WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Anne Arenstein 07.22.2014 42 hours ago
Posted In: Opera at 08:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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REVIEW: Cincinnati Opera's 'La Calisto'

Continues through July 27 at SCPA

Don't walk. Run to the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) to catch the remaining performances of La Calisto, an opera composed in 1653 that's equal parts romance and raunch, performed by a superb cast of singers, instrumentalists and dancers who are all clearly having a wonderful time.Composer Franceso Cavalli was savvy enough to take opera out of palaces and into public theaters, where he made a fortune. He used the story of virgin Calisto, a follower of the goddess Diana, who is seduced by Jove and transformed into a bear by the vengeful Juno. Diana has her own problems with hormones and so does another of her followers. There's not much sacred and a lot of profane, not to mention profanity.There's a lot of transformation going on: Jove disguises himself as Diana to get it on with Calisto, meaning that bass baritone Daniel Okulitch puts on a long white robe, dons a wig and sings in convincing falsetto. A horny follower of Diana is sung by a male, a high soprano takes on the role of a frustrated satyr — and just what gender are the rest of Pan's satyrs and Diana's huntresses? Ted Huffman's staging is witty and occasionally wild; the battle between Pan's and Diana's tribes seems to involve more than the six or seven dancers onstage, thanks to the acrobatic choreography of Zack Winokur.Okulitch sings Jove with the requisite authority and gravitas, which also renders him ridiculous when lust for Calisto overtakes him. Okulitch is equally adept singing in falsetto, which is no easy task when it involves vocal ornamentation. Andrew Garland, a great recitalist with innate comic instincts, is a natural as Jove's gofer Mercury. Aaron Blake may be diminutive in stature but he has a huge, ringing tenor, and he was a hilarious Pan. Michael Maniaci sang Diana's lover Endymion, his pure male soprano giving the role genuine tenderness. Thomas Michael Allen sang the libidinous nymph Linfea entirely in falsetto.The women are all excellent, especially soprano Nathalie Paulin, a convincingly innocent Calisto. Mezzo Jennifer Johnson Cano was a formidable Diana, singing with authority and melting emotion. Alisa Jordheim's agile soprano easily handled the demands of the frustrated Satirino, and Alexandra Deshorties embodies vengeance and fury as Juno.The chamber orchestra is joined by the phenomenal Catacoustic Consort and during intermission, a lot of the audience stopped by the orchestra pit to check out the theorbos, Baroque harp, lirone and viola da gamba. Conductor David Bates led a lively, nuanced reading of the score.The action plays out on a unit set used for last year's Galileo Galilei, with a wonderful star curtain that descends as Calisto ascends to the heavens to become Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper.La Calisto is Cincinnati Opera's first Baroque opera and they couldn't have made a better choice. It's heavenly.La Calisto, presented by Cincinnati Opera, continues July 23, 25 and 27 at SCPA's Corbett Theater. More info here.
 
 

CCM Alums Take on the Baritone Bad Boys of ‘La Calisto’

0 Comments · Tuesday, July 15, 2014
“Who told you Baroque operas are dull?” Andrew Garland says. “Who told you that?”    
by Rick Pender 07.11.2014 12 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Opera, Dinner Theater and More

