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Review: The Pirates of Penzance – Bay Area Opera Collaborative

BayOp shows what can happen when women are pirates and kings

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance has long been an audience favorite ever since it debuted in New York City in 1879 (just barely). Billed as a comic opera, it’s a little closer in style to our modern Broadway musical format than some of the other works in the Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) oeuvre. Like much of their work, it pokes fun at 19th Century life, exaggerating stereotypical societal roles and attitudes for the sake of humor. The storyline is typical G&S fare. A young man is accidentally indentured as an apprentice (and accompanied by his nurse) to a pirate instead of a pilot until he reaches his 21st birthday (not to be confused with his 21st year of life). Shortly before his release, he falls instantly in love with the daughter of a Major-General, and the two seem fated to spend the rest of their lives together, that is until a rather unique paradox complicates their lives. Now for the Bay Area Opera Collaborative (BayOp) production, strike that, reverse it (with respect to gender anyway), and you’ll find that all of the humor remains and even grows beyond expectation. [Continue reading]


Review: Tarzan – Palo Alto Players

‘Tarzan’ swings into Palo Alto in style

Palo Alto Players’ Tarzan is a Disney favorite suitable for all members of the family. The show is based on the 1999 animated film of the same name, with music and lyrics by Phil Collins and book by David Henry Hwang. The original Broadway show made its debut in 2006 and has delighted audiences worldwide since then. It’s a visually spectacular show with actors singing and swinging across the stage (and over the audience at times). In true Disney form, the heroes and villains loom large, and the story careens through a fairytale sequence of tragedy, joy, suspense, and finally, exuberant triumph in the familiar tale of two worlds colliding in the jungle. [Continue reading]


Book Review: Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari

‘Homo Deus’ – will AIs replace Homo Sapiens?

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, is the second, recent, international best seller by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari. In it, Harari draws heavily on his previous book (also an international best seller) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. In fact, Homo Deus can stand alone and give the reader a nice synopsis of the earlier work. Harari compresses his previous book’s crucial concepts about the various developmental revolutions that humanity has weathered into half as many pages before broadening those concepts and presenting some possibilities of where humankind might be headed in the twenty-first century and beyond. [Continue reading]


Book Review: The Student Conductor – Robert Ford

“The Student Conductor” masterfully merges politics, history, fiction, and musical reality

Robert Ford isn’t exactly a household name, and it’s been over a decade since he published his first (and seemingly only) novel. He went on to write several award-winning one-act and full-length plays that have been produced both in the U.S. and in Europe, but his novel remains a unique work. The Student Conductor was first published in the U.S. in 2003 with subsequent editions in Europe and Australia. It gives readers a look into Ford’s imagination as he conjures up plenty of intrigue and heart. He also guides readers deep into the magical world of classical music giving them an idea of just what it takes to become a professional symphony conductor. [Continue reading]


Commentary: The piano: the principal prelude to musical prowess

There is no question that music touches us deeply. There are also myriad studies showing the cognitive benefits of listening, but there are even more benefits when actively participating in making music. For the purposes of this discussion, the assumption is that the reader, for whatever reason, is now intent on learning to play a musical instrument. Whether their goal is personal or professional, an initial instrument must be chosen, i.e., they have to start somewhere. This commentary proposes that the piano be that starting point. [Continue reading]


Commentary: Why care about classical music?

Many years ago when I was still married, my husband asked me if I would have become a musician if my parents hadn’t played instruments. I told him that there was no way to know for sure if my study and lifelong affinity for music would have happened had I not had my early childhood exposure. That answer surprised him a bit. He knew that I grew up with music as a very important part of our family life, a subject I wrote about in my book, Remembering Mom and Dad, in the story entitled Music in the House. He also frequently had to put up with my practicing various instruments for my numerous musical endeavors. [Continue reading]


Book: REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD

Remembering_Mom_and__Cover_for_KindleIn REMEMBERING MOM AND DAD, I make the jump from analyzing the stories to telling them.  The book is a collection of essays and short stories written over time remembering Bayla and Jerry Jacobson. The stories include personal recollections from my experience along with the retelling of numerous events related to me in conversations over the years. Some of the stories included are: “Music in the House”, “The Parenthood Plunge”, “The Jacobson Pet Parade”, “Disney Days of Summer”, and many more.  Interested?

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2 thoughts on “Home

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.

    Chat soon!

    Like

    • Alexander, in a sense there is a donate button now that A Good Reed Review has joined affiliate programs with Amazon. The products and references that are listed in conjunction with those help to emphasize the subjects we discuss on A Good Reed Review, and they also help us out a little to keep this site free.

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