By Jared Bowen | Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Nancy E. Carroll, Johanna Day, and Karen MacDonald in Good People
Hear Jared Bowen on Morning Edition.
BOSTON — How people respond to situations is the fodder for both hilarity and contemplation. Here are three very different ways to observe those moments of decision that can make matters worse, or prove that sometimes we humans are capable of doing what's right.
By Jared Bowen | Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Spiro Veloudos, the Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, has a personality as giant as any of his lavish productions. Now in his 15th season at the Lyric, Veloudos is offering up a very disparate season currently underway with "The Mikado" updated for modern political times.
Here Veloudos chats with Jared Bowen about his love of theater and the one show that best represents his own life.
Based on the 2003 best-selling novel, this epic drama follows boyhood friends Amir and Hassan in 1970s Afghanistan. After witnessing terrible brutality and betraying Hassan, Amir immigrates to the U.S. with his father, his regret, and his shame. This beautiful and complicated story shares an inside view of Afghani culture, while exploring the price of loyalty and friendship, the desire for integrity, and hope for redemption.
The barbed and brassy tragicomedy Marie Antoinette provides a peek into the life of everyone’s favorite representative of the 1% — the infamous Queen of France and cake enthusiast. Watch as times change and Marie finds her sparkling and sheltered world turned upside down by the Revolution.
Watch Jared Bowen's interview with the cast and crew for Greater Boston, and see the A.R.T.'s new take on the cake-eating queen's behavior.
By Jared Bowen | Thursday, September 6, 2012
Watch Jared's interview with Gersht on Greater Boston.
In the Museum of Fine Arts' newest contemporary art show, beauty is taken from the eye of the beholder. In this case it’s the artist Ori Gersht who determines the very definite bounds of beauty.
At first blush, the works of Israeli artist Ori Gersht are pieces of painstaking beauty—an elegant cherry tree branch, a verdant Spanish landscape and a traditional still-life. MFA curator Al Miner describes how Gersht’s work has a siren’s call.
“Beauty is what pulls us all into this work. It’s seductive. We can’t help ourselves. But it’s also like a little lullaby. It sort of lures you in, but then when you least expect it, he does bring in comments about violence,” he said.
This review aired on Greater Boston just before the August 16th premiere of the new film Sparkle, starring Jordin Sparks and featuring the late Whitney Houston.
Sparkle is about a group of girls growing up in 1960s Motown, trying to get together their own singing group and give the reigning Supremes a challenge. It's the last film that Whitney Houston completed before her tragic death. She plays the single mother trying to raise these three girls to walk along the straight and narrow.
Remaking the 1976 film Sparkle was Houston's vision, and a project that she had worked on for more than a decade. The disparate elements of the film don't come back to form a complete whole, but perhaps that's fitting, as the anchor to the film left a void as well.
Meanwhile, Jordin Sparks, winner of the 2007 American Idol competition at age 17, is coming into her own as an actress. She shines as the composer and leader of the trio who can't let go of the music.
Still, it's seeing Houston as a healthy, maternal figure who delivers one number of her own, that finally gives the film its poignancy. Houston fans have already ensured that this film will get some buzz regardless of its flaws.
To recognize Houston's passing, the Sparkle website features a special tribute to Houston, inviting fans to add their own photos to an interactive mosaic, along with messages to the belated pop star and those who continue to miss her.
By Jared Bowen | Friday, August 24, 2012
August 24, 2012
It took a determined Russian, an insatiable audience and one very fierce storm to create the New England music festival that now ranks among the world’s greatest. Located in the foothills of the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, the site's vistas are sublime, the pace is a slow tempo and there is literally music in the breeze. For 75 years, this has been the home of Tanglewood, America’s summer musical oasis.
“To be able to come here in the summer and hear the crickets at night and the wind in the trees during the day and think about music is a dream,” says laureate conductor and famed composer John Williams.
During the summer of 2012, Tanglewood celebrates its 75th anniversary and a legacy that has evolved from a simple summer music festival into what Williams calls “the spiritual home of music in America.”
“It is a precious spot in our country. It is one of those magical places where you can come sit….and music one is writing is more than conducive. It’s very, very helpful,” Williams said.
Tanglewood was created in 1937 by Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Serge Koussevitzky. It was composed out of a promise and a problem, says BSO managing director Mark Volpe.
Koussevitzky "wanted a place to train the next generation of musicians," Volpe explains. "Another reason for Tanglewood is much more pragmatic. You had this orchestra which at that point was very gender-specific (it was all men), and the men would all go back to Europe because they were almost all European. Then they’d meet a fraulein and they wouldn’t come back, so you never knew in October what orchestra you’d have." So Koussevitzky wanted a way to employ the musicians year-round so he could keep and build an orchestra.
So Koussevitzky made Lenox, Mass., the BSO’s summer home. It had already been a literary retreat for writers like Hawthorne and Melville, and on that first summer season, well-heeled concert-goers were bowled over — almost literally.
“We had a tent up here and the tent got blown away by a big storm and hence within a few months they raised enough money to build a shed,” Volpe says.
The Shed, as it’s affectionately known is the centerpiece of the Tanglewood campus today, a complex that features stately homes, rehearsal “huts” and the majestic Ozawa Hall. But the Shed is where hundreds of thousands of people settle into seats or on the sprawling lawn every summer — as drawn to the place as to the staggering array of international artists who’ve insisted they appear here for 75 years, says Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart.
“From the very first couple of years when Koussevitzky was here and young people by the name of Copeland and Bernstein were studying with him, it really has become something beyond a music institute where people come and hear a bunch of concerts. It stands for an approach to music that’s grounded in a place of great natural beauty that is away from the rapid-fire way in which our urban lives tend to work,” Lockhart says.
“I do walk the grounds often,” says Williams. “Since I’m writing music, I’m sitting down all the time, and to get up and walk for an hour or so everyday is something that I’ve found is essential for me.”
Many of Williams’ historic Hollywood scores were composed at least in part on the campus. It is also fertile ground for young 20-something musicians who train and perform here each summer as part of the Tanglewood Music Center, a prestigious fellowship organization directed by Ellen Highstein and founded by Koussevitzky.
“There’s something to be said for the fact that if you have people who are really excellent and really devoted, something will continue. They’ll make it continue because they have to express it,” Highstein says.
“The best of what we are you can see in [the young musicians],” says Williams. “And the best of what we can become we see in these kids that come here and study. They have the same idealism in them.”
Tanglewood truly is its own symphony: a blend of dreams and conviction, of talent and beauty. It is an American music mecca whose pilgrims and preachers are unwavering.
Watch Jared's broadcast on Greater Boston
About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts.