We start off this week’s Culture Picks with an ode to Stephen Sondheim, Titan of the American Musical, who passed away last week at the age of 91. He was the theater’s most revered and influential composer-lyricist of the last half of the 20th century and the driving force behind some of Broadway’s most beloved and celebrated shows. His music is a pleasure to hear; here are some old favorites and some new additions to my watchlist:
Company Broadway revival starring Raul Esparza (Great Performances 2006)
Sondheim’s Six Ladies in Red
Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, Donna Murphy & Marin Mazzie. From the 2010 DVD Sondheim! The Birthday Concert
The Art of Songwriting with Stephen Sondheim and Adam Guettel
Legendary theatrical composer Stephen Sondheim invites Adam Guettel into his studio to break down the art of songwriting for this episode of “Legacy Project,” presented by the Dramatists Guild Foundation. This episode was filmed in September 2009 and originally premiered in 2011, watch it on YouTube.
Tiny Desk (Home) Concert: Company
Company finally is back on Broadway after a 20-month hiatus. There were only nine preview performances before all the theaters in New York went dark during the pandemic. Now the cast celebrates its return with a Tiny Desk performance filmed a few blocks away from the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre at the CIVILIAN Hotel. It’s the 35th birthday celebration for the lead character, Bobbie, but also a reunion for this ensemble. Watch the Tiny Desk Concert “Company” on You Tube
Canadian Opera Company presents Mozart’s Requiem
This multi-disciplinary presentation in collaboration with Against the Grain Theatre invites us to reckon with the impact of COVID-19 and devastating losses—and heal together through the power of Mozart’s astonishingly moving Requiem. Available online until Friday, May 27. This presentation features a pre-show discussion with co-creators Johannes Debus, COC Music Director, and Joel Ivany, Founder and Artistic Director of Against the Grain Theatre. I loved their Messiah and hope it returns this year!
Watch the Canadian Opera Company presents Mozart’s Requiem
CBS presents One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
On-demand on Paramount+.
A new live concert special honoring the musical legacy and enduring friendship of Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Filmed at two sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall in August 2021 to celebrate Bennett’s 95th birthday, the live concert brings together the two incredible entertainers performing duets and solo songs honoring their shared love of the Great American Songbook. Watch “One Last Time” on CBS.com
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents Works by Vivaldi, Bach, and Verdi
National Radio Series Program 9. Italian Evolution
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s 2021-2022 radio series season features 52 one-hour programs drawn from live performances. The programs are hosted by Elliott Forrest and include commentary from CMS Co-Artistic Director David Finckel and the performers. Broadcasts, carried locally on WQXR-FM, can be heard Saturday evenings at 10pm. Programs are posted in the Watch & Listen section of the CMS website on the Wednesday following their original broadcast.
Vivaldi Concerto in D major for Lute, Two Violins, and Continuo, RV 93
Avi Avital, mandolin; Paul Huang, violin solo I; Danbi Um, violin solo II; Ani Kavafian, Chad Hoopes, violin; Mihai Marica, cello solo; Daniel McDonough, cello; Anthony Manzo, double bass; Jiayan Sun, harpsichord
Vivaldi Aria from “Sovvente il sole”
Gábor Boldoczki, trumpet; Danbi Um, Chad Hoopes, violin; Anthony Manzo, double bass; Jiayan Sun, harpsichord; Avi Avital, mandolin
Bach Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
Arnaud Sussmann, violin solo; Sooyun Kim, flute; James Austin Smith, oboe; David Washburn, trumpet; Sean Lee, Kristin Lee, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola; Dmitri Atapine, cello; Marc Goldberg, bassoon; Scott Pingel, double bass; Kenneth Weiss, harpsichord
Verdi Quartet in E minor for Strings
Orion String Quartet (Daniel Phillips, Todd Phillips, violin; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Timothy Eddy, cello)
Culture Picks is a weekly feature celebrating the performing arts. The arts are back and there is so much to take in, both live and virtual. Cultural connoisseur and PAC staff member Coni Guhl is here to help you sort through it all. Each week we will post her curated selection of events featuring the artists you know and love from The PAC Center Series, plus a sampling of stellar local experiences. Enjoy!
All times are EDT unless otherwise noted.
Photo: The cast of Company, NPR Tiny Desk Concert © NPR