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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Music Review: Richard Goode: Richard the Great

Richard Goode: Richard the Great by Leticia Marie Sanchez Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of New York: Richard Goode, Richard the Great. Audiences at the Walt Disney Concert Hall attending his January 19 recital were bathed in the purity of Bach, the sweetness of Haydn, the pathos of Schumann, but, thankfully not in the tempest of the Los Angeles thunderstorms outside. The award-winning Mr. Goode holds the distinction of being the first American-born pianist to have recorded the complete Beethoven Sonatas. His numerous honors include: the Avery Fisher Prize, Yale University’s Sanford Medal, and a Grammy award. Goode’s thematically unified program showcased a study in contrasts. He opened the program with two pieces from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II. The haunting, melancholy Prelude and Fugue in F-Sharp minor, BWV 883, with its tripartite

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Verdi: A bold request

Verdi: A bold request by Leticia Marie Sanchez The following correspondence in the form of abridged letters between Giuseppe Verdi and one very unusual opera-goer, Prospero Bertani: Much Honoured Signor Verdi,       Reggio, May 7, 1872 On the second of this month, attracted by the sensation which your opera Aida was making, I went to Parma. Half an hour before the performance began I was already in my seat, No.120. I admired the scenery, listened with great pleasure to the excellent singers, and took pains to let nothing escape me. After the performance was over, I asked myself whether I was satisfied.  The answer was “No.” I returned to Reggio, and on the way back in the railroad carriage, I listened to the verdicts of my fellow travelers. Nearly all of them agreed that Aida was a work

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Theater Review-So Farce, So Good at the ICT

So Farce, So Good:  Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” at the International City Theater, Long Beach     by Leticia Marie Sanchez        Mark Twain may be dead, but his work can still elicit quite a brouhaha. The hilarious West Coast premiere of “Is He Dead?” directed by Shashin Desai at the ICT proves that laughter remains the best medicine.  If it were not for the Shelley Fisher Fishkin, the mirth-filled play may not have seen the light of day. Dr. Fishkin, Professor of English and Director of the American Studies of program at Stanford University, discovered Twain’s manuscript in the archives of UC Berkley’s Bancroft Library in 2002. Never produced during Twain’s lifetime, the play debuted in New York in 2007 and this month in Long Beach. Upon entering the International City Theater, one sets eyes on

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Review: Immortality Through Art

Immortality through Art  By Leticia Marie Sanchez   Live Forever Mr. Electrico to Ray Bradbury   Let baser things devise  To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name Edmund Spenser, Sonnet 75   Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.  William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18   Nestled in the hillside of Pasadena, among its beautiful views, which the Spanish dubbed Linda Vistas, exists a gem, American Legacy Fine Arts. Some of the artists represented at this gallery include Peter Adams, Béla Bácsi, Jeremy Lipking, Jove Wang, Aaron Westerberg, and Alexey Steele. American Legacy Fine Arts

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Review: A New World at the Pasadena Symphony

          A New World at the Pasadena Symphony  by  Leticia Marie Sanchez Peter Adams’ painting, The Pools Above Sturtevant Falls, graced the entrance of the Pasadena Symphony on Saturday, April 18.  Mr. Adams’ painting of the cataracts  in Santa Anita Canyon beckons the viewer to take a dip in translucent aquamarine waters. The tempting pool, with its sunlight swirl, retains an air of mystery. Is the sun rising or setting? An evanescent moment, as ephemeral as a musical note. An invitation to enter into a New World. Mr. Adams’ painting heralded the theme of Saturday Night’s concert: A New World.  The program represented a new world of styles, techniques, and cultures in the music of Darius Milhaud, Felix Mendelssohn, and Antonin Dvorák. Darius Milhaud’s Le Creation Du Monde should be called A Frenchman in Brazil because many mistakenly believed that Milhaud’s piece

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Review: Rebirth at the Pasadena Symphony

