MICHAEL MAHONEY, HAT HEAD STUDIO Enlarge
The Toledo Opera will conclude its 2011-2012 production season with Puccini's China-inspired opera, Turandot, in a single, semi-staged performance at 8 p.m. May 11 in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.
Conducted by Stefan Sanderling and staged by Mark Verzatt, the production will bring together a mix of familiar and new vocal talent, with the Toledo Opera Chorus, Toledo Children's Chorus, and Toledo Symphony performing the lush and melodious score.
While real life-and-death drama surrounding escaped dissident Chen Guangcheng goes on in Beijing this week, the opera cast will bring to life an old Chinese story of a recalcitrant princess and a savvy mysterious prince, set in ancient Peking.
Turandot's unanswerable riddles have warded off many suitors, who pay for their ignorance with their heads. With each beheading, the spinster princess withdraws further from the love she desperately desires. Yet when Calaf answers the riddles, she reneges on her promise until the mysterious prince challenges her to a riddle of her own.
As the princess ponders the potential outcome and her future, Calaf sings the signature aria for this dramatic, Asian-influenced score, "Nessun Dorma."
Portraying Princess Turandot will be Toledo newcomer Amy Louise Yekel, a dramatic soprano with national performing experience, who is in doctoral studies at Arizona State University.
As Calaf, the enterprising prince who outwits Turandot, tenor Adam Laurence Herskowitz also will make his Toledo debut. Recently switched from baritone to tenor, Herskowitz is on the Metropolitan Opera roles and will perform Calaf with the Minnesota Opera this year. He has a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music.
Stephen West will portray Timur, Calaf's father, a political refugee. West, a baritone now on the University of Michigan faculty, has sung widely internationally and from coast to coast in the United States.
Soprano Jenny Cresswell will sing the role of Liu, Timur's servant, who gives her life to protect Calaf. She has appeared with the Toledo Opera and Toledo Symphony and is a radio host for WGTE-FM91.
Three distinguished singers will bring to life the bureaucrats Ping, Pang, and Pong: Jeremy Kelly, Martin Coyle, and Vale Rideout. Bass Timothy Bruno, currently in the cast of Toledo Opera on Wheels, will portray a Mandarin official and Brad Cresswell, program director of WGTE-FM91 will cover two roles: the Emperor Altoum and Prince of Persia.
Tickets are $25-$65 at 419-255-7464 or www.toledoopera.org.
The Toledo Symphony's Neighborhood Concert Series continues with a performance at 7 p.m. Friday in Westgate Chapel, 2500 Wilford Dr. Resident conductor Jeffrey Pollock will lead the orchestra, the Westgate Chapel Choir, and soloists in a program of sacred works from many musical styles. Tickets are $7 and can be ordered at 419-841-8077, ext. 234.
The Lourdes University Spring Choral Concert is set for 7 p.m. Sunday in the Franciscan Center on the Sylvania campus. Director Karen Biscay promises a quick trip through choral music's long history -- from Gregorian chant to Rachmaninoff -- for the first half of the concert. The second segment will include Broadway, Hollywood, and popular songs by composers including Irving Berlin, Jule Style, Ira and George Gershwin, Jason Robert Brown, and, finally, a sing-along "Sound of Music" medley. The concert is free.
The North Coast Concert Band will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center of Norwalk Senior High School, 360 Shady Lane, Norwalk. On the program will be music by Morton Gould, Leroy Anderson, and music from Pirates of the Caribbean. Percussionist Jeff Gray will be featured soloist. The concert is free.
High School Honors Day will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Monday at Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts, the Mainstage Theatre. Some 60 high school musicians selected for this group will perform under the direction of Teresa Hudson and Robert Krichbaum, both of the area's fine military bands.
The free program will survey music from a broad spectrum of national and international composers.
The University of Toledo announces its schedule of nine summer arts workshops at the University of Toledo College of Visual and Performing Arts. The Summer SmARTS series will offer learning opportunities for students, professionals, and amateurs in choral music, jazz performance, screen-printing, vocal performance and coaching, creative activities, and more. UT faculty will lead the mostly week-long sessions.
Links to individual workshops are available on the UT College of Visual and Performing Arts web site www.utoledo.edu/cvpa/summer.html. For information on music workshops, call the UT Department of Music at 419-530-2448. For information on the screen-printing workshop call the Department of Art at 419-530-8300.
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