For some reason we doubt that's an emergency call.
Performing arts don’t only demand prodigious skill, but a willingness to expose emotions, even if the exposure only occurs through an interpretation of someone else’s work. This is why performing artists should be commended—not just for developing ability, but for risking emotional vulnerability in front of a subjective audience. The interactions of performer with audience are very interesting, but almost commensurate in complexity is the behavioral response of an audience during a performance.
As depicted by a scene in the movie Amelie, viewing the rapt faces of an audience in a movie theater can be more entertaining than the film itself. Not only can audience behavior be fascinating, but it can also be excruciatingly and infuriatingly distracting from the performance itself! Fury, rather than fascination, was what audience behavior provoked in me during the Regina Opera’s performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and at the very least, massive irritation. The Regina Opera puts on performances in a venue identical in appearance to an elementary school auditorium, and they are practically an antithesis to the very behavior oriented Met, or City Opera. Such a relaxed environment, in which latecomers are welcomed in, rather than glared at, and in which bottles of Scotch are raffled off during intermission, is conducive to loosening the etiquette of an audience. However, the misfortune of being a friendly and relaxed opera company is that to some people it gives the impression that it’s acceptable to do whatever the hell you want during a performance.
Oh, yes. They did. [click to continue….]
Often, when wandering through the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a viewer must wonder why the the museum was in a spiral shape. Surely, this shape might limit the art that could be displayed. What exactly was Frank Lloyd Wright‘s vision of the ideal occupants for his structure? Well, the performance of Henry Brant’s “Orbits: A Spatial Symphonic Ritual,” performed by eighty trombonists, an organist (William Trafka) and an unearthly soprano (Phyllis Bruce), certainly answered the questions posed by bemused museum goers (those sick of climbing a spiral and being uncertain as to what floor they are on). Henry Brant’s piece seemed to have been meant solely for performance in a gigantic spiral.
The Guggenheim was perfect for a concert of eighty trombones, apt to accommodate startled listeners, craning their necks as they stared at the impending doom above them. (The inevitable neck cramps were worth it.) [click to continue….]
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, headed by the charismatically delicious Arturo O’Farrill, definitely deserve their recent Grammy win, as shown by their excellent performance, Musica Nueva II: Latin Jazz Across the Americas. As a whole, the group manages to blend dignity and hilarity as effortlessly as they combine Cuban rhythms with a jazzy swing.
The program of Musica Nueva II: Latin Jazz Across the Americas featured mostly composers other than Arturo or his famed father Chico. O’Farrill chose to feature David Bixler, a composer, along with fiddler and wife Heather Bixler, in appreciation of Irish music, since as he pointed out, “My last name is O’Farrill”. [click to continue….]
Excellence in Education, presented in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, was arranged in order of least “educated” ensemble to the most. It was clear that most of the audience members were parents or friends of the performers, but considering that, the auditorium was surprisingly full. After each successive act, the concert hall cleared out somewhat, since parents were not interested in performances other than that of their children. [click to continue….]
Illyria, a musical rendition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, was musically very modernized, with songs that would be appropriate in any Broadway play. Fortunately however, Peter Mills, the writer, and the cast managed to retain a good portion of Shakespearean wit, despite the absence of most actual Shakespeare lines. For example, they had one character, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, played by Ryan Dietz, who kept mixing up words (describing himself as “the most illegible bachelor in Illyria”, a motif present in many of Shakespeare’s plays.
The Hudson Guild Theatre, which was small, gave the room an intimate feeling, as the stage was nearly on the same level as the audience. The set, which was a large staircase that came down on both sides, set the tone for the actors, who popped in and out with use of the stairs, sometimes gracefully and sometimes clumsily. The instrumental accompaniment, made up of piano, two reeds, a violin, a cello, a bass, and percussion, was located behind the stairs, and partially obscured to everyone in the audience. [click to continue….]