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A&E Feature
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

Milwaukee Symphony ventures into Bartok’s classic

The subterranean quality of Bartok’s ominous score for Bluebeard’s Castle, the dark harmonic undercurrent of his only opera, may seem surprisingly tame for those familiar with the shock waves of dissonant sound outbursts characterizing the Hungarian composer’s later works, where music spills boldly across a broad limitless tapestry like the splatter of a black-and-white Pollock canvas. Unlike Pollock, Bartok usually...
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009
The Mahler canon of great, sometimes unruly symphonies has increased its hold on music lovers with the passing years. The undeniably compulsive emotional power of these sublime works has long challenged the mastery and stamina of many great conductors...
Theater
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009

Theater Review

The Milwaukee Rep’s season opener, Nikolai Gogol’s classic satire The Government Inspector, turned out to be a much-needed winner on all counts. After an indifferent summer season, opening-night audiences were delighted with Jeffrey Hatcher’s hilariously spiky, refreshingly updated translation, demonstrating once again director Joseph Hanreddy’s knack at coordinating a talented cast of skillful players into an ensemble...
Books
Monday, June 29, 2009

Molly Haskell examines the classic film

The beautiful black-and-white photo of Vivien Leigh on the cover of Molly Haskell's compelling new book, Frankly, My Dear:Gone With the Wind Revisited (Yale University Press), casts an eerie shadow on the dust cover. It's an ominous reminder of the exhausting two-year search for the right actress to portray Scarlett O'Hara and of Leigh's own mortality, but the haunting photo gives no hint at the brilliance...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A symphony of ambition

Of all the great composers from the past century, Mahler cannot be accused of reticence or lack of confidence. None of his work, however, has the overreaching ambition of the choral Eighth, often inaccurately referred to as the "symphony of a thousand," a slight exaggeration of its stupefying number of participants. Comprising eight soloists, double chorus, children's chorus and an orchestra of at least 120 players, and blessed with Mahler's own reverential benediction of creating a work that reaches out...
Classical Music/Dance
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Renée Fleming is one of the most glamorous and renowned opera stars in the world. Now at the pinnacle of her spectacularly successful career, her public image highlights a generation of performers who are evolving from the traditional role of opera singer into the more contemporary view of "singing actress." Yet, in one of the most difficult of the vocal arts, challenging...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mozart’s opera at the Florentine

The Magic Flute concerns a remarkably innocent little instrument that charms all who listen to it. Its magic leads Tamino through a labyrinth of three trials to determine whether his virtue and purity are worthy to win the hand of his beloved Pamina and to join the secret brotherhood worshipping at the Temple of Nature, Wisdom and Reason under the guardianship of Sarastro, who holds Pamina captive, wishing to release her from the influence of darkness and superstition embodied by her mother, the Queen...
Theater
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Theater Review

In Pride andPrejudice's famous opening sentence, Jane Austen supplies the major motif for the wry, delightful maneuvering of the Bennet sisters in this justifiably popular novel of conflicting manners and morals. Her book illustrates the social mores of 18th-century England, where courtesy and reticence are the most inhibiting factors in relationships between men and women. Elizabeth Bennet will not play these games, calling to task the prideful arrogance of Mr. Darcy, whom she will eventually grow to love. But is he the one with pride and she prejudiced? Or is she so full of pride that she spurns him...
Books
Monday, March 9, 2009

An actor’s remarkable life

Marlon Brando, often labeled as the greatest American actor, is revisited in a concise new biography, Somebody:The Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando (Knopf). Stefan Kanfer's refreshingly readable examination pays due homage to the Brando persona and gives an insightfully critical look at the legendary performer's life...
Theater
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009

Theater Review

The Skylight's sleek, effective new production of I DO! I DO! does just about everything right in updating this 1966 musical satire with fresh appeal for modern audiences. Much of the credit must go to Artistic Director Bill Theisen and stage director Dorothy Danner, whose subtle staging brings a refreshing transparency to what might have been a dated, sentimental revival.To audiences accustomed...

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