WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

It's All Just Singing, Right?

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Opera always struck me as a strange, overblown cousin to musical theater. I told people that I had to “turn off my theater filters when I went to see opera.” But then I spent several seasons working for Cincinnati Opera, and my eyes were opened to the reasons people react so strongly to that art form.  
by Rick Pender 06.29.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
porgy and bess cred

Stage Door: Last Chances

'The Second City 2' and 'next to normal' conclude this weekend, among others

It’s a weekend of last chances, as several shows that have been entertaining audiences wind up their runs just before Independence Day. Let’s start with The Second City 2: Less Pride … More Pork. If you haven’t yet caught this evening of poking fun at our local foibles and sacred cows, you have only until Saturday. The cast of five from Chicago’s legendary comedy troupe has been tickling local funny bones since late April, drawing their material from bottomless well of our beliefs and behaviors. Even if you saw the show a month or two ago, you’ll be entertained by a return visit. Improv is the fuel for the evening, and every night they’re up to new tricks to entertain audiences. By the way, that includes involving a few folks in attendance, so be prepared. Box office: 513-421-3888. Sunday winds up Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s revival of the Tony Award-winning musical next to normal. (Review here.) The story of a woman struggling with schizophrenia and how it affects her family is even better than it was back in September. The show uses the power of a brilliant Rock score to enhance the impact of this painful story. ETC has reassembled most of its superb cast from last fall, including Jessica Hendy in the central role. Her beleaguered husband is now played by Bruce Cromer, who you might know as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Playhouse’s annual A Christmas Carol. His character’s relationship with Hendy’s makes their struggles all the more deeply felt. Box office: 513-421-3555. Last Sunday I had some good laughs at the classic comedy Arsenic and Old Lace on the Showboat Majestic. It’s an old chestnut (it was a hit in 1944), but it’s one of the funniest shows you’re likely to see, about a pair of off-kilter elderly maiden aunts who keep their rather normal nephew astonished and scrambling to keep them in line. The kind-hearted women take in boarders, quiet elderly men who are “all alone in the world,” and polish them off with elderberry wine laced with arsenic. They convince another nephew, who believes he’s Teddy Roosevelt, to bury them in the basement by telling him they’re Panama Canal works who are victims of yellow fever. A great show for the whole family. Box office: 513-241-6550. Also winding up this weekend is Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). This rambunctious show mentions of all the Bard’s works — although many are completely unrecognizable, thanks the three buffoonish guys who undertake the task. Order your tickets online where you’ll find an automatic buy-one, get-one offer. Website: www.cincyshakes.com. Cincinnati Opera is offering Porgy & Bess for the first time ever, with a performances on Saturday evening (as well as July 6 and 8). (Preview here.) Is it an opera or a musical? Judge for yourself (and read about it in my Curtain Call column in next week’s issue of CityBeat). It’s at Music Hall, with lots of seats, but as always, a limited run. This is one you shouldn’t miss. I saw it Thursday night, and the leading performers are great: Measha Brueggergosman is a conflicted Bess, Jonathan Lemalu conveys Porgy’s dignified but depressed life, Gordon Hawkins is the brutal Crown, and Steven Cole steals the show as the animated, irreverent Sporting Life. And pay attention to the chorus — it’s a wonderful ensemble. Box office: 513-241-2742. Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.
 
 

Porgy and Bess (Preview)

Cincinnati Opera channels 1930s Charleston in American Classic

0 Comments · Thursday, June 28, 2012
George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess ranks as America’s most famous opera. Its arias and ensembles are firmly ensconced in the American Popular Songbook: “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty o Nuttin’,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” “I Loves You, Porgy.” “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” No other opera comes close except Carmen, and that’s French.  

