The Eight-Day Week
Today kicks off the “Beyond Cage” festival, a weeks-long celebration of the legacy of one of the past century’s most outré composers. All over the city, challenging works will be performed by different ensembles up until the November 7 premiere of John Cage’s final work for orchestra at the Upper East Side Bohemian National Hall. Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Tonight brings the first presidential debate, moderated by the unflappable Jim Lehrer—but for those who have already determined whom they’re voting for, skip the partisan pandering and come gab with Oscar and Annette! The de la Rentas, along with Mercedes Bass and Mrs. Julio Mario Santo Domingo, are hosting opening night at Carnegie Hall. The Read More
End of the Rainbow, a tragic reflection with music of the last sad, declining days of the legendary Judy Garland, arrives on Broadway after breaking records in London’s West End and winning a bushel of awards for its star, a supersonically gifted dynamo named Tracie Bennett. At first glance, prancing her way into a suite at the Ritz to begin rehearsals for a five weeks of concerts at the fabled Talk of the Town, she does not sound, speak, sing or look anything like the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. I have seen drag queens do better Judys, mimicking every stage of her turbulent career. But then, despite the overbite and the hoarse voice without a shine in it, she begins to grow on you, like moss. Slowly, the nuances take you by surprise. Like Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, she begins to stake squatter’s rights on the role, not just imitating Judy, but channeling her. The book and direction of this show, by Peter Quilter and Terry Johnson, respectively, are as solid, filling and substantial as cracker crust. But by the time Tracie Bennett works her magic, captivates your imagination and captivates your soul, you know you are in the presence of someone electrifying.
Last week, Michael Bloomberg attended a press conference for the 100th episode of Gossip Girl. “I just don’t see how Blair could marry Prince Louis when she’s clearly in love with Chuck,” said the New York mayor, who apparently had nothing bigger on his plate to worry at that moment, such as the allegations of rape made against Greg Kelly, the son of his police Commissioner Ray Kelly, or the NYPD head’s own cameo in an anti-Muslim training video for NYPD recruits.
“I just wish that Nate and Vanessa had been able to work things out … but, again, I’m just a casual fan,” he added.
On Monday night in Carnegie Hall’s Stern auditorium, audience members seemed to scan the empty stage for signs of life as they anxiously awaited tonight’s performers, British tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Thomas Adès. It was already ten minutes past 8:00 p.m. and we had yet to see as much as a tuxedo coattail wave from behind the stage door. The lights dimmed briefly before springing back to full strength in what was either an attempt to settle the fidgeting audience, or the accidental slip of a techie’s elbow. We couldn’t be sure.
Eventually, the lanky Mr. Bostridge drifted across the stage, briefly smiling at the audience before taking his place in the crook of the piano. Standing well over six-feet and graced with a boyish features, Mr. Bostridge appears as a teen in the midst of an awkward growth-spurt. He cued Mr. Adès with a smile, who began the first selection, John Dowland’s Elizabethan “In Darkness Let Me Dwell,” a dirge-like piece with a celebrity following – Sting has covered it – that set a a somber tone for the remainder of the recital, which featured an abundance of melancholic Heinrich Heine poetry. Centering around themes of depression, alienation from society, and unrequited love, the composers featured in the evening’s performance ranged from the lesser-known György Kurtág, to leaders in Lieder Schumann, Schubert and Liszt.
Last night as we entered the hallowed halls of Carnegie to see Alec Baldwin and soprano Renee Fleming in a staged reading of A.R Gurney‘s Love Letters, we thought of a funny joke to explain our tardiness. “We couldn’t find the street called ‘Practice,’” we apologized as we picked up our tickets. Zing!
On Friday evening, the conductor Riccardo Muti made his biggest play yet for New York. Mr. Muti is a brilliant, intense musician, and things are always accordingly brilliant and intense when he comes to the city.
He’s got some bad blood here. After a courtship in 2000, and then again several times over the next Read More
The Eight-Day Week
Wednesday, April 6
Youth and Beauty
Ah, Karen Russell. Or, as the Swamplandia! author might render it, Karen Russell! Never has a young author provoked such envy since that little minx Freudenberger. (Is it a girl thing?) But back to Ms. Russell: The 29-year-old phenom was pegged as an under-40 author to watch on that Read More
When it comes to the world’s most oppressed peoples, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. That seems to be the thinking of Robert Thurman, cofounder and president of the cultural-preservation charity Tibet House, which is holding its annual benefit concert at Carnegie Hall tomorrow night. (Interested parties may buy tickets by appearing at Read More