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"Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment" - 5 new articles

  1. Macbeth at Lincoln Center Theatre
  2. The Pipes of Christmas are calling!
  3. Opera in concert: Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall
  4. Back for seconds: Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Met Opera
  5. Practical Advice from Renée
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Macbeth at Lincoln Center Theatre

I attended Blogger Night at Lincoln Center Theatre's Macbeth on Tuesday.  We were wine and dined by 'wichcraft and swagged with wooden spoons engraved with the production logo and the quote "Double, Double, Toil and Trouble."  It was a great treat to see some friends and see a cool production of my favorite playwright. 

This production of the Scottish play is the largest I've seen live.  It's directed by Jack O'Brien and boils it into a almost overflowing pot that fairly assaults the senses visually and audibly causing the skin to tremble and heart to pound.   The costumes by Catherine Zuber are a character in themselves, particularly as worn as haute couture by a lithe but fragile Lady Macbeth, played Anne-Marie Duff.   Ethan Hawke takes on Macbeth and keeps him on the edge of insanity.  He was completely weird and mad in the role.  I found him enthralling yet loathsome and almost couldn't wait for him to meet his end.

The other principals are Richard Easton as Duncan, Francesca Faridany as Hecate, Brian D'Arcy James as Banquo, Jonny Arsini as Malcom and Daniel Sunjata as Macduff.   The meddlesome witches were gamely and brilliantly gender-bended by John Glover, Malcolm Gets and Byron Jennings.  I especially wanted to re-wind Glover's recitations - he managed to make me laugh and shiver simultaneously.

To experience this production at a discount, visit Telecharge and enter the code MACBLOG for $75 Orchestra/$45 Loge tickets, a 67% savings.

To further immerse myself in all things Shakespeare, I have been watching PBS'  Shakespeare Uncovered.  This week's timely episode features Ethan Hawke as he researches Macbeth in preparation of taking on the role.   You can watch online or check your local listings.   It's a very necessary and satisfying series.  



The Pipes of Christmas are calling!

We are just weeks away from the annual Pipes of Christmas. It's the best holiday celebration in New York City, and this comes from a cynical soul who has all but given up on Christmas. It also stirs up my wee dram of Celtic blood and makes my soul soar!  I plan my entire December around the Pipes of Christmas concert.

In New York City, the concert is at Madison Avenue Presbyterian on December 14th at 2 and 7 pm. On Sunday the 15th, the concert is held at Summit, New Jersey.

Tickets are available via Smarttix online or by calling (212)868-4444.

The Pipes of Christmas is presented by Clan Currie and is in its 15th year. It's a joyous event that also raises funds to support music scholarships for educational institutions offering Celtic music programs, including the Royal Conservatorie of Scotland, the Gaelic College of Arts, and the National Piping Centre.

The traditional and spiritual concert features music and readings from the Celtic ancestry of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Features performers include James Robinson ("Braveheart"), New England fiddle champion Paul Woodiel, "Riverdance" uilleann piper and flutist Christopher Layer, Gaelic Mod champion harpist Jennifer Port of Golspie, Scotland, and the Pipe Major Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band from Redlands, CA.

The concert will also debut composer Steve Gibb's "Lullaby for a Prince," specially commissioned to mark the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge. Gibb, of Inveness, Scotland, debuted his beautiful composition "Balmoral Snow" in honor of HM Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee at last year's Pipes concert.

Opera in concert: Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall

We joined in the centennial celebrations for British composer Benjamin Britten by attending the concert of Peter Grimes at Carnegie Hall.  The stars were Anthony Dean Griffey in the title role, Susanna Phillips as Ellen Orford, the St. Louis Symphony under the direction of David Robertson, Alan Held as Captain Balstrode, Meredith Arwady as Auntie, Patrick Carfizzi as Swallow, Nancy Maultsby as Mrs. Sedley, David Pittsinger as Hobson, Thomas Cooley as Robert Boles, Liam Bonner as Ned Keene, Keith Boyer as Horace Adams, Leela Subramaniam  and Summer Hassan as the Nieces and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus under the direction of Amy Kaiser.  
I had seen full productions of Peter Grimes both at the Met Opera and the WNO.  I was thrilled to really hear this production, especially for Britten's rich orchestrations, particularly during the storm scenes.  The entire concert was thrilling.   Tony Griffey is magnificent as Peter the loner fisherman, while Susanna brought elegance to the empathetic teacher.  Both Tony and Susanna are superb actors; even without costume and set, they brought a realism to the production.  I loved the entire cast - they brought vocal and acting satisfaction to the production.
Peter Grimes is the ultimate murder mystery opera. Even after experiencing this opera live three times, I still don't know if Peter did it or not.   The story of the fisherman who is perhaps a victim of circumstances and the closed minds of his fellow villagers is heart wrenching. 
The emotion in this music is palpable and the St. Louis Orchestra showed its affinity for this masterpiece.  And the viola!  My God - I really didn't believe a viola was capable of making such a such.  I can still feel it in  my bones.


Back for seconds: Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Met Opera

Went back to Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Met thanks to Sally and the Rush Ticket program. This production, this cast, this opera made me FEEL about opera again. Viewing it twice was barely enough.

Practical Advice from Renée

Last week, Renée Fleming participated in an online answer/question series via Reddit. Besides it being downright fun and Renée got to show off some of her sense of humor, she shared some really practical advice that I'm taking - you don't have to be a singer to put this to practical use:

Hi Renee! I am a young mezzo currently applying for grad school and I’m thrilled that you are doing this AMA! How did you keep yourself motivated at the transitional points of your career? What are the most important things to remember when competitions, auditions, and applications seem endless?

ReneeFleming:  5 days ago take a piece of paper, and dream.... imagine your career if it was what you wanted, in ten years, twenty.... and then imagine the steps you will have to take to get there - are you making yourself special in terms of repertoire, in terms even more importantly, of personality when you enter an audition... and your image - is it together? it's a very competitive world right now

Read all of the questions with Renée's answers online by clicking here.

Meanwhile, just because I have to watch it over and over again, here's Renée's contribution to David Letterman's Top Ten List. It's not her first time on that stage but it's probably her most unexpected appearance.

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