The Letter (Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe, N.M., in repertory July 25-Aug. 18). Adultery, murder, lies, blackmail, confession, trial, hallucination, acquittal, confrontation, disaster, blood, blackout–all in ninety minutes with no intermission. An opera noir, in other words, based on the 1927 Somerset Maugham play and staged by Jonathan Kent (Faith Healer). Patricia Racette is the star, Hildegard Bechtler the set designer, Tom Ford the costume designer. Music by Paul Moravec, words by yours truly. A rattling good show, if we do say so ourselves (TT).
Archives for July 8, 2009
Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich, Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft (RCR Creative Press, $21.95). I can barely boil water, but I know an immensely informative guide when I read one, and this one fills the bill. Fans of Reich’s Notes on Directing, among whom I number myself, will recall the drill: Notes on Cooking is a 143-page list of 217 dos and don’ts for cooks, aspiring and otherwise. Some are starkly practical (“Fish should not smell”) and others subtly suggestive (“Embrace the mundane”). The advice–I’m told–is sound, the writing crisp, the design pleasing to the eye. Stuff a stocking or two with this one, and buy another for yourself (TT).
“To chat with Wolf Kahn in his studio is the purest of pleasures and the easiest of jobs. All you have to do is prompt him with an occasional question, then sit back and enjoy the answers, taking care not to be distracted by the paintings everywhere you look. (That’s the hard part.) I visited him there last February, and this is some of what he said…”
By day, among other tasks, I edit a magazine about the University of Chicago’s undergraduate college and its alumni, one of whom is the painter Wolf Kahn. In our last issue, Terry, who is (like me) a fan and (unlike me) an owner of Kahn’s work, interviewed the artist for the magazine. When the interview happened last winter, I dreamed at my desk in Chicago of being a fly on the wall in Kahn’s Manhattan studio while the two of them met, talked, and looked at Kahn’s recent paintings of the Chrysler Building. Terry’s story (and Dan Dry‘s photographs) are the next best thing. Read all about it here.
“The Juggler of Our Lady,” a 1958 animated version of the medieval legend, adapted and designed by R.O. Blechman, directed by Al Kouzel, and narrated by Boris Karloff:
(This is the latest in a weekly series of arts-related videos that appear in this space each Wednesday.)
“An artist must pass judgment only on what he understands; his range is limited as that of any other specialist–that’s what I keep repeating and insisting upon. Anyone who says that the artist’s field is all answers and no questions has never done any writing or had any dealings with imagery. An artist observes, selects, guesses and synthesizes.”
Anton Chekhov, letter to A.S. Suvorin (Oct. 27, 1888)