Arts and Culture News

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Stile Antico is a 13-member a cappella choir based in London. These young, fresh-faced singers have already racked up some impressive awards for their recordings — mainly of intricately woven music from the Renaissance.

Contemporary ballet company Ballet X celebrated the groundbreaking of its new Center for World Premiere Choreography this week, announcing plans to commission 40 new works by 25 choreographers in the next decade and promising to provide opportunities for young people in the neighborhood of its new South Philadelphia home. 

When playwright Sarah DeLappe was growing up, she loved war movies. So she decided to write a play that was like a war movie – but about girls soccer.

The Wolves opens at New York's Lincoln Center on Monday. As the lights come up, nine teenage girls are in a circle atop a green expanse of artificial turf, stretching before a match. And they're all talking at once.

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The play M. Butterfly, about a French diplomat who falls in love with a Chinese mistress, is in revival on Broadway. Join Howard Shapiro on In a Broadway Minute for a review Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

A Tempo this week explores the life and legacy of Venezuelan composer and arranger Aldemaro Romero. Hired by RCA in 1951, his career included the popular Dinner in Caracas album, collaborations with Dean Martin and Tito Puente, and the development of the Onda Nueva sound. His musical works spanned jazz, big band and classical genres and often brought in Venezuelan melodies and styles. 

When songwriter David Yazbek, whose mother is Jewish and father Lebanese, decided to write a musical that fused his two cultural backgrounds, he knew he didn't want it to be about tribal conflict.

His new Broadway show, The Band's Visit, attempts to do something that seems almost unfashionable: look at two historically antagonistic cultures and tell a story about their commonality.

"The Band's Visit" is a new musical taken from an Israeli film about a visiting Egyptian police band stranded in the Israeli desert. Howard Shapiro reviews the musical this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am.

Imagine a dinner party that never ends. The guests can't leave. That's the premise for Luis Buñuel's classic 1962 surrealist film The Exterminating Angel. It might seem an unlikely subject for an opera, but that's just what London-born composer Thomas Adès has brought to New York's Metropolitan Opera.

The Hebrew Psalms have inspired composers for thousands of years.

Now, New York's Lincoln Center is presenting The Psalms Experience, a festival of choral settings of all 150 Psalms by 150 different composers. It includes nine U.S. premieres.

Having recently graduated from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, clarinetist Lotte Leussink and french horn player Craig Hansen are not just looking to perform with orchestras and other ensembles in their future - they hope to help change them for the better.

The new play "Junk" traces the trajectory of a schemer who overwhelms companies with junk bonds and hostile takeovers. Hear theater critic Howard Shapiro's review of the play this week on In a Broadway Minute Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 10 am. 

Growing up in Pennsylvania, actor Jonathan Groff was a Disney-obsessed kid who dressed up as Mary Poppins and Cinderella and dreamed of one day performing on Broadway.

Other parents might have balked at a little boy dressed in women's clothing and singing show tunes — but not Groff's mother. "She didn't bat an eye," he says. "She was all about letting us express ourselves however we wanted to, which was amazing."

When you think of Disney, "experimental" or "avant-garde" may not be the first words that spring to mind.

But when tasked with adapting the 1994 Disney animated film, The Lion King, for the Broadway stage, director Julie Taymor decided to take an unconventional tack.

Drawing on theater and puppetry traditions she'd studied from around the world, Taymor brought a bold, experimental approach to the show. And, when it opened in 1997, that fusion was met with wide critical acclaim and huge box office success.

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An American Comic In Canada

Oct 29, 2017

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Sometimes, you need to leave home to see it clearly. On our recent trip to Canada, we found an American comic who was taking stock of the U.S. from just across the border.

Cari Ann Shim Sham

Opera productions have long been transporting audiences emotionally into places and times both far away and familiar. Now, opera companies are beginning to explore the possibilities of taking this a step further by truly drawing audiences into the middle of the opera through virtual reality.

Over the years, many authors have dealt with alcoholism, addiction and recovery — think of plays like Long Day's Journey into Night, or films like Days of Wine and Roses. Now a new play from England joins them: People, Places & Things takes an unsentimental and, at times, harrowing look at addiction and recovery.

The blues have traveled far and wide over the last century — exerting a vast cultural influence worldwide, yielding myriad offshoots, and generating fortunes for some of the biggest musical acts of our time. But it's also still the product of local conditions, and bound by hardscrabble local concerns.

On this episode of Jazz Night in America, we'll go to Clarksdale, Miss., to get a temperature reading at ground level, where struggling musicians are finally beginning to reap the benefits of a recent wave of blues tourism.

For the 19th year, Broadway casts have produced a set of CDs for the holiday season called “Carols for a Cure.” Hear more about their charity project and the CDs this week on “In a Broadway Minute” Friday morning at 8 and Saturday morning at 10. 

Pianist Glenn Gould rocketed to fame in 1955 with his startling and original take on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Gould's fans were treated to a remake of Goldbergs in 1982, when he released a slower-paced rendition just before his untimely death. But it's that first, rapid fire 1955 recording that continues to captivate audiences.

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It was 100 years ago this week that Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1917. Considered by many to be one of the greatest violinists in history, he was just 16 years old at the time. NPR's Rachel Martin spoke with commentator Miles Hoffman about that appearance and the career that followed.

When the American Repertory Ballet kicked off its new season last month, it also welcomed its new Executive Director, Julie Diana Hench.  A Tempo this week speaks with Hench, as well as Princeton Ballet School Director Pamela Levy, who took on the post last Fall, and Artistic Director Douglas Martin, about ARB's future plans and expanded audience outreach programs.  That's this Saturday at 7 pm. 

Four new musical productions make their way to Broadway before the end of the year. Find out more about them this week on In a Broadway Minute with theater critic Howard Shapiro Friday at 8 am and Saturday at 1 am.

New Jersey’s musical legacy reclaimed its place in Grammy lore Thursday with the opening of the Grammy Museum Experience in Newark’s Prudential Center, paying tribute to a history that includes musical greats like Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan and Whitney Houston.

When Johnny Fox was a boy, all his friends were obsessed with superheroes.

"Friends of mine were reading comics about Superman and Batman and I thought, 'You know, this is cartoons and made-up stories,' " he says. "I want a real superhero. There's got to be real superheroes out there."

When he was 8 or 9, his parents took him to the Eastern States Exposition near Springfield, Mass. That's where he found those real superheroes.

This week on A Tempo, host Rachel Katz concludes her conversation with Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, about how orchestras are trying to reach a broader audience and younger listeners, including through support of music education and youth orchestra programs.

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A new play in New York centers on Palestinian militants who hid from the Israeli army for over a month in 2002 inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports that "The Siege," not surprisingly, is controversial.

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