Friday, June 24, 2016

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo Perform at Heinz Hall with Symphony

Giraldo and Benatar in Concert at Heinz Hall


Rock ’n roll icons Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo join the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on stage for a night of symphonic rock at Heinz Hall on June 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Benatar and Giraldo have thrilled audiences for over three decades with rock hits like “We Belong,” “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” The powerful dynamic between the vocalist and guitarist shines through their various accolades. Benatar won four consecutive Grammy awards in the 1980s and continues to be a top female rock vocalist. Giraldo wrote and arranged more than 100 songs for Benatar, along with hits for many other artists.

Benatar and Giraldo were the first female and first guitarist to appear on MTV with their video for “You Better Run,” from the Grammy-winning album “Crimes of Passion.” Approaching 38 years together, the partners still tour every summer. This performance, conducted by Arnie Roth, marks the premiere of Benatar and Giraldo’s symphonic rock concert.
Tickets for Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra range in price from $39 to $450 and can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or by visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/benatar. VIP packages include a backstage meet & greet, photo opportunity, merchandise and more.

About the Artists

Pat Benatar always has been a rule-breaker and a trail-blazer, she remains a bold and distinctive artist both on stage and on record, and now, after more than three decades in rock ’n roll, she’s a bona fide living legend. A four-time Grammy winner, Benatar is a classically trained mezzo-soprano. During the 1980s, Benatar, together with her husband and collaborator, Neil Giraldo, had two RIAA-certified Multi-Platinum albums, five RIAA-certified Platinum albums, three RIAA-certified Gold albums and 19 Top 40 singles, including the Top 10 hits, “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is a Battlefield,” “We Belong” and “Invincible.”

During the early days of MTV, Pat and Neil were two of the most heavily played artists on the popular music channel. The duo’s hits continue to be as unforgettable now as they were at the dawn of MTV, when they first emerged, fearless, fighting, and forging a path for other female rock stars around the world. Benatar is acknowledged as the leading female rock vocalist of the ’80s – a feat marked by her unprecedented winning of four consecutive Grammy Awards between 1980 and 1983, as well as three American Music Awards – but Benatar and Giraldo remain a rock ’n roll powerhouse today, selling out concerts and still wowing audiences after over three decades in music together. Theirs is a chemistry that will, undoubtedly, be thrilling music-lovers forever.

Neil “Spyder” James Giraldo has been a professional musician, producer, arranger and songwriter for over four decades, changing the face of the pop charts throughout the 1980s with his collaborator, muse and wife, Pat Benatar. More than just an explosive steel bending guitar player, Giraldo’s innovative vision helped him create the signature Benatar sound, from its inception. His impressive back catalog includes more than 100 songs written, produced, arranged and recorded for Benatar, as well as many hits he helped create for John Waite, Rick Springfield (Grammy-winning classic “Jessie’s Girl” and Top 10 hit “I’ve Done Everything For You” included), Kenny Loggins (Top 20 hit “Don’t Fight It” – also Grammy-nominated), Steve Forbert, The Del Lords, Beth Hart and countless others. In spring 1979, producer and writer Mike Chapman introduced Giraldo to Benatar and the duo was able to match the same fire power and inspire each other.

Shortly afterwards, the world was introduced to Giraldo and Benatar’s enduring partnership and rock ’n roll love affair via her platinum 1979 debut album, In The Heat of the Night, which included the classic “Heartbreaker,” as well as the Giraldo-penned hit, “We Live For Love.” Giraldo and Benatar took over radios, TVs, jukeboxes, turntables and car stereos around the world, throughout the 1980s and beyond, exciting fans and selling millions of copies of their 12 original albums, as well as two live records and an anthology.

Today, Giraldo’s career is as dynamic as ever, as he is in the process of completing two books – one an auto-biographical novel, one a coffee table book — as well performing in a new band project with Scott Kempner from the Del Lords/Dictators. He is also further expanding his Bel Chiasso entertainment company, which develops a variety of television and film projects. In addition, he has also opened up his large vault of unreleased, unfinished songs and will be completing and releasing various new tracks with Benatar, as well as with other artists, in the coming months.

Whether, it’s in support of the vocal, or a guitar solo, or jumping from piano to guitar and back again, Giraldo’s gift is knowing how to always up the power in a song, increase the excitement and keep himself and Benatar as creative as they’ve ever been.

A classically trained violinist, conductor, composer, producer and Grammy award-winning artist, ARNIE ROTH performs across a wide array of musical genres. Roth has performed with a host of artists, including Il Divo, Diana Ross, Jewel, The Three Tenors, The Irish Tenors, Charlotte Church, Josh Groban, Patrick Stewart, Branford Marsalis, Peter Cetera and Andrea Bocelli.

He is also a long-time member of the Grammy award-winning group Mannheim Steamroller. Orchestras that Roth has conducted include the London Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, BBC Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, Joffrey Ballet, Ravinia Festival, Tokyo Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln and the Sydney Symphony.

Roth brought critical acclaim to the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra as music director and principal conductor showcasing artists including Michael Feinstein, Linda Eder, Art Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, Wynonna Judd, Judy Collins, the Beach Boys and Johnny Mathis. Under his direction, the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra appeared in a nationally broadcast PBS Special featuring The Irish Tenors.

Roth was the music director and conductor of the national concert tour “Dear Friends: music from FINAL FANTASY.” In 2006, Roth conducted the new “VOICES: music from FINAL FANTASY” concert in Tokyo with the Tokyo Philharmonic. He then became the principal conductor and music director of PLAY! A Video Game Symphony featuring music from blockbuster video games such as FINAL FANTASY®, World of Warcraft®, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind™, Halo and Battlefield 1942™.

As both producer and music director, Roth premiered “Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY” in December 2007 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic in Sweden. The release of “Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY” recorded by Roth and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic coincided with the start of the “Distant Worlds” 2008 world-tour. Distant Worlds continues to thrill audiences around the world with upcoming performances in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, and has had additional successful releases with “Distant Worlds II: more music from FINAL FANTASY” CD and the live performance DVD “Distant Worlds; music from FINAL FANTASY - Returning Home” and “Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY – The Celebration.” “Distant Worlds; music from FINAL FANTASY” is now in its seventh year touring the world, and continues to set box office records around the world. The 2014 performance at Royal Albert Hall (London) sold out in just two hours. Roth and AWR Music Productions continue their highly successful relationship with SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.

