Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review: Maestro Michael Butterman and director Dick King fuse drama and music in Shreveport Symphony Orchestra concert - to mixed results

The fluent voices of Patrick and Susan Kirton and Dick King snapped across Riverview Theater betwixt orchestral passages from Grieg's Peer Gynt (from the Ibsen) at the symphony concert this weekend. The art of storytelling - via a smart fusion of word and melody - enthralled the audience.

The blending of Mendelssohn's music for Midsummer Night's Dream with drama by The Company Repertory Theater, however, produced an uneven flow of drama and music.

Under the direction of Richard Folmer and Dick King, The Company colorized the stage with a snazzy version of the enchanted forest passage from Midsummer. Evocative performances from Bonnie Gillen, Benjamin Maxey, Dick King and John Bogan, first among a capable cast, tugged the audience into the wood. But there seemed a disconnect between the Mendelssohn and Shakespeare.

Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy was the evening's final fusion. A thundering rendition by the orchestra was matched with the hormonal balcony scene from R & J. Jessica Maxey's performance
as Juliet was engaging. Miss Maxey's growth as an actress seems steady and tangible.

Maestro Michael Butterman's adventure into artistic amalgamations was a welcome relief from the routine of a night at the symphony.

Butterman's merger between the symphonic and the visual arts (Bill Joyce among the artists) will be unveiled Sat, May 3. Called an Ocular Odyssey, it promises a starry admixture via Holst's music, The Planets.


trudeau said...

The end of the show brought an unusually long ovation from the audience. I believe the crowd was endeavoring to say "We sympathize with the struggle over salaries for the core players." Alas, the SSO needs to see more than an ovation. It needs an infusion of leadership and money.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, would love to have each person who posts criticism of the Symphony Board's endeavor for fiscal responsibility to post their contribution amount along with their critical comments. What was your contribution this year, Mr. Trudeau? Mine was at least $1,000 cash and many hours of in-kind support.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister and I have already checked. Mr. Trudeau's contribution to the annual fund was -0- and he bought the "anytime tickets"--the cheapest available. Perhaps he feels that his "online presence" makes up for the financial support.

P.S. My name will be found in the Conductor's Circle level.

Crazy In Shreveport said...

Really now, anonymous, if you can't put your name out there so we know who you are how are we supposed to believe you?

My point is Mr. Trudeau is willing to cover SB Land culture and not be anonymous. We get more news on this blog than any of the "mainstream media" sources.

Not to belittle anyone's contribution, cash or hours of in-kind support, but what Mr. Trudeau does here amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage of cultural events in our area. Why is that important? If you thumb through the current issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas it's as if our part of the state doesn't exist. Recognition of our artists has to start somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Since we are all anonymous, I'm a musician whose family income depends on the symphony. By my calculations I've given back $13,000.00 to the symphony every year over the past 5 years in direct salary concessions and volunteer hours for fund raising.That represents 20% of my total family income every year. It begs the question,"who's made the bigger sacrafice?"

Anonymous said...

Robert Trudeau is an invaluable asset to the arts in Shreveport, and to question his support, whether monetary or in publicity, is absurd. The real problem with the symphony is in its leadership. There is plenty of money in this town to support the symphony. If only Mr. Green and the other leaders would get off their lazy behinds and go ask for it. The players deserve someone who is willing to work for them. Unfortunately for them, they have no one.

ligeia said...

Tanning beds, tanning sprays and hair gel take a lot out of a man; you people have no appreciation of how hard it is being Green!

ligeia said...

Ms. Elrod,
I was offended by the propaganda, mass mailing I received from you in my P. O. Box. Whether you believe it or not, I, and many others on your mailing list have I.Q.'s over 75.
If you do not know how bad that letter made you look, then there is not much Emily Post can do for you, young lady!

Anonymous said...

"I, for one, would love to have each person who posts criticism of the Symphony Board's endeavor for fiscal responsibility to post their contribution amount along with their critical comments."

I suppose the last few posters didn't like your suggestion!

Ligeia, my guess is that this blog is not even on Ms. Elrod's radar. If you wish to address her, perhaps you could approach her at the next concert or send that propoganda letter back to her with your comments.

I asked Saturday night how much financial support had been given to the symphony since all of this mess has gone into the media. The answer, you ask.....$250. Two hundred fifty lousy dollars.

Did you notice the less than half-full house on Saturday night? My guess is that the audience you saw there is about what Shreveport can muster as a solid committed group of symphony concert-goers. Hardly something of which we can be proud. So much bravado about rallying around the symphony and nobody even shows for the concert.

Let's face it, we don't have the support from the community that we deserve and this is what the board has been telling us. How successful has Robert's rallying call been? Robert, how many people have contacted you to get behind an effort to save our symphony? Where do we meet?

Anonymous said...

One possible reason the symphony has trouble getting money is that nobody trusts symphony management with their money. Is there even any kind of plan by which the symphony in its present structure can be saved? How much would it cost? Only one plan has been put forward and many find it unacceptable. The present plan is an admission of impotence. Do not look for money to support it.

ligeia said...

I have contributed a good bit, considering my finances.
I can say, if I were wealthy, I would gladly give money with the stipulation that they change management and keep the players; or I'd pay to start another orchestra.
Are all the board members bad; I am sure they are not. However, apathy and lack of spine are not admirable traits.
There obviously are some board members that do not like the symphony players; how sick is it that the very board created to manage the symphony spends all their time sabotaging it instead; the ones that are not actively trying to destroy it, are just sitting idly by. I realize Trudeau and a few others have supported the players.
I do believe that people realize something underhanded has happened with the money at some point; no one is going to donate to a situation like that. At the same time, no one will demand an audit, or even disclosure of what these people have done with the money. Why haven't people combined their resources and hired an attorney to get a court order for a disclosure. I would like to see just hpw much "management" has actually been going on.
I'm tellin ya; there's a dead cat on the line. We are in Louisiana...

You are wrong; she reads it.
"Hi, Ms. ElRod"

Anonymous said...


I find that drinking and blogging usually don't mix. :)

ligeia said...

I do not drink.
I see no point in hypocrisy or pretending to be civil to people who are intent on destroying something so important to so many people.

I guess I could start drinking, though:o)