Classic, novel 'Nutcracker' performances set


The Toledo Ballet will present its 72nd annual production of The Nutcracker at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with dozens of mice, soldiers, snowflakes, flowers, gingersnaps, and other characters swirling across the big Stranahan Theater stage.

For Lisa Mayer, who again will stage this year's production, it will mark her sixth anniversary with Toledo Ballet as director of its school. Mayer's history with the company reaches back into her childhood, when she was in many Nutcracker performances under the direction of company founder Marie Bollinger Vogt.

A long stint studying and performing in New York City wrapped up when Mayer returned to her hometown in 2006, to lead the school, and to stage and direct its biggest annual production.

This year's show will be a combination of beloved tradition and novel changes.

Adron Ming will conduct the Toledo Symphony in the timeless score by Tchaikovsky.

Returning to dance the major solos as Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier will be soloists Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado, from the Miami City Ballet, last seen in Toledo in 2010.

Samantha Jacobs will dance the big role of Clara. And Kali Porteous, a newcomer to Toledo, will be part of the cast for the first time.

Another newcomer will be Toledo Museum of Art director Brian Kennedy. He will portray Mother Ginger in the opening performance, at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"The role is traditionally played by men because part of the humor of the role," said Toledo Ballet Executive Director Mari Davies, adding, "It just dials up the whimsy of the part."

Rick Woodell, a radio host on 101.5 The River, will cover the part for the other two shows.

Tickets are $21-51 at the Stranahan box office, 419-381-8851 or at

A different version of the Tchaikovsky classic is set for 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Bowling Green State University's Moore Musical Arts Center. Kobacker Hall will be lit up with Nutcracker All Jazzed Up, presented and performed by Julie's Dance Studio.

Dancing dolls, soldiers, candy canes, ornaments, and jingle bells will fill the stage with movement and color in this updated approach by the Bowling Green company. Jayme Evans will be Sugar Plum Fairy; Maggie Richey will be Clare; Stan George will be Herr Drosselmeyer, and Adrian Hicks will be the Nutcracker Prince. Tickets are $15-$20 at the door or in advance at

A Renaissance-style yuletide dinner with madrigals from that long-ago period is set for Dec. 13 and 14 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 316 Adams St. Students from the Toledo School for the Arts will sing and serve and in all ways provide a merry celebration of the holidays, under the direction of Jamie Dauel.

Buy a ticket and dress up as a lord or lady. Dinner is at 7 p.m. both nights with the concert to begin at 8 p.m. Dinner and the show are $20; listen to the concert only for $4-$6. Dinner reservations are closed, but information on the concert is at 419-246-8732, ext. 226.

The Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Choral Society will join forces for a concert at 7 p.m. Friday in Blessed John XXIII Church, 24250 South Dixie Hwy., Perrysburg.

New music director Robert Mirakian will conduct a program including selections from Handel's Messiah, contemporary and traditional Christmas music, and a Christmas sing-along. The parish choir also will perform.

For tickets and information, contact the church office, 419-874-6502

The Hot Flashes will be part of a Pemberville churches holiday consortium presenting A Good Samaritan Christmas Concert, at 3 p.m. Sunday in Eastwood High School Auditorium. The Hot Flashes are Pemberville and Bowling Green women who gather regularly to sing'50's and '60's Doo Wop.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for this free benefit event, which also will include a silent auction. Information: 419-877-0607.

The University of Toledo music department will present its inaugural Holiday Opera Gala at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Doermann Theater, University Hall. Faculty and students will perform arias and excerpts from famous operas. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Perambulating musicians of the Toledo Symphony continue their St. Nicholas-like stops at various venues in the region, delivering gifts of live music to all who show up. On Tuesday, the symphony with resident conductor Jeffrey Pollock in charge are to play a 7:30 p.m. concert at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Q515 County Road 17, in Napoleon.

Holiday music with special performances by principal horn Sandra Clark and principal trumpet Lauraine Carpenter are on the program.

For tickets and information, call the church at 419-758-3522.

More music is on tap for a 7:30 p.m. performance Dec. 21 at Calvary Assembly of God, 1360 Conant St., Maumee. Information and tickets are available at 419-381-0254.

For their final concert of 2012, the symphony players and Pollock will give a show at the Ritz Theater, North Washington Street, Tiffin. Opening with Dragon's version of The First Noel, the performance will move through works by Tchaikovsky and Rossini to the Christmas Story by O'Boyle, a sing-along, to the final work of this busy holiday season, Leroy Anderson's bracing Sleigh Ride.

Information: 419-448-7410.

A Jazz Nativity is in store at 8 p.m. Saturday at Kerrytown Concert House, 415 North Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. Pianist Glenn Tucker will gather his musical friends for a program subtitled Messiaen Meets Modern Jazz. Also performing will be Paul Finkbeiner, trumpet; Andrew Bishop, reeds; Jordan Schug, bass, and Jesse Kramer, drums.

BGSU faculty pianist Robert Satterlee will take the Kerrytown stage for a chamber music event with horn and violin at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Here's a heartwarming tale of good will for the season: Robert Duris, a 23-year veteran vocal teacher with Toledo Public Schools, became director of the Scott High School choir not long ago. He wanted to send seven of his students to this fall's UT Honors Choir Festival. Some of his students could not muster the $40 entrance fee.

Stephen Hodge, UT choral director who leads the honors choir, invited Duris to request financial help to the UT Community Chorale, which Hodge also directs. (Duris had sung with the group earlier.)

Joan Tomczak and other chorale members heard the story during a rehearsal. "He asked for our help, and we donated over $200 right there, with the opportunity to give more later on," she said.

The David Carter Symphonic Choir of Greater Toledo, where Duris is accompanist, also contributed to the effort. "This warms my heart and makes me love music and musicians even more!" said Tomczak.

The donations enabled the Scott students to attend the festival. And, adds Duris, one of his students, Zaccheus Denwiddie, won an audition to be a scat soloist during the concert.

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