Lesley Valdes


BSR Contributor Since November 24, 2009

Lesley Valdes is the critic-at-large for WRTI, 90.1 FM She is the former classical music and dance critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Jose Mercury News. She lives in South Philadelphia.

Reviews by Lesley Valdes are archived at www.wrti.org. Visit her blog, launched in November 2009, at notesfromphilly.wordpress.com.

By this Author

19 results
Page 1
Rogerson: Composer to watch.

Orchestra 2001’s opening weekend (2nd review)

Young composer, astonishing head

Sometimes I dread poems set to music. But when it works, it’s art. Chris Rogerson's Fishing was one of three new works, each giving a prominent role to the keyboard.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 5 minute read
Fernandez, Greene: The issue is wrinkles.

"Language Rooms' at the Wilma (1st review)

Immigrant angst: The sorrow and the comedy

Language Rooms, Yussef El Guindi's fierce comic fantasy, tackles many realities of Arab”“American life. It would be funnier if it moved faster.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 4 minute read
Fu, Eichelberger: Wagnerian headgear.

Tan Dun's "Tea' by the Opera Company (3rd review)

Turandot meets The Ring

The music of Tea is both an aural and a visual delight, and the Opera Company's staging offered moments of flawless beauty. Alas, composer Tan Dun has been fiddling with his opera since its debut in 2002, and it's lost some of its subtleties.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read

Bellini's "Sleepwalker' by Curtis Opera

Magnificent surprises

Curtis Opera's unstaged production of Bellini's The Sleepwalker featured terrific choruses and a first-rank soprano in Elizabeth Reiter. Would that some staged operas worked as well.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 2 minute read
Dudamel: Like a teen with an old soul.

The LA Philharmonic: New hall, new leader

Learning from Los Angeles: A great new hall and a great new conductor

While the Philadelphia Orchestra flounders for lack of leadership, the Los Angeles Philharmonic unveiled its hot young Venezuelan conductor, Gustavo Dudamel.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 5 minute read

Di Wu's Philadelphia piano debut recital

Poet at the keyboard (and on her feet)

The young pianist Di Wu knows what she wants to say at the keys and away from them. At her Philadelphia debut recital she spoke to the crowded venue in an easy communicative style, as if we were all old friends.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read
Van Eyck: A gifted presence.

Orchestra 2001's George Crumb tribute

The revolutionary and his disciples

Drama attends the music of George Crumb— in this case literally, when the Lang Concert Hall's sound system blew out at Orchestra 2001's tribute to his 80th birthday. Not to worry: The acoustic versions were beautiful and plenty loud, as Crumb prefers.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 6 minute read
Zielinski, Wood: Poor devils, plus one real one. (Photo: Mark Garvin.)

McPherson's "Seafarer' at the Arden (2nd Review)

When ensemble acting trumps a playwright's overreaching

The characters in The Seafarer may be losers, but the actors who portray them are exceptional. With one important exception, Conor McPherson's descent into the interior of Everyman succeeds.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 4 minute read
Lynch: How did Frankenstein resist?

Luna Theater's "The Monster'

Frankenstein, told with contemporary wit

Luna Theater’s season opener, Neal Bell’s The Monster, plays fast and loose with the Frankenstein legend, but not so fast or loose that you won’t recognize its pathos or its moral scrutiny.

Monster. By Neal Bell; adapted from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; directed by Gregory Scott Campbell. Luna Theatre Co. production through November 2, 2008 at Independence Studio on Three, 825 Walnut St. (215) 704-0033 or www.lunatheater.org.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 2 minute read
1052 Oedipus

Fringe Festival's "Oedipus at FDR'

Oedipus was exiled to Colonus, and Center City’s skateboarders were exiled to FDR Park in South Philadelphia. It takes brilliance to bring them together, and the effect is mesmerizing.

Oedipus at FDR. Adapted and directed from Sophocles by Emmanuelle Delpech-Ramey, with some original text by Suli Holum. September 4-6, 2008 at FDR Park, South Philadelphia. www.livearts-fringe.org/2

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read
1051 seaofbirds

Live Arts Festival's "Sea of Birds'

Sebastienne Mundheim’s Sea of Birds is a remarkable collaboration of music, dance, puppetry, theater, video— and engineering, too.

Sea of Birds. Created and directed by Sebastienne Mundheim; score by James Sugg; choreographed by Kate Watson-Wallace. September 2, 2008 at Ice Box Projects Space, 1400 N. American St. www.livearts-fringe.org/2008/details.cfm?id=2882

Lesley Valdes

Articles 1 minute read
768 wittenberg3

"Wittenberg' at the Arden (2nd review)

Wittenberg is witty, and tiresome. David Davalos inventively seeks to show Martin Luther, Hamlet and Dr. Faustus as they seemed before they became forever fixed as history remembers them. But even three characters become too many the way Davalos inconsistently ladles on his material.

Wittenberg. By David Davalos; directed by J. R. Sullivan. Through March 16, 2008 at Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St. (212) 922-1122 or www.a

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read

"Grace' by Luna Theater Co. (1st review)

Grace is a work of black humor with issues too real to ignore, as well as excellent ensemble acting.

Grace. Comedy by Craig Wright; directed by Gregory Scott Campbell. Luna Theater Company production through February 23, 2008 at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut St. (215) 704-0033 or www.lunatheater.org.

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read
672 rittenhouse

"Undaunted: Five American Explorers'

Curator Sue Ann Prince’s choice show about five explorers deserves our attention, but it also deserves more imaginative design and flow. Five bold individuals share quarters the size of a row house living room; any one of them merits a room of his own.

“Undaunted: Five American Explorers, 1760-2007.” Through December 28, 2008 at Philosophical Hall, 104 S. Fifth St. (215) 440-3440 or www.apsmuseum.org

Lesley Valdes

Essays 4 minute read
603 emperorjonesvalk

Wooster Group's "Emperor Jones' (1st review)

A white woman in male black face: Seeing is believing. The Wooster Group’s interpretation bends, slants and renders O’Neill’s emperor more comic than perhaps necessary. But Kate Valk’s virtuosity in the title role is an inspiration.

The Emperor Jones. By Eugene O’Neill. Wooster Group production September 5-9, 2007 at Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St. LiveArts/Philadelphia Fringe Festival, (215) 413-1318 or

Lesley Valdes

Articles 3 minute read