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June 10, 2010

After Albee play, Schubert's song "Who is Sylvia?" seems lovelier than ever

Last Sunday, I was on double duty as music and theater critic, taking in a Beethoven recital in the afternoon and a play at night, both at Howard Community College, as it happened.

The theatrical portion of the day was devoted to the superb Rep State production of Edward Albee's "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?" (My review is online now; it will be in print Friday.) Needless to say, Albee entered some very touchy territory with this 2002 play, asking audiences to consider a most unsettling connotation of the phrase "animal lover."   

Since the performance, I couldn't stop thinking about the Schubert song based on the same bit of Shakespeare that Albee alludes to in the title of his work: "Who is Sylvia?" I was a little worried that I couldn't listen again to the sweetly flowing strains of that song without any goat-ly images popping up in my head, so I figured I should put myself to the test. I think I'm OK now, thanks to the loveliness of such performances as these:

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:29 AM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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