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Theater

"What does a dance company do when its sole choreographer and leader, a figure as charismatic and intense as Pina Bausch, dies, leaving her dancers without a clear path forward?" It keeps performing, of course.  (The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/15/17)

The Berlin Staatsoper is reopening after a seven-year renovation.  (The New York Times, 9/3/17)

At this year's Bayreuth Festival, Barrie Kosky presents a high-concept Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that stars Richard Wagner himself.  (The Guardian, 7/27/17; The New York Times, 8/1/17; The New York Review of Books, 8/8/17)

Lucie Pohl introduces us to her not quite German, not quite American existence in her one-woman show, Hi, Hitler.  (The New York Times, 7/16/17; The Broadway Blog, 7/17/17)

"Wim Wenders, Daniel Barenboim and Georges Bizet: when giants meet, the outcome should be huge." Alas, The Pearl Fishers earns only mixed reviews at the Berlin Staatsoper.  (The New York Times, 6/20/17; Financial Times, 6/26/17)

Berlin's Volksbühne has a new artistic director (farewell, Frank Castorf)—but Chris Dercon is unlikely to get a standing ovation from the local theater community anytime soon.  (dispositio, 5/20/17; Deutsche Welle, 5/17/17; Financial Times, 5/26/17; The New York Times, 9/12/17)

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse: "Any suggestion of a correlation between the leader of a certain nation and the homicidal gangsters we depict is something that the management must strictly disavow.”  (The Guardian, 5/2/17; Financial Times, 5/3/17; The Independent, 5/3/17)

NYC's Segal Center hosted a preview of Elfriede Jelinek's new play, On the Royal Road: The Burgher King ("a provocative European perspective on Donald Trump's persona"), and you, too, can watch online.  (The New York Times, 3/24/17; Deutsche Welle, 3/28/17; YouTube, 3/29/17)

From the land of "long entertainment," Wagner's Ring Cycle is the original binge-watching experience.  (The Washington Post, 4/14/16)

See a recreation of the Lichtburg rehearsal space and much more, in a Bonn exhibition devoted to the work of Pina Bausch.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/4/16)

See and hear how Wagner's "Ring" was forged, in a new exhibition at NYC's Morgan Library & Museum.  (The New York Times, 1/28/16; The New York Review of Books, 2/25/16)

Sein oder Nichtsein, that is the question you'll hear especially often on German stages. (New Statesman, 11/30/15)

Nearly a century after Frank Wedekind's death, his influence on the stages of New York City lives on.  (The New Yorker, 11/23/15)

"Ist das noch der Diwan, auf dem sich dein Vater verblutet hat?" The artists behind the Met's new production of Lulu consider one of the opera's most pivotal passages.  (The New York Times, 10/29/15)

Anyone up for "a dance of death in eight scenes"? The American Ballet Theatre is performing Kurt Jooss's classic antiwar ballet, "The Green Table," now through November 1.  (The New York Times, 10/25/15; The New Yorker, 10/26/15)

"Berlin’s three opera houses
united to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and open their seasons with a trio of new productions by Wagner, Offenbach and Meyerbeer."  (The Guardian, 10/8/15)

In memoriam: Barbara Brecht-Schall (1930-2015).
Actress, daughter of Bertolt Brecht, guardian of his literary legacy.  (The New York Times, 9/2/2015)

In memoriam: Nikolaus Lehnhoff (1939-2015).
"Lavishly cultured and innately musical, Lehnhoff occupied a middle ground between traditional and radical approaches to directing opera."  (The Rest is Noise, 8/28/15; The Guardian, 9/2/15; The New York Times, 9/1/15)

Heiner Goebbels and the Ensemble Musikfabrik
would like to introduce you to the alternate musical universe of Harry Partch, onstage at Lincoln Center.  (The New York Times, 7/21/15; New York Classical Review, 7/24/15; The New York Times, 7/24/15)

