Category Archives: Opera

Inconcievable Hilarity at El Grande Circus de Coca Cola

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move



Pepe Hernandez’ traveling circus may just be a posse of cast off children from his prior 5 marriages, he may have lost a few 3-ring trained animals while crossing the Mohave Desert, to heat stroke and lack of rations, yes the chupacabra is voraciously hungry, messy and running wild around town shredding costumes, tents and car paint in its wake, the choreography awkward, the acts inconsistent and the talent decidedly second-rate.

Then there’s the problem with 15-year-old “mui fuerte” Maria begging, flirting and falling in love with male guests for a green card in exchange for cooking, cleaning and a little something extra. Kittenish half-Swedish blonde bombshell Consuelo is suggestively (but oh so politely in front of the wives in attendance) inviting potential male agents back stage to talk about representation.  Never mind the half-wit drums, piano and accordion playing boys who can’t get anything right — although they try, they really, really try.

El Grande Circus de Coca Cola is the most inconceivable Spanish language only, spectacular “spectacular”, everything but the kitchen sink carnival motif revival, to play Hollywood Boulevard in as far back as probably anyone can remember.

Film aficionado Pepe Hernandez has finally arrived on a world tour, in Hollywood at the Skylight Theatre, bringing with him an almost razzle-dazzle mashup of variety show acts including knife throwing, magic tricks, fortune-telling, opera, ballet, a fearsome parody of Latino telenovela and a coup de gras performance of Las Flamenco Fleas from Barcelona.

flea circus


And, in case anyone is interested he is also giving acting classes while in town. You can find a discount coupon in your

FootLights program.

FootLights program

(Yes really! Go check it out for yourself. It’s there on page 3!)

This show, with all its holes and dragging lulls in between all the “jazz” is so incredibly creative, so high-caliber designed, so astounding in performance there’s no way you won’t want to stay till the end!  The absolute highlights are the team-choreographed commercials made for their sponsor, American soda company, Coca Cola.  The final histrionic stunner however is the photographic replay of Pepe’s girls’ Quinceañera, a bona fide study in perfect physical comedy.

El Grande Circus de Coca Cola is a beautiful, colorful, glitterized, 80 minutes mess!


Performances run Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30pm, Sundays at 3pm.

The Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave, LA, 90027.

Tickets are $34.

Reservations: 213-761-7061 or online at

Find Them on Facebook:
Twitter: @SkylightThtr

Cast: Paul Baird, Olivia Christina Delgado, Lila Dupree, Aaron Miller, and Marcelo Tubert
Production Credits:
Written by Ron House
Directed by Alan Shearman
John Iacovelli (Set Designer), Jeff McLaughlin (Light Designer), Tor Campbell (Choreographer), Sarah Figoten (Costume Designer), and Jeff Faeth (Props Designer)

Hollywood Fringe Announces 2015 Award Winners

Sixth Annual Festival Closes With a Bang


Photo credit: Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

The 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival ended last night after crowning this year’s award winners at the annual Award Ceremony and Closing Night Party. Over 650 people attended the event.The Freak Awards are community-voted by Fringe participants and attendees. Winners included:

Click here to see a full list of award winners, including sponsored awards and extensions.

Hollywood Fringe

The sixth annual Fringe was a huge success according to festival organizers, with record-breaking online ticket sales and attendance. Official numbers and year-to-year comparisons will be released in the coming weeks after settlement is complete.


Hollywood Fringe Logo

The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community.  Each June during the Hollywood Fringe, the arts infiltrates the Hollywood neighborhood: Fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers.

Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is completely open and uncensored. This free-for-all approach underlines the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curative body. By opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. Additionally, by creating an environment where artists must self-produce their work, the Fringe motivates its participants to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the arts.

REDCAT presents the World Premiere of The Institute of Memory (TIMe)

A Multimedia Performance 

1. Photo Courtesy the Artist

REDCAT, CalArts’, presents the World Premiere of The Institute of Memory (TIMe), by director and media artist Lars Jan and his company Early Morning Opera, Thursday May 28 to Sunday May 31.