Love Conquers All

Cincinnati Opera channels 1930s Charleston in American Classic

0 Comments · Tuesday, June 26, 2012
George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess ranks as America’s most famous opera. Its arias and ensembles are firmly ensconced in the American Popular Songbook: “Summertime,” “I Got Plenty o Nuttin’,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” “I Loves You, Porgy.” “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” No other opera comes close except Carmen, and that’s French.  
by Jac Kern 06.15.2012
at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
pagliacci

Your Weekend To Do List: 6/15-6/17

Whether you’re celebrating your dad, the end of slavery, a local pork product or just a welcome break from work, there are tons of events in store this weekend. Buckle up! As always, the Midpoint Indie Summer Series is a superb way to kick things off. Tonight The Seedy Seeds, Wymond Miles and Belle Histoire take over Fountain Square starting at 7 p.m. Grab a beer, something to eat and if you haven’t already secured your MPMF wristbands, be sure to purchase those tonight as well. Early bird tickets save you $10 — and they’re almost sold out! You can also buy tickets and check out the full Indie Summer schedule and initial MPMF band announcements here. Barbeque may be the widely-recognized seasonal meat dish of choice, but locals know better — Cincy celebrates goetta with multiple festivals each summer. The first of which, MainStrasse Village “Original” Goettafest, begins tonight in Covington. Enjoy live music, vendors, booze and all the goetta dogs, burgers, reubens, chili and pizza your heart desires (or fears) though Sunday night. If sampling pork dishes isn’t your thing, why not sample the best of local and regional dancers? Contemporary Dance Theater presents its annual Area Choreographers Festival Friday and Saturday at the Aronoff Center. The program features six performances from established companies and up-and-coming choreographers. Find ticket information and a full lineup here. Many associate the end of slavery in the United States with Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862 (and went into effect Jan. 1, 1863), but just a small fraction of  slaves actually benefited from this order. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and federal troops arrived at Galveston, Tex., it is said, to enforce the abolition of slaves there. This date represents a true end of slavery, called Juneteenth, and is recognized by 41 states. Celebrate this weekend at Eden Park with cultural music and dancing, performances, traditional storytelling, ethnic food and vendors Saturday and Sunday. This year marks the 25th annual Juneteenth Festival in Cincinnati, predicted to be one of the largest local celebrations yet. From a historical holiday to a fictional one, Bloomsday is also celebrated this weekend. In James Joyce’s classic epic Ulysses, Leopold Bloom embarked on his Dublin journey on June 16, 1904. Though purely a literary creation, June 16 has become a day to honor Irish heritage and culture (you don’t have to wait until March!). The Irish Heritage Center presents an evening full of traditional Irish songs, readings, performances and more Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. The Cincinnati Opera opened its 2012 season this week, and celebrates with Pride Night Saturday. Experience the tragic passion of Pagliacci and the humorous charm of Gianni Schicchi in a classical doubleheader, followed by a circus-themed bash at Music Hall. Enjoy a talent-packed performance, support the LGBT community and party it up in one night? Yeah, it’s a can’t-miss.
 
