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2013 Aggie Awards Warm Up Winter 

We honor Agnes Moorehead annually with awards in her name for the best live performances of the year because there was no actress more versatile than she. Recent viewings of two of her films confirmed this for me once again — unnecessary as that was. Comments (1)

Winter Wonders and Discontents  

It’s so nice — and so rare — when much-touted cultural events live up to their hype! This happened November 23 at what I intend to continue calling the New York State Theater, where I delightedly watched one of the pinnacle events of Lincoln Center& Comment

Tik Tik Boom

Britney Spears has said of her new album “Britney Jean,” “It is my most personal record yet. I poured my heart and soul into this album.” As deep confessionals go, this album barely scratches the surface. If anyone is expecting Britney to bare the dark inner recesses of her soul — not here. If, instead, you are looking for a fun pop dance record, then this collection delivers. Comments (1)

Autumn in New York

Audiences faced this October and November, two of the busiest months on the opera and vocal calendar, with City Opera sadly a thing of the past and Opera Orchestra of New York still silent about the current season Comment

Making Chances Pay Off

There was a time when the big three were Whitney, Celine, and Mariah. Prior to the days of Rihanna, Miley, and auto-tune, these big-voiced divas owned the charts at a time when radio had room for big voices. Comment

Three Centuries of Voice 

October 24 proved a happy night at the Metropolitan Opera: a performance of Bellini’s mighty “Norma” in which all four leads belonged on the great stage. Ho Comment

Sacrificing Pop for Art

Artpop” from Lady Gaga is an ambitious, sprawling mess of an album. This follow-up to 2011’s “Born this Way” is huge –– from bombastic club tracks to overpowering vocals –– and it harkens back to the days of the concept album. The concept here being Lady Gaga herself. Her fame, her sexuality, and her ego. Comments (1)

Love and Deception

I come late to the party in discussing Nico Muhly’s “Two Boys,” which just finished a run of seven Met performances –– indifferently received and poorly attended –– that marked the two-act work’s US premiere. The talented Muhly’s first opera, “Two Comment

Le Roi Lee Roy  

We all know about Broadway triple threats, but the glorious musical veteran Lee Roy Reams is a quadruple — not only does he sing, dance, and act, he also happens to be maybe the greatest theatrical raconteur ever. Having adored him onstage for his talent and off for his effervescent, ever-friendly vibe, I knew he would be one hell of an interview Comments (2)

Opera’s Birthday Boys  

Washington National Opera’s season started impressively with an uncomplicated but visually pleasing “Tristan und Isolde” staging imported from Sydney. Brian Thomson’s clever unit set presented a liminal, bridge-like space evo Comment

Uneasy “Landing”

In 2004, the world lost a cherished musical theater icon with the passing of lyricist Fred Comments (2)

Remaking Ourselves In Our Own Image

Since 2003, the Queer Zagreb Festival has advocated and promoted queer life and culture in that Croatian city with audacity. It has become a major art festival in Europe, all the while challenging and expanding the parameters of queer artistry. Comment

Claire du Cinema

French director Claire Denis has a new film, “Bastards,” which screened at the New York Film Festival, and I jumped at the chance to interview this provocative, ever-surprising auteur, whose previous work includes the highly lauded “I Can’t Sleep,” “White Material,” and “Friday Night.” “Bastards” is a dark-toned policier, featuring Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni, about a murkily po Comment

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Creating almost always involves looking forward. Looking back is a burden.” Comment

Gloria In Excelsis

She is perhaps not so well known today, but in her time and for a matter of decades Gloria Swanson (1899-1983) had a real claim to being the “greatest movie star of them all.” Of course, she was actually called that when she played Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” the immortally defining summit of her career. Although she will be eternally identified as that maniacally leering, close-up-ready old broad slinking down a staircase, Comment

High Drama Offstage and On at the Met

At the opening of the Metropolitan Opera season, political drama attempted to upstage music drama. LGBT activists petitioned Peter Gelb and the Met to dedicate the September 23 gala opening night of gay composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” –– starring two Putin supporters, soprano Anna Netrebko and conductor Valery Gergiev –& Comments (2)

