Tag Archives: James Bash

Figaro, Figaro: from dread to wed

©Portland Opera/Cory Weaver. Daniel Mobbs (Figaro) and Jennifer Aylmer (Susanna)©Portland Opera/Cory Weaver

By Bob Hicks

Mr. Scatter is just getting around to letting you know that he and Mrs. Scatter joined the opening-night throng on Friday for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte‘s opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro, based on Pierre Beaumarchais‘ stage comedy of the same name, at Portland Opera. (It also happened to be opening night of PO’s 2011-12 season, which might have accounted for the slightly larger than usual sprinkling of formal dress amid the usual Oregon mackinaws and mucklucks. Mr. Scatter marked the occasion by changing out of his jeans into semi-creased khakis and slinging on a quilt-lined country walking sportjacket, much to the dazzlement of his eternal bride, whose comments on his sartorial attentiveness ordinarily run along the lines of “There’s a hole in your T-shirt.”)

Please forgive Mr. S’s sloth in filing his report. Could be he dilly-dallied because he didn’t really have much to add to the excellent summations of the mainline critics, James McQuillen in The Oregonian and James Bash at Oregon Music News. Mr. S agrees with McQuillen that this is very much a traditional production. It reminds him of the hoary theater joke: “Did you hear about the radical new Hamlet? They did it in Elizabethan dress.” He also concedes that the original satire (Beamarchais’ 1778 play was banned for several years for its biting depiction of the ruling classes, not reaching the stage until 1784, just two years before the opera) has lost a few of its teeth in the ensuing centuries. Still, if the guffaws of the twentysomethings sitting behind the Scatters are any indication, the comedy  remains fresh and ribald and (Mr. S hesitates to use this purportedly naughty word for fear of being drummed out of the League of Tough Guy Arts Observers) entertaining. While there can be and have been highly successful radical takes on The Marriage of Figaro, when what you’re dealing with happens to be a work of comic genius, traditional isn’t such a bad thing to be. This is known in some circles as If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.

Continue reading Figaro, Figaro: from dread to wed

Scatter spruces up on Sitka and the weekend

Mr. Scatter had coffee today with Deborah Elliott (actually, she had tea, something in a purply-roseish hue) and she reminded him that the 16th annual Sitka Art Invitational Exhibit and Sale is coming up this weekend.

I shouldn’t have let it slip my mind. This annual bash in Miller Hall at the World Forestry Center, up on the hill by the Oregon Zoo, is a very rootsy, Northwest-feeling thing.

The 2008 Sitka Invitational. Sitka Center for Art and EcologyIt’s the big yearly benefit for the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, a hands-on arts retreat and workshop center on the Oregon coast, and it always has a generous cooperative feel. Plus, if you play your cards right, you can go home with a good deal on some good art.

The Sitka Center was begun in 1970 by artists Frank and Jane Boyden, and its link between artists and naturalists just seemed, well, natural. I like the way that tie has continued, and the way the invitational brings together a lot of people and ideas that don’t ordinarily cross paths but seem very comfortable sharing the couches in this great big living room. Established artists and up-and-comers, city and rural, contemporary and traditional, a lot of people who fit into that increasingly loose category called craft.

Among the long list of artists whose pieces you can buy (or just appreciate): Frank Boyden, Ron Cronin, Dennis Cunningham, Pat Courtney Gould, George Johanson, Liza Jones, Royal Nebeker, Richard Notkin, Andy Paiko, William Park, Hilary Pfeifer (Bunny with an Arts Blog), Lillian Pitt, Tom Prochaska, Laura Ross-Paul, Judy Vogland, Margot Thompson Voorheis, Sherrie Wolf, Christy Wyckoff. And, as they say on late-night TV, much much more!

The public exhibit/sale is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 14 and 15. An opening night party with the artists runs 6:30 to 10 Friday the 13th, and costs more.

Check out the details here.


Oregon Music News is off the ground and flying into the blogosphere.

omn_logoThe new online news and reviews service is an attempt to bring pretty much the whole Portland area music scene under one big umbrella, from classical to hip-hop to jazz and blues. Tom D’Antoni, a longtime music freelance writer and producer/reporter on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat, is editor-in-chief. Nancy Glass is publisher.

A lot of what’s here might be of utterly no interest to you. But the beauty of it is, it’s easy to go straight to what does interest you: logical navigation is a wonderful thing.

The breakdown is: classical (editor: James Bash of Northwest Reverb), jazz/blues, rock, acoustic, indie, DJ/electro, soul/hip-hop, experimental. A lot of familiar music-writing names have signed on board.

Welcome, OMN! Here’s the link.


Voices of Our Elders, the theater piece from Well Arts Institute that opened last weekend, continues with two shows Saturday and one Sunday. You might recall having read about it here.

elder51It’s the result of a 10-week workshop with older residents in care centers, listening to their stories and helping them set them down. The results are by turn comic, sentimental, regretful, nostalgic, and sometimes harrowing — the way life looks when you’ve traveled a long way down its path. A cast of good professional actors and musicians is interpreting the stories.

Final shows are at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14-15, at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center, 107 S.E. Washington St. Each performance includes a guest reader or two who wasn’t part of the workshop project; I’ll be doing a piece at Saturday’s matinee. Details here.