Thursday, May 20, 2010

Catching up on past reviews

From the Old News Department, created in response to the Insanely Busy Spring employment campaign:

Here's my review of the Richmond Symphony's Masterworks concert with violinist Elena Urioste playing Tschaikovsky Concerto in D and Erin Freeman conducting Higdon's "Concerto for Orchestra." Metaphors don't get any weirder than the one I used about two-thirds of the way in. I still kind of like it. I wish I had mentioned Ms. Freeman's excellent introduction of the Higdon piece from the podium: simple, respectful, enlightening, succinct. It was exactly the sort of speaking one wants to hear from conductors.

On the other hand, I wish I hadn't mentioned the applause after the first movement of the Tschaikovsky, even non-judgmentally. People can clap whenever they want, as far as I'm concerned, and I don't ever want to make someone feel like they broke a secret rule and shouldn't come back to the concert hall. Ringing, beeping, clicking and flashing electronic devices... that's a different story.

Next, here's my review of the Jupiter String Quartet's performance in the Mary Anne Rennolds Chamber series. Clearly the Bartok Quartet No. 4 was my favorite. Dvorak, though... Dvorak is like the band R.E.M. They're indispensable contributors to their genres. I like--love-- their music. Yet if I were asked to name the one really outstanding piece by either, I'd stammer. Jupiter put the "I Can" in the "American," for sure.

More Dvorak in this review of the first concert in the Richmond Music Festival. You can't tell from the online version that the performance was at the First Unitarian Church. The other concerts, unfortunately, were on weeknights and I just couldn't make it out to them.

I'm also glad to have attended many things I didn't review, including "Othello" and "Elizabeth Rex" from Richmond Shakespeare, as well as their staged reading of "Merchant of Venice." This was far more staged than the last one I saw, and thinking back on it now, two months later, I can scarcely see in my mind's eye the scripts the actors held.

I was the project manager for Richmond Shakespeare's Bardathon, which involved 74 high school students from 11 different schools doing "Twelfth Night." After rehearsing one or more scenes ahead of time at their own schools, they all came together to put on the play. Some scenes were set on a Caribbean island, some in a vaguely Transylvanian setting; one was set in the '80s, another in a proto-Victorian period. Totally charming.

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