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Wendy Moten at the Nashville Hall of Fame Museum. Photo from wendymoten.com
Cabaret
Edward A Kliszus

Wendy Moten at Birdland

Wendy Moten ascended to the Birdland stage with a smile and charm that lit up the room. From her first words and the comfortable swing tempo of her first song, All of Me, Moten emerged as a poised, expressive, and consummate artist. She conveyed her passionate insights with a beautiful, clear voice and through her ability to command any genre she desired.

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Text superimposed on The Siege by James Little. Oil and Wax on Canvas. 2003. Private Collection, NY
Choral Music
Edward A Kliszus

Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts

For the first time in 35 years, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts returned to the stage. Envisioned initially by Ellington as a “Festival of Grace,” provenance for Sacred Concerts is informed by a broad spectrum of jazz, classical and choral music, spirituals, dance, gospel, and blues. Ellington’s compositional product in this venue consisted of a triptych of 34 songs originally recorded in 1965, 1968, and 1973 respectively. It can be argued that an august Ellington facing his mortality considered his Sacred Concerts among his most significant works.

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Blake Allen. Photo credit: Bryan Clavel
Chamber Music
Edward A Kliszus

INSOMNIA 

Blake Allen’s Insomnia is a cerebral, enigmatic, and mystifying artistic creation chronicling a night of an insomniac narrator. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Sleep and Waking” (1934), Allen mobilizes the power of music to dramatize and intensify the import of the conflicting tensions of the restive, lone sufferer.

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"L’Amour à Passy" by G.W. Reed, directed by Manfred Bormann. G.W. Reed as Benjamin Franklin, Musa Gurnis as Madame Brillon. Photo credit: Jonathan Slaff
Off Broadway
Edward A Kliszus

L’Amour `a Passy

Benjamin Franklin the man emerged as a frowzy, flawed, and crafty roué, relentlessly attempting to seduce the married Mme Brillon. Franklin deftly engaged and modified his façon de parler and wits to enamor the charming Brillon while also initiating, to no avail, games of chess with personal stakes to tarnish Brillon’s marital honor.

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Ben Wendel. Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
Jazz
Edward A Kliszus

Ben Wendel Quartet at the Village Vanguard

Wendel’s songs are strikingly original, expressive, and extraordinarily inventive. His ideas and improvisations are freely chromatic, virtuosic, and organic, and he employed subtle be-bop idioms when it suited him. His facility is so commanding that he regularly reaches into the stratosphere of the tenor saxophone’s extended range. Notably, he can express ideas with the restraint of Lester Young while employing the pyrotechnics of Charlie Parker.

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L-R Julia Mack, Bridget Ann White, and Eileen Sugameli. Photo credit: Valerie Terranova
Off Broadway
Edward A Kliszus

FUKT at The Tank

This cast deserves high praise for maintaining the challenging, complex characters and tensions while also charming and engaging viewers who could not resist being sympathetic and moved. Their performances were effective, stimulating, and inventive.

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American Classical Orchestra musicians and chorus. From aconyc.org
Choral Music
Edward A Kliszus

The American Classical Orchestra presents REMEMBER

The performance of Mozart’s Requiem, K526, was glorious and ecstatic. The sui generis admixture of rich sounds from soloists, chorus, and orchestra was superb. At the same time, the sumptuous luminosity of the famed Lacrimosa was almost more than an emotive listener could process without soulful introspection.

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Ginger Costa-Jackson as Carmen. Photo Credit: Erin Baiano
Music
Edward A Kliszus

MasterVoices presents CARMEN

With the production’s delights of flamenco dancing, passionate arias, magnificent costuming, staging, lighting, soaring melodies, and powerful drama, we ultimately gasp in awe at the power of Bizet’s Fate theme, akin to the tragedy of the last act in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with its piercing melancholy. Carmen’s impact is profound, in part due to Bizet’s launching of the verismo school, where contemporary characters live true to life.

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Kathleen Moore as Susan B. Anthony. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
Off Broadway
Edward A Kliszus

Susan B at the Theater for the New City

This play production “Susan B” reminds us that Susan B. Anthony was an astounding, courageous voice in a wilderness who, at her peril, evoked an awakening of clear thinking, reflection, and debate.

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