The Met Streams Offenbach’s ‘Les Contes d’Hoffmann’

Tuesday, August 4
Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann ~ 2 HRS 51 MIN
Starring Erin Morley, Hibla Gerzmava, Kate Lindsey, Christine Rice, Vittorio Grigolo, and Thomas
Hampson, conducted by Yves Abel. From January 31, 2015.
Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo
takes on the title role in
Offenbach’s fantastical opera,
giving a very favorably reviewed
performance as the tortured poet
who is decidedly unlucky in love.
He is joined by a trio of excellent
leading ladies: Erin Morley sings
the high flying coloratura
demanded of the mechanical
doll Olympia, Hibla Gerzmava is
the fragile Antonia, and
Christine Rice sings Giulietta,
the Venetian courtesan. Bartlett
Sher’s production with sets by
Michael Yeargan (described by
the New York times as “a flimsylooking
mash-up of images from
Kafka, Fellini and Magritte”) is
seen tonight in its second Live in
HD presentation. In addition to
Hoffmann and his three loves
above, this one also stars suave baritone, Thomas Hampson who plays all four sinister villains and the
marvelous Kate Lindsey (again) as Nicklausse, Hoffmann’s friend and muse. Yves Abel conducts.

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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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Backstage Review: ‘Hearts Like Fists’ at the Restless Artists Theater

Doctor X is a certifiable, industrial-strength nogoodnik making Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi look like Mary Poppins. She sees her face like a squirming bowl of worms. I have no idea what that means. Okay, let’s take it to mean that she does not see herself as a good looking gal. The love of her life (the nurse) has a face like a china plate. Maybe that means she has a face like a beautiful piece of Wedgewood china, like a creamy white cameo against a field of pale, delicate blue. Okay, that makes sense. Let’s go with that one, too.

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Backstage Review: ‘Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge’

The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future leads us through a futile attempt to redeem intensely practical Scrooge. Of course, it doesn’t work. She (the Ghost) is a hopeless underachiever. She transports us from time to time and place to place and invariably ends up somewhere other than her intended destination. But Scrooge is irredeemable. He hates Christmas. Durang divides Mrs. Cratchit into two, a nice Mrs. Cratchit married to Bob Cratchit and a nasty Mrs. Cratchit who keeps trying to kill herself by jumping off London Bridge. Scrooge, bah humbugging his way through the play, falls in love with nasty Mrs. Cratchit. Who woulda thunk? But, it seems like a perfect match.

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Saturday’s Live in HD Broadcast to Local Cinemas: Akhnaten by Phillip Glass

This rarely performed modern masterpiece is another spectacular must-see opera from the Met’s 2019-20 live in HD season. Staring one of the world’s greatest living countertenors, Anthony Roth Costanzo, in the title role and featuring J’Nai Bridges as his Queen, Nefertiti, and Dísella Lárusdóttir as his mother, Queen Tye, it will literally knock your socks off. This is the last opera in Glass’ historic “Portrait Trilogy” (the others were about Einstein and Gandhi) and is a mystical examination of events in the life of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who took the first known steps towards monotheism two centuries before Moses, and then re-named himself Akhnaten after his one God – Aten – a higher manifestation of the Sun God Ra.

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Backstage Review: ‘The Humans’ at Reno Little Theater

This play is an ensemble piece, a fast-paced tragedy and comedy that will leave you touched by the humanity of it all and laughing uproariously at its comedy. But it is different from ordinary plays. Ordinarily, a play lays some groundwork by showing us the characters and the situation. Then the playwright builds some tension and some conflict. In the denouement at the end the conflicts and tensions are resolved, and all the loose ends are tied up. The play has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

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Backstage Review: Restless Artists Theater Opens Their New Season with ‘Election Day’

That’s what the Restless Artists Theater is doing, and a tip of the hat to them for it. They have announced their 2019/20 season chock-full of new plays by young writers. These are fresh faces with fresh voices. They are the writers of our new century. When we look back at the 21st Century and ask who its great playwrights were, the names will be drawn from this group. Our playwright Josh Tobiessen could very well be one of them.

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Backstage Review: “Monessen Falls” At Good Luck Macbeth

We all go through stages in life. Shakespeare knew it. So does our author Greg Burdick. We are born, go through youth, our teen years, young adulthood, and finally maturity. Hopefully, at that time, we have learned to exercise good judgment. That good judgment comes from wisdom, but wisdom comes from bad judgment. We make mistakes on the road to maturity and wisdom. Society forgives us our feckless years because we all go through them. It is natural just as it is to forgive the errors of youth.

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