Produced by the CalArts Center for New Performance, TIMe is a multi-dimensional performance about how the future of remembering is changing right now. A leading-edge visual design sets the stage for this theatrical exploration of the blurring of short and long term memories, and the transformation of archives from physical to digital structures.

TIMe features two performers, projected imagery and original musical compositions by world-renowned vocalist and composer Mariana Sadowska, as part of its extensive multimedia collage, which trace the evolution of national and personal remembering and privacy through the story of the director’s father known in later life as Henryk S. Ryniewicz, a Polish resistance fighter in WWII, a McCarthy-era anti-communist speaker, a Cold War intelligence operative, and privacy-obsessed misanthrope.

TIMe is at the intersection of theater, film and new media. Hybridizing theatrical forms and contemporary art practices, the performance draws from both emerging digital technologies and analog antiques—notably visible in Jan’s use of a custom-tailored mid-century typewriter transformed by artist Andrew Schneider into both musical instrument and functional lighting/sound/video board.

This project is supported by as part of a program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tadeusz Kantor.

Thursday, May 28, 2015 to Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera: The Institute of Memory (TIMe)

redcat logoTickets: $10-25
Location: REDCAT | 631 West 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

For more information call the REDCAT Box Office at 213-237-2800
Or visit:

For current program and exhibition information call 213-237-2800 or visit

REDCAT is located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex with a separate entrance at the corner of West 2nd and Hope Streets.

Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure. $9 event rate or $5 for vehicles entering after 8:00 pm on weekdays.

Box Office Hours: Tuesdays– thru Saturday from noon until 6 pm or two hours prior to curtain




Crossing Cultural Frontiers: The Voice of Asia Fills Carnegie Hall

by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

Photo credit Carla Nur

Photo credit Carla Nur

Music heals, music pierces language, crosses cultural frontiers, and reveals the heart of universalities; like poetry, it builds bridges, like dance, it goes deep within and adds light. In Voice of Asia, The Astana Opera Symphony Orchestra clearly brought all this home with their impassioned  performance at Carnegie Hall.

Hailing from the North of Kazakhstan, the massive group of 144 members filled the hall with magnificent sound, including Kazakh folk songs, delivered in traditional costumes, to offerings from honored modern and canonized composers.

Being their first visit on American soil, we already look forward to their return.

To a filled house, the company offered New York a treat of outstanding musicianship, powerful energy and thrilling song. Crisp and confident, with high professionalism, the newly minted opera company made Kazakhstan proud.  Obviously, if anything can bring the world closer, cross borders, and unify people in a galvanizing moment in time, musical exchange is a likely method.

A case in point would be their offering of Violin Concert in D major by Tchaikovsky.

Performed wonderfully by Erzhan Kulibaev on a Stadivarius Rode made in 1722 (if that instrument could only speak!), played with virtuosic elegance producing rich tones and fluid passages to stunning effect. From speed to delicacy, from attack to control, Mr. Kulibaev’s consummate delivery was nothing short of remarkable. He was ably lead by Conductor Abzal Mukhitdinov, and the equally superb, responsive orchestra.


Stradivarius Violins

Sundet Baygzhin also delivered a great performance with his rich baritone voice in “Largo al factorum,” from The Barber of Seville.  Marching onto the stage Baygzhin immediately captured the fun, fanciful, and difficult aria with total confidence and control– relaxed as a walk in the park.  His well-placed voice boomed through the hall and thoroughly delighted the audience.

A reference point for me for this performance was attending Valentina Kozlova’s International Ballet Competition earlier this year in New York. At the end of that three day event, a Kazakh couple, replete with talent, had medaled in the grueling ordeal which required a certain high quality of spirit and training to impress the watchful eyes of the distinguished panel of judges. I was then introduced to Kazakh talent.

For the most part, the most impressive and awe-inspiring performance, amongst many during the evening, was the choir and symphony’s offering of Borodin’s “Polovtisian Dances” from the opera, Prince Igor.  Already seen various times this last season at the Met, prepared me for the wall of sound and beauty of this singular piece.  I can’t think of any other choral piece to compare with this exotic composition for its power and romance. The singers were remarkable, and created an emotional and transporting experience.

