insightful in-depth reviews

Gypsy: musical shows signs of aging

Gypsy. Book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Terrence J. Nolen directed at the Arden Theatre, May-June 2017.
 

Gypsy is a Broadway classic, and Mary Martello is a logical choice for the lead role. In this Arden Theatre production, the veteran performer captured the core of a showbiz pro who knows theater from the bottom up. Martello was excellent from the start when she powerfully belted “Some People,” where she demonstrated joy that she was going to make the world notice her.

Martello’s commanding performance culminated in the shattering breakdown (“…

Golden Cockerel (Coq d'Or) revived

Golden Cockerel (Coq d’Or) by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. New Opera NYC at the Loreto Theater, Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, New York, May 2017.
 

Golden Cockerel (Coq d’Or) is a musical fantasy, composed by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1907 with splashy orchestral colors reminiscent of his Scheherazade. The subject matter surprised me with its contemporary relevance, adding depth that might escape the casual audience member.

Rimsky-Korsakov and his librettist, Vladimir Belsky, had a political agenda, and they based the opera on a poem by an earlier Russian who also was politically motivated.

Alexander …

Mahler's Third, his longest and possibly best symphony

Mahler: Symphony No. 3. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leading the Philadelphia Orchestra, May 2017.
 

Although not frequently performed, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 is the piece which best exemplifies his life and career. Yannick Nézet-Séguin led a magnificent performance of it during the closing week of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2016-17 season.

His Symphony No. 3 contains Mahler’s greatest balance between anguish and love and its finale is optimistic. This is in contrast to the gloom of Mahler’s later works when he confronted his own failing health, the death of his young daughter, …

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The Cultural Critic is where thoughtful readers turn for in-depth reviews of artistic events and travel experiences. Our aim is to cover a wide range throughout every category. From theater to book critiques, travel to opera experiences, music to art analysis, The Cultural Critic is your destination for the most comprehensive reviews.

We are proud to have cultural historian Steve Cohen as our lead critic. A broadcaster, columnist and travel writer, he has degrees in music, theater and communications and has written for numerous international publications and two series which he wrote and produced won the national Armstrong Award for excellence in FM broadcasting.

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