Juventas New Music Ensemble will be presenting an interpretation of Snow White this weekend, Polina Nazaykinskaya’s The Magic Mirror. Based on the version of the fairytale by Alexander Pushkin, the story is a classic that has been adapted for contemporary audiences. In this version of the tale, the seven dwarfs have been replaced with seven brothers and the Evil Queen’s perspective promises to be explored. Continue reading →
(Watertown) Blue Spruce Theatre’s Faerie Tales has a bit of charm, some nice music, and an engaging visual style. None of these things, however, manage to carry the show on their own. This is very sad as there are elements in the play, like fairies and the importance of family, that I adore when utilized in other media.
Faerie Tales uses two different stories that overlap in theme. The first act is devoted to adapting Christina Rossetti’s poem, Goblin Market, to the stage. Laura (Teresa Winner Blume) and Lizzie (Abigail Clarke) are sisters who stumble on a magical fairy marketplace. Lizzie shies away from eating the market food and going near the animal-like creatures, but Laura is too taken with their strangeness and is immediately seduced into spending a night among the goblins. When her sister returns and begins to grow ill, Lizzie struggles to find a cure. Continue reading →
(Cambridge) The Hypocrites’ production of Pirates of Penzance is an absolute confection. Adapting the beloved Gilbert and Sullivan operetta to a quirkier, more contemporary stage, Sean Graney and Kevin O’Donnell infuse the original libretto and its score with banjos, bathing suits, beach balls, and a warmth that charms but never cloys. It’s energetic and just plain fun.
Premiering in New York in 1879, the original show has a long history of making audiences titter at lyrics like, “I am the very model of a modern major general.” The comic opera lampoons Victorian concepts of honor, piracy, politeness, the literary inconveniences of being a foundling, and, most importantly, duty. Continue reading →
(Cambridge) An aggressively weird audio feast, this Beowulf is a musical take on the millennia-old epic-poem. The dialogue performs the syntax gymnastics of Seamus Heaney’s translation while the songs are guttural and set to a frantic, pleasing percussion. Banana Bag and Bodice’s production, though, both honors the source material while dissecting it. Continue reading →
(Watertown) Amelia Broome doesn’t use a Greek accent in her portrayal as international treasure and opera superstar, Maria Callas. The audience doesn’t have the luxury of knowing why Broome chose not to use an accent. Broome’s performance is effective without one so the reasons don’t matter.
Master Class is a grand opportunity for non-Classical singers (plebes) to experience the horror and joy that is operatic study. It is a (relatively) cheap vocal coaching for its length and history wrapped in a convenient package. The dialogue is only slightly dramatized for the benefit of the audience. The majority of Callas’ lessons and helpful hints are comments that any voice teacher could and would give her student. The majority of these same lessons and hints are conveyed in a similar manner as well. Continue reading →
(Norwood) The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (URO) rocks. They have made a brilliant career out of rocking classics by musicians such as The Beatles, Bowie, and Queen. Last night’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was no exception. Put simply, they capture all the funk that Andrew Lloyd Weber missed. Continue reading →
(Cambridge) The thing about going to a college production is this: it takes place at college. Therefore, coming into this production, I felt a great sense of trepidation, because I recently got over my own bout with college and I am still susceptible to triggers. Fortunately, I only have a few symptoms left: occasional twitching, a diploma and a pair of college-apparel socks. But here, it was dangerous: there were post-college stress disorder triggers everywhere. There were all the trappings of university life: the dining hall (where the production took place), the ill-rendered student council campaign poster deftly incorporating the “M-F” word, and of course, the nearly-full take-out container of sushi casually tossed in the trash. This kind of thing can transport you back to your own college days with the kind of nostalgia so profound it requires Kaopectate. Continue reading →
There are some culture-lovers reluctant to attend an evening of opera. Some fear pomp and stuffiness; others fear boredom. These fears encumber the uninitiated with false bias against the excellence that only classical music can convey. H&H’s performance of The Indian Queen was entirely lacking in snobbery and the program notes were jam packed with enough historical trivia to entertain a fidgety toddler. The music of Purcell was warm and gentle. It wrapped around the audience like an electric Snuggie; a balm for the bitter winter chill. Continue reading →
(Needham)The Barber of Seville was made famous in popular culture by the Bugs Bunny cartoon, “The Rabbit of Seville,” in which Bugs violently shaves a reluctant Elmer Fudd. The beautiful music by Giacomo Rossini could charm the pants off of anyone with ears. It is the timeless warmth and wit of Rossini’s opera that would bring you to watch Longwood Opera’s production of Barber but it is the individual performances of the cast that would keep you in your seat. Continue reading →