Lusty, gluttonous and weird as all get-out, Italian director Federico Fellini’s 1969 film Satyricon was one of the great cinematic scandals of 1970, when it arrived Stateside. Very loosely adapted from a play written during the reign of Nero, it presents a dreamlike ancient Rome, where realities are sometimes obvious and sometimes polarized. It is also highly sexual (hetero, homo and even poly), and there’s a hermaphrodite along the way, too. Desire, decadence and death get equal screen time.
“Some will say,” wrote Roger Ebert in his original review, “it is a bloody, depraved, disgusting film. Indeed, people by the dozens were escaping from the sneak preview I attended. But Satyricon is a masterpiece all the same, and films that dare everything cannot please everybody.”
Ebert dialed it back a little 30-some years later. “Today I’m not so sure it’s a masterpiece, except as an expression of the let-it-all-hang-out spirit of the 1970 world that we both then occupied,” he wrote. “But it is so much more ambitious and audacious than most of what we see today that simply as a reckless gesture, it shames these timid times. Films like this are a reminder of how machine-made and limited recent product has become.”
Judge for yourself when the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg screens Fellini Satyricon – as it’s officially titled – today (Thursday, March 5) at 7 p.m., as part of the Ancient Theater & the Cinema series. The $5 is on top of regular museum admission.
A TFO weekend
Acclaimed pianist Joyce Yang is the Florida Orchestra’s guest soloist for the weekend’s Masterworks concert, performed at three venues over three days. She’ll play Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
“Her attention to detail and clarity is as impressive as her agility, balance and velocity,” said a Washington Post reviewer. San Francisco Classical Voice praised her “wondrous sense of color.”
A native of Seoul, South Korea, Yang – who first performed with the New York Philharmonic in 2006 – received the 2010 Avery Fisher Career Grant and earned her first Grammy nomination (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance) for her recording of Franck, Kurtág, Previn & Schumann with violinist Augustin Hadelich.
Tampa-based composer and pianist Benjamin Whiting, 39, was commissioned by TFO to create Bonn Chance, a six-minute orchestral piece that the orchestra will debut on the weekend program. It’s based on several Beethoven motifs.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, and Whiting’s piece, which he describes as “a sort of primordial soup of Beethoven material,” is named for the great German composer’s hometown. TFO is also performing Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony on the program, and Sibelius: Symphony No. 7.
The schedule: Friday. 8 p.m., Straz Center; Saturday, 8 p.m., Mahaffey Theater; Sunday, 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are here.
Brandi Carlile headlines the Gasparilla Music Festival Saturday at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa. Portugal The Man is top of the bill Sunday, and by clicking here you can see the entire two-day lineup and get tickets too.
The multi-talented Alison Burns, who’s usually tearing it up onstage (most recently in freeFall’s Pippin, Stageworks’ Ordinary Days and the American Stage park musical Mamma Mia) is the director/choreographer behind Shout! The Mod Musical, onstage at the Jaeb Theatre (part of Tampa’s Straz Center complex). It’s a jukebox musical jammed with 1960s hits made famous by female performers (“To Sir Wih Love,” “There Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” “Goldfinger” et cetera). It’s onstage through March 22. Info here.
And now, this
Hard to believe that the ageless Paul Anka is pushing 80, but that’s a fact, Jack, and he’ll be havin’ your baby Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It’s a Sinatra tribute concert (Anka, of course, wrote “My Way”) and tickets are here.
Of our bay area professional theaters, only freeFall is active and in production this weekend. Happily, it’s the laugh-out-loud Lone Star Spirits (here’s our coverage from last week, with ticket info included).
The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg’s Art of the Stage: Picasso to Hockney performance series continues with a Saturday (2-3 p.m.) performance by singers and musicians from St. Petersburg Opera Company, free with museum admission. It’s the second of three presentations of Opera Through the Ages; here’s a video from last week’s event.
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