Duly Noted

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Met hits the spin cycle

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM

A scene from Robert Lepage’s production of “Das Rheingold. All the operas in Wagners Ring Cycle will be rebroadcast to theaters this May.
  • Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
  • A scene from Robert Lepage’s production of “Das Rheingold." All the operas in Wagner's "Ring Cycle" will be rebroadcast to movie theaters worldwide this May.
The Metropolitan Opera, having completed productions of the four operas of Wagner's Ring Cycle over the past two years, has now entered what we'll call "the spin cycle", presenting all the operas in quick succession so viewers can experience them all in a brief period. Movie-goers will also have the chance to see the same as the Met rebroadcasts its productions of Wagner operas from the past two seasons of Live in HD performances.

Starting Monday, May 7, The Met will present worldwide movie theater screenings of Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, along with Wagner’s Dream, a new documentary chronicling the creation of the new staging. The doc includes footage relating to the creation and implementation of the costly and controversial "machine," the high-tech piece of stagecraft for the new productions, so enormous that the Met stage—already one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the world—had to be reinforced underneath with three 65 foot steel girders just to accommodate the machine's 45 tons.

The series, which is a worldwide first, will begin May 7 with a screening of the documentary, directed by filmmaker Susan Froemke, and continue on May 9 with Das Rheingold, the first opera in the cycle. To order tickets or get more information on screening times and locations, please visit The Met.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rising star Angela Meade takes charge in Verdi's 'Ernani'

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Soprano Angela Meade as Elvira in the Mets Ernani
  • Soprano Angela Meade as Elvira in the Met's "Ernani"
Verdi's Ernani is famous for requiring four equally extraordinary singers; one weak spot and the whole thing collapses. The Live in HD broadcast to area theaters, taking place this Sat., Feb. 25, at 1 p.m., has an exceptional cast led by a soprano who has only recently come to national prominence.

Angela Meade's victory in the Met's National Council Auditions was chronicled in the 2008 documentary film The Audition, and she subsequently became a Met star when she took over the role of Elvira in Ernani after the lead soprano fell unexpectedly ill. She reprises the role in Saturday's broadcast. The Associated Press described her appearance as "among the top moments of the Met season.” And the New York Times agreed: "Ms. Meade showed what this uncommonly gifted rising artist is capable of … her voice is plush and penetrating, though the power comes effortlessly from the body and richness of her sound." Saturday's performance marks Meade's first Live in HD appearance, and it comes just four years after her professional debut.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Epic Ring Cycle broadcast comes to a close with Götterdämmerung

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Every journey must come to an end (promise!), and so it is with the broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's Ring Cycle. For those of us who have been following the live broadcasts from the beginning, this particular journey started way back in the fall of 2010 with the broadcast of Das Rheingold. We've watched about 15 hours of Wagnerian hijinks since then, and now we have just six more hours to go. It's all zipped by in a flash (if a flash could be said to last 21 hours and have orchestration by Wagner and a libretto in High German).

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Friday, November 18, 2011

From Russia With Décolletage

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Moscow's Bolshoi Theater recently underwent a huge makeover. The six-year, $700 million process—marked by a host of delays, scandals, and firings—reversed the changes to the 1856 building made by the Soviets. Hammers and sickles were replaced by the imperial eagle, tapestries were rewoven, crystal pendants in the two-ton chandelier were restored, and the interior was covered in gold leaf, nearly 11 pounds of it. A central goal of the restoration was to bring back the acoustic richness of the main hall, which was compromised when a concrete floor was installed during the Soviet era. Bolshoi means grand in Russian, and the theater itself has always been a symbol of national pride, akin to Americans' pride in the Statue of Liberty. A New York Times dance critic who attended opening night of the newly-restored Bolshoi described the occasion as “resplendent with sable and décolletage and claret-colored damask...a blitzkrieg of crimson and gold leaf.”

American audiences will have the chance to glimpse the Bolshoi's facelift in all its glory when Tchaikovsky's “The Sleeping Beauty” is broadcast live to theaters this weekend. It's also a great opportunity to check out the moves of dancer David Hallberg on the Bolshoi stage: Hallberg is dancing his first season with the company as the only American dancer in history to be asked to join the Bolshoi as a principal dancer. The performance will be broadcast live Sunday, November 20, at 10 am and again at 1:30 pm with a special additional encore screening on Tuesday, November 22, at 6:30 pm (all local times). Atlanta area theaters screening the broadcast include Merchant's Walk, Hollywood 24 at North I-85, AMC Southlake Pavilion 24, North Point 8, and AMC Discover Mills 18. For more information or to purchase tickets visit Fathom.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Tolstoy Farm

