Entries by Xenia Hanusiak

In Review: ONE Festival

At the 2019 ONE Festival mounted by Opera Omaha in April, individual vision combined with collaborative effort to create a broad range of successful, memorable experiences, Xenia Hanusiak reports.

In Review: The Canales Project

For every musician, their instrument is their most prized possession. For refugees, this instrument can also be the passport to freedom and safety. This was the case for Syrian musician Mariela Shaker, whose violin became her entrée card to the United States. At the National Sawdust/Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts co-presentation of the Canales Project’s program “Between Two Worlds,” Shaker brought her experiences to the stage through story and sonata.

Calling for a New Soft Diplomacy

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a gala event held in New York, meant to raise funds to bring a Chinese panda to the city. Meanwhile, in The Guardian Vladimir Ashkenazy called upon British musicians to maintain artistic relationships with Europe, despite any potential barriers imposed by Brexit. Each case illustrates a different approach undertaken to dissolve borders. Both exemplify “soft power.”

Performance Response: Prototype Festival 2017

Having completed its fifth year, the Prototype festival is a success. But in applauding a festival for its vision, we can also ponder uncomfortable questions, some of which might be unanswerable. What do we expect from a 21st-century opera? Does it have a cultural obligation to the representation of gender? What is its role in advocacy? Is it possible to be progressive and retrospective at the same time?

Performance Response: Ariodante Workshop at National Sawdust

I am on my way to see a workshop of a “new performing edition” of Handel’s four-hour opera Ariodante, the vision of director R. B. Schlather and musical director Geoffrey McDonald. I am nervous and slightly cynical about what “new” means to an opera composed in 1734, and how contemporary rhetoric keeps sending the message that opera is dead and everyone needs to bring it back to life. Am I going to another post-modern memorial service?