Music Reviews

Classical MusicMusic ReviewsMUST SEEREVIEWSTom Williams

Salute To Vienna New Year’s Concert 2017

Salute to Vienna celebrates more than 21 years of New Year’s concerts, rounding off the holiday season with entertaining, light-hearted performances in 23 North American cities this year. More than 60,000 concert-goers will party like it’s 1899 between December 27 and January 3, when Salute to Vienna will kick off 2017 in the 81-year old tradition of Vienna’s world famous “Neujahrskonzert”

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CabaretREVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Winner…of our Discontent

In their 105the revue, the new management at The Second City has presented their six creator/performers a mixed bag of sketch comedy titles: The Winner…of our Discontent which asks if its broken, should we fix it? With post-election drama filled with rich comic possibilities, I was amazed at the lack of biting comedy in the group’s sketch bits about the election?. True there were some funny bits like the Cubs bat boy bit and the three guys watering the lawn but there were also several bits that just didn’t produce laughs.

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Music ReviewsOperaPop/Rock/FolkREVIEWSTom Williams

Tonya & Nancy The Rock Opera

This is a wildly paced and extremely loud production that tells the story of the 1990’s ice skating scandal that marred the rivalry between American Olympic ice skaters Tonya Harding ( Amanda Horvath) and Nancy Kerrigan (Courtney Mack).

The production take a tabloid approach to the story of rivalry and desperation as the quest for Olympic stardom overtakes each skater. We see the role of the mothers both played by Veronica Garza as she belts her way through the opera.

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Music ReviewsMUST SEEOperaREVIEWSTheatre Reviews

Les Troyens (The Trojans)

Many opera companies considered Hector Berlioz ‘s (1803-1869) Les Troyens epic musical drama too difficult and to expensive to produce as it contained a cast of 22 singers, a large chorus (here 94 members), with two ballets, a large orchestra and an ambitious set with several locations. Berlioz never was able to mount a complete 5-act version of his opera in his lifetime. Even today, the requirements by solo and duet vocalists, , conductors, choruses, orchestras, instrumentalists, stage directors, lighting, projection and set designers make Les Troyens simply too difficult to mount. Kudos to the creatives at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to have the determination and vision to mount Berlioz’s masterpiece. This is a rarely mounted and extremely creative opera that needs to be experienced.

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Music ReviewsOperaREVIEWSTom Williams

The Fairy Queen

Andreas Mitisek has outsmarted himself by using contemporary Vegas punk characters and staging for a baroque opera from 1692. Henry Purcell’s (1659-1695) opera is loosely based on A Midsummer’s Nightthat featured amazing sets and mythical figures. But director Andreas Mitisek has chosen to stage The Fairy Queen in Vegas as a punk cult party filled with raunchy sex and desiccant characters. The modern staging and lyrics are edgy and contradict the music.

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Lucia Di Lammermoor

But Lucia Di Lammermoor rests on the performance and vocal acumen of Lucia and Edgardo. Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova’s mad scene (one of the most famous in opera) was powerfully sung and acted by Shagimuratova. She is becoming the finest Lucia in the world! Also Polish tenor Piotr Beczala is known as thee Edgardo in the world today. Together these two propel this opera to the heavens. Add the fine coral work and the fine work from Romanian bass Adrian Sampetrean as chaplain Raimondo and this opera plays as a triumph bel canto opera

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