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason are two of seven highly gifted siblings from Nottingham, England, who are creating a worldwide sensation. Sheku is best known for his performance during the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in 2018. His elder sister, Isata, recipient of the 2021 Leonard Bernstein Award, is forging […]

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REVIEW: Lyric Opera’s Jobs opera is fascinating, frustrating, and fun

Because Steve Jobs brought us the iPhone, the iPad, iTunes, the Mac, and a host of other indispensable devices, there are always going to be retellings of his life. One of the more intriguing, if perhaps frustratingly incomplete, is that of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, the celebrated 2017 opera by composer Mason Bates and librettist […]

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REVIEW: Rep scores big with sharp commentary on race in America

The Royale is a powerfully crafted piece of theater that addresses an issue that is still with us. Marco Ramirez’ 85-minute play reflects on the legacy of Jack Johnson, the first Black prizefighter to win the Heavyweight Boxing Championship, a title he held from 1908 to 1915. But it is also a drama about a […]

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