September 21, 2016
By Jon Caroulis A man in ancient Rome named Claudius tells members of the Senate he is half-witted, but adds, "I have survived to middle age with half my wits while thousands have died with all of theirs intact. Evidently quality of wits is more important than quantity!" Those words were spoken on one of TV's greatest shows, I, Claudius , a 12-hour BBC miniseries about the first four emperors of Rome that debuted 40 years ago this month. One year later, it appeared on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre and became one of the network's most-watched shows.
April 17, 2016
1 p.m. Sunday on WRTI-FM (90.1): Vladimir Jurowski, one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a program of works by Beethoven ( Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor," with pianist Yefim Bronfman), Janácek ( Taras Bulba ), and Miaskowsky ( Symphony No. 10 ).
March 23, 2016 |
Symphony in C leapt off the deep end at Gordon Theater at Rutgers University-Camden. It was an all-Beethoven program that might have been business as (fairly) usual for the Philadelphia Orchestra but that was formidable for this postgraduate young-artist orchestra and its guest pianist, Drew Petersen. The Piano Concerto No. 5 ("Emperor") and Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica") are a lot of heroics for a Saturday night. Nobody seemed in over their head, but the concerto performance showed how valid access points to Beethoven can be somewhat shallow while still working on their own level.
February 14, 2016 |
Can Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor") possibly have anything new to report from within its familiar folds of opulent pianism and orchestral tranquillity? There's more there, it turns out, than the mere prettiness that has made the piece the one concerto to know if you're going to know only one concerto. Leading the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday night in Verizon Hall, Vladimir Jurowski deployed a wondrous paradox. He reduced the size of the ensemble and paid scrupulous attention to limiting the length of notes.
December 4, 2014
SORRY, you've been lied to. Forty is not the new 30, and there is no surgery, cream, magic elixir, age-proofing diet or fountain of youth. Exercise, I'm afraid, is not a cure-all. In our youth-obsessed culture, we resist the inevitability of change. Even worse, we want guarantees that if we eat the "right diet" and do the "right exercises" we will not only bypass aging and avoid diseases, we will ultimately cheat death itself. A few weeks ago I overheard a conversation between two women who were grappling with the sudden death of a dear friend.
April 21, 2014 |
Paul A. Orlov, 66, of Berwyn, a retired college professor so commanding in the classroom a student once dubbed him "the Emperor of English," died Tuesday, April 8, of cancer at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Dr. Orlov was an associate professor emeritus of English and American studies at Pennsylvania State University's Brandywine campus in Media. He was known for his interpretations of the novels of Theodore Dreiser from philosophical and sociological perspectives. Dr. Orlov authored a book on Dreiser's An American Tragedy published by Bucknell University Press, along with numerous articles in journals and book chapters.
October 17, 2013 |
No opera takes well to being caged. But in The Emperor of Atlantis , produced by Curtis Opera Theatre last weekend, the innate expansiveness of opera couldn't have been more appropriately contained than by a chain-link fence erected inside Curtis' studio theater - and not just because the piece was written in the Nazis' Terezin concentration camp. Inside the fence, singers were knee-deep in trash. Outside, authority figures came, went, and made proclamations without necessarily being physically present, through impersonal phone lines.
April 26, 2013
IN "THE EMPEROR'S New Clothes," a preening monarch is hoodwinked into believing that he's just bought a magnificent outfit when all he's been sold is a bill of (dry) goods. Prancing around in what he thinks is cloth of gold, the emperor is complimented by his obsequious subjects. They all would have lived happily ever after had a young boy not pointed his finger and said "he's naked!" I love that story for what it tells us about the human capacity for self-delusion. We often believe what our hearts suggest despite the clear and urgent message relayed by facts.
March 8, 2013 |
TOMMY LEE Jones, a recent Oscar nominee as fire-breathing abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, in "Lincoln," returns to historical drama in "Emperor. " He breathes no fire, but he does smoke a pipe as legendary WWII general Douglas MacArthur, in charge of the occupying American army in post-war Japan. This sounds like it should be great fun, for Jones fans and for WWII junkies, but there is really none to be had in the tepid "Emperor. " In fact, I think it's fair to say that Jones gives a better performance in in his Ameriprise financial commercials.
March 8, 2013 |
Postwar Japan. Tokyo in ruins. U.S. soldiers arriving to take charge. "Let's show them some good old-fashioned American swagger," barks Douglas MacArthur, the five-star general in command of rebuilding the nation he has just destroyed, as he and his officers make their way from the air base to their new HQ. Tommy Lee Jones, in baggy Army browns, puffing on an extra-long corncob pipe, does his best to approximate the storied military man. ...