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Gary Scott

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Sister Angelica and Gianni Schicchi

Union Avenue Opera

Through 7/28/2007
Reviewed by Gary Scott
"Tears before Laughter" would fittingly describe Union Avenue Opera's production this summer of Sister Angelica (Suor Angelica in Italian) and Gianni Schicchi, two of the three one-acts penned by Giacomo Puccini. The two operas are very different in theme, style and casting needs, yet they are bound together by Puccini's brilliant orchestration and seamless development of musical and dramatic tension, whether the subject be tragic or comic.

Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00

Duke Bluebeard's Castle

Union Avenue Opera

Through 10/31/2007
Reviewed by Gary Scott
People either love the music of Bela Bartok--or they love to hate him, no doubt due to improper introduction to his music, and perhaps also because they have been over-exposed to his less talented imitators. For those of us who would add his name as the "Fourth B" to the triumvirate of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, few composers can equal his sense of drama, psychological insight, and musical inventiveness--accomplished using the traditional orchestra and without resorting to musical gimmicks, unusual sound effects or other forms of tonal fingerpainting.

Monday, 09 February 2009 19:00

Songs of the Self

St. Louis Symphony      

February 6 through 8, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
The ubiquitous commercial for one of the Turner movie networks proudly proclaims, "We know drama."  However, the crafters of the hopefully ear-catching remark surely do not know Sir Edward Elgar so well, or Sir Michael Tippett, or even Tchaikovsky.  This weekend the St. Louis Symphony, led by guest conductor Christopher Seaman, on loan from the Rochester Philharmonic, and featuring soloist Daniel Lee, principal cellist of the SLSO since 2005.  The works of the aformentioned composers illustrate that music in its pure form embodies all the drama that a human soul can produce.

Monday, 12 January 2009 16:10

Opera Night

St. Louis Symphony

January 9, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
[Pictured: Soprano Kelly Kaduce]

Since assuming the helm as music director of the St. Louis Symphony, David Robertson has enacted some bold marketing moves that seem to be providing both financial and publicity dividends.  Such ventures as the Classical Detours programs, special interest programs (Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz) and the Winter Passes have both boosted the financial base of the orchestra and have established it even more fully as a valued community institution.  Friday night, January 9, marked yet another successful theme concert.  Soprano Kelly Kaduce joined forces with guest conductor James Gaffigan and the orchestra for "Opera Night"--an unabashedly schmaltzy, hammed-up and spectacularly beautiful tribute to three great operatic composers:  Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini and Richard Wagner.

Sunday, 18 January 2009 19:00

Groundwork for the Modern

St. Louis Symphony         

January 16, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
[Pictured: Susan Graham]
Although composers have experimented with atonal music--that is, music without a key or "tonal center"--for about a hundred years now, the concept still seems foreign to our ears.  Atonal music can be interesting, powerful and dramatic, yet it has not garnered a decisive following.  Some have even argued that, far from sounding innovative and original, atonal music can seem trite and static.  But the St. Louis Symphony's performance this weekend of an early masterpiece by an atonal composer, Alban Berg's Seven Early Songs, demonstrated that atonal music can indeed be captivating and tingling with emotion.

Friday, 08 August 2008 19:00

Otello

Union Avenue Opera

Through August 9, 2008
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Now in its 14th season, Union Avenue Opera has established itself as a venue for some of the most purely dramatic works in the entire operatic repertoire.  Through skillful blocking, lighting and scenery, combined with dedicated and gifted performers eager to perform in such a setting, UAO has demonstrated that simplicity and directness can cut to the listener's very soul.  This was ably demonstrated last season by such works as Puccini's Sister Angelica and Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle.  This year, UAO is tackling Giuseppe Verdi's Otello, along with Bizet's Carmen--offset, for variety, by Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore.

Friday, 30 October 2009 19:00

The Rocky Horror Show

The NonProphet Theatre Company /The DramaRama Theatre Company

Through October 31, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Why would you go see a The Rocky Horror Show (the live stage show on which The Rocky Horror Picture Show is based)? To have fun, of course.  for over thirty years now, audiences have responded to Richard O'Brien's take-off on 50's and 60's cinematic schlock with devotion, fervor and love.  And it just doesn't stop.

Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:00

The House of Blue Leaves

houseofblue0912.jpgThe Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University

Through December 13, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Times change, and so do we.  If you visit the Stage III Theatre at Webster University, in the outside corridor you will see vintage photographs of some of the nuns who helped build Webster as an academic community.  Inside, you can see a play that lightheartedly lampoons nuns and Catholicism as a backdrop to a darker theme of lost hopes and despair.

Saturday, 15 August 2009 15:44

The Diary of Anne Frank

diaryofanne0908-1.jpgThe Lyceum Theatre

Through August 15, 2009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Driving to the village of Arrow Rock, about forty miles northwest of Columbia, Missouri, home to the lyceum Theatre, is almost like making a sort of theatrical pilgrimage.  (Could this be what Richard Wagner had in mind for visitors to Bayreuth?)  The current production of The Diary of Anne Frank, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman from the original script of Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, makes it a particularly moving journey.
Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:00

The Belle of Amherst

Insight Theatre Company

Through October 11, 1009
Reviewed by Gary Scott
Plays with a cast of one can pose a grueling yet exhilarating challenge to both the single actor as well as to the director and technicians--the production must sparkle with verve, spontaneity, visual energy and quick-moving drama.  The life of Emily Dickinson, one of our greatest poets, brought to life onstage in William Luce's The Belle of Amherst, provides fuel for such a challenge and demonstrates that the life of a single individual can hold an entire audience spellbound.

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