The Ensemble for the Romantic Century explores Tchaikovsky's unique relationship with his patroness in a theatrical production featuring Piano Trio in A minor and some of his most moving songs. More…
In a strange relationship that lasted fourteen years and that was conducted exclusively through letters, Tchaikovsky and his patroness Nadezhda von Meck were united through the invincible power of a disembodied love in which they both found refuge. Plagued with doubts about the greatness of his music, tormented by the fear of discovery of his homosexuality, and trapped in a marriage to a woman who was eventually committed to an insane asylum, Tchaikovsky found in von Meck an “invisible angel.”
"Chamber music has never been this sexy...Wolf has done a better job of making these letters dramatic than she did in 'Van Gogh's Ear'...It also helps to have two actors like Slotnick and Walker, who endow their body language with dynamic meaning during the extended musical passages...As in previous ERC shows, the musicians are the real knockout stars...Delightfully novel, completely unforgettable theatrical concert." Full Review
"The music in itself provides delight, thanks to the selections from the Tchaikovsky repertoire and excellent performances by a trio...What is particularly good about the program is that the story is just enough on which to base the music and provide a sketchy but intimate portrait...All of the ingredients are blended so smoothly that one can readily give oneself over to the mood established and maintained during the two acts and experience the joy of listening to a compelling concert." Full Review
"The audience hears the emotions expressed that Tchaikovsky and von Meck are only partially able to reveal. That the musicians are expert at their instruments means they prove Wolf’s implicit belief beyond questioning...Wolf may be making assumptions...As aided by the actors and musicians, under Donald T. Sanders’ direction—she’s goes a long way towards proving the familiar argument about how profoundly none but lonely hearts deal with their constricted experiences." Full Review
"Dancer Mantei ably executes a few numbers he choreographed for the postage-stamp size stage, but I was too concerned about the possibility of injury dancing in such a tight space to fully enjoy his contribution...The direction by Sanders is fluid...The very idea of playing it in sections and reading letters between variations in its second movement would normally enrage me, but somehow it works here...If you are a Tchaikovsky fan, you will find much to enjoy; if not, this is not for you." Full Review
"The Ensemble for the Romantic Century and its executive artistic director Eve Wolf come as close as they have in their three productions this season at successfully realizing a creative mission of bringing together multiple art forms into a singular dramatic concert format...Slotnick and Walker handle their roles with charm, grace, and flair...More importantly, they both lean in and listen to the interspersed performances of Tchaikovsky's music by a first-rate trio at center stage." Full Review
“In between the pieces of text are several of Tchaikovsky’s chamber pieces and songs, certainly not his most familiar works, but thrilling to hear, especially the lengthy segments from his Piano Trio in A minor. With its rapturous lyricism and shattering crescendos, it is resplendently performed by three musicians...it makes for great theatre simply to watch them...Against the show’s dramatic deficiencies, it is Tchaikovsky’s music which keeps you enthralled.” Full Review
"While von Meck is most effectively portrayed by Shorey Walker, she had far less with which to work than did her splendid male counterpart, Joey Slotnick...Donald T Sanders was the superb director...Daniel Mantei was the exquisite dancer...As to the music: Most of the choices were more fitting for a chamber concert at Juilliard than for a theatrical-musical biography of arguably Russia’s greatest and most versatile composer." Full Review
“A beautiful look at Tchaikovsky’s music and his deepest relationships, his passion and, yes, his loneliness...Deeply dramatic...A magnificently performed chamber music concert...Staggeringly good performance by the musicians, violinist Zyzak, pianist Ji, and cellist Evan. This trio takes these works and wring them dry of every last minim of emotion...The difficult, beautiful songs! So feelingly sung, and so appropriately chosen, and so much the perfect last word.” Full Review
"A compelling play with music...Slotnick and Walker share the stage without actually talking directly to each other. The conceit largely works...Often the music interrupts the narrative flow, with Slotnick and Walker awkwardly trying to appear lost in deep thoughts...Despite these flaws, 'None but the Lonely Heart' makes us understand the enduring appeal of Tchaikovsky and von Meck’s story — and suggests their correspondence amounts to a spellbinding shared body of work." Full Review
