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Cue Sheet – September 2006


    I'm still bedeviled by this cold, so not only am I not on the air today, I skipped last night's Tucson Symphony concert, so no review this morning. (My wife, who went with a neighbor, loved it.) If you're terribly disappointed not to be able to read my brilliant opinions about something, take heart: You can go here and find out what I think about three new CDs by former University of Arizona cello prof Nancy Green.

Classical Music,


    Today's Tucson Weekly also carries a nice review by Jarret Keene of a volume of poetry by my friend Pamela Portwood, each poem inspired by a historical figure with epilepsy. While Pamela was doing research for a poem on Edward Lear, master of the limerick, she got into limerick mode and challenged me and her husband to write one using the difficult rhyme "asthma." Here's what I came up with:

A young saxophonist with asthma
Couldn't breathe in a nightclub's miasma.
He said to his mother,
"I feel like I'll smother.
I should never have gone into jazz, ma."



    I may be off the air today (bad colds make bad radio), but I'm back in print. The gist of my latest review in the Tucson Weekly:

Three brave and understated performances provide enough warmth to contradict the title of Bryony Lavery's most honored and controversial play, Frozen. Beowulf Alley Theatre Company is presenting this work entwining the stories of a serial killer, the mother of one of his victims and a psychiatrist who understands the killer better than she understands herself.
    Read all about it here.



    Follow this link to a story recently broadcast on All Things Considered:

    One of the leading opera houses in Germany has cancelled a production because a scene that might offend Muslims could create a security threat.
    The production of the opera Idomeneo features a scene in which a character presents the severed heads of religious leaders—including Jesus, the Buddha and Muhammad. [The Bloomberg news service also mentions Poseidon in this company.]
    The Deutsche Oper in Berlin said police had warned that staging the production could pose a security risk to the opera house, its employees and patrons.
    According to Bloomberg, “German press agency DPA said Berlin police have so far recorded no direct threat to the opera house.”
    There’s an AP version of the story in the Arizona Daily Star. Note that this is a three-year-old production, so Idomeneo has been prancing around with those heads for a great many performances already.
    I avoid discussing religion and politics on this blog—you can find lots of that elsewhere—so I won’t comment on this situation, except to observe the notable absence of one head you’d expect to be in the company of those religious figures: Moses. Of course, this production is in Germany, the nation that brought us the Holocaust a couple of generations ago, after which even a director like Hans Neuenfels apparently would not dare to suggest the decapitation of Moses.
    What do you think—if Muslims and Christians are in for this kind of stage treatment, should Jews be as well, even in Germany? If Jews are off limits, should everyone else be, too? And should Deutsche Oper have dumped the whole production, or even just that one bit of stage business, because officials feared violent reprisals from one potentially offended group, even though no threats had yet been made?

Classical Music,


    Separated at birth: Dmitri Shostakovich and Harry Potter. Follow the links for photographic evidence.



    So what’s happening with violinist Adela Peña, one of the founding members of the Eroica Trio? According to Playbill, she’s now been permanently replaced in the group by Susie Park. Peña, according to Playbill, “has been out of commission due to illness since February.” That sounds ominous. Violinists fall prey to arm and shoulder problems, which is bad enough, but the word “illness” makes it sound even worse. Well, it’s not. If you dig up the original article in the Illinois newspaper from which Playbill gets its info, the word “illness” doesn’t show up at all. It’s a “fatigue injury.” That’s potentially career-threatening, but it’s not life-threatening, which is a relief. I do wish writers and editors would be more careful with their word choice.

About Cue Sheet

James Reel's cranky consideration of the fine arts and public radio in Tucson and beyond.