Boston-area arts letters

Stu Rosner

At BSO, less isn’t more

Unfortunately I can only agree with half of Jeremy Eichler’s review of Thomas Adès’s recent performances with the Boston Symphony (“Adès delivers layered, thrilling performance,” Metro, Oct. 11). His approach to Mendelssohn, Ives, and his own “Polaris” was indeed inventive, exceptionally well-played, and gripping. But those of us who attended the Friday evening concert were deprived of his “alert and turbulent reading” of Cesar Franck’s Symphony. Our concert came to an abrupt end at around 9:05, thanks to the idiotic experiment known as “Underscore Fridays.”

The idea seems to be that having the orchestra play less music (in this case, only the first half of the concert), while wearing suits instead of tails, and prefacing the abbreviated concert with a few words from an orchestra member will somehow appeal to a broader audience. The evidence on Friday confirms that the idea has been an utter failure: The hall was embarrassingly empty, presumably because prospective concertgoers were sensible enough to refuse the offer of half a concert for the same price as a full one.



Where’s the local flavor?


Good for Geoff Edgers in gathering together the directors of major Boston museums for a fascinating dialogue (“Setting their sights on city’s future,” SundayArts, Oct. 20).

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Kudos also to Cate McQuaid for her article about the Fitchburg Art Museum, which features director Nick Capasso’s comments about the lack of visibility of local artists in our museums:

“When I got [to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in 1990], all museums in eastern Massachusetts had space in their schedules for local artists, and that has eroded. The community is unhappy about that. It’s something we can do with excellence. If anyone can do this, I can.”

Yes, the community — not to mention the local artists — has given up on our so-called distinguished museums. When the Institute of Modern Art (now the ICA) reigned on Newbury Street, local exhibits by New England artists were frequent and made national news. Now it’s as though New England artists don’t exist.

Indeed, the city should be more involved in championing our local museums. But local museums should be more responsible for championing local artists. Did anyone notice in the article about museum directors naming their favorite artwork in their own institutions’ collections (“Playing favorites”), Katherine French from Danforth Art was the only one to pick a local artist (John Wilson’s bronze sculpture, “Head of Martin Luther King, Jr.”)? Good for French. She has continued to advocate for Boston artists for over a decade. Here’s hoping other directors like Nick Capasso will follow her example.


Congratulations to the Globe in publishing these fine articles about the current art scene. We’re lucky to have editors and writers who care about this often ignored subject.


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The city certainly needs to be more involved in celebrating local artists, and many local artists start in local schools. It would be a tremendously encouraging move to see the arts, namely visual arts, required in the curriculum of all Massachusetts state schools. The arts are fading away in public schools across the state. Shame on the state for not requiring what is such a vital part of the culture in our dear city, as well as a vital part of the growth and development of our children. I am tired of the budget cuts and the excuses. Bring back the arts in schools!


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Over the top

I am writing regarding Don Aucoin’s review of Rancho Mirage (“New Rep’s ‘Rancho Mirage’: There’s nothing to see here,” g, Oct. 18). I realize that people differ in their opinions of theater, but this is the first time I’ve ever written regarding a review that I found objectionable and excessive.


I take issue with the tenor of the review and one specific comment, among many with which I could take issue. This was by no means a fabulous play, but it was also nowhere as bad as Aucoin made it out to be. In fact, it improved as the night went on. I and the other three people with whom I saw it found it at least mildly amusing. Aucoin gave the impression that it was a long and torturous evening, and that was far from the mark.

Also, he made the comment that it would be unlikely for the nebbishy Charlie and Pam to be so friendly with the other four “sardonic cosmopolitans.” Aucoin must have great uniformity in his friendships if this is so shocking to him. Charlie and Pam are not that nebbishy, and the other four may look “hipper,” but in fact they are not so different. Charlie and Pam’s religiosity was really a minor part of the play.


Chestnut Hill

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