I saw Cincinnati Opera's production of Silent Night on Thursday evening. It's the regional premiere of a work that won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for music, and our local opera is doing a bang-up job of presenting it. And "bang-up" is the operative term: This opera is set during some of the darkest days of World War I, and the opening segment of the production reproduces the violent and deadly combat between troops from England (actually a regiment from Scotland), France and Germany. You're not likely to see a more gripping onstage representation of battle than what's happening at Music Hall. Before Thursday's performance I listened to composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell talk about how to "musicalize" such a scene: Their research included studying the opening sequence of the Saving Private Ryan, the graphic, Academy Award-winning film of the D-Day invasion during World War II. It's a powerfully real scene, a perfect opening to the moving tale of soldiers pitted as enemies who found common ground in one another's humanity on Christmas Eve 1914. You can get good seats for the concluding performance on Saturday evening (7:30 p.m.) for $30-$45 by calling the Opera's box office: 513-241-2742. Area high school students are the talent in onstage for Commonwealth Artists Summer Theatre (C.A.S.T.) at Highlands High School (2400 Memorial Pkwy., Fort Thomas). Starting tonight is a two-week run (July 11-20) of The Addams Family, a Broadway musical based on cartoonist Charles Addams' bizarre and beloved family of characters. The group is headed up by Fort Thomas theater instructor Jason Burgess, who has assembled theater kids from the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky who are eager to develop their skills in performance and production. Tickets: $10 (http://www.showtix4u.com) or at the door. The Tony Award-winning musical next to normal, about a woman with bipolar disorder, gets not one but two productions by Cincinnati-area community theaters: Sunset Players on the West Side and Paradise Players for East Side siders. You can choose between them tonight. The venerable Sunset Players, which presents shows at the Dunham Arts Center (in the Dunham Recreation Complex, 4320 Guerley Rd., Price Hill), has performances through July 26, mostly at 8 p.m. Tickets ($14-$16): 513-588-4988. Meanwhile, Paradise Players, a newish group offering summer productions at McNicholas High School's Jeanne Spurlock Theatre (6536 Beechmont Ave.), is presenting its rendition of the show this weekend only, tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $15 (http://mcnhs.seatyourself.biz). Tickets tend to be a bit harder to come by at Northern Kentucky University for a dinner-theater production by Commonwealth Theatre Company of Route 66. It's about a band traveling from Chicago to the West Coast in the 1960s along one of America's most legendary highways. Along the way, they meet a lot of colorful characters and see a lot of America. The production features four solid local performers: Wes Carman, Roderick Justice, Dain Alan Paige and Joshua Steele are likely to make this a very entertaining evening. Through July 27. Dinner and the show ($30): 859-572-5464.
 
 

Singers Revive Roles for Cincinnati Opera’s ‘Silent Night’

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Craig Irvin, Andrew Wilkowske and Gabriel Preisser are enjoying a career arc that any opera singer would kill for. All three performed in the world premiere of Silent Night, an opera that garnered rave reviews, a Pulitzer Prize, a PBS broadcast and subsequent productions, including this weekend’s from the Cincinnati Opera, in which the singers reprise their original roles.  
by Jac Kern 06.20.2014 33 days ago
Posted In: Events at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 6/20-6/22

Two annual festivals descend on the Ohio River this weekend: Paddlefest and RoeblingFest. The 13th annual Ohio River Paddlefest takes over Coney Island — and the nearby river — Friday through Sunday, bringing hundreds of canoes, kayaks, boats and lovers of the outdoors. The weekend kicks off with the ninth annual Kids Outdoor Adventure Expo on Friday (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). The Paddlefest Outdoor Expo and Roots on the River Music Festival runs 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and the main event is Sunday, where more than 1400 human-powered boats will take the trip from Coney to the Public Landing downtown. Go here for daily event lineups. RoeblingFest is in its 10th year of celebrating the John A. Roebling Bridge, which connects downtown Cincinnati with Covington, Ky. The festival first and foremost highlights the bridge’s historic relevance, and guests can take guided tours of the bridge and surrounding murals, landmarks and statues as well as browse informational displays with photos and artifacts from area museums and organizations. There will also be art for sale, children’s activities, food from local restaurants and live music, all from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. The fun takes place on Court Street between Third and Fourth streets and Park Place between Scott and Greenup streets. Find more info here.  MidPoint Indie Summer is in full swing. This week’s acts include Those Darlins, The Harlequins, The Frankl Project and Those Crosstown Rivals. Music starts at 7 p.m. Friday on Fountain Square. If you don’t have your MPMF wristbands yet, purchase those on the square and get access to all these killer acts. Summer Solstice is Saturday, and the Cincinnati Observatory is offering a unique way to ring in the season. Visitors can enjoy wine, snacks and a killer view during Celestial Sips 8-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Shannon Depenbrock of D.E.P.’s Fine Wines will sample four organic, biodynamic wines (which means the grapes are planted and harvested according to the moon’s phases) and, pending clear skies, guests can view Saturn’s rings through America’s first telescope. Tickets are $60 and space is limited; call 513-321-5186 or go here to RSVP. Cincinnati Opera’s season opener Carmen continues through this weekend. Performances are Friday and Sunday. Get tickets and full summer opera season information here. The U.S. takes on Portugal in their second World Cup game this Sunday. Fans can join Cincinnati Saints, the city’s pro soccer team, at Fountain Square to watch the game on the jumbo screen, listen to music and enjoy food and beer from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. Read this week’s cover story on the Cup here. For more art openings, parties, festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
 
 

Singing The Personal And Political

A rarely performed 20th-century opera and a new work confront the clash of ideology and emotion

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The personal is definitely political in two operas onstage this month in both Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave, in which a young man chooses pacifism over a military career, and Fellow Travelers, based on the novel about a gay love affair during the McCarthy era.  

