Old Hats, SF

To say something is “old hat” is to say that it is passé, out of style, yesterday’s news. And, indeed, clowning and mime have seen a gradual decline in popularity since the glory days of Charlie Chaplin, Emmett Kelly and Marcel Marceau. But some old hats have retained their shape  ...

Miss Marple (Season 7), PBS

Twinkly-eyed Julia McKenzie ("Cranford") is back as Miss Marple in three new productions of well-acted, tightly written, complex and mysterious cases — "A Caribbean Mystery" and "Greenshaw’s Folly" (Sept. 21 at 8 and 9:30 p.m. PT/ET respectively) and "Endless Night" (Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. PT/ET). Jane Marple, St.  ...

La Traviata, LA Opera

The question: To be or not to be faithful to the original setting of an opera is known to evoke passions as intense as those expressed by the originalists fighting with the rest of us who think the Constitution should be a living document. OK, so maybe the numbers at  ...

Susannah, SF Opera

“Ain’t it a pretty night,” sings the soprano and, whenever “Susannah” is in town, the night is more than pretty. It’s gorgeous. Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 work, written when he was only 27, may be the quintessential American opera (all due respect to “Moby Dick,” “Street Scene” and a  ...

Norma, SF Opera

Bel canto means “beautiful singing” and that’s what you get in San Francisco Opera’s new production of Bellini’s “Norma.” With the fantastic American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role, once utterly owned by the likes of Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, it is a treat for the ear,  ...

Advanced Style

      It's Fashion Week in New York--when isn't it?--and the pages of the New York Times feature the new styles daily. And, of course, they're all modeled by women barely out of their teens. I'm hardly alone in my annoyance at the fact that  ...

The Whaleship Essex

  Tales of the whale—the commercial treasure and leviathan of the sea—and the sailors who set out in wooden ships to hunt them, are endlessly fascinating. Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” stands as one of the great adventure stories of world literature. A story that inspired Melville is being staged now  ...