Angela Allen

Northern Exposure: Washington chamber operas entice Oregonians

Music of Remembrance’s After Life: Stein and Picasso duel over art and morality

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch May 2015

How do art and moral responsibility intersect? Or do they?

That’s the endlessly intriguing debate enacted in the new chamber opera After Life, whose world premier was staged on a Monday in early May in a small-ish recital hall at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Two weeks later, After Life played to a sell-out crowd in San Francisco’s Temple El-Manuel. Read More

Show Boating

Portland Opera’s Show Boat: American classic steams on

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2015

Liam Bonner is easy to find online. He has 1,999 Twitter followers, and he tweets about more than his busy opera schedule. He writes hash-tagged one-liners about beer, Pennsylvania sports teams, Pittsburgh (his hometown), dogs, art, and bad customer service.

“It took awhile to find my voice, but I’ve been dangerous ever since,” the 34-year-old opera singer said over coffee in downtown Portland. Read More

Some reflections on the 2015 Portland Jazz Festival

Festival curators did a first-class job of mixing up big names and smaller ones, international hotshots with local stars.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch March 2015

Take superstar Kurt Elling, who crooned an hour-plus of ‘60s-era Sinatra hits in the first week of the annual Portland Jazz Festival, which ran from Feb. 18-March 1. Read More

Musicians Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and George Meyer

Chamber Music Northwest review: Category-busting Collaboration

Musicians Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and George Meyer lit up the string-fired pyrotechnics in Chamber Music Northwest’s “In Motion” performance.

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch July 2014

If any dance company avoids the obvious, it’s Portland’s 17-year-old imaginative and ultra-flexible BodyVox, which cannot be wedged into any genre or box, no matter how big and bendable the container. Ballet? Modern? Jazz? Full-stage projected videos? Computer graphics as backdrops? Opera collaborators? Wacky. Whimsical. The innovative company’s technically solid members make just about any move in a mix of styles, and make you laugh at their clever movement as they unfold, unlock and untangle. In what has evolved into a Portland starry summer tradition and star-spangled collaboration, BodyVox paired up with Chamber Music Northwest over the Fourth of July weekend. Read More

Charlie Dennard's Musical Gumbo

Music preview: Charlie Dennard’s musical gumbo

Charlie Dennard, Cirque du Soleil music director, cooks up a tasty gumbo on his brand-new CD, "From Brazil to New Orleans."

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch April 2014

In Charlie Dennard’s multi-continental musical world, fusion is anything but a dirty word. Then again, when the term is limited to the passé, 1970s-era quasi-mind-bending melding of rock, funk and electronic music, it does translate as a four-letter word to Dennard, though he doesn’t swear too much. The 45-year-old jazz musician/ composer/Cirque du Soleil musical director is as conscious of his polite French roots reaching back centuries into American history (his label is Deneaux Music) as he is of his Southern heritage. Dennard’s southern ingredients include a childhood in Birmingham, Ala., and an adult life, off and on in New Orleans. He studied with jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis (father of brothers Wynton, Branford, et al.) in the late ‘90s at the University of New Orleans, where he earned a master’s degree in music. Read More

Portland Opera's Postcard from Morocco

More Beckett than Bellini

Portland Opera preview: Dominic Argento's chamber opera, Postcard from Morocco, that took Portland by surprise this season

Originally Published in Oregon ArtsWatch March 2014

Love and death are opera’s go-to themes, but erase those traditional expectations when Postcard from Morocco opens Friday for a four-performance premier run at Portland’s Newmark Theater. Expect a brew of Beckett-like suspense flavored with quirky characters with such names as Woman with a Hatbox and Man with a Shoe Sample Kit. Instead of a conventional orchestra, eight instruments – guitar, alto saxophone and trombone included – will accompany the seven singers. Read More