Seeing Opera (and the World) Through Jay Bolotin's Eyes

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The complexity, mysterious beauty, level of accomplishment and downright strangeness of Jay Bolotin’s art is continually amazing.   
by Jac Kern 07.19.2013
Posted In: Events, Fun at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 7/19-7/21

Sawyer Point turns 25 this weekend, celebrating with a big birthday bash Saturday. The party will feature live music, food and beer, a kids entertainment area with Cincinnati Circus and inflatable rides and all the other playgrounds and park features Sawyer Point has to offer. The Sawyer Point Rockin' Birthday Bash runs noon-10 p.m. Saturday and admission is $3. Cincinnati Opera closes its summer season with Aida, Giuseppe Verdi's grand opera about an Ethiopian princess mixed up in an epic love triangle. Aida is onstage Saturday at Music Hall and continues next week. Find tickets and more info here.  Considering how much time most of us spend typing — on a computer at work or school, on a phone texting friends — the average kid today probably types faster than a professional secretary 50 years ago. Think you’ve got the fastest fingers in the city? Test ‘em out in the Cincy Typing Challenge. Typists and texters will compete in the qualifying round Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Finals are July 25 and the grand prize is $500, so register now, as same-day registration is limited. Let your Francophile flag fly Saturday at Montgomery’s annual Bastille Day celebration. Montgomery’s sister city is Neuilly-Plaisance, France and for 24 years the city celebrates this relationship with food, beer and wine, kids activities and lots of live entertainment. The free fête is noon-11 p.m. Saturday along Montgomery Road between Remington and Cooper roads. Bonne Bastille!Butler County, Warren County and Kenton County all host their respective fairs this weekend. Rides, games, animals and tractor pulls abound!For more art openings, theater shows, summer festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks and full calendar.
 
 

Philip Glass' 'Galileo Galilei' Is More Than a Musical Challenge

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Composer Philip Glass’ 18th opera, Galileo Galilei, telescopes the conflict between genius and dogma in 10 scenes, moving backward in time as Old Galileo looks back on his life. By opera standards, it’s brief: 90 minutes without an intermission.  
by Jac Kern 06.14.2013
Posted In: Eats, Events, Fun at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 6/14-6/16

Father’s Day is June 16, so make sure you get out there and show Dad (or the Dad-like guy in your life) a good time this weekend. There’s lots going on the next few days: stuff to do with Pops, and plenty to check out on your own once Dad starts talking about how wrecked the government is and how tough he had it when he was a kid (sorry, Dad, but it gets old). Newport’s Italianfest runs Friday-Sunday on the Levee. Food is obviously a highlight at this annual fest; expect plenty of pizza, pasta, cannoli and gelato from area restaurants. There will also be live music, cooking and eating contests, rides and games and a photo exhibit of Italians that settled in Newport generations ago. Admission is free; go here for hours and more info.Cincinnati Opera’s summer season kicks off with Mozart’s comic drama, Don Giovanni. The opener’s second showing is Saturday. Read our full Opera season preview here. Jungle Jim’s is known for being the go-to grocery store for exotic types of meats, fancy cheeses, rare candy and produce from around the world, but it also has an extensive beer selection. Friday and Saturday, Jim’s hosts an International Beer Fest featuring 350 beers from 100 breweries across the globe. Tickets are $40 for Friday, $45 for Saturday, $15 for designated drivers and can be purchased at the store’s beer and wine department while they last (online sales have ended). The City Flea takes over Washington Park Saturday. Browse furniture, clothing, housewares, accessories and other vintage, antique, local and handmade goodies, plus food from local vendors and food trucks from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Does your father love pork? Of course he does, this is America! Bring Dad to Covington for MainStrasse Village’s “Original” Goettafest Friday-Sunday. Find ample versions of the sausagey Cincinnati stable along with plenty of beer, music, shopping and other festival favorites. Go here for details. For more stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.More to look forward to: Peep our Summer Guide, tucked into this week's issue, for all sorts of seasonal goodness to keep you busy all summer long. And be sure to get tickets to next Wednesday's Margarita Madness celebration at Newport on the Levee. Admission is $20 in advance ($25 at the Levee, if there are still tickets available) and includes ample tequila and margarita samples, summery bites from area restaurants and live music and DJs, all from 5:30-9 p.m. June 19. Get tickets and more info here.
 
 

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