Lawrance Bernabo, for the News Tribune
Lyric Opera of the North unveiled their transformation of Johann Sebastian Bach's "St. John Passion" from oratorio into opera Saturday night at the Lincoln Park Middle School auditorium. The intimacy and acoustics of the venue served both the singers and the musicians, making for a most unique experience. Conductor Dirk Meyer helmed a 21-piece orchestra, comprised mostly of strings, with a quintet of woodwinds and the organ you tend to think of being a prerequisite for performing Bach.
WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. In the first class in Media & Society each semester we consider which dystopian novel successfully predicted the world in which we now live: George Orwell's "1984" or Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." The academic consensus favors Huxley, that the truth has not been replaced by lies but rather buried under a barrage of irrelevance.
Erin Aldridge was providing a dazzling display of artistry as she worked through the intricacies of Tchaikovsky's challenging Violin Concerto in D Major Saturday night at Symphony Hall. As conductor Dirk Meyer brought the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra to a vibrant crescendo, Aldridge ended her last note with a majestic flourish of her bow. The audience immediately burst into applause and soon rose to its feet for a thundering ovation.
Lately being a weatherman does not help you know which way the wind blows. Hurricane Harvey was a 3 that became a 4. Irma kept bouncing back between a 4 and a 5. "Rumors," the side-splitting Neil Simon farce directed by Julie Ahasay that opened at the Duluth Playhouse on Thursday night, follows a similar pattern. It starts off as a tropical depression, gathers strength, hits you with a powerful stream of comedy, and just when you think you are safely in the eye of the hurricane the audience is devastated by a category 5 comic monologue.
Berlin. The early 1930s. Adolf Hitler's vision of making the Fatherland great again is gaining traction. But at the Kit Kat Klub they come to hear the music play and blithely ignore the coming storm. "Cabaret" remains one of the most depressing musicals ever staged. The production directed by Robert Lee that opened Thursday night at the Underground can make you feel guilty for applauding the musical numbers while the lives of the characters are destroyed.
"Billy Elliot: The Musical" will make you cheer, cry — and do both more than once. The heart and soul of this endearing Playhouse production directed by Kelly Grussendorf is Tanner Hagen in the title role. On opening night, the 12-year-old simply blew the audience away with his dancing and delivered on the singing, as well.
Selected from over 200 submissions, the seven one-act plays that comprise the first annual "What She Said" festival at the Underground offer stories that are — in order — cute, touching, intense, insane, unbelievably absurd, the opposite of boring, and an absolute comic gem.
In "Time Stands Still," the timely drama that opened Thursday at the Playhouse, photojournalist Sarah Goodwin (Cheryl Skafte) and writer James Dodd (John Pokrzywinski) have come home after Sarah is severely injured by a car bomb in Iraq. Dealing with a near-death experience requires physical and psychological rehabilitation, but Sarah bears the burden of extra baggage because James feels immense guilt over having already gone home before she was injured.
For years I've wanted somebody to put on Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." With the production that opens May 18 at the Underground, we finally get to see the wittiest play in the English language in Duluth. John Worthing (Jason Scorich) has come to town to propose to Gwendolen Fairfax (Louisa Scorich), cousin of his best friend, Algernon Moncrieff (Mike Pederson). Worthing leads a double life, as the steadfast Jack caring for his young ward, Cecily Cardew (Kitara Peterson) in the country — but as his wastrel younger brother "Ernest" when in the city.
The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra's season came to a close Saturday night at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center's Symphony Hall with a variety of musical pyrotechnics making up the "Now and Then" program celebrating the organization's 85th anniversary.