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Philip Glass 1979 opera dramatizes events in the early life of Mahatma Gandhi as he developed his philosophy of passive resistance. The Met will broadcast a new production of the work to Atlanta area theaters this Saturday, November 19.
  • Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
  • Philip Glass' 1979 opera "Satyagraha" dramatizes events in the early political life of Mahatma Gandhi. The Met will broadcast a new production of the work to Atlanta area theaters this Saturday, November 19.
Mahatma Gandhi's use of passive resistance began not in India, but in South Africa. It was in South Africa where Gandhi spent twenty years practicing law that he first coined the term satyagraha to signify his theory and practice of non-violent resistance. The commune Tolstoy Farm outside of Transvaal, South Africa, became the headquarters for his organized movement against laws which discriminated against Indians, and he began to conceive of his own life as a series of experiments to forge the use of satyagraha.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tyler Perry fans REALLY hate Kim Kardashian

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Kim for a Day
  • Photoillustration by Creative Loafing Photoshop Experts
  • Kim for a Day
Turns out Atlanta entertainment mogul Tyler Perry can do at least some wrong in the eyes of his fans. TP's "online family" is ALL CAPS PISSED that he cast bootylicious divorcee Kim Kardashian in a supporting role for his upcoming flick The Marriage Counselor (now filming in Atlanta!). The fans don't think KimK aligns with Perry's good Christian values and have taken to chastising him just like Jesus would:


Nisie: "TYLER, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE I BEG OF YOU TAKE THAT NASTY H* WITH ABSOLUTELY NO ACTING TALENT OUT OF YOUR NEW MOVIE...AND YOU KNOW WHO IT IS, THE ONE WITH THE FAKE EVERYTHING, THE W**** OF THE CENTURY KIM KARDASHIAN...she is talentless...and fake and nobody likes her...and I for one cannot believe you would cast this taltentless w**** in anything much less a movie call The Marriage Counselor...HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND??????"

Some are even requesting to be removed from his popular newsletter:

Rachell: "Tyler this personal I have nothing against you you are a very talent individual and thanks for reading my comments, but your not the kinda man I thought it has been nice but you can remove me from your mailing list thank you , stay blessed and again thank you bye."

Hey guys, Kim's a person too. She has real problems too, like being short and Psoriasis even if she is terrible at acting and marriage and being tall. Plus, the real Kim is much easier on the eyes than Tyler Perry dressed in drag like Kim. Yeesh.

  • This photo illustration also by really good designers at CL

[HuffPo, Perez Hilton]

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Small town boy macht gut

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Understudy Jay Hunter Morris unexpectedly had to step into the lead role of the sixhour Siegfried. His triumphant performance will be broadcast to movie theaters this Saturday.
  • Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
  • Understudy Jay Hunter Morris unexpectedly had to step into the lead role of the marathon "Siegfried." His triumphant performance will be broadcast to movie theaters this Saturday as part of the Met's Live in HD series.
There's nothing opera fans hate more than when a star cancels a performance. But there's nothing they love more than when a modest, unassuming understudy steps into the role and triumphs. The Met saw both last week with its new production of Wagner's Siegfried, which opened on Thursday, October 27.

“Understudy Jay Hunter Morris Soars as 'Siegfried' in Met's Ring Cycle” blared the headline in The New York Post on Friday after tenor Gary Lehman called in sick a few days before opening night and understudy Morris stepped into the role at the last minute.

Morris isn't completely unknown to Met-goers: he's sung several roles on that stage, having made his debut there in 2007. But Siegfried is his very first starring role at the Met, and everyone's buzzing about his unexpectedly masterful performance in the marathon six-hour opera. (His star-power doesn't come as a complete surprise to many Atlantans, however: Morris sang memorably in several Atlanta Opera productions, as Canio in Pagliacci in 2006 and as Erik in The Flying Dutchman in 2009).

