Susan Hall


Recent Articles:

  • Skinnamarink at New York Theater Workshop Front Page

    Little Lord Skewers US Education with Style

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 23rd, 2019

    Little Lord transforms the Fourth Street Theater of New York Theater Workshop into a one room schoolhouse. We the audience get to face the demons of our early education where "Run Dick Run" at the very least bored us to tears. Based on the educational theories of William McGuffey, who after roaming the midwest as an itinerant teacher, created elementary readers for grades one to six, McGuffey's texts were used throughout the US for a hundred years.

  • Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall Front Page

    Thomas Adès Conducts

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Mar 22nd, 2019

    Although the first conductors were themselves composers, the wearing of both hats at the helm of a symphony orchestra is always cause for comment. On Wednesday night, the British composer Thomas Adès, who is currently in the new role of "Artistic Partner" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led that band at Carnegie Hall in a program featuring the New York debut of his Piano Concerto.

  • Theatre of Voices at Carnegie Hall Front Page

    Arvo Part and David Lang Featured

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 21st, 2019

    Theatre of Voices returned to Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall to perform the music of Arvo Pärt alongside the New York premiere of visual poems accompanied by a picture poem by Phie Ambo. No Mickey Mousing was intended. Instead the pictures were suggested by changing seasons, and a farm in Denmark. Both Pärt and David Lang were beautiful, deep meditations on nature, man's the the world's.

  • Man of La Mancha in Annapolis Front Page

    Patrick Gerard Lynch Plays the Don and his Creator

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 18th, 2019

    Man of La Mancha acted and sung with all the passion it can arouse, is revived by the Compass Rose Theater in Annapolis, Maryland. It is a treat. While its score may be Broadway- lite, a reminder that there is hope for humans who dream is a welcome.

  • Ashes by Plexus Polaris Front Page

    Yngvild Aspeli Directs at HERE

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 18th, 2019

    Ashes is touring the world and landed at the adventuresome theater HERE in New York. Billed as a puppet show, yet so much more, Ashes tells the tale of a pyromaniac in 1970s Norway as the story is being woven by Gaute Helvoli. In his novel Before I Burn, the author strives to tell the story of arson in his own town at the time he was a very young child. Parallels between his story, typed on a scrim and intermittently woven into Dag, the arson's story, are Biblical in dimension. Fathers and sons are the subject.

  • Baruch Performing Arts Center's Spoken Songs Front Page

    Spears and Argento Sung by Brian Mulligan

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 14th, 2019

    Baruch Performing Arts Center presented a Thoreau song cycle by Gregory Spears and Virginia Woolf's Diaries by Dominic Argento. Spears, a phenom among contemporary composers, loves Henry David Thoreau, but found his poetry less than thrilling. Diving into his prose, he decided to take up the more difficult challenge of setting prose to music.

  • HERE Presents Nick Lehane's Chimpanzee Front Page

    Puppetry Moves Like No Other Form

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 11th, 2019

    Chimpanzee is a delightful and superlatively moving account of memories and dreams re-captured in captivity by a primate. Nick Lehane has created this compelling portrait. From the moment lighting director Marika Kent takes us from blackness into the light on the Chimpanzee, graceful light gestures, and some searing white light suggest the chimp's changing moods as does the soundscape by Kate Marvin.

  • New Federal Theater Probes Leroy aka Amiri Baraka Front Page

    Weighty Ideas and Dazzling Characters Entrance

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 10th, 2019

    The New Federal Theater and Castillo Theater are presenting Looking for Leroy, a fascinating and enthralling exploration of the work of Leroi Jones aka Amira Baraka. Written with a masterful combination of character detail and theoretical exploration, Larry Muhammad has created a forceful, touching and provocative work.

