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Archive for November, 2009

Star singer makes Atlanta Opera debut

By Pierre Ruhe

For the AJC

Atlanta Opera celebrates its 30th year with two milestones. It’s the company’s first venture into “early music” — into an era of opera history that predates Mozart and requires a more concentrated style of musical performance and, perhaps, of listening. The other signal event is the Atlanta Opera debut of superstar countertenor David Daniels, a singer at the pinnacle of his international career — and a lifelong Braves fan — who moved to a condo on Peachtree Street a couple of years ago and made Atlanta home.

The work is Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice, ” an 85-minute masterpiece drawn from Greek tragedy. The title hero at the 1762 world premiere was a castrato and it’s a role Daniels calls one of his two all-time favorites.

The role “fits my voice perfectly, ” said the singer, whose range encompasses about the same territory as a female mezzo-soprano’s. “I find the music completely beautiful and emotional and titillating. The scene …

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Alliance’s ‘Theatre’ misses mark

By Wendell Brock

David Mamet’s 1977 play, “A Life in the Theatre, ” peers into the backstage relationship between an aging diva of the “the-a-tuh” and his protege. It has often been described as a “love letter” to the craft, a witty insider’s look at the pathologies of the profession — the excess of vanity and egotism, the endless thirst for attention and adoration.

Those stereotypes don’t go unexploited in the Alliance Theatre’s new production. Directed by Robert O’Hara, it’s an odd-couple affair that finds Broadway’s Andre De Shields giving a swishy, over-the-top turn as senior thespian Robert while New York actor Ariel Shafir plays the acolyte John, a sweetly ministering puppy dog who just might turn out to be as coolly manipulative as his mentor.

Truth is, this is minor Mamet, a flimsy, loosely connected series of 26 scenes that alternates between the actors’ backstage post-mortems and hissy fits and their real-time work on “the boards.” As imagined by O’Hara and …

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