Author: Jane Bergman


Opera Theater of St. Louis in conjunction with Jazz St. Louis commissioned Terence Blanchard to write a new opera for our 2013 season. Boy did he deliver! He chose as his subject the Benny Paret/Emilie Griffith prizefight in which Benny …Read More

The Great Gatsby

I have taught Fitzgerald’s book with its universal themes.  Those themes set in the 1920s are certainly applicable today and especially to the excesses of the last decade.  Baz Luhrmann must have understood that, the reason for some of the …Read More

The Place Beyond the Pines

Since the Virtual Dinner Party is a conversation we might have if gathered around a table, I’ll add an anecdote to Chuck Klein’s comments at last week’s dinner on “The Place Beyond The Pines.”  I saw this film with my …Read More

It’s Fine by Me

A short review written for “Briefly Noted” in the New Yorker introduced me to the fine writing of Norwegian author Per Petterson in “Out Stealing Horses.”  Translated into English in 2005, the novel was selected by several critics as one of the …Read More


I have read with pleasure all of Kent Haruf’s wonderful books, so as soon as “Benediction” was published, I read it immediately.  It’s just taken me a while to put fingers to keyboard.    Set in the small town of …Read More

Three NYC Favorites

Add my vote for three of our favorite restaurants.  Le Bernardin for wonderful fish beautifully and inventively prepared and  La Mangeoire and L’Absinthe for sitting down in a Parisian bistro setting for fabulous traditional French food.  Only at L’Absinthe can …Read More

Casta Diva

One of my favorite arias.  YouTube has made it possible to hear and compare divas who have sung it.  As an experiment, I watched Maria Callas singing it live for a French event.   Joan Sutherland has a version.  Then there’s Renée Fleming singing her rendition …Read More

Maria Stuarda

Thanks to the Metropolitan Opera’s “Live in HD” series, we were able to see Maria Stuarda here in St. Louis.  Having seen Joyce DiDonato only in smaller roles earlier, her performance as Maria Stuarda was a knockout.  Of course, the main triumph …Read More

The Magistrate

The National Theater in London will do a live stream of this Arthur Wing Pinero play on February 9.  A local St. Louis movie theater is telecasting it and I’m encouraging all my friends to attend.  [It’s also being telecast throughout …Read More

Scenes from an Execution

This play has generous nudity on stage and is concerned with artistic integrity, specifically a painter’s glorious vs. inglorious representation of a battle scene of the Venetian Republic. Sartre had preached for years the necessity for the artist to be …Read More


by Philip Levine. The only reason it came to mind was donna r’s description [Issue #1, Nov. 9] of the Edward Hopper exhibit, which we will attend soon in Paris. When I first read this poem by Philip Levine, I immediately saw the last nine …Read More

La Mangeoire

Knowing how much we love French food, Ben and Donna recommended La Mangeoire to us during a spring visit to New York.  From our culinary desert in Missouri, we thought we’d dropped into a Paris bistro.  Everything French. Terrific food. …Read More

Angle of Repose

Years ago I read this Wallace Stegner novel and sighed when it ended because I wanted to see more of the novel’s characters.  Two summers ago I brought it with me on a trip to Idaho, and while waiting to enter …Read More

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Unlike too many modern biographies that spend too much time digging up scandals, Robert Caro is the penultimate biographer, a careful researcher who uses good data to validate his facts and, most important to me, he’s objective, exactly what’s needed …Read More

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

I enjoyed reading both of Hilary Mantel’s fictionalized histories of Thomas Cromwell.  She makes old Cromwell so easy to detest, but also to admire for his masterly manipulation.  Poor Anne Boleyn!  She never had a chance against the man.  From English …Read More

L’Elisir d’Amore

We watched this first selection of the Met Opera’s Live in HD in St. Louis earlier this year.  That opera is so much fun for me, primarily because I get to hear one of my two favorite arias, “Una furtiva lagrima.”  I …Read More

The Master

Ouch!  That’s a tough one to call.  I went to this film with six other women in a movie group.  The usher told us before we went in that half of the people loved it, the other half hated it. …Read More