Divine Familial Dysfunction 

Bard Summerscape presented the US staged premiere of Sergey Taneyev’s “Oresteia” (composed 1887-1894, premiered 1895) as part of its “Stravinsky and his World” program. Taneyev (1856-1915) was a piano prodi Comments (3)

Czech Dušan Týnek Plays Complex Dance Games

Dušan Týnek is a young Czech-born choreographer whose eponymous Dance Theater, founded in 2003, has attracted goodly attention. In his three-dance evening at BAM Fisher (September 4-7), Comments (1)

Full Count in Cooperstown  

"Der fliegende Höllander” was the Glimmerglass Festival’s first canonical Wagner (his early “Das Liebesverbot” was presented in 2008). August 16’s musical performance u Comments (1)

Bette Davis: House Guest from Hell

Bette Davis — often called the greatest of film actresses (most serious rival: Katharine Hepburn) — drives me crazy. It is true that she could be brilliant (“Of Human Bondage,” “Dangerous,” “Marked Woman,̶ Comments (2)

Summer Loving

Up in Ulster County, Phoenicia’s four-day International Festival of the Voice — founded in 2010 by bass-baritone Louis Otey, mezzo Maria Todaro, and baritone Kerry Henderson — takes a broad, holistic view of Comment

Pardon My French

In the 19th century, every Italian composer wanted to write a grand opera for the Paris Opéra. A triumph in cosmopolitan Paris meant fame on an international scale. Giuseppe Verdi cautiously took up the challenge, adapting his early “I Lom Comments (3)

Randy and Renee 

Randy Harrison is forever burned into the consciousness of a gay generation for playing Justin Taylor, the ultimate irresistibly innocent twink on the groundbreaking TV series “Queer as Folk.” Since that show wrapped in 2005, he Comments (8)

Somewhere, a Place for Us 

Happy Supreme Court news mightily energized San Francisco Pride, already glowing from Frameline’s Film Festival and Shangri-La weather. All that and opera, too! Comment

Fresh Fruit Festival is 11 Years Old and Still Fresh

The Fresh Fruit Festival, now in its 11th year celebrating LGBTQ arts and culture, was born out of the collaboration of All Out Arts, a non-profit founded in 1991 Comment

“Oscar” Moment  

From the start we’ve all been very clear that this is not about Oscar as a gay martyr. It’s about Oscar being a great man — honest and bra Comment

HOT!: 22nd Annual NYC Celebration of Queer Culture

The HOT! Festival is Dixon Place’s 22nd annual celebration of queer culture in New York City. Dixon Place’s mainstage and cocktail lounge — at 161A Chrystie Street, between Rivington and Delancey Streets on the Lower East Side Comments (2)

Hoofing Whiz-Bang

Last year, tap dancer Savion Glover received a Bessie Award –– the dance and performance equivalent of a Tony or an Oscar –– for music composition. He defines himself as a hoofer, and his preoccupation is with the sounds he’s making. That’s how devoted he is to the acoustic aspect of his tapping. In the past, in fact, he’d often tu Comment

Changes of Pace

On June 17, a beautiful early summer evening, Neal Goren and the Gotham Chamber Opera presented the New York professional sta Comment

Palmetto Puccini

Beautiful, historic Charleston, South Carolina, has hosted the Spoleto Festival USA since 1977. Classical and jazz concerts compete with dance and theater events in all styles, and in recent years two opera productions in different venues have become sta Comments (1)

A Creative Crowd-Sourcing Marathon

Yanira Castro’s dance-making enterprise, a canary torsi, creates site-adaptable, installation-based performance projects. Her work invites audiences to participate in live performances that extend into other media platforms. Ranging from formal movement and immersive audio installations to fictional Twitter feeds and interactive websites, Castro’s dances explore the relationship between spectator Comments (2)

Black Magic

Can you imagine following in your mother’s footsteps as a singer when that mother happens to be Diana Ross? Well, her daughter, Rhonda, is doing just that and making quite a swell name for herself with a lovely voice that truly swings (there’s a hint of her Mom’s famed huskiness), some serious songwriting chops, a CD “Rhonda Ros Comments (5)

