Wednesday, February 27, 2013

March madness at the Opera!

The next two months promise to be the most exciting of the season for Opera Roanoke. The Met "Live in HD" series brings a new production of Wagner's sublime final opera, Parsifal, March 2 at 12 noon at Virginia Western Community College.

March 8 is the date of our next Young Apprentice Artists' "Masques of Orpheus" series. This interdisciplinary program in an intimate setting is called "American Circus" and features, songs, duets, scenes, dances and poems from American stages. The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd hosts us March 8 at 7:30. The program will be presented March 16th at the Kendal in Lexington at 3 pm.

March 9 finds our Young Artists and me at the Taubman Museum of Art at 2 pm for a one-of-a-kind "performance art" program in the John Cage "Sight of Silence" exhibit. This "Happening" is modeled on Cage's own innovative performances combining music, dance, theatre, spoken word and more in an improvisatory setting.

Here's one of his "New River Watercolors:"

March 16 offers local audiences the rare opportunity to hear Riccardo Zandonai's romantic opera, Francesca da Rimini. Influenced by Puccini, and inspired by one of Dante's greatest tales, this opera returns to the Met for its first "Live in HD" broadcast.

Our season of Operatic adventures concludes April 26 & 28 with the popular Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance.

Last week, our office was pleasantly surprised to receive a copy of the Wagner Society of New York's quarterly newsletter, Wagner Notes. Their NY-based reviewer wrote about our fall production of The Flying Dutchman, saying:

"Opera Roanoke gave its audience an afternoon so splendidly played and stirringly sung that those who witnessed it left with smiles on their faces. This was the company's second venture into Wagner territory...Let's hope, given the pleasure of such a fine afternoon, that this is not their last."

In the meantime, I hope to see many of you at any and all of these "Opera around Roanoke" events, starting with this Saturday's matinee "Live in HD" broadcast of Parsifal. Don't let its length deter you. Like any great epic, a work of such proportions has a cumulative effect that is profoundly affecting to one willing to commit an afternoon or evening to experiencing it. By savoring the wealth of its material, the depth of its characters, and the transcendent vision of its totality, the participant in this "Sacred Stage Festival Play" (Wagner's label for his last opera) cannot help but leave the auditorium moved, even changed.

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