On the lighter side, “Glitter and Be Gay,” (Bernstein) sung by Alfiya Karimova charmed, and “Elijah Rock” performed a capella by a dancing choir added another kind of soul. Offenbach’s “Belle Nuit” Barcarolle from The Tales of Hoffman, sung with cloud-like sweetness and delicacy, was masterfully delivered by soprano

Aigul Niyazova and mezzo-soprano Dina Khamzina

Highlighting the opening of the program was a perfect introduction for all the delightful surprises that followed–the intense and bold piece that shook the hall was Rakhmadiev’s “Qudasha Duman” (Celebration) that captured feelings of vast wilderness, of flying horsemen, of mythic freedom. We were reminded this is Central Asia after all!  The piece opened the senses, was breathtaking, and combined perfectly with a quiet folklore piece performed later in the program, “Tugan zher” (Motherland) played on the traditional dombyra by Ruslan Baimurzin, that conveyed longing, and a palpable forlorn loneliness.


DINA KHAMZINA, Mezzo-Soprano

Performed on Monday Evening, October 27th, 2014

The Devil Comes to Carnegie Hall November 6th

mephistofelesThe devil gets his due on Wednesday, November 6th at Carnegie Hall, and he has a heavenly voice!


The great bass-baritone, Eric Owens will star in the title role of Arrigo Boito’s, Mefistofele on the occasion of The Collegiate Chorale’s 2013 Annual Fall Gala on November 6, 2013 at 6pm at Carnegie Hall, 154 West 57th Street, NYC.


cast The Collegiate Chorale, American Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Girls Chorus, and Conductor James Bagwell transport you from hell to heaven in two hours of electrifying and ravishing music. Drama and thrilling musical fireworks from  Owens (Mefistofele),  Arturo Chacón-Cruz (Faust), and Julianna Di Giacomo (Margherita), combined forces with The Collegiate Chorale and Manhattan Girls Chorus depicting sorcerers, witches, ancient Greek nymphs, and cherubim, under the direction of Maestro James Bagwell will provide a spectacular evening of heavenly music and devilishly fun.


250px-Page_004_(Faust,_1925)The evening will start at 6pm with a cocktail reception in Carnegie Hall’s Rose Museum, followed by a seated dinner in the Rohatyn Room.  The concert performance will start at 8pm in the Stern Auditorium. A dessert buffet will be served during intermission.  Attire is festive and Gala tickets are available from $1,000 to $2,500 while tables range from $10,000 to $25,000.  The gala will honor special friends and extraordinary Directors Emeriti Anna and William Mann, for over 10 years of inspired Board leadership. For more information, please email Mariane Lemieux at or call 646-435-9052 or visit .


Arrigo Boito born 24 February 1842 – died 10 June 1918), aka Enrico Giuseppe Giovanni Boito, was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist, librettist and composer, best known today for his libretti, especially those for Giuseppe Verdi’s operas Otello and Falstaff, and his own opera Mefistofele.  Mefistofele is his only completed opera and based on the legend of Faust, but titled after the character that truly drives the action: Mefistofele, the devil himself.

For a special treat and as an introduction for those of you who have never heard this incredible I’ve included an excerpt of the great Samuel Ramey singing the title role for San Francisco opera (1989).



PBS ARTS FALL FESTIVAL 2013 Kicks Off October 18 – Broadway Classics, Country Music, Hugh and Babs!


The 2013 PBS Arts Fall Festival returns in October with seven weekly programs that highlight Broadway classics, music from around the country, and legendary superstar Barbra Streisand.

image001Underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to giving audiences a front row seat and a backstage pass to the best of the arts on-air and online, the series will be hosted by award-winning television, film and stage star Anna Deavere Smith (“Nurse Jackie,” “The West Wing”) starting Friday, October 18, 2013 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).

