Posts Tagged ‘yale’

Apollo’s Girl

October 17, 2014





Yale in New York: Now Really Big!
(Sunday, October 19, 5pm,
Avery Fisher Hall)

To launch its eighth season, Yale in New York is Opening Big—very big—with a concert at Avery Fisher Hall; the full Yale Philharmonia

brentano quartet(plus the Brentano Quartet, Yale’s Quartet-in-Residence), led by Adams_John_Conduct_9-1_500Composer-in-Residence, John Adams. On the program: Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony, preceded by Mr. Adams’ own Absolute Jest. And, as a chaser, Stravinsky’s Orpheus.

Absolute Jest is both an Adams original and an homage to Beethoven—specifically, the Scherzo movements of the late quartets. While the quartets are known for their dark, deep and measured timbres, their Scherzos are fast, light and nimble. It is Adams’ choice to select high-energy fragments, to award them to the quartet (“…An orchestra is bigger and harder to move. …You need a quartet to keep up the speed of light.”) and to merge it with the full ensemble. It’s the kind of lineup that Yale in New York has become known for.

We go to concerts for many reasons; I went to Yale in New York the first time because its program was so intriguing. concert. The second time around I went for the very same reason: a new production of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale. Of course it’s always a popular choice. But it’s never the story; it’s the way the story is told.

SoldiersTale_0431This story was revealed by both the dance and the music departments. The actors danced (mighty well!); the narrator was a spot-on Michael Cerveris bringing a new translation to life; the costumes were simple but compelling: Ilona Somagyi’s take on red appeared in apt and cunning ways that never failed to amuse (and, I’m convinced, were channeled by one character in Sprint’s video commercials). Of course it should tour–it was created for touring– but with David Shifrin and Ani Kafavian heading up the chamber ensemble, it’s hard for schedules to align. We can, for now but hope, and whet our lips for an encore. see it

But to plug into the opening of Yale’s new season and see what the cheering is all about, be in your seats on Sunday at 5pmbeethoven-330x350
Come to think of it, why not subscribe to the entire season? this season

Cogito: John Branch

March 11, 2013

JB photo-painting by RC 2


Fearless Predictions
Bedlam at the Access and More

Hamlet and Saint Joan (in alternation through April 7, Bedlam, Manhattan): Last spring, one of New York theater’s nifty little trick questions was to ask friends if they’d heard about the small-cast Saint Joan running on Broadway. The explanation lay in bedlam theatrethe location of the Access Theater, where the Bedlam company performs—it’s on lower Broadway. The production was no gimmick: it vivified Shaw’s historical drama in an unconventional staging that used only four actors and placed scenes on the stage, in the seats, and even in the lobby. (See my review at St. Joan.) Now Bedlam is reviving that show and also tackling Hamlet with the same four actors. Though I haven’t attended yet, it’s a good bet that the same bedlam hamletcommitted and imaginative rethinking that burnishedShaw has been applied to Shakespeare.!tickets

Hamlet (March 15–April 13, Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven): yale hamletPaul Giamatti, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, returns to New Haven to play the melancholy Dane. The American film complex turns many actors of broad ability into narrowly defined commodities—“pigeonholing” is the term—but it hasn’t done that with Giamatti. He’s virtually a chameleon, so there’s no telling what he’ll do with this role. Giamatti, now in his mid-40s, probably won’t be the youngest Hamlet you’ve seen, which may make the prince’s recent studies in Wittenberg problematic, but different editors and even different editions differ on how old the character is. As with Juliet and others, anyone who’s the right age may be too immature for the role. Sarah Bernhardt, who ignored gender as well as age when she took the part, may have overreached, but at least she knew that playing Hamlet didn’t depend on externalia.

Pierrot Lunaire(March 28–30, Yale Cabaret, New Haven): Yale Cabaret shows are single-weekend productions created by Yale School of Drama grad students, not to be confused with the longer runs and mixed student/professional creative teams used in other shows at the school or at Yale Rep. This event will present a theatrical staging of Arnold Schönberg’s song cycle, which is currently enjoying a handful of performances in honor of its centenary year. It can be argued that the entire 19th century was decisively killed off during the second decade of the 20th by events as varied as the Great War, the sinking of the Titanic, and the immense cultural ferment in Vienna, which produced Pierrot Lunaire. It’s a groundbreaking piece for solo voice and small ensemble that employs Sprechstimme (a cross between speech and song) and abandons traditional Western tonality, though without adopting the full rigors of serialism, which Schönberg developed later. Bonus: the Yale Cabaret, true to its name, always offers food and drink.

Silkwood (March 20, Signature Theatre, Manhattan): One of three films written, in part or in full, by the late Nora Ephron that are being presented in the Signature Cinema series this spring. Silkwood dramatizes the story of Karen Silkwood, a factory worker who met a mysterious death after trying to call attention to problems at a Kerr-McGee plutonium-processing plant. Superficially akin to Norma Rae and The Insider, it differs from both in taking a more ambiguous viewSilkwood3--www-bfi-org-uk-photo-credit of its central character, which makes it more admirable in my book. It was mostly shot near Dallas, Texas, rather under the radar, to keep Kerr-McGee from catching wind of it and trying to shut it down; surprisingly for anything that involved director Mike Nichols (not to nicholsmention Cher, or Meryl Streep, though she wasn’t then the monument she has become), the tactic seems to have worked. Personal note: I worked on the shoot as an extra and appeared in a short but crucial moment. Signature Theatre tickets

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