Met Season Ends 

May 6 saw the last performance — for the season, some rumors said the last ever — of the Met’s Machine-dominated “Die Walküre.” The Robert Lepage production’s first act seemed less wrong-headed an Comment

Lady And the Tramp 2

Five years ago, husband and wife Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs packed their bags and moved to Minneapolis, and they haven’t been seen round these parts since. Now, thanks to the efforts of curator Nicky Paraiso at La MaMa, the two McKnight Fellows bring their unique brand of lovable, mad, Beckettian dancey-dan Comment

A Prodigy Sacrificed

With a Wilde-themed “ Comment

Ancient Airs and Dances 

The Metropolitan Opera presented its first ever Handel opera, “Rinaldo,” in 1983. Five years later, it got around to his most popular opera, “Giulio Cesare,” in a John Copley production that originated at the English National Opera. This April, the Met unveiled its second product Comment

Baranski’s Timing

I have been enslaved by the comic talent of Christine Baranski ever since seeing her in John Guare’s brilliant classic R Comment

Wagner All Over

Richard Wagner's bicentennial, celebrated by the Met with Francois Girard's splendid new “Parsifal” and Robert Lepage's misconceived “Ring” — an achievement as empty as Otto Schenk's kitschy realism, and less popular — also spurred ambitions elsewhere. Comment

Lilacs Out of the Dead Land

Like the annual migration of the monarch butterflies or the gray whales, the similarly spectacular and mighty Stephen Petronio Company returns to the Joyce T Comment

A Variety of Verdi  

Giuseppe Verdi’s bicentennial is coming up in October 2013 but opera houses in New York and worldwide have been celebrating early. Sarasota Opera’s Winter Festival is close to co Comment

Haunted by Old Demons

On the first of three different programs in its two-week season at the Joyce Theater, Ballet Hispanico danced three works by Spanish dance makers –– a 1983 work by Nacho Du Comments (2)

Dance Theatre of Harlem Comes Home

The premise that Arthur Mitchell –– the first African-American dancer in George Balanchine’s New York City Ballet Company –– strove to establish was that black dancers can do classical ballet as well as white ones. He founded a ballet school in Harlem and shortly thereafter a company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, to prove it. Comment

Being Max Steele

Max Steele is a writer, blogger, singer/ songwriter, bandleader, performance artist, ersatz go-go boy, and self-affirmed figure of the New Gay Underground — a kind of folksy Comments (39)

Montevecchi the Magnificent

"I’m 80 years old and loving every moment of it!” cried Liliane Montevecchi to me in her exquisite leopard skin-lined jewel box of a Sutton Place apartment. “You know, sometimes people say, ‘You cannot tell Comment

Brava, Divas!

Washington National Opera revived “Manon Lescaut” for what proved a very strong role debut by Patricia Racette. Heard March 17, the out soprano, looking lovely and youthful (if not teenag Comment

A Miraculous Tension Between Classical and Modern

In its two week Joyce Theater season, through April 7, the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company marks its 30th year with two programs that include works from 1977 to the present. Comment

Danish Dance Exalts the Ordinary

One remarkable thing about the Dansk Danse Teater (Danish Dance Theatre), directed since 2001 by British-born Tim Rushton, is that only one of the troupe’s dozen dancers is actually Danish — and she’s of African descent. Denmark’s most widely acclaimed contemporary dance Comment

Songs of Sex and Madness

New York City Opera’s recent winter season at BAM showed a company rising like a phoenix from its own ashes. While its old productions were broken up and auctioned off as souvenirs, George SteelR Comments (1)

Gifts from Down Under

Helen Reddy was undoubtedly one of the major voices of the 1970s, with her rapid-succession top-selling hits constantly playing on the radio and seeping under our skin. She’s making a long overdue return to New York at B.B. King on March 23 and 24 and took time off from touring Comments (1)

America’s Dancemaker Keeps On Keeping On

Paul Taylor’s second spring season at Lincoln Center offers the usual abundance of dances by the 20th century master. Having moved from its former stage, City Center, to the grander Koch Theater, the company looks entirely at home. Taylor is perhaps the last remaining mid-c Comment

