If it were possible to bottle and resell whatever powers Michelle Collier's "A Tribute to the Hollywood Blondes" show, the nation would never experience an energy shortage.
For the second week in a row, Maestro David Robertson has taken a well-known piece in the standard repertoire, plugged it into a high-voltage socket, and produced a performance that crackles with electricity.
Every now and then the most publicized event in a symphony concert turns out not to be the one that leaves the greatest impression. This weekend all the fuss was about the local premiere of Alexander Zemlinsky’s lavishly scored and slightly exotic “Lyrische Symphonie” ("Lyric Symphony") Op. 18 (1922-23) with baritone Lucas Meachem and local favorite soprano Christine Brewer. For me, though, the real highlight of the program was Maestro David Robertson’s highly charged version of Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8 in B minor", D. 759 (“Unfinished”) from a century earlier.
Mozart, as they used to say over at Variety, is clearly “boffo” with St. Louis Symphony audiences. The crowd at Friday morning’s concert was larger than usual and obviously appreciative of Bernard Labadie’s vibrant readings of Mozart’s 33rd and 40th symphonies, as well as with Principal Clarinet Scott Andrew’s elegant work in the "Clarinet Concerto, K. 622".
As I have noted before, Ward Stare (who completed his tenure as Resident Conductor of the symphony in 2012 and is now in demand as both and operatic and symphonic conductor) is someone to watch.
As René Spencer Saller points out in her program notes for these concerts, the legendary violinist/composer Niccolò Paganini was the early 18th century equivalent of a modern rock star, with an extravagant talent and matching lifestyle.
St. Louis’s own Keith Jozsef is a member of that increasingly rare species of showbiz fauna, the professional magician. Not only that, but a professional magician with a full-evening magic show—something rarely seen these days outside of high-traffic tourist traps like Las Vegas or Branson.
A contemporary composer conducting the symphony in a program of his own music isn’t usually the sort of thing that generates long lines, either at the box office or at the rest rooms during intermission.
Winter Opera has closed their current season with a musically splendid and visually satisfying production of Puccini’s 1900 political melodrama “Tosca.” Acting and some casting choices did not always strike me as ideal, but the company sang beautifully, the orchestra sounded solid, and the sets and costumes were, given the group’s small budget, quite lavish.
Carrot, the titular canine in Daniel Damiano's "Day of the Dog," the world premiere of which is being presented by St. Louis Actors' Studio, is a German Shepherd mix and the family pet of accountant Paul and interior designer Julianne. He never appears on stage, but his presence--and his problem--are obvious as soon as the lights go up and Paul enters with heavily bandaged arms and hands.