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Emory's "Dance for Reel" screens dance-film shorts

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 8:02 AM

An image from Pierre Coilibeufs Pavillon Noir, one of the works on the program of Emorys Dance for Reel, an annual evening of short dance films.
  • An image from Pierre Coilibeuf's "Pavillon Noir," one of the works on the program of Emory's "Dance for Reel," an annual evening of short dance films.
Emory's annual program of short dance films Dance for Reel is co-curated this year by Atlanta choreographer Blake Beckham and Dance Truck founder Malina Rodriguez. Beckham and Rodriguez say that the films were selected based on connections to the Atlanta dance community. Kyle Abraham, a recent artist in residence at Emory, appears in “Quarantine,” a film by Gabri Christa. Angelin Preljocaj's Provence-based company wowed the Atlanta audience this time last year at the Rialto, so the program includes “Pavillon Noir” by French director Pierre Coilibeuf which explores the company's home in Aix-en-Provence. New York choreographer Aszure Barton made her Atlanta premiere at The Ferst Center a few weeks agoe, and her work is featured in “Afternoon of the Chimeras,” a piece by Daniel Conrad. The evening will include a work by Emory alumna Natalie Metzger, a choreographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Metzger’s “For Water” is a collaboration between dancers from Indonesia and America, and is inspired by the importance of water to the islands of Indonesia and to water-starved California.

"Dance for Reel" takes place on Tuesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Oxford Road Presentation Room, 1390 Oxford Road, on Emory’s campus. The program is free and open to the public.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

The coloratura heard round the world

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Anna Netrebko sings the lead role in Donizettis Anna Bolena, the first of the Mets broadcasts for the 2011-2012 season.
  • Ken Howard/Met Opera
  • Anna Netrebko sings the lead role in Donizetti's "Anna Bolena," the first of the Met's broadcasts for the 2011-2012 season.
This season, when soprano Natalie Dessay declares herself "Sempre Libera" in front of a blank wall that Samuel Beckett might have found too bleak for his tastes, opera fans in Russia, Israel, China, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Slovenia, the U.S. Virgin Islands (and of course, Atlanta) will be able to watch it live. The Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD broadcasts start up again this weekend on Saturday, October 15. This year there'll be more people than ever watching because the program has expanded its worldwide distribution to 1,600 theaters in 54 countries. Last year about 800,000 people visited the Met in New York to see a show, but a staggering 2.6 million bought tickets for the HD broadcasts.

The season kicks off with Anna Netrebko taking on the punishing lead role in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Wagner's Ring Cycle continues, there's some Philip Glass and Handel, and a Faust and a Manon, so it should be a fascinating and varied season, in spite of the Met general manager Peter Gelb's continued quest to strike all the popular, lush, and expertly-executed Zeffirelli sets and replace them with blank walls, chain-link fences, and piles of bricks. (We still remember The New York Times review of last year's new Traviata, in which the writer remarked—without irony—that the production received "surprisingly little booing.”)

And best wishes to Maestro James Levine for a speedy recovery: His presence and expertise at the podium will certainly be missed during his temporary absence by those of us attending the broadcasts, but perhaps most of all during this fall's Siegfried: Those who attended last year's productions of Rheingold and Walküre assumed it would be a journey we'd complete with Levine.

Anyway, Creative Loafing will be covering it all again this year, so we hope you'll join us on the journey. Use the comment sections to make observations you'd like to share or to shriek at us when we get something wrong. That's what it's there for. Check out the broadcasts at local theaters Perimeter Pointe, Buckhead Fork and Screen, and Chamblee Hollywood 24. For a complete schedule and list of theaters, visit the Met.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

DVD Review: Körper/S/NoBody

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 10:46 AM

In 1999, the German choreographer Sasha Waltz began a three-part examination of the human body, and unfortunately the diagnosis we got was not so good. Körper (German for “bodies”) took a look at the absurdity, persistence, and bleak realities of human physicality. The piece was produced at her company's then-new home: the vast, centrally-located, Bauhaus-style theater Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. It was quickly followed by two other pieces—S (2000) and noBody (2002)—forming a trilogy. Now all three works have been produced as a boxed DVD set (Körper and noBody were both previously broadcast on television and available on DVD, but S has not been seen as a recorded work before).

One of the trilogy's most stunning and memorable images (there are many) is of the entire company crammed into a shallow display case at the opening of the first piece Körper. It's somewhat emblematic of the trilogy as a whole: frightening, uncomfortable, pessimistic, with connotations of the human body's history of being measured, weighed, classified. There are flashes of humor and absurdity in Waltz's trilogy, but it's this disturbing and troubling tone which seems most persistent and memorable. Later we see orderlies lifting and hauling their human subjects by grabbing fistfuls of loose skin. Dancers rattle off the current market prices of organs and surgical procedures, taping price tags to parts of their bodies. Dancers are squeezed and water dribbles out of their orifices. This is not the body beautiful: far from it, it's the body with all its liquids, solids, entrails. Bodies are shown in all their weird permutations, abilities, limitations, their vulnerability to violence, their fragility but also their disturbing tenaciousness. We do see the body's capacity for emotion, but mostly in the form of panic, fear, loss, grief, confusion.

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