Matthew Gurewitsch
Matthew Gurewitsch
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

Sondheim Finished, Refinished, Unfinished
Autumn in New York with Sweeney Todd, Merrily, and the Buñuel Project

December 15, 2023  •  Classical Voice North America

PERSPECTIVE — Abandon all hope for the Falstaff that never came. With the opening of Stephen Sondheim's posthumous Here We Are at The Shed in Manhattan's Hudson Yards on Oct. 22, the canon is officially closed. After Passion (1994), the composer-lyricist whom Barbara Cook called the Picasso of the American musical had nothing left to prove, yet he kept working, in his notoriously dilatory fashion. There's gold dust in the project that eventually shook out as Road Show (finalized in 2004), plus a pinch more in Here We Are. But alas, no motherlode. For that, we return to the catalogue as we've known it for decades. Today and most days, my top three would be Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), and Assassins (1991). Your list may be different.

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From Rapa Nui with love
The Polynesian concert pianist Mahani Teave returns to her native Hawaii for the first time

November 25, 2023

Pianos were not just scarce where Mahani Teave grew up. They were unknown.

Born in Honolulu to a Polynesian father and an American mother, little Mahani was soon whisked away to the rock in the South Pacific that descendants of the original settlers—her father's people—know as Rapa Nui. It really is a rock. Located 2,200 miles due west of the Chilean coast, with a landmass of just 63 square miles and a population of around 7,700, Rapa Nui is the home of the 1,000-plus moai, monolithic stone deities arranged in rows on the shores, with their backs to the ocean. English speakers know the place as Easter Island.

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At 75, the New York City Ballet celebrates George Balanchine
A fall season devoted to the founding father

November 25, 2023  •  Classical Voice North America

PERSPECTIVE – The ballets of George Balanchine pass from generation to generation through a lineage of dancers going back to the master himself, the founding artistic director of New York City Ballet. Seventy-five years on, the company has the implicit mandate to mix it up, and that is traditional, too. From the first, Balanchine, City Ballet's founding artistic director, welcomed novelties not only from company dancers feeling his Promethean spark but also from guests as distinctive in their approaches as Frederick Ashton, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham.

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From the mailbag: Balanchine on Broadway
Reminiscence of an immortal Merry Widow

November 16, 2023

Hello Matthew,

Your piece on Balanchine reminded me of a story with Marta and Jan. Balanchine was the choreographer for my parents' Merry Widowproduction at the Majestic Theater in 1943. Marta always said their biggest competition was actually the ballet! And Balanchine was, course, fabulous!

Marta and Jan had this famous scene where they begin a slow waltz to the familiar melody which then evolves into a furious and passionate whirl. So one day during a rehearsal Marta decided to ask Balanchine for his opinion on how they danced the waltz.

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Reflections on Balanchine's Orpheus
Evolution and the test of time

November 15, 2023

A T-shirt on offer at the New York City Ballet gift counters lists, on the front, the names Bach, Stravinsky, and Bizet. The back is inscribed with the date October 11, 1948. What's the connection? As any dyed-in-the-wool City Ballet fan can figure out, the graphic souvenir memorializes the City Ballet's inaugural performance at New York City Center (ex-Mecca Temple), 131 West 55th Street, which featured Concerto Barocco (Bach), Orpheus (Stravinsky), and Symphony in C (Bizet). To John Martin of the New York Times, the shows that night and the next "went off excellently, the audiences manifestly enjoyed themselves, business seemed good, the program was both substantial and vivacious, and a big step was taken in the right direction."

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Books by Matthew Gurewitsch

Cover of Rafal Olbinski Women Cover of When Stars Blow Out

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