Chicago opera lovers are getting a "twofer" with this season's dark and compelling production of Puccini's 1900 political melodrama "Tosca." Originally created by British director John Caird for the Houston Grand Opera in 2010 and later revived for Los Angeles, Lyric's "Tosca" opened on January 24th, closed on February 5th, and then re-opened with new singers in the principal roles of Tosca, Cavaradossi, Scarpia, and Spoletta on February 27th for a run that concludes March 14th.
I have a dream. I dream that some day I'll be able to walk into an opera house and not be faced with a production in which the stage director has imposed some sort of high concept on the piece that is either irrelevant to or openly contradictory to the intentions of the composer and librettist. Alas, as the Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Wagner's "Tannhäuser" demonstrates, that's still a dream.
James Baldwin dedicated his play “Blues for Mr. Charlie” to the memory of Medgar Evers and of the four girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing, all violent moments in the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and '60s. Baldwin loosely based the action on the murder of teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. Director Ron Himes opens the current production of the play at Washington University's Performing Arts Department with photos of African-American men killed by white men in the decades since then. The killing continues.
Los Angeles' 24th Street Theatre recently presented "Walking the Tightrope"—a little gem of a theatrical production—at COCA, the Center of Creative Arts in University City. The touring production was on site February 21–22, 2015.
Winter Opera St. Louis, after a brilliant production of "Le Nozze di Figaro", continues its eighth season with a venture into less familiar fare — Pietro Mascagni's "L'amico Fritz".
The “Cinderella” now at the Fox Theatre is not just any “Cinderella.” It's the “Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.”
With “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash,” the title explains the show itself. It’s not the story of Johnny Cash the man, nor his demons or his loves, but of his music, specifically the music he wrote.
In the 1830 tragedy "Anna Bolena" ("Anne Boleyn"), the second of Donizetti's four operas dealing with Tudor England and a classic of the bel canto operatic style, the composer and his librettist Felice Romani put the title character through hell—and aren't that much easier on the singer playing the role. She's on stage for most of the opera (which, in the Lyric Opera of Chicago production that opened this past weekend, runs three and one-half hours with intermission), finishing up with not one but two "mad" scenes and an execution scene that is almost as harrowing.
If your only exposure to George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward's 1935 opera "Porgy and Bess" has been the tour of the cut down "Broadway" version that played the Muny this past summer or even the interesting but flawed Union Avenue Opera/Black Rep co-production from 2007, you'd probably be justified in wondering why this is considered a great American opera. The current Lyric Opera of Chicago revival of its 2008 production—which runs through December 20—demonstrates why.