New offerings in the Festival include: the television premiere of GREAT PERFORMANCES“ Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” featuring the great singer’s return to her hometown; A RAISIN IN THE SUN REVISITED: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage, which explores the impact of the groundbreaking play; NASHVILLE 2.0 which looks at some of the greatest Americana and folk music artists in the country music capital; and aGREAT PERFORMANCES “40th Anniversary Celebration” with a star-studded lineup celebrating the iconic series at Lincoln Center. Also scheduled from GREAT PERFORMANCES are a star-studded version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company, San Francisco Opera’s new operatic version of Moby-Dickand a re-airing of the 1999 London stage revival of Oklahoma!

pbs-ipad-app-main“PBS’ commitment to arts programming has been strong for more than four decades, and our role as the broadcast industry’s only true home for the arts is solidified by this fall’s robust lineup,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “

“The Festival showcases all forms of art from across the country, with great star power and fantastic performances. It’s a veritable arts road-trip from New York to San Francisco with exciting stops along the way, and with Anna Deavere Smith as our host and guide, we expect these shows to resonate with audiences who seek out classic performances, cutting edge music and some of the greatest artists of all time.”

The full PBS Arts Fall Festival line-up follows below.

GREAT PERFORMANCES “40th Anniversary Celebration” 

Friday, October 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

Throughout its 40-year history on public television, GREAT PERFORMANCES has provided viewers with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of art, serving as America’s most prestigious center for the lively arts. Over four decades, GREAT PERFORMANCES has provided a national stage where popular artists reveal the surprising dimensions of their creative gifts and often go beyond audiences’ wildest expectations. The honored series has also offered artists a chance to pay homage to the influential figures in their lives and careers, and has spotlighted emerging artists in their feature-length television debuts. In celebration of this legacy, GREAT PERFORMANCES hosted an all-star celebration from Lincoln Center. A stellar roster of alumni share personal stories of what GREAT PERFORMANCES has meant to them, with reminiscences and performances by Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Don Henley, David Hyde Pierce, Josh Groban, Itzhak Perlman, Peter Martins, Patti Austin and Take 6, Met Opera star Elîna Garanèa and Michael Bublé.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN REVISITED: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage

Friday, October 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking 1959 drama, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first Broadway play to depict the strength and humanity of an African-American family striving for a piece of the American dream by buying a house in a white working-class neighborhood in Chicago. More than 50 years later, playwright Bruce Norris created Clybourne Park, a sardonic Pulitzer Prize-winning prequel and sequel that takes place in the same Chicago house and revisits the questions of race, real estate and gentrification in America.

Inspired by Hansberry’s original and Norris’ follow-up, Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of Baltimore’s Center Stage, penned a third play, Beneatha’s Place, which follows two of the Raisin characters to Nigeria and its post-colonial struggles. Center Stage mounted Clybourne Park and Beneatha’s Place as “The Raisin Cycle” and as part of its 50th anniversary season. Producers James Arntz and John Paulson, in collaboration with Maryland Public Television, presentA RAISIN IN THE SUN REVISITED: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage. The 60-minute performance documentary captures the history and legacy of Raisinand the backstage challenges of mounting two issue-driven plays simultaneously.

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Moby-Dick from San Francisco Opera” 

Friday, November 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET


One of the nation’s leading opera companies, San Francisco Opera has been the site for many memorable GREAT PERFORMANCES productions. In October 2012, GREAT PERFORMANCES partnered with the company once again to record composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s acclaimed adaptation of the classic Herman Melville novel Moby-Dick. Joshua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed the opera “a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive.” Fresh from his headline-making appearance as a last-minute replacement in the title role of Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera’s epic Ring Cycle, Jay Hunter Morris stars as the obsessive Captain Ahab. Richard Scheinin in the San Jose Mercury News raved that the tenor “sang with a pressurized fury that practically shook the seats of the War Memorial Opera House.”

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Stephen Sondheim’s Company with the New York Philharmonic”

Friday, November 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s groundbreaking musical Company — which premiered in 1970 with a book by George Furth and a cast including Broadway luminaries Dean Jones, Elaine Stritch and Donna McKechnie — has continually acquired generations of new fans through various regional productions and its 1995 and 2006 Broadway revivals. Centering on Bobby, a bachelor celebrating his 35th birthday with his ten closest friends (who happen to be five couples), Company culminates in Bobby’s transformation from unattached swinger to tentative monogamist. This New York Philharmonic gala concert production starring Neil Patrick Harris as Bobby and directed by Sondheim veteran Lonny Price, won rave reviews. Harris’ co-stars include Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), Jon Cryer and Martha Plimpton, who perform the show’s many standards including “Another Hundred People,” “Barcelona,” “Side by Side,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” and “Being Alive.” Also starring Craig Bierko, Katie Finneran, Aaron Lazar, Jill Paice, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Jim Walton and Chryssie Whitehead.

