Radio Netherlands: Aural Tapestry with David Swatling
With guests Elise Thoron (playwright) and Gary Fagin (composer), David Swatling weaves an aural tapestry of the extraordinary life and work of Charlotte Salomon.
||Radio Netherlands | 30 minutes
Los Angeles, 2007:
“Gorgeously paints the story onto the stage"
- Los Angeles Times
"Affecting... lovely and loving production. GO!"
- L.A. Weekly
“Elise Thoron (book and lyrics) and Gary S. Fagin’s (music) “opera in three colors” slides gracefully back to the lives of Charlotte’s parents (Michele Greene and Bruce Katzman) and grandparents (Robert Lesko and Dorothy Constantine), in order to depict how who we are stems largely from whom we come from. The opera is fundamentally about the relationship of life to art, and should put to rest the commonplace that art is trivial compared to real things that matter.”
- L.A. Weekly
“Charlotte delivered a big punch with minimalist means, using the heroine herself to stage-manage a life in art that, in the end, was as exhilarating as it was sobering.”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 8, 2001
“[Though this is a memory play, the pieces are so cleverly put together that it is never static. Charlotte always joins her reminiscences in the here and now, and we see active interplay between past and present.] This piece, vibrant with life, is at once engaging and very moving. This is probably the best book to a musical I’ve witnessed in a long time…”
- Philadelphia In Your Town
“The show that Thoron and Fagin have written communicates the tragic family history and acute cultural observation of the painting cycle, and it retains the cycles resolute refusal to sentimentalize. But it does something more: It dramatizes the act of creation, collapsing the boundary between art and artist so that Charlotte may live simultaneously in the paintings and outside them.”
- The Philadelphia Inquirer, Clifford A. Ridley, March 6, 2001
“Elise Thoron’s script, based on the life of the artist, is infused with humor, wit and yes, pathos, too. … Creation itself becomes the true “star” of this musical, the mysterious, passionate act of making art. It sustains Charlotte’s life during the pivotal years the young artist spends in France. Like the colors Charlotte uses, it is primary, compelling and impossible to ignore. Just as compelling is the music of Gary Fagin, which carries this play to its triumphant conclusion.”
- Timeoff Bucks County
“…this finely crafted play held particular resonance. As I left the theater, I thought that it would have made Charlotte Salomon happy. “
Selected Top Ten Productions, 2001:
Best Company Prince Music Theater
Best Actress, leading role, musical Mara Stephens
Best Actor, featured role, musical William Youmans
Best Director, musical: Ted Sperling
Art by Charlotte Salomon®, Collection Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam©.