The Arts

A ‘Thriller’ with a Message

Terry McAuliffe’s just-released short book on the deadly Charlottesville, Va., white nationalist rally in August 2017 is a gripping, moment-by-moment “police procedural” bookended by a political autobiography and a prescription for a brighter future. The three parts don’t always fit together perfectly, but their heart (and clearly McAuliffe’s) is so much in the right place…

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Daniel Silva’s ‘New Girl’

Though a new thriller in Daniel Silva’s remarkable Gabriel Allon series has become a calendar entry for his many fans worldwide each summer, I’ve never thought of these books as “summer reads.” By cliché, if not always in fact, summer reads equal mindless escape, serving up thrills, chills, exotic settings, danger, car chases, shootouts, romance…

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Thoroughly Modern Antiquity

If you knew a dozen respected contemporary artists in Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor – arguably the three most important places for encountering Egypt’s antiquities – and you wanted to help them make a splash in the States, what would you do? If you were Moushera Maaraba, you might ask them to ditch their canvases and…

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Wolf Trap’s Dynamic Duo

Going to an opera at The Barns in northern Virginia certainly is different. It’s different from seeing any opera, or even the same opera, in one of those glittering 19th century palaces that grace Paris, Milan and even Odessa on the Black Sea. And it’s different from seeing any opera, or even the same opera,…

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Arena Stage’s ‘Jubilee’

Though he has staged plays, musicals and even operas around the world, Tazewell Thompson is especially embraced around his DC homebase as a consummate showman. He’s one of those gifted people who intuitively knows an audience’s wishes and grants them in abundance, making them glad they bought a ticket. Thompson’s latest “written and directed by”…

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WNO’S Season Finale: Tosca

From the moment Puccini committed to turning Sardou’s now-forgotten stage potboiler into his next opera, he committed to being all about the drama. And from its first note to its last, the music tells us so. Strings stab, brass slices, drums thunder. There’s nary a quiet, and never a reflective, moment in the entire two-plus…

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‘The Highwaymen’ on Netflix

Only at a time when Game of Thrones is barreling toward its final episode on HBO and Avengers: Endgame is closing out a 20-plus-film blockbuster franchise in theaters would anything starring Kevin Kostner and Woody Harrelson weigh in as a small art film. Yet no one watching The Highwaymen on Netflix can quite shake the…

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Brave Spirits’ ‘As You Like It’

When William Shakespeare wrote a “romantic comedy,” as he understood the notion in his day, everybody onstage, of every class and station in society, ended up falling in love with somebody. Indeed, in plays like As You Like It, the dish would run away with the spoon had Mother Goose not beaten the Bard to…

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NYCB’s Legacy Night

By the time New York City Ballet made its first, now-annual pilgrimage to the nation’s capital in 1974, the company had become a kind of America’s Team on the shoulders of the 20th century’s two most significant American choreographers – George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. So it seems only fair that last night’s opening at…

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Faust’s Old-Time Religion

It’s not for lack of hummable melodies that Charles Gounod’s opera Faust – based on Goethe’s two volumes, which themselves are based on the “Faust legend” that began circulating throughout Europe during the 16th century – is performed notably less than it used to be. We think it’s because the world view required to believe…

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