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Articles by Jonathan Spira

The Post-Coronavirus Age is ‘The End of the Beginning’

How different might the post-coronavirus world look? Many predict radical change while others expect things to return to the way they were before the virus struck. Some see an apocalypse, others a minor shift in how we live.
I see neither.  To borrow from Churchill, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,” as this quote …

Review: Metropolitan Opera Virtual ‘At-Home Gala,’ Live from the Stars Living Rooms

In opera, glitches are typically along the lines of what happened in Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin” in the early 1900s, when the boat drawn by a swan moved offstage without him, and he said, audible to the audience, “Wann fährt der nächste Schwan?” or “What time does the next swan leave?”
Back then, opera was performed in grand opera houses.  Today, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, great opera is performed from the homes …

To Survive, Airlines Start to Take Employee Temperatures, But Passengers and Workers Say More Is Needed

When the world starts returning to whatever its new normal will be, the number of customers returning to restaurants, bars, and airports will certainly lag behind those going to their hair stylists, dentists, and garden shops.
Travel has essentially ground to a halt.  If photos on social media of empty planes wasn’t enough to convince you, the Transportation Security Administration, which operates security checkpoints at most airports in the United States, …

Review and Test Drive: 2020 Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid

While I’ve always admired Volvo from afar, it wasn’t until the launch of the new 90 Series, specifically the XC90 and the S90 that quickly followed it, that I actually lusted after one.
All 90 Series vehicles are built on the automaker’s global platform, SPA or Scalable Product Architecture. They all share numerous features and characteristics both inside and out, including a 9” tablet-like touch screen for infotainment and climate control …

Miss Broadway? Here’s How to Stream Great Theater to Your Home

Socially distanced and sequestered.  New phrases entering the vocabulary reflect the reality of the Broadway world.  No doubt composers of musical theater are already thinking of songs featuring those very words.
What survived hurricanes, blizzards, and SARS, hadn’t met Covid-19:  The promiscuous way in which the virus spreads led to an almost worldwide closing of live theater and there is no end in sight.
Fortunately, the pandemic is occurring in an age …

Review and Test Drive: 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and Nightshade Edition

If you want a bit of fun, park your Army Green Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro somewhat adjacent to an off-road trail or gravel road.  For even more fun, wear a safety vest and hold a large walkie-talkie in your hand. For no good reason whatsoever, almost every car turning off will stop in your vicinity and the driver will ask if he may proceed.
For one week, I felt as if I …

Theater Review: ‘Amadeus’ at Syracuse Stage via Webstream, A Study in Envy

When Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus” came to the stage, first in 1979 at the National Theater in London and in 1980 at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway with Ian McKellar, Tim Curry, and Jane Seymour, it took the world by storm. It was a play infused with and about music, yet it wasn’t a musical, a play with murder and intrigue, yet it wasn’t a whodunit.
Syracuse Stage’s brilliant production …