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Ghost makes the underworld seem so pleasant

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Ghost3Papa Emeritus II by Rich Frollini Coda PhotographyAnd the winner for "Band That Looks Least like it Sounds" goes to ... Ghost.

The Swedish group dresses for a black mass with five Nameless Ghouls and an evil pope, Papa Emeritus II, but rather than sounding like a Darkthrone or a Mayhem, Ghost sounds like they were weaned on Blue Oyster Cult records, with their smooth vocals and melodic synched guitars.

The band, which played Stage AE on Good Friday, does add the touch of piped-in choral vocals in the "Carmina Burana" vein and Latin lyrics praising Lucifer.

It's a thrill when the lights go down and they emerge in full regalia, before their stained-glass cathedral backdrop, with "Infestissumam Per Aspera," the orchestral lead track from their second and latest album.

Even with black hoods and masks covering their faces, the musicianship is tight and Papa, who creeps around the stage with ceremonial gestures, is a gifted singer -- although you could hear multiple voices and he was the only one who appeared to be singing.

The problem with Ghost is that several songs in, the thrill fades and the energy starts to lag. A couple times, the musicians gathered center stage to jam but they don't move around much and Papa's interaction with the crowd is basically along the line of "Good evening. How are you feeling, Pittsburgh?" in a funny accent.

They broke up the set with their darkly plodding cover of "Here Comes the Sun" and later washed Roky Erickson's "If You Have Ghosts" in melody. I couldn't help but think about Kiss concerts, though, where you're sitting there going, "I can wait till Gene does ... "

ghostsetYou want Ghost to breathe fire (although you can't do that in a club) or spit blood or burn incense or sacrifice a crowd member or something evil. Maybe they should hire Gene Simmons, Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson as their horror-prop consultant.

Ghost4Even with a sing-along climax of "Come together, together as one/come together for Lucifer's son," Ghost makes the underworld seem so darn pleasant.

 

 

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Empty Netter Assists - 04-19-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Blue Jackets

-"It was a pretty physical game. But there wasn't that hate against each other." - Jussi Jokinen on Game 1.

-"They try to finish their hits and take your time and space away. I don't think [it's] anything that you wouldn't typically see." - Sidney Crosby (above) on facing Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsnky.

-"Pretty much what I expected," Maatta said Friday after the Penguins practiced at Consol Energy Center. "It's more physical. Not as many calls as there are in the regular season, so there's definitely more contact, more hits. The tempo is faster, too." - Olli Maatta on playing in his first career NHL postseason game.

-For the Beau Bennett, "Not really too much" is different when it comes to playing the first or third lines.

-“When he’s scored a goal, it’s always been a big goal. He’s right around the number he always seems to be at — 12 to 15 goals a year — but they always seem to be big goals.” - Dan Bylsma on Brandon Sutter.

-Kris Letang speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Marc-Andre Fleury speaks:

-Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger is expected to play after missing Game 2 due to an "upper-body" injury.

-“I was in the old building [Mellon Arena] for the five-overtime playoff game (in 2000) against Philadelphia. We stayed until it was over, like, 2:30 in the morning. I went in late to school the next day.” - Umberger, a native of Plum (No, really!) on watching a 2-1 win by the Flyers against the Penguins in Game 4 of a 2000 Eastern Conference semifinal series.

-Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno has gone from being out to questionable for Game 2.

-After the Jump: The Red Wings pull off a surprising win in Boston.

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Bruins - Red Wings preview - 04-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Bruins vs. Red Wings

Bruins Leading Regular Season Scorer: David Krejci (right), 69 points (19 goals, 50 assists).

Red Wings Leading Regular Season Scorer: David Legwand, 51 points (14 goals, 37 assists).

Bruins Expected Starting Goaltender: Tuukka Rask, 26-15-6, 2.04 GAA, .930 SV%.

Red Wings Expected Starting Goaltender: Jimmy Howard, 21-19-11, 2.66 GAA, .910 SV%.

Bruins Regular Season Statistics

Red Wings Regular Season Statistics

Bruins Injuries: Center Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed) is probable. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski (undisclosed) is questionable. Center Chris Kelly (back) and left winger Daniel Paille (head) are questionable. Defensemen Adam McQuaid (quadriceps), Dennis Seidenberg (knee) and center Marc Savard (concussion) is on injured reserve.

Red Wings Injuries: Right winger Dan Cleary (knee) and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (finger) are out. Right winger Mikael Samuelsson (undisclosed), center Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and left winger Henrik Zetterberg (back) are on injured reserve.

Bruins with Stanley Cup bling: Patrice Bergeron, C; Johnny Boychuk, D; Gregory Campbell, C; Zdeno Chara, D; Chris Kelly, C; David Krejci, C; Milan Lucic, LW; Brad Marchand, LW; Adam McQuaid, D; Daniel Paille, LW; Tuukka Rask, G; Marc Savard, C; Dennis Seidenberg, D; Shawn Thornton .

