Nabucco from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

nabuccorscn3212_1254Over time history has repeated itself in many a way. Some in a fashionable method, others in a most destructive manner. Mankind has never learned his lesson from the garden to the techno world we inhabit today. In this saga, Abigaille, a definitive warrior of battle and survivor of the fallen conclaves of war and taster of victory has decided to rule the empires of the vast landscapes that surround her known world. She is more than determined to rule and her minds eye has become myopic about it. And yet the outcry of the Hebrew people remains loud and clear. Come join the adventure on January 6th at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

Romeo et Juliette from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

r-j    Tragedy is no stranger to the opera. It is instead an unwelcomed guest. In Gounod’s well known masterpiece, death leaps onto the stage in full bloom seeking whom it may devour. Nothing ventured is no longer applicable here in this setting as families argue in an embittered ongoing rant against the pairing of two young lovers who long for each other unto death itself. The mystery lies not in the stars but in the most ubiquitous way that these two young lovers adore and fascinate each other. Their emotions are arrayed in an unending hymn of praise for the open hearted love they each carry for the other unto eternity and perhaps beyond. The families are too far involved in their own feud that they are simply drowning in their blinded rage to see where this will lead their children. However, love does reign…perhaps not as the world may see it but as love does and finds a way. See it on Saturday January 21st at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The Search for Rat Fink (a nostalgic moment in time)

rat-fink-blue     As a child my grandmother would sometimes give me some spare change to throw away in those silly gum machines for what most of the time tossed out gum, those endless beads with the clips that you hooked together, or maybe even something cool…like a little Rat Fink figurine. This wretched looking thing was the goofiest rat I had ever seen. Therefore, as a boy it caught my attention. I knew nothing about the artist behind it, or the other hot rod stuff portrayed alongside it. No, just this crazy tiny plastic rodent that made me smile. Since then, of course I don’t know what became of my little wacked out friend, but as an adult some of these insignificant nostalgic things seem suddenly important to me. My wife has been asking me what i wanted for Christmas and being that I seem to like odd things which are somewhat difficult to locate…we are at a standstill. My plea is if anyone who reads this has one of these kooky things I am earnestly looking for and would like to make a grown up kid very happy for Christmas, would you please contact me and let me know if I may give this big rat a home? I most sincerely thank you from the bottom of my nostalgic heart.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

 

The Penobscot Theatre Company Presents “Oliver” (you want some more?, you got it…)

fscn0399_1414   Many variations have sprung from classic stories, both from a comedic angle as well as as a more, shall we say artistic side of life (the latter not always a winner). However, when a jewel such as Oliver is presented to us in its truest form with a large side helping of flawlessness, and its ever recognized and loved musical numbers, then we have a wonderful marriage of ability and paramount standard that combines the grace in which the classic story was intended to portray. It caters to our nostalgic memories and ignites the entertainment all over again (not to mention the audience singing along with them). The actors gave life to these amazing characters with their own unique acting flair, composing facial expressions and virtual heartfelt feelings for their counterparts with heart, mind, and soul most definitely intermingled within their world. rscn0415_1419The ever quite mobile stage setting, highly versatile as it was, maneuvered about very well to accommodate its transitory setting. The Artful Dodger brilliantly played by Andrew Barrett, grants us the need to see him in his truest form as the lying, cheating, thieving, wretch that he is with a handful of street class and a heart of gold. Fagin, masterfully portrayed by Dominick Varney, not only gave us exactly what we expected to see in this low life faceless criminal lurking in the shadows, but a mastermind of the miscreant underworld, yet as a thief in real life stealing the show with his prancing, daunting eyes, and glaring teeth perfectly. Ben Layman as Mr. Bumble, is not only a wonderfully versatile actor, but has the uncanny ability to make you believe he is a different person no matter how many charterers he dons the stage with. And his jolly articulation along with his own facial variations are priceless. Brianne Beck’s dazzling vocals and poignant sincerity spilled all over the stage and onto the spectators as her character, Nancy, whose heart was drawn to the miserable Bill Sykes (frighteningly played by the extremely believable Neil E. Graham) without seeing the goodness in her own heart  drowning in her own self worthlessness had become embroiled in a life of corruption. The vocals were launched into the stratosphere with triumphant success and everyone’s heart was most definitely flourishing onstage. A legendary story brought to life once again by the Penobscot Theatre Company. Did you say you wanted some more? Come and get it!

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

 

L’Amour de Loin from the Met at the Grand Auditorium in Ellsworth Maine

rscn3212_1254   Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has transformed a poem into an opera inspired by the great troubadours of the twelfth century. Obsession and devotion are in question in a madcap race to fulfill the torment of searching for a woman who may not exist. Clemence walks a fine line between reality and illusion and underlines it with a loneliness that propels him into a journey that may cost him his very life. He longs for the pleasures of life, in search of a new love, and dares to dream of a fantasy as if he has seen it with his own eyes. In a strange and faraway land he must meet her as he impulsively seeks out her wiles and her admiration. He sets out to find love, yet, he is anguished with trepidation at the thought that he may not find her. Falling ill over the scenario, he finally arrives. Devastation looms like a lingering death and encircles the situation leaving us to ponder if he has made the right decision. This simple answer can be found at the Grand Auditorium on December 10th, 12:55 p.m. in Ellsworth Maine. Come and enjoy yet another masterpiece in the world of opera in the wonderful setting of the Grand.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photos by Susan D’Alessandro

opera

The Gracie Theatre Presents “Coig” (in a celtic Christmas celebration)

coig   Thursday, December 8th, at seven p.m., a five piece east coast band of musical instrument slingers will take the stage at the beloved Gracie Theatre. Coig which means “five” in Gaelic has already taken on tradition within the name they don themselves with. Their Celtic folkloristic minstrels in the gallery ancient style comes shining through as they travel through time in a musical venture that incorporates sounds of generations past and their more recent audience shaking ones as well. A vast musical calliope of varied instruments from the stringed to the woodwind encircles the atmosphere and creates the very sound that is Coig. From the delicate ballads to the foot stomping super audience participation numbers, the Celtic theme will reign supreme and bring us together to enjoy the sounds of their heartland. Come join us as this celebration invites us one and all from the haunting and heartwarming relics to the contemporary to open the the season for us all.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro

The Gracie Theater Presents Aztec Two Step Live (in their 45th year anniversary)

azrec-interviewLiving on the edge of nostalgia is a world untouched by mainstream flashes of fame and flash. Many of our memories remain just memories. However, in a place just for us and others who discover the majesty of such a genre, enters those such as Aztec Two Step, a group unhampered by theatrics and depending heavily on the spirit in which their music rests upon. Rex Fowler and Neil Shulman have intercepted a wondrous combination of lyrical sincerity and fret board dancing as one of their trademarks. Fine acoustic lead guitar encompasses and engages together with heartfelt songs reaching those sublime areas of our being together with an almost alchemic formula of two part harmonies into the outer atmosphere. The tour will consist of their original songs along with some Everly Brothers and Simon and Garfunkel classics as well. We may even hear the return of “Velvet Elvis”, a whimsical little number about the great singer. So join us in an acoustical journey with Aztec Two Step at the great Gracie Theater on November nineteenth at seven thirty P.M.

Written by John D’Alessandro

Photo by Susan D’Alessandro