Saturday, December 28, 2019

Met's New Wozzeck: Waltzing Into Misery; The Sound Inside Spoilers

William Kentridge's Wozzeck, photo @ Ken Howard
The actual Vienna might be celebrating the holidays with its traditional series of Christmas/New Years concerts that are filled with merry waltzes, but in rainy New York the Metropolitan Opera there's a very different, iconic Viennese work on display. Alban Berg's Wozzeck is the work perhaps the most closely associated with the Second Viennese school. It made for grim holiday fare but was a gripping night of opera.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Dorrance Dance's Nutcracker and Other Nutcrackering ... EXPENSIVE!

Dorrance Dance's Nutcracker, photo @ Christopher Duggan
NYC has another Nutcracker! Dorrance Dance just premiered their tap-dance Nutcracker at the Joyce Theater on Tuesday. I reviewed it for bachtrack here. It's overall a rollicking good time, although I am not that crazy about Duke Ellington's arrangement of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. A blurb:
Last night at the Joyce TheaterMichelle Dorrance was the latest choreographer to throw her hat into the Nutcracker ring. There have been countless balletic versions, hip hop Nutcrackers, burlesque Nutcrackers, so many different Nutcrackers that it begs the question: does the world really need another Nutcracker? Turns out the answer is yes, if it's as clever and well-done as Michelle Dorrance's version.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Best (and Worst) of 2019


2019 was a slower year than usual in the second half because of a horrible ankle injury that left me housebound for much of the time. There are so many tickets I had to give up because the body simply would not cooperate. Nevertheless, I did see some very great performances here are some of the best and (worst) of some of the things I saw in 2019:

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Queen of Spades Revival is Aces

Lise Davidsen and Yusif Eyvasov, photo @ Ken Howard

One dilemma Met operagoers love to fret about is how new productions inevitably sell well, but revivals quickly become tired and poorly attended. This season new productions of Porgy and Bess and Akhnaten were sold out but revivals of Manon and Orfeo ed Euridice played to half-empty houses.

The answer seems to be: inspired casting. This afternoon's performance of Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades was pretty sold out despite the production being nearly 25 years old. The cast ranged from good to great. The production by Elijah Mohinsky is nothing fancy but tells the story well and effectively creates a doom-and-gloom mood. There was nothing tired about this revival.

Boris: Do Russian Leaders Ever Change?

  RenĂ© Pape, photo @ Marty Sohl There's a leader of Russia. He's corrupt and has killed people on his path to power. He only trusts ...