by James Panero
Jacob's Pillow, the legendary summer dance festival in Becket, Massachusetts founded in 1933, has had a stirring start to 2014, with dance that stands on its own two feet. On the second stage of the Doris Duke Theatre, Dorrance Dance tapped out a sold-out two-week run. Meanwhile on the main stage at the Ted Shawn Theatre, New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht directed several teammates from his NYCB squad in the enigmatically titled "Ballet 2014."
by James Bowman
Marvel Comics' new Thor
The other day Ann Hornaday, film critic for the Washington Post, had an interesting piece in the paper inspired by the new movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In it, she asked why, much as she admired the film, it fell into a now-familiar pattern of “darkening” in movie adaptations stories and characters that began life in comic books or the equivalent. “Dawn’s funereal tone,” she wrote, “seems to be the norm these days, especially for reboots of legacy franchises that, in their efforts not to succumb to sentimental nostalgia or trivialized camp, succumb to amped-up carnage and inflated self-seriousness instead.” Ms Hornaday suggests several reasons why this might be so, among them the fact that “they flatter the sensibilities of studios and the executives who greenlight these projects, reassuring them that their core competency—raiding their and others’ archives for valuable ‘pre-sold’ source material—can be one of gravitas and meaning, rather than simple repurposing of pop signifiers.”
Don Quixote; Photo via Lincoln Center
Last night at the Koch Theater, we had Don Quixote from the Bolshoi Ballet. This was an offering in the Lincoln Center Festival. It turned out to be a fine offering. Sparkling, even.
There are many Don Quixotes about. There’s the tone poem by Strauss (with solo parts for cello and viola). There’s the song cycle by Ravel. There’s the opera by Massenet.
by James Panero
South Facade of the main house at Olana. Photo: Stan Ries
The spiritual home of the Hudson River School is Olana, the homestead of Frederic Church, located on a 250-acre hilltop outside Hudson, New York. Thanks to the long-term efforts of the Olana Partnership, Church's theatrical house, designed by Church and Calvert Vaux in a colorful blend of Middle-Eastern styles, joins the grounds in a remarkable state of preservation. With sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, Olana is best appreciated in summer, when it feels like you are walking inside a lush nineteen-century landscape.
Edward Gardner, leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra on 7.18.14; photo by Hilary Scott, viaBSO
I was wary going into the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Friday night concert at Tanglewood, which featured Edward Gardner as the conductor and the baritone Thomas Hampson as the guest artist. Hampson has lately not been sounding as secure as he once did, and Gardner led some uninspired and even shaky performances in New York this past year.
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This week: A fresh look at Dickens’s London, a website decodes Dante, and a visit to Frederic Edwin Church’s home.
Links of interest from the past week:
Books are alive
Carter Cleveland says art in the future will be for everyone
School for a scoundrel
Wagner’s Anti-Semitism Still Matters
Virginia Woolf's idea of privacy
From our pages:
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Ruslan Skvorstsov and Maria Alexandrova of the Bolshoi Ballet; Source: Ian Gavan/Getty Images Europe
This month, the Bolshoi is a guest of the Lincoln Center Festival. When I say “the Bolshoi,” I mean the opera and ballet companies, complete with orchestra and chorus. Last night, the appropriate forces performed Swan Lake at the Koch Theater.
Harper Lee; Photo Credit: Katy Winn/Corbis, via History.com
The release of The Mockingbird Next Door, a long-awaited biography of celebrated novelist Harper Lee, was clouded on July 14th when Lee issued the following statement: “Rest assured, as long as I am alive any book purporting to be with my cooperation is a falsehood.” Lee’s words came despite author Marja Mills’s assertion that the biography was written with the full support of Lee and her sister, Alice.
Even as Establishment Washington, Republican as well as Democrat, does it’s ostrich imitation and pretends that there is Nothing To See Here, Move Along, two organizations, and two courageous judge’s, are beginning to peel back layer after layer from the fetid onion of corruption that is the scandal of the IRS’s “lost” emails. As the […]
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In the Aeneid, the Roman poet Virgil sang of "arms and a man" (Arma virumque cano). Month in and month out, The New Criterion expounds with great clarity and wit on the art, culture, and political controversies of our times. With postings of reviews, essays, links, recs, and news, Armavirumque seeks to continue this mission in accordance with the timetable of the digital age.
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