  • Sonja Friseli's Aida Is Retired at the Met Front Page

    The End of Aida As We Loved Her

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 09th, 2019

    The production mounted at the Met thirty years ago is to be replaced, under the injunction: if it's not broken, break it. Sonja Friseli's Aida is perfect and satisfies audience members of all ages and all hues. Why should a new one be created? If you are having financial troubles, spend more in the wrong place?

  • Aspect Foundation Concert at Italian Academy Front Page

    Alexander Sitkovetsky and Wu Qian Team for Dramatic Beauty

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 07th, 2019

    The Aspect Foundation is committed to making the concert experience memorable. By offering food and drink before the concert and during intermission, and selecting unusual and glistening venues, audience members are swept into their commitment to first-rate music-making. Evenings Aspect presents are unforgettable. Go to one and you will be hooked.

  • Bridget Kibbey and Friends at Merkin Hall Front Page

    WQXR's Terrance McKnight Hosts

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 07th, 2019

    Bridget Kibbey is a superb musician on her instrument of choice, the harp. She was joined by two friends on violin and flute/recorder to perform J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Orlando de Lassus and Tarquinio Merula in Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center in New York. The event was hosted by Terrance McKnight of WQXR.

  • Christie and Les Arts Florissants at BAM Front Page

    Jean-Philipppe Rameau Delights

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 04th, 2019

    William Christie and his Arts Florissant created two dance/opera entertainments by Jean-Philippe Rameau at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As usual, this group sells out in New York and it is easy to see why. Christie conducts with poise and precision. He enlists a first rate ensemble of musicians to perform period music. To this is added stylized dance and gorgeous operatic voices. In the second one act dance/opera, La Naissance d'Osiris, we saw and heard a divertissement of dances, the gavotte, sarabande and minuet among them.

  • Falstaff at the Met Front Page

    Verdi's Final Work

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Feb 28th, 2019

    "It's not going to be my favorite Verdi opera." This, from an attendee on the 1 train riding away from Lincoln Center after the Metropolitan Opera's Wednesday night performance of Falstaff, efficiently sums up the attitude of audiences toward the composer's final opera--and his only successful attempt at writing comedy. Falstaff is a masterwork, but one held in high regard not for its considerable qualities but for its place as Verdi's last musical utterance. On Wednesday night under the baton of Robert Carnes, the opera received a performance that just might change that gentleman's opinion.

  • Theater for the New City's Catapult! Front Page

    A Pithy Comedy by Matthew James Fitzgerald

    By: Rachel de Aragon - Feb 27th, 2019

    If you have ever walked into an art gallery and wondered why, or what, or whether about any particular piece – or the venue as a whole, be prepared to laugh! Fitzgerald's rapid-fire dialog and a versatile and well-cast cast make this visit to the gallery worthwhile. Mark Marcante, Mathew Thomas Burda, David Jones, Lytza Colon Kanako Nagayama and Quinn Therrault have set the scene; the stage becomes a most credible Gallery Zuzu replete with works of art. Director, Tony White knows his subject well. His characters walk out of the art gallery scene like pieces in the exhibition

  • Irish Repertory Theatre Celebrates O'Casey Front Page

    Shadow of a Gunman

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 24th, 2019

    The Irish Repertory Theatre captures the quotidian of life in Dublin, 1920 as it plays out in Sean O’Casey’s The Shadow of a Gunman. We sit in the extension of a room in a tenement which a poet and a suspender salesman share. Above us, laundry hangs from a window. Charlie Corcoran’s set brings us completely into a day-in-the-life of a wouldn’t-be gunman.

  • BMP's Next Generation at National Sawdust Front Page

    Composers Michael Lanci and Emma O'Halloran

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 21st, 2019

    National Sawdust, a leading venue for new music, mounted the work of two finalists in the BMP Next Generation Competition, Michael Lanci and Emma O'Halloran. Last March, their compositions were selected from a field of ten, winnowed down from 75 applications.