Rebirth at the Pasadena Symphony by Leticia Marie Sanchez  A few months ago, the Pasadena Symphony unfortunately reported the cancellation of several concerts due to the recession. Good news Pasadena- Spring is on the Horizon. On March 14, the Pasadena Symphony, led by the ever-vivacious Jorge Mester, performed an uplifting troika celebrating “Rebirth.” The reinvigorating and thematically unified program was composed of Spring by Vivaldi, Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland, and Spring Symphony by Robert Schumann.  Complementing the revitalizing music was the resurgence of community support on stage. Before the concert started, the Women’s Committee presented Mr. Mester with a $90,000 check to the Pasadena Symphony, a contribution that helped to make the March Rebirth and April New World concerts possible.  The revival of the Pasadena Symphony could be heard through the ebullient spring program. One of the liveliest pieces

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Review: Francis Alÿs’ Fabiola Portraits at LACMA

  The Fabulous Fabiolas At LACMA Through March 29, 2009 An overwhelming sea of red greets visitors entering the Francis Alÿs’ Fabiola exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts. The darkly colored room on the museum’s second floor houses a hushed shrine. The LACMA pilgrim entering the room is struck at first glance by the undeniable likeness between more than 300 veiled women, mostly in red, mostly in profile. Upon closer observance, however, the hundreds of Fabiolas play with the viewer, exposing their differences. Some Fabiolas stare ahead somberly. Other lips convey the hint of a smile.  One fetching Fabiola resembles a 40’s movie star. Another typifies a Plain Jane. One is etched onto velvet, while another is comprised of beans. The exhibit transports the sacredness of iconography into the profane territory of flea markets, ceramics, and beans.   Francis

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Review: LA Opera’s Carmen

Chiaroscuro in LA Opera’s Carmen Through a study in contrasts, LA Opera’s humanistic Carmen encompassed at once the passion, frailty, and psychological vulnerability of Georges Bizet’s tragedy. The unique set and color scheme, a soothing sea of pastels (as opposed to the standard bright red motif) and white walls conjured a Caribbean island, thus evoking a carefree mood. The peach palette of the set, designed by Gerardo Trotti, proved successful in providing a sharp contrast, thereby bringing the passion of Carmen to the foreground. The soft hues and blithe island atmosphere had a second positive effect: to cleverly lull the audience into a false sense of serenity so that the bloodshed at the end becomes that much more shocking. Carmen, as played by Viktoria Vizin, also proved a study in contrasts. Physically, Vizin looked every inch the part and moved

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Review- Inventiveness Reigns with Camerata Pacifica

Inventiveness reigns at Camerata Pacifica “I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” -John Cage-       Innovation proved the theme of the night at Tuesday’s concert comprised of Ian Wilson’s Heft, for Flute and Piano, Franz Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata. D. 821, and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G. Minor, Op.25. Each of these pieces embodies a pioneering attitude, uniting the program into a cohesive whole of creativity, ingenuity, and vision.  Franz Schubert wrote Arpeggione Sonata D. 821 for an unusual new invention, the Arpeggione, a cross between a cello, guitar, and viola de gamba. Although Tuesday’s performance consisted of the piece transcribed for viola and piano, Richard Yongjae O’Neill’s virtousic and subtle interpretation (one that has resulted in his recording of the piece going platinum in Korea) personified the innovation that

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During an economic downturn is Art a luxury or a necessity?

By Leticia Marie Sanchez   “When I get a little money, I buy books;  And if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”         ~ Desiderius Erasmus ~  The Los Angeles Times reports that the troubles of the Pasadena Symphony, Opera Pacific, and the Geffen Contemporary represent but a few examples of artistic collateral damage in Los Angeles. When the economy goes down, arts are the first to get slashed from any budget. People simply cannot afford the arts, that muse who sits too lofty on Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs. Or can they?        A quick observation of Pasadena’s Old Town on a recent Saturday evening reveals crowds with still-disposable incomes huddled inside the Cheesecake Factory waiting to spend their dollars on a caloric feast. Let them eat cheesecake. Lines of designer label-clad youth still line

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