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October 19, 2020
That overused word, genius, is not the fixed image we often seek; it is a kaleidoscope. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s extraordinary gifts continue to mystify and inspire because he exemplifies a complex idea of genius—for some he is spiritual enlightenment itself, music’s great philosopher—to others he is earthly proof of a deity. To still others he is a visionary miscreant, a bawdy and brilliant savant. He utterly satisfies the intellect while piercing the heart. For a few curmudgeons who deserve avoidance, his music just isn’t dramatic enough to be found interesting.
Before The Marriage of Figaro became one of the world’s most beloved operas—with 420 global performances during the 2013-14 season alone—it was, like many operas, a play. But what a play! La Folle Journée, ou Le Mariage de Figaro was written as a five-act comedy in 1778 by French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, and was no simple dramatic exercise. Loaded with subtext, this original Figaro was considered nothing less than an incendiary call to both political and social uprising.
October 15, 2020
In the gloom of night, after the audiences have filed away and the stage door swings shut, John Boatwright steps onto the empty stage. He carries with him a little bulb, affixed to the end of a stand: a ghost light to shine when the theater is dark — and a fall from the stage is especially perilous.
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