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Toledo Ballet to add life to Degas exhibit

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    Trumpeter Lauraine Carpenter will be among the notable musicians performing as part of the Toledo Symphony’s Mercy Music Under the Stars on Sunday.

    Mary Pencheff

  • FEA-NUTCRACKER-Toledo-Ballet

    Local dancers will help animate iconic paintings and sculpture by the great French Impressionist Edgar Degas at the Toledo Museum of Art.

    THE BLADE
    Buy This Image

FEA-NUTCRACKER-Toledo-Ballet

Local dancers will help animate iconic paintings and sculpture by the great French Impressionist Edgar Degas at the Toledo Museum of Art.

THE BLADE
Enlarge | Buy This Image

The Toledo Ballet will present four major productions during its 2015-2016 season, starting early this fall with an exceptional three-month collaboration with the Toledo Museum of Art.

Local dancers will help animate iconic paintings and sculpture by the great French Impressionist Edgar Degas on loan from the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Massachusetts’ Clark Art Institute and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the National Gallery and Phillips Collection in Washington. The show, created by senior curator Lawrence Nichols, is to run Oct. 15 to Jan. 10.

Michael Lang, resident choreographer for the venerable company, says, “They will be building us an actual rehearsal space in the middle of it, so that we can literally bring the idea of Degas to life.”

According to the museum, dancers will periodically rehearse at a barre and on the floor, the better to offer exhibition visitors a chance to compare real-life dancers with Degas’ impressions of them.

Some also will serve as models for drawing classes.

And to bring the exhibition to a dramatic conclusion, Lang will revive a section from his original, museum-inspired 2011 production, Museum of Dreams.

“That is the piece where a little girl on a field trip gets made fun of by her peers and dreams herself into a Degas and becomes a prima ballerina,” he said. That event is set for Jan. 3.

As the most purely visual of the performing arts, dance has found a place amongst fine art before at Toledo’s museum.

Last winter, inspired by artist Pinaree Sanpitak’s interactive installation, Anything Can Break, Lang brought Toledo Ballet dancers to interpret the experience of triggering random sounds within the work.

And to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Toledo Ballet’s venerable Nutcracker, the museum will display artifacts from earlier productions.

Company founder Marie Bollinger Vogt was one of the first in the country to produce the Tchaikovsky Christmas classic, shortly after it had become known in the United States. Those seminal productions were in the museum.

“It is only natural that the Toledo Museum of Art would organize an exhibition dedicated to Degas and the dance given our history with the artist and the Toledo Ballet,” museum director Brian Kennedy said.

More collaboration is in store for the Toledo Ballet when, on Feb. 5 and 6, company dancers are to perform Lang’s version of Rite of Spring, the explosive ballet by Igor Stravinsky. These performances will be on the Peristyle stage during the Toledo Symphony Classics Series concerts.

“I am really excited about this one and we have already begun working on it,” Lang said. “I am keeping the concept of sacrifice but I am updating it a bit and diving into who are the sacrifices of today.”

The final chapter of the ballet company’s season will be more lighthearted: A version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz based on the L. Frank Baum classic novel will be set by Lang and performed by company dancers and guests on April 30 and May 1 at the Valentine Theatre.

Much as he did with last spring’s Alice in Wonderland production, Lang will return to the original source, eschewing more commercial interpretations and delivering a fresh take on a beloved tale.

■ The Lakeside Symphony Orchestra is to launch its summer concert season at 8:15 p.m. today with a performance honoring longtime music director Robert Cronquist. Light classics are on the program with a reception to follow.

The series will continue at 8:15 p.m. Saturday with a concert highlighted by performances by Pointe of Departure Ballet. Pianist Angelin Chang will be in the spotlight for a Tuesday performance.

Chang, a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music is a Grammy Award-winning soloist.

An Evening in Old Vienna is the program focus for the Aug. 7 concert. On Aug. 11, the program will commemorate the 485th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, an important document in the Lutheran-driven Reformation.

More musical honors are in store at the Aug. 14 performance, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. On Aug. 18, narrator Michael Shirtz will read Lincoln Portrait, by Aaron Copland with the orchestra.

The final concert of the summer will be Aug. 21, with violinist Michael Ferri performing with the ensemble.

All concerts begin at 8:15 p.m. and are in Hoover Auditorium on the grounds of Lakeside, the Chautauqua on the shores of Lake Erie near Marblehead.

Admission to the concerts is free, but entry to Lakeside requires a per-auto fee.

For more information, visit lakesideohio.com or call 419-798-5033.

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Trumpeter Lauraine Carpenter will be among the notable musicians performing as part of the Toledo Symphony’s Mercy Music Under the Stars on Sunday.

Mary Pencheff Enlarge

■ If you haven’t made it to one of the Toledo Symphony’s Mercy Music Under the Stars free outdoor concerts, Sunday is your final opportunity.

Bruce Moss will lead the Toledo Concert Band in a program titled A Night at the Movies, with lots of film score music in store. Guest artists will be dancers from Ballet Theatre of Toledo as well as notable musicians from the band: trumpet Lauraine Carpenter and trombone Garth Simmons.

Judy Szor, widow of Sam Szor who led these community events for decades, will pay special tribute to her late husband. Tony Geftos from WTVG-TV will be master of ceremonies.

Admission is free with doors opening at 7 p.m. Parking in the Broadway lot is $7 per car and transportation by TARTA shuttle is available for $1 each way.

■ The Teutonia Mannerchor and Damenchor will present a prelude to the coming German-American Festival in a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday in Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd., Oregon.

A barbecue chicken dinner will be served from 5 p.m. until music time, with German bands to play for dancing after the singing.

Tickets are family priced at $12 for adults, children 10 and under are free. Carry outs are available. Tickets are available at the door.

Send News of Music items to svallongo@theblade.com at least two weeks in advance of event.

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