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HBO's new TV special is part biography, part music-appreciation lesson and part performance piece. Critic David Bianculli says it's a superbly compiled work, overseen by two of the people most intimately familiar with the composer himself.
Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz just attended two productions of Porgy and Bess: an operatic performance at Tanglewood and a musical-theater version in Cambridge, Mass. He says it can work either way, "as long as Gershwin's great score remains its heart and soul."
Senso, a 1954 Italian political melodrama, and Two Sisters From Boston, a 1946 Hollywood comedy, couldn't be more different — except they're both set at the opera. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz says he loves them both.
Evening Primrose, Stephen Sondheim's made-for-TV musical about a poet and the girl he discovers living after hours in a department store hasn't been been televised since its 1966 premiere. David Bianculli says the musical, out Tuesday on DVD for the first time, showcases Sondheim's "early brilliance."
2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of composer Robert Schumann. One of the most interesting Schumann commemorative items is the DVD Twin Spirits, a British music-theater piece about the intense relationship between Schumann and his wife Clara, performed by Trudie Styler and Sting.