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Turandot (Portland Opera)

Three riddles, one big bummer.


Theater
The first thing to know about Turandot is that it is emphatically not about China. Though ostensibly the opera is set there, Puccini’s fictional Middle Kingdom bears so little resemblance to the    More
 
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 JOHN MINERVINI

Live Review: "Planet Eden"

Planet_Eden_creators

Quick: world is ending, and it’s your job to fill a space ship.  Who do you take?

How about an explosive retired navy captain and his leggy, put-upon wife?  Or a conspiracy-loving former CIA Agent?  What about a randy redneck girl and a geeky hipster boy?  Or a crooked TV news reporter who’ll do anything to win an Oscar?

That’s the premise for Planet Eden, a...   More
 
Monday, January 31, 2011 by JOHN MINERVINI

EXTENDED REVIEW: Portland Opera, Pagliacci / Carmina Burana




Murderous clowns never sounded so good.

The curtain goes up. Onstage, in bright lights, lie two dead or nearly dead bodies, a woman in clown paint and a young man in plain clothes. Nearby sits the jealous husband who has stabbed them. The townspeople are poised to apprehend him, but at this moment, for some reason, they are frozen like a photograph, a tableau of horror and ou...   More
 
Monday, October 4, 2010 by JOHN MINERVINI

Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (Portland Opera)

Murderous clowns never sounded so good.


Theater
The curtain rises. Onstage, in bright lights, lie the corpses of a woman in clown paint and a young man in plain clothes. Nearby sits the jealous husband who has stabbed them. The townspeople are pois ...   More
 
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 JOHN MINERVINI

LIVE REVIEW: Portland Opera, Trouble in Tahiti




Yoking vastly different operas on a single playbill was a gamble, but it paid off.

For its annual studio production, Portland Opera has programmed a show in two halves. Before intermission: Monteverdi. After: Bernstein.

Wait. What? That's right. No typo. Monteverdi, get up, stretch y...   More
 
Tuesday, March 30, 2010 by JOHN MINERVINI

Michael Schaub

The managing editor of lit website Bookslut free associates and smack-talks Kindle.


Q & A
Who among us has not wished for a literary concierge? Someone to tell us, “Read this, skip that”? Fortunately, for those who don’t have all day to spend wading through drivel, there& ...   More
 
Wednesday, February 24, 2010 JOHN MINERVINI

EXTENDED REVIEW: Portland Opera, Così fan Tutte



Don Alfonso: What palaver. I thought I was in an opera.

A pair of Albanian princes with fake mustaches slink onstage toward the apprehensive young ladies. Wearing embroidered silk smoking jackets in a riot of Oriental colors, they recall SNL's Steve Martin ...   More
 
Thursday, February 11, 2010 by JOHN MINERVINI

Cosí fan Tutte (Portland Opera)

Mustache makes the heart grow fonder.


Theater
A pair of Albanian princes with fake mustaches slink onstage toward the apprehensive young ladies. Wearing embroidered silk smoking jackets in a riot of Oriental colors, the pair recalls SNL’s S ...   More
 
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 JOHN MINERVINI

Wells Tower Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Stories to pillage by.


Books
There’s a great moment in “Retreat,” a new short story by Wells Tower. Two brothers have been out deer hunting on a chilly island in Maine. They haven’t bagged anything, and th ...   More
 
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 JOHN MINERVINI

Reviewed: Maelstrom: the Zombie Opera




Above, the ravenous undead from Maelstrom, the Zombie Opera. Clever use of media and an apocalyptic classical score lend this low-budget production the aroma of big-screen medical dystopias like Resident Evil and ...   More
 
Friday, July 10, 2009 by JOHN MINERVINI
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