The Met’s Wagner Week – Continued – March 28 and 29

Arguably this is Wagner’s cheeriest opera – if not his shortest! – and this particular production is a musical and visual delight, full of tuneful songs and lighthearted hijinks. Designed by Otto Schenk with charming traditional sets, it is primarily the touching story of Hans Sachs, a cobbler-poet in 16th century Nürnberg with a heart of gold. Hans is a widower, a dedicated member of the guild of mastersingers and the community’s most trusted inhabitant.

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Met Opera Nightly Free Streaming — Wagner’s Ring

The Met’s second week of Free Nightly Opera Streaming features the entire 2010-11 Ring Cycle on Tuesday through Friday (3/24-27). This uniquely stunning Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen) was designed by Robert Lepage and features “the Machine” – a sometimes temperamental, but always spectacular 45-ton behemoth of a set constructed of articulated steel planks that can be elevated, rotated and twisted into gigantic sculptural elements. Incredibly vivid videos projected onto the Machine’s always changing surfaces create a brilliantly animated backdrop and seamlessly move us from the depths of the Rhine, to Brunhilda’s fiery mountain prison, to Siegfried’s enchanted forest and finally to the unraveling of the fabric of time and the downfall of the Gods.

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Movies for Shut-ins Paddy Chayefsky’s The Hospital

Playwright Paddy Chayefsky was a complex man. Born in New York City in 1923, he served in World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart medal after he was wounded by a land mine near Aachen, Germany. Early on he fell in love with television as a medium. He wrote one of his most famous plays, Marty, specifically for TV. His male leads were vulnerable just like him, tortured just like him, and insecure just like him.

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What The Great 1850s New York Horse Manure Problem Can Teach Us About The Great 2020 Coronavirus Problem.

This new virus sprang on us with lightning speed and devastating virulence. We learned about it despite the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to conceal it. Remember Dr. Li Wenliang, the 34-year-old doctor who warned his colleagues to suit up because this thing is dangerous. He was arrested and jailed for spreading rumors and disrupting the peace (or whatever they call it), both felonies. He died at age 34 in a Wuhan hospital. That’s communism. Kill people or pay any other price. Keep the narrative of happiness and tranquility and economic progress going because to do otherwise is to threaten their hold on power. Mercifully, with the WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) breathing down their necks we are giving the Chinese Communist Party no choice but to give us good, valid data…finally.

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Backstage Review: ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ By Molière at Reno Little Theater

Molière’s audience was the French aristocracy and the king himself, Louis XIV, The Sun King. Perhaps a more accurate translation of the title would be The Hypochondriac. This would work better for Molière as he unmercifully ridicules the practice of medicine and the fools who pay for it.

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The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series – Wagner’s THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, March 14 at 9:55 am

Richard Wagner’s first great operatic masterpiece, Der Fliegende Holländer, is the Met’s HD offering for March. Director François Girard has attempted to resolve some of the work’s more anachronistic aspects by telling the story from the point of view of its heroine, Senta. Be that as it may, the story of a young woman who is so obsessed with a mysterious old portrait that she eventually destroys herself in order to become a part of its haunted world will probably remain a bit of a stretch for many modern opera goers. Spectacular, violently stormy video projections – especially during the (long!) overture – contribute some modernizing magic as well, but in the end this particular Met production gives us a sadly static, darkly depressing reading of some of Wagner’s most glorious music.

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Backstage Review: ‘Noises Off’ at At Good Luck Macbeth

To understand Noises Off it helps to know Murphy’s Law and O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s Law aka O’Toole’s Corollary. Murphy’s Law says if anything can go wrong, it will. O’Toole’s Corollary says Murphy was an optimist. And if the purpose of theater is to hold a mirror up to ourselves so we can see clearly who and what we are then Noises Off tells us we are all doomed.

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