As music director, conductor and arranger, Roth was involved in a number of PBS specials including Charlotte Church: Enchantment - From Cardiff, Wales for Sony; The Irish Tenors: Heritage; the WTTW Soundstage shows featuring Jewel, Peter Cetera and Symphony, An Evening with Dennis DeYoung, Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers; and WTTW’s Four Seasons in Chicago. In 2006, he was the music director and conductor for a 10- part television series for RTE featuring the Irish Tenors. He has appeared on NBC’s Today Show many times, conducting Il Divo, and appeared on the Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Oprah and many more international television and radio broadcasts.

Roth’s talents extend into the area of film production and composition as well. He was commissioned by Gerald Arpino, founder and a choreographer of the Joffrey Ballet, to write an original composition for a new Arpino ballet premiered in Chicago that he conducted. He produced and conducted music for the Robert Altman film “The Company,” and was the producer, composer, conductor and arranger for the CGI animated films from Mattel Entertainment: “Barbie™ in The Nutcracker,” “Barbie™ as Rapunzel,” “Barbie™ of Swan Lake,” “Barbie™ in The Princess and the Pauper Movie,” “Barbie™ in The Magic of Pegasus,” “Barbie™ Sings! Princess Movie Collection CD,” “Barbie™ in the Twelve Dancing Princesses,” “Island Princess Barbie,” “Barbie™ and the Diamond Castle” and “Barbie™ in A Christmas Carol.” 

Roth won the Best Score Award at the 2003 DVD Premier Awards for his score for the film “Barbie™ as Rapunzel,” and was nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for his original song “Shine” from the movie “Barbie™ in The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” 2007 also marked the premiere of Roth's first live concert creation with Mattel. “Barbie™ at the Symphony” is a special film with orchestra presentation of the best-selling Barbie™ Princess movies. This was followed by a second live concert production under license with Mattel, “Barbie™ in the Nutcracker.”


He has produced and conducted music for many films, and has produced dozens of best-selling CDs, released on American Gramaphone, JVC, Mattel, Warner Bros., Sony, Koch and Razor & Tie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fort Necessity Hosts Elnu Abenaki Tribe

Normand George M’Sadoques holding a Wampum Belt Credit: National Park Service


The National Park Service will host members of the Elnu Abenaki Tribe and artists from the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association during a weekend of cultural heritage programs at Fort Necessity National Battlefield on Saturday and Sunday, July 2 and 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  A welcoming ceremony will be held each day at 9:30 a.m.

The Abenaki fought with the French against George Washington at the Battle of Fort Necessity.  Living History interpreters will be dressed in Abenaki clothing of the French and Indian War period and will speak to visitors about the history, dress and culture of the Abenaki Tribe.

Traditional Abenaki artists will demonstrate arts such as how to make twine bags, ash baskets, and wampum belts.  Some of their work will be available for purchase.

 Visitors can get a sense of Abenaki heritage through the traditional storytelling of Willow Greene.  Contemporary artist Lina Longtoe will share Abenaki heritage through her films “Speaking to the Ancestors” and “The Dawn of the Abenaki”, that she produced.  The storytellers will be available for questions and answers after each presentation.  Lina strives to record Abenaki culture and traditions that are endangered with the passing of each elder.  She has served as the Elnu Abenaki Tribal Documentarian since she was a teenager.

 A special exhibition, Parley & Protocol: Abenaki Diplomacy, Past & Present, has been developed for Fort Necessity National Battlefield by Vera Longtoe Sheehan, Director of the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association.  “The theme of Parley and Protocol was inspired by historic political interactions between the Abenaki and their neighbors, the etiquette and procedures that were involved in treaty making.”  

The exhibit includes explanations of wampum use and wampum belts base inspired by historic belts as well as the recent official recognition of the Abenaki Tribe.  Recreated clothing and other articles like those used in the mid-eighteenth century as well as articles created for present day ceremonial and diplomatic occasions.  The exhibit will remain on display through mid-March of 2017.

Park Superintendent Stephen Clark invites visitors to come and learn about Abenaki heritage and their contributions to our national culture.  “The event and exhibit represent wider tribal involvement, in the French and Indian War.  What was started here at Fort Necessity spread to a global conflict that greatly influenced American history, including indigenous Americans.”

The Abenaki Cultural Heritage Weekend is a part of the National Park Service’s biennial series of special programs highlighting the role of American Indians involvement in the French and Indian War.  In 2010 the Park worked in cooperation with the Little Traverse Bay Band of the Odawa, in 2012 partnered with the Museum of the Cherokee and in 2014 hosted the Seneca Nation of Indians.

In addition to the special programs described Park visitors will also be able to tour the Mount Washington Tavern. Park staff portraying French and Indian War soldiers will be stationed at Fort Necessity. The soldiers will present Battle Anniversary talks at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. both days.  The programs on Sunday, the 262nd anniversary of the battle, will include the reading of the names of the fallen.  All soldier programs will be followed by a demonstration of eighteenth century black powder weapons. 

There are no additional fees for presentations and demonstrations.  Visitors must pay the regular park entrance fee of $5 for adults.  Children 15 and under are admitted free.  Free parking is available on-site.  Visitors are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes before the first program they wish to see.  Staff recommends visitors wear good walking shoes.  There will be no rain date in case of inclement weather.  For more information, schedules and directions visit www.nps.gov/fone.

About the Elnu Abenaki Tribe

Elnu is an Abenaki Tribe based in Southern Vermont.  We work to continue our cultural heritage though historical research, lectures and school programs, oral story-telling, singing, dancing and traditional craft making.  Our main focus is insuring that our traditions carry on to our children.  We limit ourselves in inter-tribal politics; however we will not be forgotten.  We are traditionalists trying to maintain our culture in a modern society.  Learning from the past creates a better future for all. For more information about visit http://elnuabenakitribe.org

About the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association (VAAA)

Our mission is to promote Vermont's Indigenous arts and artists, to provide an organized central place to share creative ideas and professional development as entrepreneurs, and to have a method for the public to find and engage our artists. For more information about VAAA please visit http://abenakiart.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Fort Necessity National Battlefield protects the site of the opening battle of the French & Indian War (1754-1763). On July 3, 1754, a young George Washington commanding British provincial and regular troops was defeat by the French and their Native allies. It was Washington's first defeat and only military surrender. The event set off a global war which ended with British victory and set the stage for the American Revolution.

