Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Society celebrates music with Harp Week


Denise Grupp Verbon is an organizer of the harp event and member of the Owens music faculty.

Eric r. eggly Enlarge

Harp Week is June 17-20 in the Toledo area, with plenty of activities for members of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the American Harp Society and opportunities for fans of the heavenly instrument to hear some fine performances.

A free public concert marking the finale will begin at 7 p.m. June 20 in the Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts Mainstage Theatre.

“This year’s concert will feature a dozen harpists of various ages and diverse backgrounds," says Denise Grupp-Verbon, an organizer of the harp event and member of the Owens music faculty. “Attendees will not be disappointed with the musical variety and stylistic flourishes of this year’s presentation.”

Performers range from beginners to professionals with a wide array of music planned.

Another popular outdoor concert series, Sunset Serenades, has launched at Olander Park’s Nederhouser Community Hall Deck in Sylvania. Five concerts will each start at 7 p.m. and run until dark. Admission is free to Sylvania School District residents, and $3 per car for others. Light refreshments are provided. Blankets and lawn chairs are suggested.

Here’s the schedule: June 26: Polish-American Concert Band; July 10: Bob Wurst; July 24: Extra Stout; Aug. 7: Swingmania, and Aug. 21: Eddie Boggs.

The 419 Music Fest, a collaboration of performing artists from Toledo and other cities in the area, will present plenty of different musical genres, including alternative, gospel, and R & B.

This outdoor event is from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday in Promenade Park. It’s free and sponsored by the House of Adonis, M3M Enterprises, and F.A.M.E.

Food will be available for sale.

Opera lovers need not fear the lack of gorgeous music and over-the-top productions during the summer, as the Metropolitan Opera has announced its Summer Encore series of Live in HD broadcasts, presented by Fathom Events. Four works from its vast repertoire will be screened at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Fallen Timbers Cinemas in Maumee, and at Ann Arbor IMAX 20, 4100 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti, Mich.

Here’s the schedule:

June 19: Bizet’s Carmen in a production by Richard Eyre with Elina Garanca in the title role and Roberto Alagna as Don Jose. This popular work “is about sex, violence, and racism — and its corollary: freedom,” the director says. Yannick Nezet-Seguin will conduct this nearly three-hour performance.

June 26: Verdi’s Il Trovatore in David McVicar’s 2008 production, with Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Alvarez, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Marco Armiliato conducts. Run time is 2 hours, 40 minutes.

July 10: Rossini’s version of Armida, the mythical tale of a sorceress in her island prison, stars Renee Fleming with five tenors. Mary Zimmerman directed and Riccardo Frizza conducts this three-hour production.

July 17: Verdi’s La Traviata in Willy Decker’s production stars Natalie Dessay, Matthew Polenzani, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky, with Fabio Luisi conducting. Two hours, 28 minutes.

Tickets for each show are $12.50.

Still, if grand opera is a bit much for summertime, a pastoral jaunt to Wooster College will bring one to the delights of operetta as the Ohio Light Opera launches its 35th season in the Freedlander Theatre on campus. Seven new productions — revivals and premieres — are scheduled to run in repertory Tuesdays through Sundays through Aug. 10.

Opening night at 7:30 p.m. Sunday will be the OLO premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, one of Broadway’s most celebrated hits. A second performance is slated for Wednesday, and the show will be presented through Aug. 8.

Opening June 20 will be Silk Stockings, a tale of sophisticated international intrigue with music and lyrics by Cole Porter.

Other works to alternate through the season include Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S Pinafore and The Gondoliers; The Gypsy Baron by Johann Strauss, George Gershwin’s Lady Be Good!, and Jacques Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.

Each production is performed by OLO singers and dancers with full orchestra. Single tickets are $10-$48 and series tickets are $184-$287 depending on the number of performances.

For a complete schedule, ticket information, and a guide to lodging and dining, check www.ohiolightopera.org or call 330-263-2345. Wooster is about 2.5 hours by car from Toledo.

Does June make us want to sing? Apparently so, because both of Toledo’s most established and accomplished choirs have presented season finales since this still-young month began. First up was Masterworks Chorale, on June 1, in show choir mode, presenting the sixth edition of Collage, the lively, varied, and slickly choreographed evening of music by the choir and local musical lights. Led by Donna Tozer Wipfli in her swan song with the group she’s led for 23 years, it was without doubt the best ever in overall production values, diversity of acts, and polish of performers, who ranged from high school stars to some of the area’s most seasoned and acclaimed vocal and instrumental pros.

On June 9, the very oldest choir, Toledo Choral Society, revealed an impressive new version of itself with a program of major 20th and 21st century sacred works most effectively led by new music director Richard Napierala II. The Toledo premiere of Ole Gjeilo’s acclaimed Sunrise Mass, with large string orchestra, was impressive in both composition and performance.

And how nice to hear again John Rutter’s very early work, “Gloria,” with outstanding brass accompaniment. This bright and crisp work received a truly exemplary performance. Accompanist Philip Clark provided subtle and artful organ work in both pieces.

The standing ovation at the end recognized both Sunday’s choir and two mainstays of the TCS over its recent decades: Samuel Szor, conductor, and accompanist Margaret Weber.

Send items for News of Music to svallongo@theblade.com at least two weeks ahead of the event.

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