Red Wings with Stanley Cup bling: Dan Cleary, RW; Pavel Datsyuk, C; Jonathan Ericsson, D; Johan Franzen, RW; Darren Helm, C; Niklas Kronwall, D; Drew Miller, LW; Mikael Samuelsson, RW; Henrik Zetterberg, LW.

Something worthwhile about the Bruins: The Bruins won 41 games this past regular season when the scored the first goal of the game, most in the league.

Something worthwhile about the Red Wings: The Red Wings went 3-1-0 against the Bruins this past regular season.

Something useless about the Bruins that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins center Derek Sanderson holds the Bruins' record for career postseason short-handed goals with three.

Something useless about the Red Wings that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins right winger Andy Bathgate holds the Red Wings' record for most power-play goals in on series. He scored five in six games against the Blackhawks in a 1966 semifinal series.

Former Penguins on the Bruins: Jarome Iginla, RW; Chad Johnson, G (Johnson is a former Penguins prospect who never played for the organization); Corey Potter, D.

Former Penguins on the Red Wings: Mikael Samuelsson, RW; Tyler Wright, director of amateur scouting.

Who needs to be the difference for the Bruins: Zdeno Chara, Torrey Krug, Johnny Boychuk, Kevin Miller. The Red Wings still have a pretty fleet crew of skilled forwards. The Bruins' defensemen need to find a way to make life miserable for them.

Who needs to be the difference for the Red Wings: Niklas Kronwall (right), Kyle Quincey, Danny DeKeyser, Brendan Smith, etc. Kronwall will do most of the heavy lifting on Detroit's blue line but the Bruins' aggressive forecheck will try to punish him. The Red Wings' other defensemen need to find a way to ease his burden.

Best Bruins YouTube Video We Could Find: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron's series-clinching overtime goal in a 5-4 win against the Maple Leafs in a 2013 Eastern Conference quarterfinal:

Best Red Wings YouTube Video We Could Find: Red Wings center Sergei Fedorov scoring an overtime goal which required a video review in a 1-0 win against the North Stars in Game 6 of a 1992 Norris Division semifinal series:

EN Prediction: The Bruins are just too deep and too big for this Red Wings team which is worn out. Bruins 4-1.

(Photos: Mike Carlson/Getty Images and Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Direction in Philip Glass's "Orphee"

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

I had a great conversation today with Sam Helfrich, the stage director of the Pittsburgh Opera production of Philip Glass's "Orphee." Mr. Helfrich is no stranger to Pittsburgh. He directed a staged production of Handel's "Messiah" with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2011, as well as two operas ("Eugene Onegin" and "The Turn of the Screw") and an American scenes concert with Pittsburgh Opera.

"Orphee" uses as its source material the Jean Cocteau film of the same name, itself inspired by the Greek myth Orpheus. The libretto is hewn directly from the film's French script. Mr. Helfrich described the movie as "breathtakingly beautiful," and he has seen it roughly 20 times. Still, when crafting the direction for this production – first staged at Glimmerglass in 2007 – he said he didn't want it to be at all like the film.

"The language of film is so different from the language of opera or theater in general," he said.

Cocteau's version, he pointed out, is very much of its time. Released in 1950, it drips with post-war imagery. For example, dress suits worn by the film's judges wear hints at those worn at the Nuremberg trials, and a bombed-out city is reminiscent of Europe's urban ruins.

"We didn't want the opera to be a museum piece," he said.
The film, he said, also emphasizes Orphee's artistic neurosis and individual struggles. Mr. Helfrich believes the opera (and consequently, his interpretation) more strongly emphasizes the relationships between characters – in particular, the difficult marriage between Orphee and Eurydice.

Orphee, a poet, is pulled between his desires for creativity and immortality and the love, security and family life that Eurydice offers. Interestingly, Mr. Helfrich drew on other films – such as "Scenes from a Marriage" and "The Anniversary Party" – to explore marriage for the production.

Another device that is critical to the production (for the sake of both plot and metaphor) is the mirrors through which the characters travel in both the film and opera.
"We took the idea of reflection and doubling and incorporated that into every aspect of the design," he said.

Those are just a few of the concepts that inspire the direction. In any case, he hopes that audience members will come into the theater "with no expectations." Intrigued? Check out the Pittsburgh Opera production yourself, running April 26 to May 4 at the Benedum Center. Tickets and additional information at www.pittsburghopera.org. Check out the Post-Gazette next week for Robert Croan's opera preview.

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This weekend in Pittsburgh style+society: Fashion trucks, hats and a salute to soldiers

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

It may be a holiday weekend, but there's still plenty to talk about on this week's Setting the SEEN.

SEEN editor Natalie Bencivenga and I have the scoop on Pittsburgh's fashion trucks, charity events and other hot spots in the city. Plus we have hats on the brain with the Parks Conservancy hat luncheon and Kentucky Derby coming up.

For all the details, watch the video below. We'll be seeing you!

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