Broome Arts Mirror

Reviewed by Tony Villecco The Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, a mainstay in the Ithaca area, celebrated 40 years of quality a cappella choral singing last Sunday (Dec. 6) in Ithaca’s First Presbyterian Church. In a concert both varied and holiday oriented, director Carl Johengen and his group of 20 singers spelled out lovely and beautifully blended tonality in selections from Byrd to Bruckner. William Byrd’s reflective and haunting Mass for Four Voices is an overlooked that was brought vividly to life by these ensemble singers, some of who hail from...
Read more

BCAC names new executive director

Laura Knochen-DavisThe Broome County Arts Council (BCAC) Board of Directors has selected Laura Knochen-Davis as the new executive director.  She will take her position in January, following the retirement of long-time director Sharon Ball. Board President Fred Xlander said Knochen-Davis’ wide-ranging experience in both arts and business, as well as her deep commitment to the community were deciding factors. “The Board’s vote was unanimous.” Xlander said, “She is the perfect choice to take...
Read more
Laura Knochen-Davis won't become the executive director of the Broome County Arts Council until January, but that doesn't mean we at Broome Arts Mirror won't have any questions for her until then. She's still very busy working and teaching at SUNY Broome, so we invited her to a quick "online press conference," answering by email questions posed by BAMirror volunteer reviewers. GEORGE BASLER: What do you see as gaps in the local arts scene (such as the lack of opportunities for a young audience)? How do...
Read more

Reviewed by Nancy Oliveri

Is it just a coincidence that, in the turbulent fall of 2015, SUNY Broome Theater has produced a pair of plays under the heading Alien Invasions that focus on the importance of not letting paranoia and mob mentality rule the day? Maybe. But even if the timeliness of Gore Vidal’s Visit To a Small Planet and Rod Serling’s The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street was not planned, the messages conveyed in this pair of sci-fi scripts can easily be  connected,...

Read more
Reviewed by Patrick Hao On face value, setting alternative rock tunes in a conservative village in 19th century Germany seems like a crazy notion. But Spring Awakening, the Tony Award-winning musical by Duncan Sheik (with lyrics and book by Steven Slater), perfectly blends the two. By equating 21st century teen angst to that of 19th century children, the musical, adapted from an 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, illuminates just how much nothing has changed when it comes to sexual awakening, rebellion and embracing individuality. Binghamton University’s adaptation, directed by Tommy Iafrate, the...
Read more
Reviewed by George Basler In the 37 years since it was first staged, Sweeney Todd has become one of Stephen Sondheim’s most produced musicals. It’s also one of the darkest musicals ever to grace the Broadway stage. Hearts and flowers aren’t on display here. Instead, hatred, lust and depravity take center stage in the penny-dreadful tale of bloody revenge in Victorian London. The musical requires the cast to convey the right tone and also perform a difficult score with complex lyrical passages, atonal melodies and counterpoint. So it...
Read more
Reviewed by Tony Villecco Peter Ilitsch Tchaikovsky’s one-act opera, Iolanta, proved a sure-fire hit at its Binghamton premiere Thursday evening (Nov. 12) at the newly named Savoca Hibbitt Hall at the Tri-Cities Opera Center in Binghamton. Once again becoming a staple in regional houses, Iolanta was featured at the Metropolitan Opera for the first time earlier this year. As expected, the moving score did not let up for a minute, no doubt reflecting, in part, some of Tchaikovsky’s own deeply personal pain and his exuberance, as well. Originally intended...
Read more