All stories by Mark Swed on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New York Philharmonic sticks with American classics at Santa Barbara Bowl by Mark Swed

Unlike the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony, which have outdoor summer homes, the New York Philharmonic wanders when the weather gets hot. In …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:51PM
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

San Francisco Opera looks backward with the World War II-set 'Two Women' by Mark Swed

On a day in which this city ecstatically celebrated the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, "Two Women," you might think, could mean only one thing Sunday afternoon.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:06PM
Monday, June 22, 2015

Work-in-progress 'LSD: The Opera' is powerful musical theater by Mark Swed

On April 19, 1943, a Swiss chemist in Basel treated himself to a small sample of a fungi-based substance, LSD-25, and rode his bicycle home, taking the first acid trip. A month earlier, a on…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 06:53PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

S.F. Opera makes an epic effort with 'Les Troyens' by Mark Swed

Berlioz' "Les Troyens" -- a five-hour epic opera after Virgil's "Aeneid" with touches of Homer, Shakespeare and music like none ever written before for the lyric stage -- is the grandest Fre…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:21AM
Sunday, June 7, 2015

After 32 years, 'Available Light' brighter than ever by Mark Swed

The idea of reviving a 32-year-old collaboration between composer John Adams, choreographer Lucinda Childs and architect Frank Gehry that had been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 11:12PM
Monday, May 25, 2015

Opera review: 'Anna Nicole' premieres in London's Royal Opera House by Mark Swed

Could “Anna” come home to America? I would like to think that with the example of John Adams and Peter Sellars, Americans might object to the opera's lack of a woman’s poin…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:58PM
Monday, May 4, 2015

A protean John Zorn musical marathon at LACMA and UCLA by Mark Swed

John Zorn is a defiant, protean musician, inescapable on the American scene everywhere it would seem except Los Angeles. But after a 25-year absence, he was back this weekend to proteate.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:00AM
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monteverdi's 'L'Orfeo,' the first modern opera, has lessons for digital age by Mark Swed

The myth that opera was born of a miracle dies hard. Musicologists no longer insist that what has proved to be a uniquely innovative art form for four centuries was the exclusive product of …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:45AM
Friday, April 24, 2015

Lincoln Center artistic director Jane Moss conducts surprising successes by Mark Swed

From the day it opened, Lincoln Center, one of the world's grandest arts complexes, has struggled to get it right. That first night in 1962 in Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall and so…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 01:00PM
Monday, April 6, 2015

Claire Chase creates theater of the lung in enthralling flute recital by Mark Swed

Claire Chase, a flutist and MacArthur "genius," on Saturday afternoon did what only a brilliant flutist and MacArthur "genius" could do: She turned UCLA's Schoenberg Hall into a giant lung.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:00AM
Monday, March 16, 2015

San Diego Opera seizes the hour with prophetic 'Nixon in China' by Mark Swed

"We live in unsettled times," the president sings at the beginning of John Adams' opera "Nixon in China." He has just arrived in Peking (now Beijing) for his 1972 meeting with Chairman Mao, …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:15AM
Sunday, March 1, 2015

Singing best part of L.A. Opera's slapsticky 'Barber of Seville' by Mark Swed

I have not seen so happy an audience at Los Angeles Opera this season as the crowd in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday night. The company revived its slapstick 2009 production of Ro…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:09PM
Sunday, February 22, 2015

Exploratory 'First Take' presents six operas in progress by Mark Swed

Opera as an art form about investigation might seem a radical idea in a modern world where so much about contemporary arts and entertainment is defined by conventional narrative. But such wa…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:40PM
Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cinematic techniques at the Met mingle light and dark operas by Mark Swed

In Tchaikovsky's last opera, "Iolanta," a blind princess who knows nothing of sight learns to embrace threatening light. In Bartók's early opera, "Bluebeard's Castle," a young bride seeking…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:45PM
Sunday, January 25, 2015

Long Beach Opera puts its own spin on 'Thérèse Raquin' by Mark Swed

Tobias Picker, whose "Thérèse Raquin" was revived by Long Beach Opera on Saturday night at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, is a New Yorker with a melodramatic style that seems to su…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:40PM
Monday, October 27, 2014

L.A. Opera goes cutting edge in double bill of Purcell, Bartók by Mark Swed

Four cautious years after staging Achim Freyer's cutting-edge but coffer-draining "Ring" cycle, Los Angeles Opera has once more sharpened its edge, and dangerously so. On Saturday night, it …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:30AM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' is a compassionate feat by Mark Swed

The Metropolitan Opera had a mess on its hands.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 11:15PM
Monday, September 15, 2014

L.A. Opera opens season with flat, clumsy 'La Traviata' by Mark Swed

Los Angeles Opera is almost back.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:30AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dudamel coaxes a sense of urgency from two of opera's staples by Mark Swed

Cav and Pag. Coming to the Hollywood Bowl as they did Sunday night, these might have sounded like the names of a pair of sitcom slackers. And there they were, generating laughs from a good-s…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 02:25AM
Friday, July 25, 2014

REDCAT opens new work festival with a theme of displacement by Mark Swed

Wilfried Souly, Rosanna Gamson and O-Lan Jones' Overtone Industries launch the 2014 New Original Works Festival with dance and musical theater that evoke a sense of dislocation.Wilfried Soul…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:03PM
Thursday, June 19, 2014

'Difficulty of Crossing a Field' is back by Mark Swed

Long Beach Opera’s most memorable production of the past three years was David Lang’s “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.” It is about little more than a plantation owner in 1854 wa…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:08PM
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

'Klinghoffer' from a St. Louis perspective by Mark Swed

I don’t know to what extent this city practices religious tolerance. But the two noble and awe-inspiring architectural landmarks in the tony, leafy, popular Central West End are the beauti…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 03:14PM
Thursday, June 12, 2014

'Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore' memorializes modern dance's origins by Mark Swed

The fact that modern dance was born in Los Angeles is well known, and it is not. Dance texts are not uncertain on the subject. In 1915, the pioneer Ruth St. Denis -- who took inspiration fro…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:11PM
Thursday, May 15, 2014

Intriguing parallels between L.A. Opera's Thais and Blanche DuBois by Mark Swed

Thaïs, the sexiest woman in Alexandria during the Byzantine era, and Blanche DuBois, the steamy Southern belle slipping past her prime in Tennessee Williams’ “Streetcar Named Desire,”…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 04:19PM
Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Handel dances in Mark Morris' 'Acis and Galatea' by Mark Swed

Movement mimics activity in the 'Acis and Galatea' score as the love story of a shepherd and a nymph is made into a lively, unpredictable hybrid of opera and dance. BERKELEY — Acis, a …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Frederica von Stade is regal in 'A Coffin in Egypt' by Mark Swed

Frederica von Stade compellingly stars as a wealthy and remorseful Texas widow in Ricky Ian Gordon's opera 'A Coffin in Egypt' at the Wallis in Beverly Hills.As an art form with a specialty …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:00AM
Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Pavement's' sincerity outshines the cheeky 'Rocco' in dance by Mark Swed

Critic's Notebook: Is irony getting old? It may feel that way in a look at two dances that deal with brotherly ties: 'Rocco' at REDCAT and 'Pavement' at UCSB.Bar business wasn't so hot at RE…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Critic's Pick: 'The Suit' and Schubert by Mark Swed

Death in Peter Brook’s elusive, essential production of “The Suit,” which closes this weekend at UCLA, is not losing your balance. Falling and picking yourself up again mea…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 02:49PM
Friday, March 21, 2014

A stirring Requiem for San Diego Opera's senseless, premature death by Mark Swed

Critic's Notebook: The performance of Verdi's Requiem ahead of San Diego Opera's closing is a rousing rebuke to that disturbing decision.SAN DIEGO — On the first page of the program bo…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 06:35PM
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: Long Beach Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' illuminates world by Mark Swed

John Adams' controversial 'Death of Klinghoffer' gets a spirited Southern California premiere by Long Beach Opera.Long Beach Opera is the latest company with bragging rights to John Adams' "…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:15AM

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