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Opera probes the genre of romantic comedy

By Rick Pender · March 3rd, 2004 · Fine Tuning

Operas aren't always tragic. Case in point: DIE OPERNPROBE, on view at UC's College-Conservatory of Music this weekend (in the Dieterle Vocal Arts Center), is a comic opera about rehearsing an opera. A young baron, running away from a girl he doesn't want to marry, gets sucked into a production at court. It gets more complicated when it turns out his intended is the daughter of the royal sponsor of the performance. Seating for this free production is limited; call 513-556-4183 for availability. ...

While it's a year away, the Cincinnati Opera's production of MARGARET GARNER is already making heads turn: Superstar DENYCE GRAVES will sing the title role, based on a true story of a slave who murdered one of her children rather than allowing a return to captivity.

If it sounds familiar, it should: Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved -- and the film based on it -- derive from this historic incident; Morrison is writing the text for the opera, which will have its premiere in Cincinnati in July 2005. The production will be staged by KENNY LEON, former artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre, who's been in Cincinnati recently to direct Blue, a play by Charles Randolph-Wright, in previews this week at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Leon was recently profiled in The New York Times, since he's directing a Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Sean (P. Diddy) Combs. The Margaret Garner production will feature four other singers of international stature: ANGELA BROWN, GREGG BAKER, RODNEY GILFRY and JOHN MACMASTER. ...

Cincinnati's renowned Classical ensembles continue to crank out major recordings on the Telarc label: The CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (CSO) recently released its fourth recording conducted by Music Director Paavo J#228rvi, an all-Ravel disk including La Valse and the sexy Boléro. And the MAY FESTIVAL CHORUS and the CSO have issued a world premiere recording of Franz Liszt's unfinished oratorio, ST. STANISLAUS, written in 1886. It's conducted by James Conlon, celebrating his 25th year as the music director of the 150-voice volunteer chorus which has made music since 1873 -- even before Liszt wrote this little known work.



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