 
by Jac Kern 04.27.2012
 
 
steampunk

Your Weekend To Do List: 4/27-4/29

OTR Skate, Cincinnati Opera Gala, Steampunk Symposium, ReUse-apalooza and more

Thanks to the Contemporary Arts Center's current music video exhibition, Spectacle, a number of talented musicians, artists and directors have flocked to Cincinnati during the past two months to perform and discuss the power of music videos in our culture. Tonight, director Vincent Morisset stops by to screen Inni, his powerful black-and-white film about Icelandic Pop Rock group Sigur Rós. Morisset will then discuss his work with Sigur Rós and Arcade Fire and take questions. The event begins at 6:30 — come early to check out the Spectacle exhibit if you haven't yet. The screening and talk are free for members, $7.50 museum admission for non-members.
It's Final Friday and last year's popular monthly OTR Skate is back! Don your best hot pants and tube socks and roll over to the OTR Recreation Center for a night of old-school fun with a hip twist. Bust a move on the rink to the music of Automagik and You, You're Awesome. Admission is just $5 (skate rental included) and goes to the Rec Center to provide youth programs and scholarships for area kids. Enjoy free Vitamin Water and classic game room attractions like air hockey and foosball. Been a decade or two since you last laced up those skates? Cincinnati Rollergirls will be on hand for some pro tips. The fun begins at 8 p.m.
Northside's Building Value presents its third annual ReUse-apalooza tonight from 7-11 p.m. Learn about how the nonprofit reuses materials and what you can do to promote sustainable building practices. Music will be provided by Messerly and Ewing and there will be a silent auction featuring Building Value projects. Tickets are $20, $50 VIP. After the benefit, head over to Northside Tavern for a free after-party.
If you've checked out our cover story this week, you know about the steampunk movement that's taken flight locally. What started as a literary genre that mixes Victorian history with futuristic fantasy elements a la Jules Verne is know an underground culture with its own music, art, costuming and performance aspects. This weekend marks the first Steampunk Symposium at Tri-County's Atrium Hotel. While weekend passes are sold-out, Saturday one-day tickets will be available at the door for $20. Whether you're a diehard steampunk or just curious about the movement, this quirky event has something for everyone. Saturday's schedule includes various steampunk bands and authors, a midnight masquerade, workshops, fashion shows, a mustache parade, verbal dueling (a battle of wits) and dozens of other activities. Various events run from 10 a.m. until around 2 a.m. Read more about the culture and find a Saturday lineup here.May is Bike Month and the Main Library downtown kicks off the cycling celebration Saturday with a bike expo. Check out various bicycle exhibits, meet organizers from groups like MoBo Bicycle Coop, Queen City Bike and League of American Bicyclists and meet Bobbi Montgomery, author of Across America by Bicycle. Get all the information you need to become a regular cyclist about town. The expo runs from 2-4 p.m. Go here for more details.The Cincinnati Opera will perform the highly anticipated Southern-inspired George Gershwin hit Porgy and Bess in June, but you don't have to wait until summer to get in on the excitement. Saturday's Opera Gala, "A Hot Night in Charleston" will transport Duke Energy Convention Center's Grand Ballroom into the Pametto State with soul food, cocktails, music and dancing. After you've had your fill of Southern-style eats, stick around for the after-party, "Late Night in Charleston." Being a benefit for the Opera, tickets for the Gala are pretty steep ($250, $175 for first-timers); If you're on a budget, consider coming for the after-party, which runs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. — tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will begin being serves at 6:30 p.m.
Add a little cuteness to your weekend with the Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic open house Sunday. The facility has been yarn bombed by the Cincinnati BombShells to welcome new cats ready for adoption. If you're looking for a new cuddle buddy, consider adopting one of OAR's rescue kitties at the event. The free open house runs 1-4 p.m. Go here for more details, directions and more info on donations and volunteer opportunities.For more art exhibits, theater shows events and concerts, check out our To Do page and music blog.
 
 

All About the Magic

Cincinnati Opera offers a cinematic version of 'The Magic Flute'

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute is a perfect point of entry for kids. There’s plenty of fantasy, a happy ending, no one dies and the music is sublime. But for director Tomer Zvulun, it’s all about the magic. Although instruments get the magic started, Mozart’s utterly delightful score and characters like the bird catcher Papageno, his mate Papagena and a host of birds and animals are the opera’s true magical forces.  

Diary of a Super Woman

A first-person account of being a super for Cincinnati Opera

1 Comment · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
After years of writing about classical music and opera, I’m actually in an opera as a supernumerary, the operatic equivalent of an extra. My role: a Russian peasant peeling potatoes in the first scene of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The audition was easy: fill out a form and be photographed next to a measuring stick.  

Verdi, Verdi Good

The leads in Rigoletto draw on personal experience for their roles

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 15, 2011
An intense father-daughter relationship is at the heart of Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, which opens Cincinnati Opera’s summer season with performances Thursday and Saturday. Baritone Stephen Powell makes his role debut as Rigoletto, the acid-tongued jester, and soprano Sarah Coburn is his daughter Gilda.  

Above the Law

From future legal eagle to songbird, Lawrence Brownlee’s diverted flight path

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In the summer of 2004, an unknown African-American tenor starred in Cincinnati Opera’s production of The Daughter of the Regiment, best known for the killer aria “Ah! Mes Amis!” with its nine high C notes. Lawrence Brownlee made it sound effortless, spinning off octave jumps with crystalline purity.  

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