Something Rotten (National Tour)

Sometimes a pot shot is just too easy. Sometimes it lands right on the bull’s eye. “Something Rotten,” the title of the new musical at the Ahmanson, offers a quiver full of justifications for a critic to lay into it.  ...

Nabucco

Verdi’s “Nabucco” could be conceptualized as the protest opera for all seasons. It premiered in 1842, when Giuseppe Verdi was 28 years old, and Italy was a loose confederation of city states dominated by foreign powers, especially Austria in the  ...

The Pearl Fishers (Les Pecheurs de Perles)

Why, you may ask yourself, have I not heard this opera before? Good question. George Bizet, the composer, is practically a household word, even though his only product you may be able bring to mind is “Carmen,” this season’s LA  ...

Head of Passes

What on earth does “Head of Passes” mean? Let us clear that up quickly. It is the mouth of the Mississippi River, a desolate wetland where the river breaks into three branches as it empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  ...

The Red Shoes

I have never felt that ballet was a very successful medium for telling a story. To convey emotion? It works. For the set up of a situation? Sure. But details that push the story forward become exaggerated pantomime. Therefore, I  ...

Big Night

Say: Paul Rudnick. What do you think of? Most likely The New Yorker column, “Shouts and Murmurs,” to which he is a frequent contributor. So your expectation is lots of toss-off, funny one liners, right? Well, “Big Night” has many  ...

Carmen

The battle lines are drawn. On the one side there are the opera snobs who label “Carmen” as that “chestnut.” On the other, there are the thousands who fill halls when “Carmen” plays. The beautiful and melodic score, and the  ...

Archduke

“Bang. You’re dead.” It is June 28, 1914; Gavrilo Princip shoots the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. World War I is off to a flying start. Or that is the impression one gets from grammar school textbooks. Of course history  ...

Tosca, LAOpera

“Tosca” … it is Puccini … what’s not to like? True, and it is probably his best opera. But LAOpera’s current production is a “Tosca” to love, not simply like. With glorious voices that are every bit a match for  ...