Best Of This Week

August 17, 2008

Classical Music

Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro' : Heinz Blankenburg, Mirella Freni, Leyla Gencer; Silvio Varviso, conductor (Glyndebourne, three CDs); $51.98; available from various retail and online stores.

Another recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro? Well, yes. And one to be grateful for, at that. The summer opera festival at Glyndebourne on the grounds of an elegant estate in the south of England has enjoyed an exceptional cachet since 1934. Thanks to an enterprising fellow who recorded most Glyndebourne performances since the late 1950s, the company has a treasure of operatic gold in its vaults and is now sharing it with the world.

This 1962 live recording of Mozart's divine comedy is about as good as it gets. Among the standouts in the stellar cast are the late Leyla Gencer, a truly noble Countess, and Mirella Freni, an exquisite Susanna. Refined conducting by Silvio Varviso completes this valuable souvenir.

Tim Smith

DVD

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day : Universal; $29.98; available Tuesday.

This screwball frolic set in 1939 London stars Amy Adams as would-be West End headliner Delysia Lafosse and Frances McDormand as Miss Pettigrew, the failed governess who winds up as her social secretary. It's an unusual and engaging romantic comedy because it's mostly about how these women ready each other for real love; their friendship is the fulcrum on which success with men is based.

Adams, a paragon of originality, can even be curvy in individualistic ways. She's marvelously innocent at striking a statuesque pose behind a bath towel, yet she can also melt into a fur coat. McDormand is like a willowy reed who turns out to be made of spun steel. Every emotion around her registers with a twang. The result of their partnership registers like a cheery 1930s pop song with alternately droll and heartfelt lyrics about innocence and experience.

Michael Sragow

Theater

'Jerry Springer: the Opera' : 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 7; Studio Theatre, 1501 14th St. N.W., Washington; $34-$39; 202-332-3300 or studiotheatre.org.

You're getting another chance to laugh at the man who, according to the writers of this zany musical, literally is the Talk Show Host from Hell. Jerry Springer: the Opera has broken box-office records at Studio Theatre in Washington, selling more tickets in a single day than any other production in the company's history, prompting officials to extend the run by three weeks.

When a trashy broadcast of the talk show (is there any other kind?) ends in tragedy, Jerry Springer goes straight to you-know-where in a handbasket. After he arrives, he meditates on the age-old dispute between Jesus Christ and the Horned One.

The production features a cast of 34, plus a band, making it the largest show ever mounted on the venue's 2nd Stage.

Mary Carole McCauley

Art

'Stick and Shutter: Aerial Landscape Photography': 1 p.m.-5 p.m. today; 1448 Gallery, 1448 E. Baltimore St.; 410-327-1554 or 1448.org.

Peter Stern, photographer and pilot, shows his collection of digital photographs that he took during a three-year period in southeastern Pennsylvania. Most photographers hire pilots to fly them around, but Stern flew solo in his ultralight plane, snapping shots as he went. The exhibit ends today.

Meredith Cohn

Leisure

Maryland State Fair: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sept. 1; Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium; $3-$8 for admission only; 410-252-0200 or marylandstatefair.com.

Maryland's largest fair features a bevy of rides and games, all types of carnival food, concerts, thoroughbred horse racing and more. Fairgoers can get fresh Maryland and Chesapeake Bay-harvested eats at the Maryland Foods Pavilion, watch the Masters of the Chainsaw sculpting contests and the Swifty Swine Pigs race, attend the Beatles Tribute show on opening night or the Travis Tritt concert Aug. 29 and try the new Quad Runner and Typhoon rides.

Jennifer Choi

Pop Music

Buddy Guy : 6 p.m. Tuesday; Pier Six Pavilion, 731 Eastern Ave.; $55. 410-547-7328 or ticket master.com.

Though born in Louisiana, Buddy Guy is forever linked to the Chicago blues scene. In a career spanning more than 45 years, the blues guitarist has influenced some of rock's greatest players, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. His latest album is Skin Deep and features Clapton, Robert Randolph and Derek Trucks.

Rashod D. Ollison

Television

'Wide Angle': 9:30 p.m. Tuesday; MPT (Channels 22 and 67).

In a report titled "Iraqi Exodus," this PBS news series takes a look at an underreported story from the Middle East: the mounting number of Iraqi civilians who have fled their homes since the start of the war and now live as exiles and refugees in neighboring countries. Following aid workers from Syrian-Iraqi Red Crescent, the report focuses on Iraqis in Jordan and Syria. Wide Angle is a PBS series that does not get much notice. But at a time when American media, in general, have cut back on resources for international coverage, the program becomes all the more valuable.

David Zurawik

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.