Friday, June 03, 2016


Park Square Theatre in Saint Paul staged the prize winner from Stephen Karam. Intense, fast and at times furious, the play is wonderfully staged on the main stage. The acting  is generally good, so the humor comes through even though the subject is difficult and for me, basing a major theatrical work on Kahil Gibran is  not a happy pairing. I like theatre too much. Even if we are not ever alone in our suffering, and always greater than we know, as the poet would have it. The set is a  marvelous creation that enhances the happy pace and the acting is of a high order. The play is not an easy experience and attendees will find some specific explanation of  they read the program before the play begins.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


 A young woman suffering from Parkinson's befriends a drug rep working for Pfizer in 1990s Pittsburgh. Stars are Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. A good supporting cast as well. Watched it last night. Funny, poignant, raunchy sexy comedy. Snappy dialogue appropriately delivered.  Based on a true memoir. Enjoyed it a lot.

Good production, fine acting, very funny in spots. Good sex scenes as well. What sets it apart, is the realization that the way the drug company reps interact with the medical community is all true to life, if a bit exaggerated. And of course, a problematic ending.

Saturday, May 07, 2016


Sunday, April 17, 2016


In the acoustically magnificent United Church of Christ, where Music In the Park has enjoyed over thirty years of musical excellence, Sunday, April 17, 2016, was another winner. Performing for a small but intense audience was the Chira String Quartet, Rebecca Fischer and Hyeyung Julie Yoon-violins, Jonha Sirota viola and Gregory Beaver, cello.

They performed a difficult program superbly. The program led off with Leyendas: An Andean Wlkkabout by Gabriela Leng Frank, Bela Bartok's difficult String Quartet No 4, sz 91 and the program concluded with the eminently listenable quartet No 2 in  A minor, Opus 51 by Johannes Brahms. All in all a most pleasant performance from an expressive, competent quartet.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Feb. 25, morning concert by Minnesota Orchestra. Interesting mix. First a Concerto for seven winds, Tympani, percussion and strings. By Swiss composer, Frank Martin. Fascinating political connections with obstinate separations in the beginning and gradual compromises and final blending for the greater good.

Mozart piano concerto 21 in C Major was next, considered top of the charts, soloist Jon Kimura Parker. An excellent composition, very well performed.

J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #5, in D Major, is a  lovely piece and was well-performed. The trouble is the piece works better in as much smaller hall.

Finally, the orchestra concluded the concert with Arthur Honegger's Symphony NUMBER 2. It's a dark and depressing  work, composed during the height of the Nazi occupation of Paris. It is complex and dark and reminds one of war, occupation and concentration camps.Besides, the hall was cold.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Sibelius Kullervo/Black or White

Minnesota Orchestra at full throttle and in great voice with this piece, plus Finlandia. Program opened with Migrations by Olli Kortekangas, for male chorus and orchestra. It was a powerful, well-imagined concert. The YL male voice choir from Finland was magnificent and Osmos outdid himself. A small morning audience received a great benefit.

Based on a true case, attorney Elliot Anderson has to fight off an attempt by his bi-racial granddaughter's black grandmother to send Eloise to her father after Anderson's wife dies in an auto accident.  The film illuminates all sorts of social and racial cliches in a fairly predictable and obvious manner. The acting is pretty good throughout, as is the direction, but the plot plods along in obvious manner until the last courtroom scene. Still worth seeing.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Thursday, January 11, had the great pleasure of a late morning concert by the Minnesota Orchestra. First we bussed from Rosedale to Orchestra Hall, an excellent convenience. Then, after coffee, juice and donuts, came  the pleasure of part of the symphonic Beethoven Marathon. First, Symphony No.4 in B-Flat major. It is a more modest work than some of Ludwig's bigger, but its lyricism and mood fit a brisk morning well.

Then Yevgeny Sudbin put his tall slender self at the Steinway keyboard for Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major. Sudbin is a prodigious talent and meshes well with Conductor Osmo Vanska's up-tempo style.

Later , after an intermission, contemplating a cold bright January sun over Minneapolis, we sank into the happy rhythms of Beethoven's Symphony Number 6 in F Major. The Pastoral was enthusiastically performed and enthusiastically received by a well-filled house.

Thereafter we were taken by comfortable bus back to Rosedale. Compliments to all involved. A fine concert and performance of sundry servicdes.