Chuck Lavazzi is the producer for the arts calendars and senior performing arts critic at 88.1 KDHX, the local correspondent for Cabaret Scenes magazine, the host of The Cabaret Project’s monthly open mic night at the Tavern of Fine Arts, and entirely to blame for the Stage Left blog at stageleft-stlouis.blogspot.com. He’s a member of the Music Critics Association of North America and the St. Louis Theater Circle.
Chuck has been acting, designing sound, and occasionally directing theatrical productions since roughly the Bronze Age. His one-man show Just a Song at Twilight: the Golden Age of Vaudeville, presented at the Missouri History Museum, was the opening production of the West End Players Guild’s 101st season. He has also appeared with Stray Dog, Metro Theatre Company, The Rep, Midwest Lyric Opera, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, St. Louis Shakespeare, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, and even the St. Louis Symphony, where he narrated Peter and the Wolf. He and his lovely wife Sherry live in a house that’s older than both of them put together in the historic and utterly charming Soulard neighborhood.
This week brings us, among other thngs, the opening night for the last of Opera Theatre's four shows, a classic tragedy at Stray Dog, and a classic comedy at Act Inc.
History tells us the 1853 premiere of Verdi's La Traviata was something of a disaster, capped by the fatal miscasting (opposed unsuccessfully by the composer) of a soprano whose girth, in the view of the audience, made her attempts to portray the consumptive beauty Violetta laughable rather than tragic.
In a New York Times article published the day before the 1949, premiere of Mark Blitzstein's opera Regina-a truly stunning production of which is playing at Opera Theatre-Leonard Bernstein observed that the principal characters were "ugly people engaged in ugly dealings with one another."
What's on stage this week? Quite a lot, as St. Louis emerges from the holiday weekend hiatus and launches a week of opera, comedy, drama, and musical theatre.
The St. Louis Symphony dominates the concerts this week, with two "pops" events and the final Youth Orchestra concert of the season.
Variety is the spice of the concert music scene in St. Louis this week, including the New Music Circle's season finale and a community concert by members of the SLSO.