Normand George M’Sadoques Credit: NPS

About Normand George M’Sadoques
   
Normand George M’Sadoques is Abenaki, of the Reserve Odanak, Quebec, Canada and Elnu Abenakis of Southern Vermont.  His last name M’Sadoques translates to Big River Person (Gordon Day).  Norm has actively researched Wabanaki (People of the Dawn) heritage since 1990.  He is a Native Interpreter portraying 18th Century Abenaki since 1990.   His main focus is on the French and Indian War. He is a member of Eastern Woodland Alliance (18th Century Native re-enactment group), Compagnie LeBeouf (F&I re-enactment group) and French Creek Living History Association.

Norm reproduces 18th Century material culture: Twined bags, Gourd containers, Canoe paddle decoration and Wampum Belts. And is also an accomplished Wabanaki Singer & Drummer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Experience the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival This Weekend


The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival presented by Citizens Bank, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, will run June 24-26, 2016 in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. This 6th annual festival will bring the Hip-Hop jazz orchestra, The Revive Big Band and internationally renowned vocalist Buika as featured ticketed performances in the August Wilson Center.


In addition, Grammy Award winning performers, like Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Eddie Palmieri will perform free outdoor concerts. More than 20,000 visitors from around the country will visit the Cultural District to partake in this year’s event that also features a jazz pub crawl, night and day art market and a beer garden. Citizens Bank is the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.




Revive Big Band feat. Igmar Thomas & After Party with Pete Rock | June 25 @ 10:30 pm

Monday, June 20, 2016

An Invite to s Star Party



The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh is inviting people to a Star Party at
Mingo Creek Park Observatory, located in Mingo Creek Park, Mansion Hill Extension, past Shelter 10 in Washington County, Pa.

Dates:  Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9, WEATHER PERMITTING
 Times: Safe solar observing; 6:30 PM

Night sky observing; approximately 9:00 PM

 Come and learn about the Mingo Creek Park Observatory, the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh and astronomy in general. The evening events consist of the following:
There will be safe observing of the Sun beginning approximately two hours before sunset through the 4” Lunt Hydrogen Alpha telescope.

After dusk using both the 10” D & G Refractor and the 24” Optical Guidance Systems Reflector telescopes, observe the wonders of the July night sky.  Some objects observed may include views of Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and its rings, Mars and the craters of the Moon.  Many deep sky objects may also be observed such as the Ring Nebula and other nebulae, clusters and double stars.
Presentations about current events in astronomy and the Mingo Creek Park night sky will take place in the Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium at various times throughout the night.

 The Mingo Creek Park Observatory is handicap accessible.  There is no charge for your visit, donations to cover operating expenses will be accepted.  No reservation is needed and there is no limit on group sizes.

NOTE:  Mingo Creek Park Observatory and its grounds, as a part of Mingo Creek County Park, are a no smoking and no alcohol permitted area.


Mingo Creek Park Observatory is operated by an all-volunteer staff of members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book and Concert Inspired by Anne Frank's Diary Included in Carnegie Library and Music Hall Programming



The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie  is collaborating with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh to present a multi-faceted experience inspired by Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl.

Join the library on June 28 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. when  Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh educator Rachel Herman launches the program with a discussion preparing readers to better understand  The  Diary of A Young Girl in the context of its times.

After reading the book on their own, participants will return on July 26, again from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., to discuss the Diary with Ms. Herman and each other.

Participants will receive a free copy of the Diary as well as one ticket to the September 25 concert We Remember: A Tribute to the Inner Life of Anne Frank.  The concert will be performed by Pittsburgh contralto Daphne Alderson and Philadelphia pianist Norma Myer.


The reading program is recommended for those 13 and older. Pre-registration  is required.  Please call Maggie Forbes at 412-276-3456, x. 8 or visit www.carnegiecarnegie.org for more information.

When contralto Daphne Alderson described We Remember: A Concert to Celebrate the Inner Life of Anne Frank, Maggie Forbes and Geoff Zak knew immediately that they wanted the concert as part of its Listen Locally: The 115th Anniversary Series season at the Carnegie Library and Music Hall in Carnegie.

The music – an eclectic selection written or arranged for contralto and piano – is a perfect match for the ACFL&MH’s acoustically superb Music Hall. However, the subject matter of the concert, a tribute to the young girl who wrote one of the most iconic, moving and inspirational books about the Holocaust, convinced ACFL&MH staff to present this concert.  As a beloved book, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, builds on the synergy between the Library and Music Hall, and is especially compelling to teen readers.

ACFL&MH audiences are familiar with Ms. Alderson. She performed two benefit concerts in the Music Hall: Songs that Oscar Taught Me: A Tribute to Oscar Hammerstein in 2008 and All Judy; All Heart, an homage to Judy Garland in 2009. She also sang with guitarist (and husband) John Marcinizyn in a 2014 Listen Locally concert that included a moving tribute to Pete Seeger.
Philadelphian Norma Meyer is a highly respected pianist-conductor whose collaborative work takes her to such esteemed venues as the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Honeywell Center in Wabash, Indiana, and Carnegie Hall in New York.

 Newark Ledger critic Paul Somers described Alderson and Meyer’s collaboration. “Alderson has a true contralto voice, the kind that is often called ‘plummy’, filled with rich colors and expression....Pianist Norma Meyer is the best kind of accompanist – the kind that follows a singer perfectly, yet manages to never let the singer wander off into self-indulgence.... I Remember, by Michael Cohen, is a moving solo cantata based on Ann Frank’s diaries, in which Alderson and Meyer together communicated every nuance with heartbreaking accuracy.... In Meyer’s expressive and agile hands, one did not miss the work’s original chamber music version.

”We Remember includes three lieder by Gustav Mahler; Kleine Prelude van Ravel by Dutch composer Leo Smit (who, with his wife, died at Sobibor); two spirituals; and Alone, Maya Angelou’s poem set to music by Pittsburgh composer Douglas Levine. The concert concludes with the haunting, I Remember, a piece commissioned by the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 1996, with music by Michael Cohen and lyrics by Enid Futterman.

We Remember is powerful, beautiful and deeply thought provoking in its own right. However, the ACFL&MH wanted to take the experience further, and feels it has found the perfect partner in Lauren Bairnsfather, Executive Director of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.
Bairnsfather agrees. “In partnering with the ACFL&MH, and with support from South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh has a unique opportunity to support the We Remember concert while offering creative programs that will allow us to gain a foothold in the South Hills and in Carnegie. I am delighted that Maggie Forbes approached me to develop this collaboration.”

With a grant from South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, the Holocaust Center will offer a series of programs: “South Hills Summer Arts Program: Inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank.” This outreach programming to complement the concert will include:• Reading of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Special effort will be made to recruit 13- to 18-year-olds, but the program is open to all ages.

Many older adults have expressed interest in a book discussion.• Two discussions, led by a Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh Educator – one in advance of reading the book, and one following the reading. • Artist Marcel Lamont Walker, the artist who produced the Chutz-Pow! comic project for the Holocaust Center, will lead a three-day art project to create drawings inspired by Anne Frank and her Diary.

The art will be exhibited in the ACFL&MH’s Studio space, participants aged 13 and above are welcome for the outreach programming. We Remember: A Tribute to the Inner Life of Anne Frank takes place on Sunday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m. A dessert reception with the performers and artists follows the performance. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door; students are $5.


Visit www.carnegiecarnegie.org/ticketing. For more information about the outreach program please contact Maggie Forbes at 412-276-3456. x. 8. Listen Locally: The 115th Anniversary Season is supported by the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mahler and Noah Bendix-Balgley Close out Pittsburgh Symphony Season

Violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley Credit: Nikolaj Lund


Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra close the 2015-2016 BNY Mellon Grand Classics season with one of Gustav Mahler’s most well-known symphonies and a performance by former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley on June 17-19 at Heinz Hall.

For the first half of this program, Bendix-Balgley thrills with performances of Mozart's Rondo in C Major and a new concerto for violin and orchestra in the style of Klezmer music, an exciting concept conceived and created by Bendix-Balgley himself. Mahler, whose music holds a special appeal to Maestro Honeck, wrote his fifth symphony while courting his future wife, Alma. This purely instrumental symphony reflects the change in the composer’s life, moving from tragedy to triumph during its five movements. Its beautiful fourth movement, Adagietto, which is frequently performed separate from the other movements, is a clear love letter to his wife.

A pre-concert talk, open to all ticket holders and led by Assistant Conductor Andrés Franco, will occur on stage one hour before each concert. Program notes for the weekend are available online at pittsburghsymphony.org/honeck_mahler and on the PSO mobile app the day of the concert.
During the weekend, beginning one hour before each concert’s start time, student musicians from Steinway Young Artists program will perform in the Grand Lobby of Heinz Hall. These performances are free to ticketholders.


The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets, ranging in price from $20 to $94, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900 or visiting pittsburghsymphony.org/Honeck_mahler.

First concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, NOAH BENDIX-BALGLEY has thrilled and moved audiences around the world with his performances. Since becoming a laureate of the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and gathering acclaim at further international competitions, Bendix-Balgley has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Orchestre National de Belgique, I Pomeriggi Musicali of Milan and the Orchestre Royal Chambre de Wallonie (Belgium), among others.

Recent and forthcoming highlights include recitals throughout Europe and the United States, and performances with the Adelaide and Auckland symphony orchestras, the Utah Symphony and Nagoya Philharmonic with Thierry Fischer, the China Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony with Long Yu, Brahms Double Concerto with cellist Alisa Weilerstein and Tomas Netopil at the Aspen Music Festival, and the premiere of Bendix-Balgley’s own klezmer concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony conducted by Manfred Honeck.

From 2011 to 2015, Bendix-Balgley was concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His Pittsburgh debut recital in January 2012 was named the “Best Classical Concert of 2012” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bendix-Balgley’s performance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, featuring his own original cadenzas, was acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Bendix-Balgley also performed his own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for solo violin in front of 39,000 fans at the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day at PNC Park.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Bendix-Balgley began playing violin at age 4. At age 9, he played for Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. Bendix-Balgley graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Munich Hochschule. His principal teachers were Mauricio Fuks, Christoph Poppen and Ana Chumachenco. In his spare time, he enjoys playing klezmer music. He has played with world renowned klezmer groups such as Brave Old World, and has taught klezmer violin at workshops in Europe and in the United States. Bendix-Balgley performs on a Cremonese violin made in 1732 by Carlo Bergonzi.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Venus in Fur" - Goddess in A Dog Collar

Christian Conn and Whitney Maris Brown star in
Venus in Fur" Credit Pittsburgh Public Theater

 Fur. One of the softest things imaginable. So warm and sensual.

The sting of a birch branch on one’s back. Warm yes, fiery so, but not so sensual - unless, perhaps,  you’re Leopold von Sacher-Masoch or someone who shares his abstruse inclinations.

The Austrian author wrote about his early experience on the receiving end of a session with a birch branch as a mere boy. Held down on a black fox fur-covered floor with backside exposed, he learned to appreciate the sensual qualities of the flick of rod administered by a regal aunt along with the degradation that accompanied it. The synergy between fur and pain went on to form one of his deepest sexual obsessions, one to which he lent his last name - masochism.

Later in life, Sacher-Masoch’s year-long experiences with his dominatrix mistress, Baroness Fanny Pistor, were fictionalized in an 1870 novel titled "Venus in Furs," which shocked the world when first published. Attracted by the theatricality of the novel, playwright David Ives used the book as the basis a scintillating play, "Venus in Fur," which premiered at the Classic Stage Company in New York, then opened on Broadway in 2011 where it won a Tony Nomination for Best Play.