Luminous Out Soprano Returns with Mozart

The last time proudly out soprano Christine Brandes spoke to Gay City News was in April 2004. Bay Area critic Jason Victor Serinus profiled the dynamic, bright, quirky, and dark-silver-voiced Brandes as she readied her favorite role — Susanna in Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro&# Comment

Ed Watts, Soaring

At an early rehearsal for the new Encores! production of “It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s Superman,” composer Charles Strouse had a huge smile on his face listening to his rarely revived score. Afterwards, he enthused to the leading man, “What a wonderful voice! Where have you been?” Comments (1)

Grand Operas

It was exciting to hear one of Donizetti’s final operas, 1840’s “La Favorite,” in the language and Comment

Tuned and Toned

The four hunky gay 20-somethings fall somewhere between a boy band and a symphony orchestra. Their energetic play Comments (1)

Musical Salvation

Wagner’s “Parsifal” is not a conventional opera in dramatic structure, content, or conception and should not be staged like one. The Metropolitan Opera’s previous production — the least successful of the Otto Schenk/ G&# Comments (4)

Martha Graham’s Spirit Kindled, Expanded

How does a dance company survive after the death of its founding choreographer? That’s the question companies like Ailey and Limón have wrestled with successfully — by expanding their repertoires with works by new choreographers who reflect consonant aesthetic points of view. Comment

Lulu and Pia

It’s hard to believe that Lulu, who’s enjoyed a steady career that began several years before making her screen debut at 18 in 1967’s “To Sir With Love — for which she sang the hit title song — should only now be making her American club debut. But that she is, at B.B. Ki Comment

Casino Verdi

Updated opera productions may be a recent phenomenon at the Metropolitan Opera but have been the norm worldwide for years. Michael Mayer (Broadway’s “Spring Awakening”) sets his new Met production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in “Oceans Eleven” Las Vegas cir Comment

Motion is the Message

When Merce Cunningham died in 2009, his company set a new precedent for what happens to a single choreographer company when its founde Comment
Around Town

January’s Classical Vocal Scene

The George London Foundation’s duo recitals at the Morgan Library are always worthwhile events; all credit to the Morgan for providing such an aptly intimate space. January 13’s recital featured a welcome local appearance by Anthony Dean Griffey, a superb communicator with phenomenal dict Comment

Rossum’s Romance

Exquisite Emmy Rossum, whom you’ll know from the film of “The Phantom of the Opera” and TV’s “Shameless,” among other things, is debuting her new CD “Sentimental Journey” (Warner Bros.). It’s a lushly produced compendium of iridescent standar Comments (1)

Lost and Found on a Sea of Time

The sanctuary of Judson Church stands in for the ocean where collaborating dancers and choreographers Eckert+SorensenJolink found themselves adrift in “RescYou,” performed January 17-19. The subtitle, “Stranded on a life raft in a vast ocean beyond time,” is unnecessary, imposing a narrative specificity that the movement imagery of the 50-minute abstract duet transcends. The aud Comment

Mid-Winter Escape

The holiday season of the particularly difficult year that was 2012 brought a true rite of passage for me with the death of my father, Edwin Cha Son Noh. He was quite a guy, having served at Pearl Harbor in 1941, owned and operated hotels in Waikiki, opened the first real Korean restaurant in Hawaii, and created Noh Foods International, which pioneered packaged powdered food sauce mixes, which, with the additio Comments (2)

Off with their Heads!

Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda” (1834) had a difficult birth — the opera was banned at the dress rehearsal in Naples when the queen of Naples was horrified at the onstage royal execu Comment

The Aggies of 2012

With imperiously crossed arms and a dramatic toss of the head, Endora-style, we are once again giving out our annual Agnes Moorehead Awards for the best of 2012. Comments (1)

Crazy Opera Dames!

Psycho dames and damned psychics stirred up a whole lot of operatic trouble in October and November. Drag diva Jeffery Roberson aka Varla Jean Merman crossed over into operatic divadom, assuming the title role in Menotti’s “The Medium” in a three-week engagement at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater a Comment


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