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Did I cite Operas are Poetic? I did.

Since Houston Grand Opera's recent premiere of Dead Man Walking, I've been reflecting on the wealth of great librettists in the American operatic tradition. If I were on a television game show and had only 30 seconds to mention as many as I could, my "gut reaction" list would start with Gertrude Stein (Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All for Virgil Thomson), continue with Gian Carlo Menotti (The Consul, and many others, for … [Read more...]

Singin’ the Turtle Blues in Port Arthur

If Janis Joplin hadn’t succumbed to that fatal dose of heroin in 1970, today she might have been celebrating her 68th birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about her since a recent trip to Los Angeles, where I had the privilege of reading four letters she wrote to her family in the late 1960s and early 1970, part of an excellent exhibit at The Grammy Museum. “Mother and Dad,” she begins in one from San Franciso, “Right now my position is … [Read more...]

Looking Up in Texas

“Looking up suggests hope, and hope has no significance on stage except as a function of narrative,” said the legendary Deborah Hay in a recent lecture at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. One of the greatest thinkers, choreographers, and performers in American dance, in 1970 Hay left New York and moved to Vermont. Six years later, she settled permanently in Austin, Texas. During her recent visit to Houston, she told me that her migration … [Read more...]

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