"The rather unemotional (but elegant) reading of their letters by Joey Slotnick as Tchaikovsky and Shorey Walker as Mme. Von Meck in period costume...(and looking exactly like photographs of the two) is a shorthand for their relationships as we get only snippets of what was a 1,200 letter correspondence, leaving tremendous gaps in chronology. While Tchaikovsky refers to his 'secret' (i.e. his homosexuality) in his letters to her, he never actually tells her this defining trait in his life." Full Review
"Will be prized by aficionados of classical music…A play…only by the loosest definition, at least three quarters of its two acts being a concert by three remarkably gifted musicians… Tchaikovsky and von Meck act out their letters…by looking anywhere but at each other, since the essence of their relationship was that they never actually met…With so much…virtuosity on display, flowery words spoken by merely ordinary actors are bound to sound more banal than when read silently to oneself." Full Review
"Whatever caveats I have about the production itself, musicians Zyzak, Evan, and Ji are more than worth the price of a ticket. The first rate, symbiotic trio...interpret Tchaikovsky with power, nuance, vigor, and comprehension...Every minute enhances. Transporting...Disconnected facial expression is the tip of the iceberg in this widely misdirected piece...The two matter-of-fact performances sit oddly in a production filled with theatrical sturm und drang." Full Review
See it if You are moved by Tchaikovsky or are curious about him and his work. This is a gorgeous concert wrapped around a tragic tale of homophobia.
Don't see it if You dislike classical music, great young musicians, a fine tenor voice, an excellent ballet dancer, good acting and a tragic tale.
See it if You love classical music, are curious about the life and story of Tchaikovsky, and enjoy salon-like theatrical experiences
Don't see it if You prefer action-filled drama or do not like chamber music
See it if you want to know more stories about Tchaikovsky and what affect his personality, and you want to enjoy some nice music, singing and dancing
Don't see it if you don't like Tchaikovsky or you prefer shows with large stage.
See it if you would like to know more about Tchaikovsky and to hear many of his obscure pieces. Joey Slotnick is terrific in the title role.
Don't see it if You don't care about the composer, or if singing in Russian gets on your nerves. This piece was well worth the time and effort, however.
See it if You want to see music, drama and dance in two acts. The music is great and thx tenor is a delight. Also the two actors reading do well
Don't see it if You want a play with actual musical numbers. If you want a play with an interacting script
See it if Lovely concert within the historically based life of Tchaikovsky. Very talented cast of actors and musicians. A delightful evening.
Don't see it if Do no see if you are not a fan of classical musical.
See it if You are interested in an intriguing evening of music, dance, and storytelling within a Salon like setting. Fascinating facts revealed about
Don't see it if You dislike classical music. This is not your typical Broadway musical or drama
See it if you love the music of Tchaikovsky and want to learn more about his biography through his correspondence with Nadezhda von Meck.
Don't see it if you don't like classical music and don't like epistolary plays.
See it if you don't know about the relationship btw Tchaikovsky and von Meck and you love classical music
Don't see it if long segments of classical music bore you or if you want real emotional depth
See it if you like chamber music concerts. This is one, based on Tchaikovsky's Trio and few other works. In between some actors read letters. Gets old
Don't see it if you're not into classical music, expect more of a traditional play, or dislike 'educational' theater.
See it if you enjoy classical music and watch to see Tchaikovsky's work performed by three passionate musicians
Don't see it if you are expecting a play about Tchaikovsky's life. This felt more like a variation of "Love Letters" in between classical music pieces.
See it if you are interested one of the oddest relationships in musical history, between Tchaikovsky and his patroness, von Meck. Absolutely wonderful
Don't see it if you do not like classical music.
See it if you like classical music live on stage, curious about Tchaikovsky & his patroness, enjoy mix of music, solo dance, solo voice & play
Don't see it if don't like plays pausing for classical music interlude or based on letters between parties no interest in composer's chamber music or songs
See it if u want an enthralling perspective on the torment & artistry behind a musical genius and the essential relationship with his financial patron
Don't see it if you're bothered that weak lackluster acting, especially by male lead, doesn't hold up to otherwise splendid young musical talent and passion
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