Currently Browsing: Performance Reviews

Alan Cumming in Hudson

Stunning talent, a likable personality and lots of embarrassing but hilarious personal anecdotes were packed into Alan Cumming’s cabaret show Sunday night at Club Helsinki in Hudson (12/2/12).          Though he’s gone on to triumph in television and film, it was a Broadway role — the emcee in “Cabaret” — that made Cumming famous.  He offered one selection from that show, “Mein Herr.”  Otherwise, the material was all quite recent and not apparently extracted from any musicals, except a medley from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” So much for my comments after Charles...
read more

Charles Busch at Club Helsinki in Hudson

Cabaret sometimes includes more than just theater songs, but it seems to always mean nostalgia. References to the past — movies, musicals, celebrity biographies — were laid on thick by Charles Busch during his new solo show Sunday night (11/11/12) at Club Helsinki. It was part of the venue’s successful new Broadway series. Appearing in drag, Busch offered a mostly scripted but still free flowing mixture of monologues and songs, along with some reminisces of life in the theater. Busch is best known as the creator and star of Off Broadway spoof hits like “Psycho Beach Party” and “Vampire...
read more

A Diva Weekend: Barbra at Barclays, Betty Lynn at Feinstein’s

We didn’t plan it to be a mini-marathon of divas, but the pairing worked out nicely.  A couple of months back my boyfriend Doug scored tickets over the phone to see Barbra Streisand in her first concert at the Barclays Center (October 11), the massive new arena in Brooklyn.  We were joined by about 19,000 other fans. No tickets were pre-arranged for our second night in the city and I wasn’t keen on facing the crowds of the theatre district.  We decided that the more intimate setting of Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency on Park Avenue was a welcome contrast – the place...
read more

Two afternoons of string quartets at South Mountain in The Berkshires

The fall concert season kicks into high gear during the month of October but it’s the South Mountain Concerts in Pittsfield that always get things going a bit sooner.   The entirety of South Mountain Concerts’ annual line-up runs for only four or five weeks every autumn.  Bridging that time between the busier summer and fall schedules, it gives music lovers something to savor when little else is on the calendar.  But it also suits the unique venue.  One might think that the wooden structure, which is not winterized, was once a church because of the high cathedral ceiling and seating in...
read more

“Einstein on the Beach” at BAM

Maybe it’s because of the legacy of “Rite of Spring,” but when encountering a legendary work that’s said to have changed the course of a genre, one tends to expect an explosive tumult.  Listening to Philip Glass’ “Einstein on the Beach” on disc, there’s certainly a rigid austerity to the chunks of minimalist repetitions.  Yet the opera had an unexpected elegance in the long awaited staged revival that’s playing for eight performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was seen on September 15.  The opening refrain of counting (“1-2-3-4”), sung by the chorus, was disarmingly...
read more

Well done, Well-Strung

Bach and Vivaldi never sounded so sensual.  Rhiana and Lady Gaga have seldom been so classy. Well-Strung, an all-male string quartet, offered serious masterworks alongside clever arrangements of some current pop hits during an enjoyable and surprisingly well executed program at the Art House in Provincetown.  A team of talented young guys – hunky, cute, flirtatious – they sing as well as play string instruments and seem to be having a very good time together. Classical selections included full movements of Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Dvorak.  The songs are by Rhianna, Brittany Spears, Gaga...
read more

Reports from Tanglewood: modern, contemporary, timeless

Reviews of some mid-century modernism, the finale of the Festival of Contemporary Music, and John Williams 80th birthday celebration. Monday, July 30, 2012 Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood  There was a crisp bite and rhythmic charge to everything on Monday’s program at Ozawa Hall.  Though listed as a performance of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, there was never a true orchestra onstage.  The first half consisted of pieces for large combinations of winds, sometimes with piano or percussion.  After intermission came Stravinsky’s “Les Noces,” an important work that’s seldom performed,...
read more

Three nights in Saratoga with YNS and the Philly

Saratoga Performing Arts Center Wednesday, August 8, 2012 The promise is being fulfilled.  Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has got the goods and a new era is truly at hand for the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was more than two years ago that the French Canadian conductor, now 37, was named music director of the orchestra, a post that he’ll finally and officially assume in October.  What a coup for SPAC to present him on the podium three consecutive nights this week. The program was an appropriate and satisfying mix of substance and flash, the latter mostly due to piano soloist Lang Lang.  But...
read more

Glimmerglass 2012 season wrap up

General director Francesca Zambello brought together the strongest season at Glimmerglass in my 11 years of covering the company.  Let’s hope her three-year tenure, which began last summer, gets renewed.  Who knows, maybe she’s still just getting started! Here’s a collection of my reviews. Verdi:  Aida Glimmerglass Festival, July 7, 2012 Probably never in its 25-year history has the Alice Busch Opera Theater been filled with such strong and sustained sound as it was Saturday night.  It was the Glimmerglass season opener, a new production of “Aida.” But mounting the Verdi...
read more

Fort Worth Opera Festival: Adamo, Heggie, and Puccini (review)

Three operas in two days mean an ambitious festival in progress.  When the Fort Worth Opera reinvented itself in 2007 from the traditional format of fall and spring seasons into a concentrated annual festival, the idea was to focus attention and lure in audiences, not just North Texans but folks from far and wide. It certainly seems to have worked.  Some unscientific observation combined with occasional eavesdropping showed healthy-sized crowds of locals sprinkled with opera buffs and industry professionals from around the country. A well packed schedule isn’t enough though.  Quality performances...
read more

« Previous Entries