Now getting a staging at the O’Reilly Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Theater production bristles with intelligence, first on the part of the playwright whose genius is able to turn a complex, dark and shadowy subject into a light and frothy comedy. But beware, in between the cracks, Ives manages to let a bit of nefarious noir ooze in through the humor.

The setting for Ives’ play, performed in 90 minutes by two characters in six roles, is stage adapter, Thomas Novachek’s audition space, where, as director, he’s just been through a grueling day interviewing actresses hoping to get the female lead. Exasperated by his lack of success and dismayed by the quality of the auditions, he’s just about ready to turn out the lights and join his fiancee for dinner. Where can he find someone able to play the worldly domineering aristocrat who was able to satisfy Sacher-Masoch’s libidinous cravings for his adaptation?.

Wham! With a crack of lightning, in steps Vanda Jordan out of a storm, carrying a large bag full of theatrical props and  pleading for a try-out. At first turned off by the woman’s seemingly ordinary Thespian skills and scant resume, Thomas eventually relents under a barrage of supplications, coaxes and tears and even agrees to serve as her reader. That the woman is as voluptuous as she is persuasive also helps  push him over to her side.

As Vanda undoes her top coat, she reveals a scant leather skirt with matching boots and dog collar, a costume she presumes is in line with her notion of the play as "S and M porn."

"It’s a great love story," Thomas corrects her. To paraphrase, it’s a serious novel that’s become a central text of world literature.

Thus begins an evening of power plays as the characters see-saw back and forth between submission and mental and physical domination. The dynamic is more than a male-female battle of genders. It extends to power shifts between the roles of director and actress and sheer strength of will between the incandescent coercive actress and the lower keyed director whose metabolic thermostat seems set several degrees lower.

As Thomas, Christian Conn is no slouch dog, but a formidable adversary in their
sexual game of cat and mouse. He seems to get sucked into Vanda’s psycho-sexual vortex, but is he really the submissive here? Or is he using Vanda to satisfy his own innate dark urgings?

The entire dynamic between the two characters remains mysterious to the end. Just as we begin to think we know who’s the top and who’s the bottom, things get topsy-turvy, which is a credit to both Ives’ script and director Jesse Berger’s uncanny way of letting the cat out of the bag when there may not really be a cat to begin with.

I’ve saved the best for last, which, in this case, is Whitney Maris Brown in what I deem the best performance by an actress in the still-young Pittsburgh theater season. I was amazed by the scope and range of the "personality reconstructions" she displayed throughout the evening, ranging from ditzy, ingenue with a palpable innocence when it came to things painful but waywardly considered pleasurable to a strong, formidable woman with more than a touch of goddess attributes.

"Venus in Fur" opens with thunder and lightening. It ends with an astonishing image, one that’s as unexpected as it is poignant and distressing. It’s an odd way for a comedy to start and finish, but obviously David Ives, no ordinary playwright, is capable of exceptional things..

"Venus in Fur" is at the O’Reilly Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh through June 26. For tickets, phone 412-316-1600 or visit website www.ppt.org.

"Chicago" Enlivens Benedum Theater Stage

John O’Hurley and the Cast of Chicago Credit: Jeremy Daniel


Set inside the sensationalized female murderess craze that swept 1920s Chicago, CHICAGO draws its audience into a world of crime and glitz against the vivid backdrop of the jazz age. A first time production for Pittsburgh CLO, CHICAGO is sure to be “all that jazz” and more!

A true New York City institution, CHICAGO has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and “all that jazz,” one show-stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder CHICAGO has been honored with six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards®, a Grammy® and thousands of standing ovations.
It’s also no surprise that CHICAGO  has wowed audiences all around the world, from Mexico City to Moscow, from Sao Paulo to South Africa. Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award®-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage or whether you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic, CHICAGO always delivers.

ABOUT THE CAST

Dylis Croman in Broadway’s “Chicago” Credit: Jeremy Daniel
Dylis Croman (Roxie Hart) has been a part of the CHICAGO family for over seven years. She most recently performed the role of Roxie Hart in New York City on Broadway. Other Broadway and national tour credits include New York Stage & Film’s new production of In Your Arms; A Chorus Line (standby Cassie/Sheila); Movin’ Out (Brenda); Sweet Charity (Rosie, u/s Charity); Oklahoma!; Thou Shalt Not (u/s Therese Raquin); and Fosse (trumpet solo, filmed for PBS Great Performances). On television, she appeared as Andrew Daniels on Guiding Light, Smash on NBC, as well as many national commercials.

Terra MacLeod (Velma Kelly) originated the role in the World French Premiere of CHICAGO in both Montreal and Paris (Moliere award nomination). She was most recently seen in the National Tour of CHICAGO. Other credits include: Broadway & West End. Chicago (Velma Kelly), Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Blood Brothers (Mrs. J.) and The Producers (Ulla) (Vancouver Arts Club); Kiss of the Spider Woman (Spider Woman) (L.A. Havok Theatre); Cats (Bombalurina) and The Pajama Game (Gladys) (MTWLA); West Side Story (Anita) (New Orleans Opera and Vancouver Arts Club) (Jessie Award, Best Supp. Actress); Guys and Dolls (Adelaide)  (San Diego MT); Damn Yankees (Lola); A Chorus Line (Cassie). Film/TV: The Lizzie Maguire Movie, The Reagans, The Dead Zone, Jeremiah, Cold Squad, Life or Something Like It.

John O’Hurley (Billy Flynn) is best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, the #1 syndicated television show in the world (seen in 85 countries), for which he won a Screen Actor’s Guild Award. He was also seen on the top-rated ABC hit Dancing With the Stars, ABC’s dramatic Dance-Off! and as the host of Family Feud. He is one of the most recognized voices on TV, appearing in dozens of animated productions including King Neptune on Sponge Bob Squarepants and Blake the White Tiger on NBC’s Father of the Pride. O’Hurley’s first CD, Peace of Our Minds, a collaboration of his piano compositions with world-renowned cellist Marston Smith, debuted at #13 on Billboard. His musical theater credits include starring roles in the national tours of Pirates of Penzance, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Brigadoon. He is a New York Times best-selling author with three titles, including The Perfect Dog, which is becoming a stage musical. In 2011, he was recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his work in Arts and Philanthropy.