GREAT PERFORMANCES “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!”

Friday, November 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

OklahomaCelebrating its 70th anniversary in 2013, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s landmark musical Oklahoma! is still “doin’ fine” in this award-winning production from London’s National Theatre. The magic of the original cast was captured in this handsome film adaptation that returns to GREAT PERFORMANCES for a special encore telecast. The acclaimed production, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Susan Stroman, set box office records during its runs in London’s West End and later on Broadway. Critics and audiences alike were captivated by its fresh take on a venerable classic. The London production features a sensational, star-making performance by Hugh Jackman as Curly — before his ascent to international movie stardom. Also featured are cast members Josefina Gabrielle as Laurey, Maureen Lipman (The Pianist) as Aunt Eller, and Shuler Hensley as the menacing Jud Fry, for which Hensley won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor.


Friday, November 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

The performance-filled documentary NASHVILLE 2.0 captures Nashville, known around the world as “music city,” in its role as the historic home of music icons and institutions, as well as rising stars and young musicians who arrive with new sounds and dreams of making it big. Creating the musical landscape of tomorrow, Nashville is home to Americana music, the 21st century version of country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B, gospel and blues. This special explores the American musical melting pot, looking to the future while embracing the breadth and genius of roots music artists. From Emmylou Harris to Mumford and Sons, Rosanne Cash to the Avett Brothers, The Mavericks to Jason Isbell, NASHVILLE 2.0 tells the story, sings the songs, and celebrates the vibrancy of the Americana music scene.

Barbara StreisandGREAT PERFORMANCES “Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn”

Friday, November 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m. ET

Superstar Barbra Streisand makes a historic homecoming at the new Barclays Center arena with her first Brooklyn concert. Joined by special guests Il Volo and Chris Botti, Streisand performs an extensive selection of songs from throughout her five-decade career, and duets with son Jason Gould on “How Deep is the Ocean.” The seemingly endless collection of hits and fan favorites includes “Nice N Easy,” “Didn’t We,” “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” “Rose’s Turn,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Some Other Time,” “Make Our Garden Grow,” along “Evergreen,” “The Way We Were,” “People,” and “Happy Days are Here Again.” Reviewing her opening night, Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, “Like few singers of any age, she has the gift of conveying a primal human longing in a beautiful sound.”


Funding for the launch of PBS Arts has been provided by Anne Ray Charitable Trust, public television viewers and PBS.

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Hollywood Fringe Is Here!


Get Your Tickets Today!

Hollywood Fringe 2013

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

You won’t want to miss this…  June 13-30.

Since it’s inception, The Hollywood Fringe Festival has just gotten bigger and better every year.  A brilliant undertaking that has not only brought so much more attention to small theatre in Los Angeles, but has, re-vitalized theatre altogether in this city.

New and existing playwrights, outstanding scripts and performances, from musicals to drama, comedy improv and one man/woman shows to dance, (there’s film too!) that would not normally make it to the stage at all, are showcased here to audiences desperate for edge, art, entertainment and roller coaster ride experiences.

And one of the most fun aspects of this endeavor is that The Hollywood Fringe has successfully brought people back to Theatre Row and got them walking – YES WALKING in LOS ANGLES!, curious, adventurous and enjoying the urban life of Santa Monica Blvd and it’s partnering streets, vendors, theatres and more.

I’ve got a ton of tickets already and am trying to cram in more.  But if I had one recommendation to give anyone all year round, it would be to come for the authenticity!  

In the meantime, because of the enormous expansion of the festival, they could use a little help.

Our friend Colin Mitchell at Bitter Lemons, posted a letter today by Hollywood Fringe Festival Director, Ben Hill, talking about what it takes to, in just three years, become the largest performing arts festival West of the Mississippi. And, why an extra donation helps the artists who participate to receive 100% of the box office from their shows.  It’s a win win all around.