"It’s that time of year again: the balmy nights of late spring are the augurs of the annual ritual of blood-letting in northern Bavaria, when the remaining Wagners do their best to tear each other apart in public on the eve of the Bayreuth festival."  (The Guardian, 6/11/15; Slipped Disc, 6/12/15)

Q: What do you get when Robert Wilson and Herbert Grönemeyer stage Faust at the Berliner Ensemble?  A: "A frenetic fever dream, a funhouse rock opera that’s more Rocky Horror than reverent recapitulation of Goethe’s tragic masterpiece, with a Mephistopheles who’s beyond irresistible."  (Exberliner, 5/5/15; Deutsche Welle, 5/30/15)

"A graphic story that kicks off with sex, progresses to a full-blown orgy and then torture, and ends with a gruesome mass slaughter replete with horrifying detail"—I'm guessing Die 120 Tage von Sodom won't be heading to Broadway anytime soon.  (Deutsche Welle, 5/28/15)

"Superficially, the main difference between 'British theatre' and 'German theatre' is widely understood to be the difference between a 'writer-led' culture and a 'director-led' one. But that simple formulation leaves plenty of room for misunderstanding..."  (The Guardian, 5/21/15)

"If there’s one thing about which I feel confidentdespite the radical contingencies that typify our worldit’s that there will be no rioting or disruption whatsoever at the Royal Opera’s production of Mahagonny." Good call, Will Self.  (The Guardian, 3/13/15)

The Berliner Staatsoper celebrates Alban Berg, "one of the 20th century’s most innovative composers, a man who is paradoxically also one of its most nostalgic Romantics."  (The Economist, 3/11/15)

Germany's baroque opera houses: still stimulating the local economy after all these years.  (Bloomberg, 2/12/15)

"The frontcloth to ENO's new production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg features a collage of 103 of the most famous cultural figures from the German-speaking world. How many can you name?"  (The Guardian, 2/5/15)

"Compared to other countries, copyright rows on German stages are all part of the show." Grab some popcorn and watch the dispute over Frank Castorf's new staging of Baal at Munich's Residenztheater unfold.  (Deutsche Welle, 2/4/15; Deutsche Welle, 2/19/15; love german books, 2/23/15)

"For reasons difficult to fathom, Weber’s 'Der Freischütz' has rarely caught on outside Germany." Michael Thalheimer's new production at the Berlin State Opera probably won't be the one to spark new interest abroad.  (The New York Times, 1/22/15; Deutsche Welle, 1/24/15)

Decades before Lennon and McCartney, Brecht and Weill had an opposites-attract partnership that transformed musical theater.  (Los Angeles Times, 1/2/15; The New York Times, 1/5/15)

"Anti-Brechtians charge Mother Courage and its creator with being irritatingly didactic, insufferably self-important, and full of maddening contradictions. It’s all true, of course. And it’s this very spirit -- irascible, indomitable -- that makes the play (and Mother C.) so irresistible."  (The Daily Beast, 9/10/14)

The latest productions at Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theater "stick out a playfully defiant tongue at German assimilationism's wagging white finger." (n+1, 8/29/14)

Tanztheater Wuppertal is alive and well, reports Roslyn Sulcas, with an ambitious 40th anniversary season.  (The New York Times, 5/15/14)

The Welsh National Opera is taking on Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron -- the first staged production in Britain since 1976.  (The Guardian, 5/15/14;The Arts Desk, 5/25/14)

"This is a good year for those interested in Brecht," beginning with the publication of a new biography by Stephen Parker.  (The Independent, 2/14/14; The Washington Post, 5/16/14; The Times Literary Supplement, 8/13/14)

1980 is the talk of 2014: "Pina Bausch's classic collage of dance, spoken monologue and theatrical vignette is shot through with sadness, but also delicious comedy."  (The Guardian, 2/7/14; The Arts Desk, 2/9/14; The Guardian, 2/9/14; The New York Times, 2/17/14)