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Friday, January 29, 2016

Prokofiev Lyrical, Prokofiev Grotesque

Hear all five of Prokofiev’s piano concertos—performed by the pianists Daniil Trifonov, George Li, Alexander Toradze Sergei Redkin, and Sergei Babayan under conductor Valery Gergiev—Wednesday, February 24 at 7:30pm in the Howard Gilman Opera House in Folk, Form, and Fire: The Prokofiev Piano Concertos, part of the The Mariinsky at BAM.

Photo: Daniil Trifonov

By Robert Jackson Wood

Written between 1911 and 1932, Prokofiev’s piano concertos trade in tempered lyricism, sardonic mischief-making, and jackhammer virtuosity—often in the span of mere measures. Composed largely to showcase his own keyboard prowess, they also bookend a period of relative experimentation for the composer. In 1932, the Central Committee of the Communist Party issued a decree ushering in what would become the doctrine of Socialist Realism—uplifting art that glorified the state was to supplant all self-indulgent modernist trifling—and Prokofiev, albeit cynically, would become one of its main musical emissaries. Though the provocateur in him found ways to persist during that time (see his Piano Sonata No.7, for example), few of his later works match the piano concertos in their brash commitment to innovation without fear of reproach.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

In Context: Trisha Brown Dance Company

The Trisha Brown Dance Company comes to BAM January 28—30 with Set and Reset, PRESENT TENSE and Newark (Niweweorce). Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles and videos related to the show. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #TrishaBrown.

Friday, January 22, 2016

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Will Oldham of The Glory of the World

Tonight, Will Oldham (better known by the stage name Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) takes over the role of "The Man" in Charles Mee's new play The Glory of the Worldplaying the BAM Harvey Theater through February 6. We spoke with Oldham about posture, persona, and the public domain in anticipation of his BAM debut.

Will Oldham (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy).

How did you connect with Les Waters (artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville)? Have you worked on any other projects together in your hometown of Louisville?

It’s been a couple of years. Around when Waters came to town, somebody or some force allowed us to get together, and we have met and spoken about this or that. I go to see the work he directs, which is stronger and more satisfying with each successive production.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dance, Valiant & Molecular

Newark (Niweweorce). Photo: Stephanie Berger

By Susan Yung

On the surface, Trisha Brown’s proscenium dances are kinetically intriguing and relatable, formed of waves of roiling, fluid phrases. But dig down, and the intellectual rigor and self-imposed rules factoring into their creation reveal Brown’s fascinating thought processes, and connect them to her early task-based or site-specific works such as Walking on the Wall or Roof Piece. Three major proscenium works will be performed by the Trisha Brown Dance Company at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House from January 28—30, celebrating a relationship that dates from 1976.

Monday, January 11, 2016

In Context: The Glory of the World

Charles Mee's The Glory of the World, directed by Les Waters, comes to BAM January 16—February 6. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles and videos related to the show. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #GloryoftheWorld.

Friday, January 8, 2016

BAM Illustrated: Thomas Merton

Charles Mee and Les Waters' The Glory of the World (Jan 16—Feb 6 at the BAM Harvey Theater) celebrates the legacy and centennial birthday of Thomas Merton. In anticipation of the production, illustrator Nathan Gelgud breaks down ten things you should know about this renowned mystic and Catholic monk.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Michael Mann: To the Limit

James Caan in Thief. Photo courtesy MGM/Photofest
By Nick Pinkerton

BAMcinĂ©matek presents Heat & Vice: The Films of Michael Mann, Feb 5—16. Michael Mann’s films combine a verbal taciturnity with a baroque visual style. They aren’t much for talking, but they’re something to see. His protagonists, the loquacious title character of Ali (2001) being an outlier, don’t have time to dilly-dally or mince words. Instead they fall back on a few tried-and-true pragmatic personal codes that Mann’s aficionados can recite, mantra-like: “Life is short. Time is luck,” or, “There hasn’t been a hard time invented that we can’t handle.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Swados

Swados in 1987. Photo: Tom Arma

Elizabeth Swados, born in Buffalo, NY in 1954, passed away on January 4, 2016. While best known for her Tony-nominated Broadway success, Runaways (1978), she had a long and rich history at BAM.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Glory Be

The Glory of the World. Photo: Bill Brymer

When it premiered last spring at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Charles Mee's The Glory of the Worldcoming to the BAM Harvey Theater from January 16 through February 6—quickly became one of the most debated productions in the decades-long history of the Humana Festival of New American plays. The play had been commissioned to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, who spent most of his career writing and meditating in the secluded confines of the Abbey at Gethsemani just south of Louisville. At the heart of heated discussions: How accurately had Merton’s legacy been portrayed?

Merton, author of some 70 volumes of poetry and essays (and the best-selling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain) is revered around the world—just a few months ago, in a speech to the US Congress, Pope Francis singled Merton out as a “great American.” But he’s especially beloved in Kentucky, where the Thomas Merton Center is housed at Bellarmine University (and where a recent campaign has emerged to name a new Ohio River bridge after him).