Kevin McGuire as Scrooge

A Singer’s Notes 83: Christmas over the Mountain

Kevin McGuire’s Scrooge in Capital Repertory Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” had more than a touch of Falstaff in it. His villainy was vivacious, startlingly so—almost playful. Its benefits became clear late in the show when his transformation seemed inevitable. Always energetic, Mr. McGuire roamed the stage and let us know on several occasions that he was an actor, his story larger than life. I found his penitence to be strangely convincing, as if it were the real thing, not the penny-pinching. One gained additional sympathy watching the most moving performance of the evening, that of the boy Scrooge, played by a beautifully crafted puppet (tenderly manipulated by actor Kevin Kelly). Here we saw an implacable wooden face, the abrupt but always moving gestures of the puppet drawing pity from us for the boy Scrooge.

Kenneth Cooper, Roza Tulyaganova, Paula Robison, and Frederick Zlotkin after an evening of Bach, Handel, and Telemann at the House of the Redeemer, New York

A Singer’s Notes 64: The Sound of Bach

It was excellent to read Kenneth Cooper’s words recently on how he loved the sound of Bach with great players playing great instruments in a large hall. So do I, and this is what we got and have gotten for years now on New Year’s Day in the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in the annual performances by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble. We seem to have arrived at a place between the modern instrument folks (usually using old instruments altered to achieve a stronger sound) and the early music crowd (which tries to emulate the sounds of the 18th century orchestra). Each has its own political correctness, and each works.

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