Reviews

Audience and Critical Reviews

Excerpts from 2008 – 2014 Reviews

Walt Whitman – I Sing the Body Electric

From Audience Members at the Cuyahoga County Library Performances
  • “Delightful program – the poetry and music enhanced each other – Both were a celebration of an American Original.”
  • “A lovely, educational evening – Thank you!”
  • “Book more (programs) like this! – Celebrate words. This group is the BEST – very talented.”
  • “This was one of the best shows we have seen here at the library. Well done. Very professional and great quality of art/work/performance.”
  • “Beautiful, wonderful, THANK YOU!!”
  • “Very different and enjoyable – interesting and educational.”
  • “More poetry and music programs – More WordStage!”
  • “Present anything by WordStage… I learned things that made me more interested in Whitman’s poetry.  LOVED the music too.” 
  • “Thank you . This was wonderful. (It) touched my Spirit deeply.”
  • Mr Tavcar and I met briefly at the reception on opening night of “Civil War Christmas”. I asked if he presented “Walt Whitman-I Sing the Body Electric” at Berea’s library. I appreciated and LOVED that performance so much! Whitman is my favorite poet and to hear Mr. Tavcar’s readings let me speechless…he truly was Walt Whitman. (AND…his multi-character performance In Dobama Theater’s “Civil War Christmas” was moving.) I am so looking forward to the Civil War Love Letters and the James Thurber performance in the spring.  —  Teri Horning

The Musical Circle of John Singer Sargent

“Evenings of literature teamed with music are popular in the U.K. Actor and theatrical entrepreneur Tim Tavcar has now imported WordStage — A Chamber Music Theater, to Cleveland, an attractive series which has already established itself in Montpelier, Vermont. As the company’s Web site puts it, “Using letters, diaries, recorded conversations and contemporary chronicles underscored with musical compositions of the era, a WordStage performance will entertain, inform and educate audiences who have a love of literature, the humanities and the performing arts in their purest form”.

The first pair of WordStage productions played last Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River. Entitled “The Musical Circle of John Singer Sargent”, the program featured three readers — Tavcar, Deborah Magid and Marci Paolucci — along with the Mauthé String Quartet (violinists Jenna Anderson and Ling Ling Huang, violist Tim Mauthé and cellist Carlos Javier) in words and music associated with the famous expatriate portrait painter and muralist who had much of his success in Boston, and as it turns out, was a skilled pianist as well as a notable artist.  Fine reading, acting and playing made this a very enjoyable evening.”

 The Eccentricities of the Velvet Gentleman

“WordStage, a chamber music theater, crafted a similarly crisp biography of “The Velvet Gentleman” and his artistic and personal eccentricities in a pair of one-hour performances last weekend. I caught the program on Friday, September 21 at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River. The show, repeated on Saturday evening at First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights, featured the accomplished and versatile actor Tim Tavcar in the title role, with solo and four-hand piano music performed by HyunSoo Kim and Andrew Rosenblum.  Tavcar let Satie speak for himself in an appropriately oddball and amusingly egocentric collection of excerpts from his writings interleaved with examples of his music.

Messrs. Kim and Rosenblum contributed sparkling and, when required, amiably bizarre performances of all three of Satie’s Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire … (Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear, written in response to the critique that his works were “formless”), the Gymnopedie No. 1, Gnossiennes No. 1 and 3, he Air du Grand Prieur from a set of Rosicrucian pieces, and Acrobates and Prélude du Rideau Rouge from Parade. The evening was quite fun — and often humorous.”

(Above excerpted from reviews written by Daniel Hathaway, creator of the e-magazine, Cleveland Classical .com)

Frederic and George – L’affaire Chopin/Sand

“The Letters, Diaries and Music of Frederic Chopin and George Sand presented by WordStage Vermont was elegant. Everything, from the setting in the period Unitarian church , the tuxedo and top hat, the pinstriped pants, the ‘long-hair” at the piano; the black, the white and the lust was elegant. The times (1831) demanded it. Paris demanded it”…..Mary Alice Clark – The Montpelier Bridge

Schubert’s Die Winterreise

Die Winterreise “(Simon) Chaussé has a wonderful sense of drama….He has the capacity to color individual words as well as phrases to fit the emotional impact of this exemplar of the German Sturm und Drang school. There were quite subtle places within a number of the songs that pianist (Eliza) Thomas provided apt sonic support and intelligence of phrasing.

“(Tim) Tavcar provided interesting background from Schubert’s newly-discovered diary…. including, most poignantly, his reading of Schubert’s last letter, written in November, 1828, shortly before the composer’s untimely death at 31.  The concert was successful on many levels, and I personally thank WordStage Vermont for daring to present this masterpiece.” … Dan Wolfe – The Vermont Sentinel

On WordStage

“Tim Tavcar, an actor, director, singer and choral conductor, created WordStage to illustrate the great personalities in the history of music and theater.

WordStage again has proven successful in creating an entertaining and artistically rewarding program illustrating the history of great art and music.”

Speak Low – the Words and music of Kurt Weil and Lotte Lenya

“WordStage Vermont’s “Speak Low,” created by Artistic Director Tim Tavcar, proved musically and intellectually rewarding as well as just plain fun. Songs, all ably accompanied by pianist Dan Bruce, were interspersed with short readings from biographical snippets and pithy excerpts from the subjects’ letters.  WordStage has created an unusually successful way to educate without becoming pedantic.”

Flower & Hawk – Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Art of Courtly Love

“WordStage Vermont, which brings together music and literature, conveyed this great woman’s power and emotional depth, both with a sampling of entertainment at the queen’s court and a deeply moving contemporary solo opera about this politically savvy woman.”

“Saturday’s virtuosic performance in Carlisle Floyd’s “Flower and Hawk” by soprano Lisa Jablow and pianist Paul Ennis was a truly moving experience.  Contrasting the darkness of the second half of the program was the bright music of court in the first half. Plainfield’s Fyre & Lightning Duo – Steven and Kathy Light – delivered a rich and colorful performance of music of the era on a variety of instruments.”

The Hollow Crown

“Combining authentic words and music, “The Hollow Crown,” went a long way in proving that history can be fascinating and entertaining, even touching.  Readings from personal journals of the monarchs and their friends, as well as their contemporaries, were interspersed with songs and arias of the period. The result was a most entertaining way to enjoy history – real history.”

Callas on Callas

“At Thursday’s opening night performance, Blachly made a convincing Callas with her barely hidden arrogance and her overpowering passion for her art. She made the aging Callas quite real, as the diva faced her declining career. She successfully showcased this brilliant woman.  Not surprisingly, the most touching moments are the film clips of Callas performing. From her powerful dramatic performance in Puccini’s “Tosca,” to her almost scary portrayal in “Medea,” to her touchingly intimate singing in Massenet’s “Manon” (in a concert performance), it is easy to see why this woman was a star.”

(The above excerpted from reviews written by Jim Lowe, Arts Editor – The Barre –Montpelier Times Argus.)