D. Ratell (Mary Sunshine) is thrilled to return to Chicago. D. is a graduate of Kent State University where he obtained his BFA in Musical Theatre. He is no stranger to Chicago, as he also had the privilege to play Mary Sunshine in Porthouse Theatre’s 2011 production of Chicago. Other credits include Oliver!, Starmites, My Fair Lady (Porthouse Theatre), Legally Blonde, Plain and Fancy and [Title of Show] (Kent State University). 

Roz Ryan (Mama Morton) holds a unique Broadway record, having played more performances of CHICAGO than any other leading actress in the show’s historic 18-year run. Broadway: seven productions, including CHICAGO, Dreamgirls, One Mo’ Time and Ain’t Misbehavin, plus various national tours. Television series: KC Undercover, Amen, Good News, The Rickey Smiley Show and more. Cartoon voiceovers: Adventure Time, Hercules, Looney Tunes, etc. TV commercials: Charles Barkley’s Mom for Capitol One and more!

Jacob Watson (Amos Hart) is making his Pittsburgh CLO debut with CHICAGO. Favorite credits include the Tony-nominated revival of Violet with the Roundabout Theatre Company, the National/International tour of CHICAGO, the acclaimed Encores! revival of 1776, and the world premiere of Amélie at Berkeley Rep. Other regional credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Seussical, Six Characters in Search of an Author, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Othello, The Doctor in Spite of Himself. He is also a past winner of the prestigious Lotte Lenya Competition and the NATS National Music Theatre Competition.

ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM

Walter Bobbie (Director) directed the Tony Award®-nominated Venus in Fur on Broadway; Terrence McNally’s Golden Age at Manhattan Theatre Club, and David Ives’ School for Lies at Classic Stage. His international hit CHICAGO won him a Tony Award®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards and has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Other Broadway credits include High Fidelity, Sweet Charity, Twentieth Century and Footloose. Mr. Bobbie directs regularly for New York’s most prestigious theatre companies, served as artistic director of City Center’s Encores! and is on the Executive Board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Rob Bowman (Music Director/Conductor) is happy to be continuing his involvement in CHICAGO having served as Music Director/Conductor for the Broadway production for five years as well as the first national touring company. He was Music Supervisor for companies in Australia, Holland, China, Stuttgart, Korea and Berlin. On Broadway, he has conducted numerous shows including A Little Night Music with Bernadette Peters, All About Me with Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein and the Tony Award-winning Elaine Stritch At Liberty. He spent two years as Music Director/Conductor for Kiss Of The Spider Woman with Chita Rivera. He began a partnership with Elaine Stritch as her Music Director for nearly fifteen years until her death in 2014. He is featured in the critically acclaimed Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and the HBO/Pennebaker Emmy Award-winning documentary Elaine Stritch at Liberty. As a composer, he has written and arranged a number of scores including Hot Mikado which continues to be performed throughout the world.

Ann Reinking (Choreographer) 1997 Tony Award®, Best Choreography for CHICAGO, as well as Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Astaire and NY Drama Critics awards. Other credits include: director, co-choreographer for Fosse (1998 Tony Award® for Best Musical); Tony Award® nomination for Best Director in a Musical, Fosse, Nominations for Tony Awards® in 4 different categories: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Choreographer, Best Director (won the Tony Award® for Best Choreography), as well as Tony Award® nominations for her leading performances in Dancin’ and Goodtime Charlie; won the Lawrence Olivier Award® for Fosse; recipient of Theatre World, Clarence Derwent and Outer Critics Circle awards for her work as Maggie in Over Here!

HISTORY OF THE SHOW
Based on actual events of the 1920s, CHICAGO follows the seductive murderesses of the Cook County Jail, Roxie Hart’s swift rise to vaudeville fame and her attempts to evade justice.
The original musical production opened in 1975 with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, choreography by Bob Fosse and book by Ebb and Fosse.  

CHICAGO ran for two years before returning to the Great White Way in 1996. Today, the revival holds the record for the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, and is still enthralling audiences in New York and beyond. It earned six Tony Awards® in addition to a Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album. Across the pond, the revival in London’s West End won the Olivier Award® for Outstanding Musical Production. The compelling characters and toe-tapping tunes of CHICAGO have stunned audiences all over the world, from Moscow to Brazil and everywhere in between. 

Succeeding the Broadway and West End revivals, a movie adaptation starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Reneé Zellweger and Queen Latifah hit the big screens in 2002.  The film was directed by Pittsburgh CLO alumnus Rob Marshall, and garnered an outstanding six Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.

ABOUT THE ORIGINAL CREATIVE TEAM
Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse (Book) created the book for CHICAGO in addition to Ebb’s lyrical contributions and Fosse’s choreography and direction. Ebb and Fosse would both go on to make major contributions to American musical theater. Ebb created musical sensations such as Cabaret and New York, New York while Fosse established an iconic style seen throughout the Tony Award®-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Redhead and Pippin.

John Kander and Fred Ebb (Lyrics & Music) are the dynamic duo behind CHICAGO. Together the team wrote numerous musicals, many of which have been regarded as Broadway contemporary classics. The first project the team created was the Grammy®-nominated song “My Coloring Book,” recorded by Barbara Streisand. Kander and Ebb earned worldwide fame with the 1966 production of Cabaret which won the Tony Award® for Best Musical among seven other awards. A film adaptation of Cabaret in 1972 won multiple Academy Awards® and a Broadway revival in 1998 earned another Tony Award®.

In 1975 the duo created the smash hit CHICAGO, which won six Tony Awards® for the 1996 Broadway revival. In 1981, Kander and Ebb’s Woman of the Year won a Tony Award for Best Score and received yet another Tony Award® for The Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. The pair’s final completed work, Steel Pier, received 11Tony Award® nominations.  Kander and Ebb also contributed to the Tony Award®-winning musical Curtains, among other credits, including: Flora the Red Menace, The Happy Time, Zorba, 70 Girls 70, The Act, The Rink, Lucky Lady, New York,  New York and Stepping Out.

