"Christmas is weird. What other time of year do you sit around a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?" This got me thinking about how bizarre many hallowed Christmas traditions are, perhaps none more so than The Nutcracker.
People with Alzheimer's -- especially those in the later stages of the disease -- may stop talking or making other clear attempts to communicate. Too often we assume they don't know what's going on around them. We think they don't understand what people are saying to them or about them.
Matthew Bourne's dazzling and captivating interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty is magnificent in every respect -- not simply the choreography, costumes and scenic design, but also Bourne's innovative and intelligent narrative.
Yes, this piece, celebrating Napoleon's retreat from Russia, has become the unofficial anthem of our most celebrated celebration. The public would forgo Sousa, John Williams and Gershwin but take away Peter Ilyich and all muskets would break out.
I've been hearing this music since the cradle, yet, when played right, it never fails to surprise me with its gems of tenderness. This evening, there were no such surprises. Pretty and attractive music, to be sure, but it's not the same thing as opening up the treasures of your heart.
I've looked at/listened to newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's recent video presentation to the people of Russia. Based on my Foreign Service experience in Moscow as Cultural Affairs Officer (1998-2001), several aspects of the talk struck me.
It was touching to see Richard Chamberlain with his director of forty years ago, Ken Russell, at Sunday's American Cinematheque screening of the octogenarian's exuberant Tchaikovsky biopic, The Music Lovers.