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Published: Thursday, 7/19/2012

Arts groups put finishing touches on upcoming season

BY SALLY VALLONGO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

Heat waves and killer storms do not readily bring to mind the cooler weather pleasures of fine orchestral music, live opera, and beautiful ballet performances, all of which add great dimension to life in Toledo.

Thankfully, during this tumultuous summer, leaders of the Toledo Symphony, Toledo Opera, and Toledo Ballet, among other arts organizations, are busy finishing arrangements for the 2012-2013 season just ahead.

The latest announcement comes from the Toledo Ballet, presenter of one of the country's oldest productions of The Nutcracker, that holiday dance confection.

A $25,000 grant from the Anderson Fund at the Toledo Community Foundation will kick-start fund-raising activities to complete the 2010 overhaul of the Act I set for that beloved ballet. The Act II set was unveiled in 2010, a design by Cincinnati artist Thomas Umfried.

Keith Hoyt will perform a Mercy Music Under The Stars Sunday in the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre. Keith Hoyt will perform a Mercy Music Under The Stars Sunday in the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre.
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Typically a Nutcracker set depicts a grand estate, inside and out. According to Mari Davies, executive director of the ballet, this new set will be inspired by one of Toledo's own grand mansions -- the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.

"The redesign of the sets that are over 30 years old will give the Nutcracker production a uniquely hometown feeling," observed Keith Burwell, foundation president.

Dates for The Nutcracker are Dec. 14-16 at the Stranahan Theater.

Meanwhile, the Toledo Opera continues to share good news, starting with the rousing conclusion of its student opera camp in June. Sixteen area students participated in the two-week experiment that, according to executive director Suzanne Rorick, will be repeated in 2013.

Also in the works is an expansion of the successful Opera on Wheels program, in which budding opera stars perform "child-sized" versions of grand opera for thousands of elementary and junior high school students.

Next year's production, The Italian Girl, a modern-day adaptation of Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri, will run April 1 to May 17. Bookings are being accepted at the Toledo Opera headquarters, 419-255-7464, ext. 3.

The opera's main performance season will kick off with two productions of Puccini's classic, La Boheme, at 8 p.m. Oct. 5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 7. James Meena will conduct.

Mozart's fiery masterpiece, Don Giovanni, with Stefan Sanderling conducting, will be presented at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 and 2 p.m. Feb. 17. The season will wrap up with the annual Gala, featuring tenor Sean Mathey, with guest conductor Sara Jobin, at 8 p.m. April 12 and 2 p.m. April 14.

All productions will be in the Valentine Theatre.

Season tickets are on sale. For more information and to order, call 419-255-7464 or check www.toledoopera.org.

The Toledo Symphony, largest presenter of live and local music in the region, is preparing for its 2012-2013 season, "Music Captures Your Imagination," with a reminder that season tickets are on sale through Aug. 6, when single ticket sales start.

Concerts begin Sept. 21-22 with an all-Rachmaninoff program for the first Classics Series performances in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, conducted by principal conductor Sanderling and featuring pianist Martina Filjak.

On Sept. 29, the first of the KeyBank Pops Series, with Gary Puckett, will be performed in the Stranahan Theater, and Sept. 30 is the launch of the Blade Chamber Series at the Toledo Club.

Highlights of the season to come include productions of Handel's Messiah with the Toledo Choral Society, Dec. 1-2; the March 10 performance of the Bruckner Symphony No. 2 in Rosary Cathedral, and Carl Orff's massive Carmina Burana, with orchestra and Bowling Green State University choruses, Feb. 8-9.

Also on tap are a quartet of charming Family Series concerts starting with Halloween Spooktacular Oct. 28 in the Peristyle. Mozart & More returns starting Oct. 27 in the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University.

This weekend's symphony performance at 7 p.m. Sunday will bring Robert Mirakian to the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre for a program titled Music of the Movies.

Guest performers will be singer Keith Hoyt and Celtic dancers from the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance, just over the Michigan border.

The program will kick off with a fanfare by Toledo composer David Jex, and include music by Gershwin, John Williams, and Elmer Bernstein. Conductor emeritus Sam Szor will lead selections from The Sound of Music.

The Canaan Missionary Baptist Church Outreach Center, 1333 Western Ave., announces a benefit musical production to start at 6 p.m. Saturday in the church. Music will performed by members of the church and its summer enrichment program. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

The Van Cliburn musical association announces its annual Amateur Video Piano Competition, a way for talented musicians of all ages to gain an international audience and perhaps win a prize.

Deadline for submission of videos is July 31. For complete information, visit Cliburn.org.

Items for News of Music should be sent to svallongo@theblade.com at least two weeks ahead of the event.



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