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September 2013 Guides

Classically Speaking

Classical music in West Virginia and Beyond

La Traviata

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By Larry Stickler
 · April 11, 2012

La Traviata
Met Opera
Natalie Dessay portrays Violetta

“Violetta Valery, a Parisian courtesan, is receiving guests  when Alfredo Germont is introduced as an admirer. Violetta invites him
to make a toast and Alfredo leads the crowd in a drinking song (Libiamo ne’lieti calici). …Violetta is disturbed, realizing she has never truly loved or been loved, yet concluding it is her destiny to ‘flutter from pleasure to pleasure’ (Sempre libera).” Thus the story begins in Act I of La Traviata (1853) by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). “The figure of the lost woman – rather, the strayed woman – touched the composer’s heart. " Verdi thought the subject “simple and tender.”

 La Traviata, a melodrama in three acts, is the last High Definition (HD) Live simulcast from the Lincoln Center stage of The Met
Opera in New York City to selected theaters around the world in the 2011-2012 season. Local opera lovers can view this production this Saturday, April 14, at 12:55 pm to 4 pmat the Cinemark Theater in the Huntington Mall and Great Escape in Nitro, Hollywood Stadium 12 in Granville and Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg.

French soprano Natalie Dessay will wear the red dress and sing the role of Violetta. American tenor Matthew Polenzani will sing the role of lover Alfredo Germont. The role of Giorgio Germont, Alfredo’s father,will be sung by the Russian baritone Dimitri Hvorostovsky. The stage direction is by Willy Decker and Fabio Luisi, principal conductor at The Met Opera will be on the podium.

The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles and will have an approximate running time of three hours.

The libretto (script) for La Traviata is by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play La Dame aux Camelias by Alexandre Dumas, Jr.

The courtesan redeemed by love reminds us of last week’s simulcast of Manon by Massenet. The HD Encore performance will be on Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 pm at Cinemark in the Huntington Mall if you miss the live broadcast this Saturday. You can also listen to it on WV Public Radio this Saturday, April14 and then experience the Encore.i 

Larry Stickler is professor of music at Marshall University.

Pops Goes the Organ

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By Jim Lange
 · April 10, 2012

pops organ concert

2011-2012 Pipesounds Concert Series on the Harrah Symphonic Organ 

presents Symphonic Organ 'Pops' Concert  

David Hegarty and Nahri Ahn ~ award winning student of classical/theatre organ at age 16 

Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM 

at Forrest Burdette United MethodistChurch 

2848 Putnam Avenue, Hurricane, West Virginia 

ADMISSION: Adults $10, Students $5, Under 5, free 

Tickets available at The CHURCH OFFICE 

HURRICANE FLORAL, 2757 Main Street, Hurricane 

For more information call 304.562.5903 

Or visit website at http://www.pipesounds.org/  

Listen: Sō Percussion

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By Jim lange
 · April 3, 2012

so percussion
Sō is an exciting percussion ensemble that explores the world of music and sound with a wonderful openness and enthusiasm.

What is music?

Such a simple question has many answers in the minds and ears of listeners.

One thing that every great composer has done throughout the centuries is to REDEFINE what music is. Composers introduce concepts which open up the very possibilities of music. Think what Perotin alone did for music.

When exposed to a non traditional approach to music, musicians and listeners alike may get all riled up and proclaim, "That's not music!"

After all, where's the melody? People of this persuasion have a point, but they limit what might be an really interesting listening experience. Art is limitless as the imagination is limitless, but the world is not such an open-minded place.

I feel that there is the traditional world of music making and then there's the infinite world of sound. Composers work in both. It's as simple as that. There are people for whom an amplified cactus is simply a ridiculous notion, while others cheerfully accept this as something really cool. The act of performing or composing on timpani is no more "serious" than it is on a cactus as long as the intention of the performer/composer is true to the artistic vision.

Revered or hated, John Cage split the world in two when his seminal (and sometimes outright wacky) ideas entered the musical world.

I am so pleased that this young percussion group draws on Cage as inspiration. I also hear a bit of Steve Reich as well.

Sō Percussion Tiny Desk Concert. Check out all the other Tiny Desk Concerts while you are there.

An excellent documentary on Cage. There's a part where Cage is playing an amplified cactus. The sound is very nice.

Seduction takes center stage in Manon

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By John Porter
 · April 3, 2012

Anna Netrebko as Manon
Metropolitan Opera
Anna Netrebko portrays Manon in this Met production.

The innocent and lovely young Manon is on her way to a life in the convent when she introduced to the world of love and seduction in the first act of Jules Massenet’s 1884 opera ‘Manon’. 

The new production, which debuted on March 26 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, makes use of simple staging to highlight the music, namely the swelling vocals of powerhouse soprano Anna Netrebko. 

The story unfolds as Manon seduces her way up the social ladder of an 18th century Paris aristocracy, finding the good-hearted love of   the Chevalier Des Greiux (tenor Piotr Beczala) as an escape from her impending life of cloister.

She is soon caught up in the luxurious offerings of another suitor irresistible as she climbs another rung of the ladder. Her guilt soon forces her back into the arms of the heartbroken, and soon to be priest, Des Greiux. She persuades him to end his quest for the priesthood, and they once again become lovers. 

Not content with her love’s sagging fortunes, she convinces him to gamble, but things go awry when Des Greiux and Manon are arrested for cheating. Des Greiux is saved by his father, but Manon is left to face charges. 

She is sentenced to be deported to Louisiana, but her lover bribes the guard for her release. He catches her in his arms as she collapses from exhaustion brought on by consumption.  He mourns for their lost happiness as she dies in his arms. 

This production will be broadcast live in HD from the stage at the Met Opera in New York to theatres throughout West Virginia at noon on Saturday, April 7. 

You can catch the show at Cinemark Huntington Mall  in Barboursville, Great Escape in Nitro, Hollywood Stadium12 in Granville/Morgantown and Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. Ticket prices vary at each theater.

If you aren’t able to attend the HD broadcast, you can still catch all of the seduction and intrigue by tuning in & listening to WV Public Radio or online at www.wvpubcast.org.  

Those within driving distance of The Huntington Mall can then enjoy attending  the HD Encore at 6:30 pm on April 25. To win free passes for Barboursville & Nitro contact LaRee at (304) 344-9091; for Morgantown contact Barton at (304) 599-3423.

NOTE: John Porter is WV Agriculture Extension Agent of Kanawha County & Charleston and a volunteer for WVPB

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