Bob Fosse (Director & Choreographer) is a nine-time Tony Award® winner and notable choreographic genius behind many of Broadway’s most memorable hits. In 1954 Fosse choreographed The Pajama Game for which he received his first Tony Award®. Fosse lent his talents to Damn Yankees in 1955, earning another Tony Award®.  Following Damn Yankees he directed and choreographed Redhead, which won Tony Awards® for Best Musical and Best Choreography.
 Fosse’s contribution to the 1972 film Cabaret earned eight Academy Awards®, including Best Director. Subsequently, Fosse earned a Tony Award® for Best Direction and Choreography for his work on Pippin. He won two Emmy Awards® for NBC variety show Liza with a Z. Fosse’s last musical, Big Deal, received five Tony Award® nominations and won for Best Choreography.

Performance Schedule for CHICAGO
Friday, 17 to Sunday,  June 26

TICKETS

Tickets are available online at pittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Tickets start at $35. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call our Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information. Visit pittsburghCLO.org for further information.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Rosé Wine – Good Year Round, So Refreshing in the Summer

\A French and a Spanish Rose Wine Credit: Bill Rockwell


Today, Saturday, June 11, is National Rosé Day. To help celebrate this often tasty and refreshing wine, it might be a good idea to pick up a bottle of two for your drinking pelasure.

To debunk some of the popular misconceptions about this often overlooked genre (as opposed to the popular whites and red categories), rosés need not be sweet like many of the pink Zinfandels and blush wines sold on the market. The ones especially from Provence, the Rhone and the Loire Valley of France are dry, fresh and acidic and devoid of a sugary overload.

Many wine-growing regions in US produce rosés, some quite dry, others not so much. Rosé is also made in many other countries and, as a result, has several different names. In Spain it’s called “Rosado,” in Italy, “Rosato.” But there are also excellent rosés coming from South America (Chile, Uruguay), Germany, Australia and South Africa.

Recently, the alcohol levels have increased too. Lighter styled rosés are around 12% to 13% alcohol. But many now have anywhere from 13.5% to 14% alcohol, which is right up there with a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Speaking of Cabernet, many rosés are made from the Cabernet grape as well as from Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Zinfandel and Syrah. If fact, any red wine grape can be used to produce a rosé.
Here are a couple of rosés I recently enjoyed. Both are dry but full-bodied and flavorful and perfect for a picnic, sipping on the deck, patio or porch in the evening or with pork, fish and chicken and vegetarian dinners.

2015 Rioja Bordon Rosé. Made from Tempranillo and Viura grapes, this Spanish Rosado (rosé) has a light pink hue with orange overtones and soft citrus/raspberry/floral notes with a lot of staying power on the palate. Alcohol is 13% by volume and is best served at 45 to 50-degrees F. Price $11.99


2015 La Chasse Prestige Cotes-du-Rhone Rosé is drier than the Rioja Bordon, but still elegant, and refreshing. Made by one of the Rhone Valley's top producers, Gabriel Meffre, this rosé is made from Shiraz/Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault grapes and is lightly fruity and citrusy with a touch of spice and comes with a screw cap for easy opening. Alcohol is 13% by volume. Price around $15.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fifth Annual Opera Theater SummerFest Celebrates Divas


Strong women are in the spotlight as Opera Theater of Pittsburgh announces its 2016 SummerFest season of opera, musical theater, concerts and cabarets, June 22-July 24.

Artistic and General Director Jonathan Eaton says: “The season boasts powerful women, from Cleopatra to Carmen, and from waspish Kate to a champagne glass-shattering Silent Woman. Each one of these women is an extraordinary, charismatic, sometimes dominating character. To cope with them we have some pretty strong men, too—from Julius Caesar to Don José to ego-strutting seducer Petruchio. All in all, this makes for a season that promises fireworks of the most magnificent kind – a Diva Riot!”

Celebrating its fifth SummerFest season and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh’s 38th year, the festival begins with Carmen the Gypsy in a revival of the company’s acclaimed flamenco-style adaptation of the Bizet opera by Jonathan Eaton and Robert Frankenberry. Carmen the Gypsy tours to unique and intimate Pittsburgh spaces of 75-100 seats: Sphinx Cafe, Oakland; Artifacts, West End; and Snuggery Farm, Sewickley Heights, near Wexford, PA, June 22-July 2.

A Scene from Carmen the Gypsy 2012  Credit: Patti Brahim


SummerFest continues with Julius Caesar by George Frederic Handel, starring Metropolitan Opera artist Andrey Nemzer and accompanied by Chatham Baroque; The Silent Woman by Richard Strauss, fourth in a series of rarely performed Strauss operas; Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter, part of a Classic Broadway series; and Night Caps, five riotous mini-operas commissioned and first presented to sold-out houses at SummerFest 2012. All main stage operas are sung in English with projected English titles.

In addition, concerts feature Marianne Cornetti, Liam Bonner,  Andrey Nemzer with The Three (Counter)Tenors, Daphne Alderson, and members of the the SummerFest Young Artist Program.

The main stage festival expands to a new venue, July 7-24, in the beautifully renovated Falk Auditorium at Winchester Thurston School on its City Campus in Shadyside, at 555 Morewood Ave. at Ellsworth, Pittsburgh (15213).
Winchester Thurston School provides a wonderful new setting for expanded SummerFest programming,” says Eaton who has served as artistic and general director since 1999. “After five successful seasons, we have outgrown our boots – and we are thrilled to be moving to larger facilities and WT’s Falk Auditorium, beautifully renovated by Pittsburgh’s premier theater architect, Al Filoni. This is now perhaps the most attractive medium-sized theater in the city.

“We think our audiences will love the theater’s great acoustics, comfortable seating, easy private parking and proximity to one of Pittsburgh's liveliest neighborhoods,” Eaton shares.
The school provides multiple spaces for both audience members and the more than 150 singers, instrumentalists and production team members who work virtually round-the-clock for approximately six weeks.
The move allows us to rehearse five productions simultaneously and to host an ever more substantial Young Artist Program all on the same campus,” says Eaton. “We are so grateful to Winchester Thurston's principal, staff and board of trustees for welcoming us to this splendid facility."

