About Opening Night

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts, such is the duty of the artist…

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

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Before you buy tickets or attend a venue, we encourage you to peruse our thoughtful and insightful reviews of theater, music, movies, restaurants, and books.

The Music

We start with music as it is considered one of the most complex, abstract, and ephemeral art forms. Music also provides a powerful landscape on which to express meaning through other art forms like theater and visual art. 

To provide you with a multi-dimensional literary, visual, and aural experience, in each of our review posts you’ll hear music related to the article. We also post visual art and embed links to music associated with the article’s content. Two Degas works were selected for this page because, in addition to their visual sentience or meaning, they project movement and sound.

The music you hear on this page is Wolfgang A. Mozart’s sublime Clarinet Quintet K581 in A major (1789) performed by the Armida Quartet – Martin Funda (violin), Johanna Staemmler (violin), Teresa Schwamm (viola), Peter-Philipp Staemmler (violoncello), with clarinetist Sabine Meyer.

Mozart Performing at Schönbrunn Palace for Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa by Eduard Ender 1869. Public Domain
Mozart Performing at Schönbrunn Palace for Emperor Francis I and Maria Theresa by Eduard Ender (1869). Public Domain. One sees proud father Leopold Mozart introducing his son to a restless, distracted set of courtesans. It was at age 8 that the child Mozart wrote the first of his many symphonies. 

The Quintet was written for the renowned Anton Stadler, a clarinetist of the Royal-Imperial Court Orchestra in Vienna, who performed it at its December 22, 1789 premiere at a concert for the benefit of musicians’ widows and orphans at the Tonkünstler Society. It is thought that Mozart played the viola part at this performance. 

Mozart composed this work during a time of great financial stress and physical challenges for him and his wife Constanze. Its sublime beauty amidst a serene melancholy reflects an effervescent sunlit glow from the composer’s soul, who was to die just two years later at age 35. This superb performance by the Armida Quartet received 1.2 million views on YouTube in the last two years.

The Arts Fulfill a Vital Human Need

As 19th Century composer Robert Schumann elegantly expressed, the arts fulfill a noble, vital human need. We attend, analyze, and experience art, challenge the integrity of the artist creator and strive to authentically explore a work’s meaning, design, and beauty, and share our discoveries with you. 

The Dance Class by Edgar Degas posted in OpeningNight.Online
The Dance Class by Edgar Degas (1874). Expanding beyond its two-dimensional form, this work depicts movement and music. Ballet master Jules Perrot conducts the class of ballerinas set in a rehearsal room in the old Paris Opéra, which had recently burned to the ground. A poster for Rossini’s Guillaume Tell pays tribute to the singer Jean-Baptiste Faure, who commissioned the picture and lent it to the 1876 Impressionist exhibition. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A world without music, dance, drama, film, literature, exploration, epicurean delights, or visual art is unimaginable. Alas, we experienced this miserable malaise that began when Covid struck.

We attended events 2-3 nights weekly until the virus closed theaters, restaurants, and concert halls silencing actors, dancers, artists, and musicians, keeping patrons home, and shutting doors on museums and hotels.

The Artistic Mind and Soul

But from this artistic abyss, the creative soul discovered means to channel, create, express, touch, and enrich our world, not in the live concert hall but through the Internet. Artists created mini-masterpieces to share their artistic imagination in a uniquely intimate setting–-I at home at my computer through my sound system, and they from multiple sites, times, and venues. From the silence and sadness, incredible, vital, important artistry emerged through online multi-media productions, arguably successors of 19th-century grand opera with staging, scenery, costuming, dancing, drama, singing, and music.

Edgar Degas, Dance Class at the Opera, rue Le Peletier (1872). Public domain
Edgar Degas, Dance Class at the Opera, rue Le Peletier (1872). Public domain

When asked to review the Myths and Hymns series by MasterVoices in New York, I was impressed by the artistic team members developing the project, all luminaries in their respective disciplines. When I viewed and experienced the first installment entitled “Flight,” my suspicions and weariness of online video communications were cast aside. I was immediately drawn into what aesthetic theorist and philosopher Susanne Langer describes as a “purely and completely experienced reality, a piece of virtual life.” My disbelief was suspended proportional to the work’s quality, integrity, and sincerity. For a time, I existed in the virtual world of the music as I watched, listened to, experienced, and enjoyed their artistic ethos of craft and dedication.

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Wolfgang A. Mozart | Clarinet Quintet K581 in A major (1789) performed by the Armida Quartet – Martin Funda (violin), Johanna Staemmler (violin), Teresa Schwamm (viola), Peter-Philipp Staemmler (violoncello), with clarinetist Sabine Meyer. 

                                                       

Schumann: Klavierkonzert ∙ hr Sinfonieorchester ∙ Khatia Buniatishvili ∙ Paavo Järvi

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