  • Victoria Bond at the Cutting Edge Front Page

    Barnes, Glass, and Enchants

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 19th, 2019

    The program at Cutting Edge Concerts at Symphony Space opened with a delightful bird romp by Maria Newman. Hal Ott on the flute, Scott Hosfeld on viola and the composer on the violin created pictures of four different birds. Olivier Messiaen recorded birds in their native habitats, focusing on their identifying songs. Newman widens the frame to include pictures of the birds' movements and suggests purpose, like the melancholy watchfulness of a snowy owl and the ravenous detection of prey for the falcon.

  • Salonen Conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra Front Page

    Strauss and Bartok Featured

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Feb 19th, 2019

    In recent seasons, Esa-Pekka Salonen has shifted his emphasis from conducting to his first love, composition. However, Friday’s matinee program at the Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall featured none of Salonen’s own catalogue. Rather, the composer led a program consisting of workers by Béla Bartók and Richard Strauss, two very different composers who are each in their own way, touchstones of the twentieth century.

  • Non Solus at BAM Front Page

    Circus Dance from Hungary

    By: Chriselle Tidrick and Susan Hall - Feb 15th, 2019

    The Recirquel Company Budapest is presenting Non Solus at the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM. The front of the stage is swathed in a glimmering material that reflects like plastic and moves like silk. Behind the curtain, misty lights of yellow and white are haloed like a desert mirage. The translucent curtain billows and then collapses in waves of light and texture.

  • Bonnie's Last Flight by Eliza Bent Front Page

    Next Door at New York Theater Workshop

    By: Rachel de Aragon - Feb 14th, 2019

    Buckle your seat belts; the plane is still on the tarmac and we the audience, seated in airplane style aisles, are already anticipating a turbulent trip. There are technical difficulties. Flight attendants are rushing up and down the aisles shutting the overhead compartments, allaying our fraying nerves with snacks.

  • Opera Philadelphia's A Midsummer Night's Dream Front Page

    Acclaimed Robert Carsen Production Makes US Debut

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 12th, 2019

    Opera Philadelphia has mounted a delightful production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The company reminds us, as it does so often, that opera can be highly entertaining and occasionally hilariously funny. Created by Robert Carsen thirty years ago in Aix-en-Provence, the stage is full of royal blues and lime forest greens until all is resolved in white. A new moon hangs in the sky.

  • Barbara Hannigan Conducts Juilliard Orchestra Front Page

    A Soprano at the Helm

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 09th, 2019

    Barbara Hannigan, one of the world’s leading sopranos, conducted the Juilliard Orchestra in a thrilling performance of Strauss, Haydn, Debussy, Sibelius and Bartok. The orchestra responded with music-making worthy of concert halls across the globe.

  • Crypt Sessions' Quartet for the End of Time Front Page

    Messiaen's Revelation

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 05th, 2019

    Andrew Ousley’s remarkable concert cocktail evenings at The Crypt presented Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. This most famous of Messiaen’s works had a moving performance in a setting that resonated with crystal liturgy.

  • Meister Debuts at the Metropolitan Opera Front Page

    Don Giovanni Gets a Special Spin

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Jan 30th, 2019

    The conductor Cornelius Meister is a fast-rising star in Europe. Having just finished a lengthy run at the helm of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, he is now the music director o the State Opera and the State Orchestra in the German city of Stuttgart. On January 30, Mr. Meister will make his debut at the Met. His task: conducting one of Mozart's finest and darkest operas: the deliciously twisted Don Giovanni. This week, Superconductor found time to sit down with the maestro to talk all things dramma giocoso.

  • SongStudio at Carnegie Front Page

    Nico Muhly and Piotr Beczala as Master Teachers

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 29th, 2019

    Communication is the theme of SongStudio. Renee Fleming has gone for the jugular in addressing the problem of song’s survival. How do singers communicate with an audience so people want to come and hear them? Master classes with Nico Muhly and Piotr Beczala provided assurances for the future of the song.

  • Next >>