August 29, 2010 |
Marriage between word and music has never been simple, and is seldom stress-free. Take melodrama. I'm not sure what caused its meaning to change over the years. In the 18th century, melodrama was the genre of spoken word accompanied by — and elevated by — music. Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Richard Strauss were melodramatists. Now Oxford English Dictionary defines melodrama as "a crude appeal to the emotions. " But call it what you will, the genre in its original sense has never lost its effectiveness or appeal, as Aaron Copland's lasting "Lincoln Portrait," with its stirring orchestral score joined to Honest Abe's magnificent words, attests.
December 20, 2012 |
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie A novel Ayana Mathis Knopf: 256 pp., $24.95 In "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie," first-time author Ayana Mathis walks upon some of the richest thematic terrain our country's history can offer a novelist. Her protagonist, Hattie Shepherd, arrives in Philadelphia from Georgia in the mid-1920s, one of a legion of travelers in the great migration, that movement of African Americans from the Jim Crow South to the promise and relative freedom of the North.
June 5, 1989 |
As part of the ongoing Jean Cocteau Centenary Festival, choreographer Tony Clark turned to a problematic art form--the melodrama--for his "Orphee, Oedipus and the Lady With the Red Gloves," seen Friday at the Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park. Long associated with musical composition in Germany and France, melodrama is distinguished as a form by the use of an actor who speaks instead of sings. It runs the risk of satisfying neither those interested in dramatic recitation nor those interested in singing--or, in this case, dancing.
April 28, 1993 |
Alfredo Ramos' "The Last Angry Brown Hat," at Plaza de la Raza, is a standard reunion-and-revelations play, staged with such conviction that it's possible to ignore its formulaic qualities, at least until you're out of the theater. Four former Chicano activists reunite 20 years later, after the funeral of a fifth. They meet in a garage stashed with memorabilia from their Brown Berets days. The set, credited to the "production staff and artists," looks homemade, in the very best sense.
March 4, 2003 |
It's hard to distinguish one whiny, tattooed pop punk-emo band from the next lately, but a new crop of young rascals is infusing emotional aggression and erratic arrangements into feisty melodies to create something altogether more passionate.
July 12, 2012 |
Before his death last August, Raoul Ruiz's "The Mysteries of Lisbon" earned just praise as a late masterpiece of epic, sumptuous formalism from the prolific Chilean filmmaker. His English-language thriller, "Blind Revenge," completed a few years ago, won't necessarily harm the eccentric director's reputation and, in fact, its pockets of weirdness and the familiar Ruiz theme of the inconvenience of the past might draw the curious. Others will likely shrug. Slapped with a new, more exploitative title after originally released in the U.K. as "A Closed Book," writer Gilbert Adair's "The Servant"-meets-"Sleuth" scenario has newly blind, grumpily witted British critic Sir Paul (Tom Conti, sporting black shades)