Although usually presented as a concert piece, Carl Orff's 1936 "Carmina Burana" was always intended to be theatrical, with some mimed action and "magic tableaux." The first performance in Frankfurt in 1937 was fully staged, in fact, with dancers, sets, and costumes.
I love Greek drama. I find it exciting, illuminating, challenging, and deeply satisfying. I would have loved to see a production of Euripides’ “Medea” this past weekend at UMSL, but instead I saw an over-the-top contemporary melodrama that only borrowed heavily from J. Michael Walton’s translation of “Medea”.
"O the tango is done with a thin black moustache a wide scarlet sash, black boots and a whip." When Jerry Leiber wrote those lyrics for "The Tango" (recorded in 1975 by Peggy Lee), he was reflecting the darkly sensual reputation this dance, with its historically murky origins, has had for over a century.
A stop at the "Bluegrass Shack" with a mention of the name John Prine elicited a distinctive response from Earl, who sat behind the counter: “He's a legend.” With that thought in mind, Prine fans, including plenty of St. Louis singer-songwriters and KDHX DJs, filled the Touhill Performing Arts Center on Friday night.
"Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" is still merrily dancing and skipping in my ear. Will I ever get it out? Why in the world would I want to?
"Diavolo," writes the company's Artistic Director Jacques Heim in his program notes, "is a fusion of many different movement vocabularies such as everyday movement, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop." On stage, that translates into genre-bending theatre pieces that are a mashup of dance, Olympic-class athletics, and circus arts that are sometimes thrilling and always mesmerizing.
When you think of the music for the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," the first names that probably come to mind are Harold Arlen and E. Y. "Yip" Harburg. Their songs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had a Brain" have been firmly ensconced in the Great American Songbook for decades. If you're a film music fan, you might also think of composer/arranger (and Broadway veteran) Herbert Stothart, who combined Arlen's tunes with original material into a seamless, Oscar-winning score.
There were many remarkable things about The Shanghai Ballet's production of "The Butterfly Lovers" that Dance St. Louis presented at the Touhill this weekend. The colorful costumes, the incredible athleticism and skill of the dancers, the incisive way artistic director Xin Lili's choreography illuminated character and defined action, and the powerful emotional pull of the tragic story were all reasons to take notice.
I visited China a few years ago, but am sorry to say I saw none of any native Chinese theatrical arts while there. When I heard the Beijing Opera was coming to the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus the University of Missouri, I hoped to rectify my lack of exposure. I must say I came away enchanted and impressed.
The crowd filled the lobby of the Touhill Performing Arts Center in waves, pouring down the stairs in a cascade of diversity.