ARTSBEAT …. and Culture 10-16-13
OPERA: Eugene Onegin with Kwiecień and Beczała
The Metropolitan Opera opened its 2013-14 season with the acclaimed new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – a coproduction with the English National Opera. Russian soprano Anna Netrebko opened her third consecutive Met season as Tatiana, the naïve heroine from Pushkin’s classic novel. Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień portrayed the self-confident title character, in a much-admired interpretation that he has sung in many of the world’s leading opera houses, and Polish tenor Piotr Beczała reprised his acclaimed performance as Onegin’s friend-turned-rival, Lenski. Cutting straight to the heart of the work, director Deborah Warner’s staging shows how Onegin is simultaneously about two colliding Russian societies—rustic provincialism and cosmopolitan decadence—and three wasted lives. Eugene Onegin is performed again on Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, October 19 at 8:00 pm with the opening night cast. Additional performances play in November and December with different lead vocalists.
The Tale of Two Carries
New Film Version
In the third film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 supernatural horror novel, Carrie will return to the movie screen on October 18. MGM and Screen Gems, who are producing the film, employed a script that is reportedly more faithful to King’s original story. The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular Carrie White, and Julianne Moore as Carrie’s mother, Margaret White. Carrie: Blood, Fire & Ballet The teen rage and effects of bullying – a pivotal aspect of the storyline can be experienced in a different form as The Love Show troupe presents Carrie: Blood, Fire & Ballet – a dance homage to the classic tale of terror on October 25, 26 and 30, 8:00 pm at La Luz – 135 Thames Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Director Rachel Klein and choreographer Angela Harriell join forces to adapt this dark coming of age story with passionate dance, aerial acrobatics and stylized theatrics. Tickets at: www.carrieballet.eventbrite.com; information: www.laluznyc.com or www.theloveshownyc.com.
TV: American Horror Story Returns
Another year, another version of the FX network’s American Horror Story – a show noted for its exceptional writing, characters and award-winning performances. This season, Ryan Murphy transplants viewers to New Orleans in Coven. It’s been around 300 years since the Salem witch trials. Those who remain are almost extinct and in danger again. The anthology series’ third chapter is set in present-day New Orleans, where young witches coming of age learn their craft at Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. The school’s headmistress Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), however, has a different opinion about teaching than her mother Fiona (Jessica Lange), the Supreme witch of their coven. The themes include witches, witch hunts, minorities, slavery, mothers and daughters, and witchcraft versus voodoo and will be set in modern day and the 1830s. Angela Bassett plays historical voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, and Kathy Bates portrays another historical figure – serial killer Marie Delphine LaLauri.
Two Broadway Openings
• A Time to Kill – John Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th St. The world will find out this fall, when A Time to Kill, John Grisham’s debut effort, becomes the writer’s first book to be adapted into a stage play. The 1988 novel — about an idealistic Southern lawyer defending a black man who has taken the law into his own hands in answer to an unspeakable crime committed against his daughter. This emotionally charged drama is a thrilling courtroom battle where the true nature of what is right and what is moral are called into question. In previews; opening: October 20.
• The Snow Geese – Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St. In the mid-1910s, the Gaesling family wakes up from their life of privilege as the world around them changes forever. Starring Mary-Louise Parker, this fresh work comes courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club. With World War I raging abroad, newly widowed Elizabeth Gaesling, who grapples with life-changing issues concerning her two sons, while gathering her family for their annual shooting party in upstate New York. The cast also includes Danny Burstein and Victoria Clark. In previews; opening: October 24.
TV: Not-so-historical Period Drama
Reign – a period drama television series following the early years of Mary, Queen of Scots will premiere on October 17 at 9:00 pm and air weekly on Thursdays on the CW network. While it might not receive an “A” in historical accuracy, it succeeds as entertainment and will surely be a pure guilty pleasure. The drama, which follows a young Mary as she arrives in 1557 France to marry the prince, brings intrigue and danger to the storyline.
Two Legendary Singers
Broadway – A Night with Janis Joplin
This musical journey which recently opened at the Lyceum Theatre – 149 West 45th St celebrates the life of the rock pioneer, Janis Joplin, focusing on her fierce love of music, emotional performance style and well-acknowledged influences. With a voice like whiskey and a laugh like pure joy, Janis Joplin took the music scene by storm. Simultaneously rough and vulnerable, Joplin was dubbed the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, proving music wasn’t just a man’s world anymore. Packed with classic songs, the show also shines the spotlight on trailblazers who influenced Janis – like Bessie Smith, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.
Off-Broadway – Lady Day
Lady Day, which features Tony and multiple Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater as the late, legendary jazz artist Billie Holiday, recently opened at the Little Shubert Theatre – 422 West 42nd St., between 9th and 10th Ave. An original play with music based on the life of Billie Holiday features a cavalcade of Holiday hit songs and tells the inspired and heart-wrenching story of how Billie attempts a final comeback performance. The production features over 25 standards, including “Don’t Explain,” “Good Morning Heartache,” “A Foggy Day (In London Town),” “Them There Eyes,” “Strange Fruit,” “My Man,” “God Bless the Child” and “Mean to Me.” For more information: www.ladydaythemusical.com.
Two Boys Premieres at the Met
The brave new world of the Internet is visited in Two Boys – an opera in two acts by American composer Nico Muhly. It was first performed by the English National Opera in 2011. The United States premiere will be staged at the Metropolitan Opera opening on October 21 for six performances. The ENO and the Met shared the initial production costs. Using the narrative structure of a police investigation into a violent crime, the opera explores the world of online relationships and chatrooms, and was billed as “a cautionary tale of the dark side of the internet.” The English-language libretto by American playwright Craig Lucas recounts the real-life events of two teenagers whose chat-room existence led to a near-fatal stabbing. The production is designed by Bartlett Sher, and marks the Tony-winning director’s fifth show at the Metropolitan Opera. Tickets: www.MetOperaFamily.org; (212) 362-6000.
Photographic Show at Skulski Gallery
The Skulski Art Gallery of the Polish Cultural Foundation – 177 Broadway in Clark, NJ is presenting a photographic exhibit by artists Frederick Dammont and Roman Demko through November 1. Amateur art photographer Dammont is a veteran of more than fifty one-man photographic print exhibitions. Born in Lviv, Ukraine (formerly Lwów, Poland) Demko is an architect by profession and a photographer by passion. For more information: 732-382-7197.
Benefit Concert at Polish Museum of America
Pianist Maciej Grzybowski will present a concert on October 25 at 7:00 pm in the Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall of The Polish Museum of America – 984 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago, IL. Grzybowski will be in Chicago as part of his first U.S. concert tour of the United States. For information: www.PolishMuseumOfAmerica.org.