SummerFest is now established as the go-to midsummer option for opera, musical theater, and vocal music for a broad regional audience. Eaton conceived the move to a summer season as a way to serve local and regional communities better. “We created SummerFest to fill a void in the summer arts landscape and are thrilled that audiences and critics are supporting us as a cherished addition to the summer cultural calendar.”

THE 2016 SUMMERFEST PRODUCTIONS

SummerFest 2016 runs from June 22 through July 24 with productions designed to appeal to music and theater lovers of all ages, in intimate spaces seating approximately 100 to 300 patrons, and sung in English.

CARMEN THE GYPSY  An alluring gypsy. A handsome officer. The world’s most fiery love story, told through some of opera’s favorite music by Georges Bizet. Opera Theater’s acclaimed adaptation sets Carmen’s story in an intimate gypsy tavern where the pulsations of flamenco guitar and dance propel a tragedy of dangerous liaisons. Featuring Kara Cornell reprising her acclaimed title role (2012), James Flora as Don José (also reprising his 2012 role), Christopher Scott as Escamillo, the toreador, and Katie Manukyan as Michaela. Favorite arias include The Habanera, The Toreador Song and The Flower Song.

Directed by Jonathan Eaton and conducted by Robert Frankenberry, SummerFest Music Director.
Tours:
Wed., June 22 & Thurs., June 23 at 7 pm, Sphinx Café, 401 Atwood St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213;
Sat., June 25 at 7:30 pm & Sun., June 26 at 2 pm, Artifacts, 110 S. Main St., Pittsburgh, PA 15220;
Fri., July 1 & Sat., July 2 at 7:30 pm, Snuggery Farm, 1551 Camp Meeting Rd., Sewickley Heights/Wexford, PA 15143;
Sat., July 9 at 7:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston School (one performance only at SummerFest season venue).

KISS ME, KATE    Cole Porter’s take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, is one of America’s greatest classic Broadway shows. SummerFest Young Artist Program singers are showcased in this show-within-a-show, centered around a “first couple of the theater” who take their battle of the sexes into their roles in the Bard’s comedy.  Baritone Isaiah Feken returns to SummerFest as Fred Graham/Petruchio and is joined by mezzo-soprano Christina Overton as Lilli Vanessi/Katherine. Audiences should expect some surprises, including some pre-show entertainment from actors from Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks.
Favorite songs include: Brush Up Your Shakespeare, So in Love, Too Darn Hot, and more.

Directed by Mark Lamanna and conducted by Douglas Levine.
Opens Fri., July 8 at 7:30 pm; Sun., July 10 at 2 pm; Sat., July 16 at 7:30 pm; Sat., July 23 at 2 pm; Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston School.

JULIUS CAESAR     Politics explode into Romance! SummerFest goes for Baroque with a new production of George Frederick Handel's masterpiece Julius Caesar, sung in English. Acclaimed countertenor and Metropolitan Opera artist Andrey Nemzer stars in a role he was born to sing as the tyrannical Julius Caesar is seduced by the beauty and power of Cleopatra, sung by Lara Lynn McGill.
Chatham Baroque, Pittsburgh’s celebrated early music ensemble, provides authentic and expert musical accompaniment. Pre-show entertainment will be provided by actors from Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks.

Directed by Dan Rigazzi and conducted by Walter Morales, at the continuo.
Opens Fri., July 15 at 7:30 pm; Sun., July 17 at 2 pm; Sat., July 23 at 7:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston School.

THE SILENT WOMAN      Retired sea captain Dr. Morosus marries a quiet young woman who finds her own voice in this frothy romantic comedy sung in English, based on a story by Ben Jonson. A troupe of boisterous players stirs up the romance with a succession of disguises. Acclaimed guest artist and Met singer Jeremy Galyon, recognized for his SummerFest performances in Capriccio, returns to the company in the lead role. Julia Fox also returns to SummerFest as Aminta, his silent then shrill new bride, and Dimitrie Lazich join us as Morosus’ trusted Barber Schneidebart. Richard Strauss's 1935 The Silent Woman (Die schweigsame Frau) is the third ravishing but lesser-known work by this 20th century master in our four-year cycle of Strauss operas, following Opera Theater’s celebrated Ariadne on Naxos in 2014 and Capriccio in 2015. The Silent Woman is a Pennsylvania premiere, not having been staged by the leading professional companies here.

Directed by Jonathan Eaton and conducted by Brent McMunn.
Opens Fri., July 22 at 7:30 pm; Sun., July 24 at 2 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston School.

NIGHT CAPS  
Valkyrie Suite2012  Credit Patti Brahim


Five short comic operas tell stories of hilarious antics in hotel bedrooms. Perfect for new audiences, these recently commissioned mini-operas dispel any preconceived notions about opera and debuted to sold-out audiences in 2012 – and guarantee laughter! Night Caps take audiences to Miss Darlington’s hotel, a place of romance, mystery and danger. Journey through each of its bedrooms, enchanted by the decadence of secrets, haunted by the ghosts of presidents, and perfumed with the memory of love.
Night Caps are served up with a complimentary SummerFest cocktail.

Night Caps are sung in English. Libretti by Rob Handel.
Directed by Young Artist Program Resident Directors.
Conducted by Robert Frankenberry.
George Washington Suite by Daron Hagen.
Directed by Briana Sosenheimer
Moonlight Suite by Gilda Lyons. Directed by Seamus Ricci
Penthouse Suite by Roger Zahab. Directed by Seamus Ricci
Honeymoon Suite by Alberto Garcia Demestres. Directed by Daniel Brylow 
Valkyrie Suite by Eric Moe. Directed by Aaron Dunn
Two evenings only: Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, July 24 at 6:30 pm, Hilda Willis Room, Winchester Thurston School. (see website for additional plot details and more)

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD  A delightful take on a classic story! So, did the wolf just get a bad rap? Little Red goes into the woods to help her grandmother in this fast-paced, imaginative musical adventure—a great introduction to opera for children of all ages. With familiar characters, an up-close and casual performance space, and an attention-friendly 50-minute duration, this is the perfect opportunity for whole families to discover the joys of music drama together. After each performance, families stay to enjoy themed crafts and activities and photo opps with cast members Valerie Hosler, Candice Shaughnessy, and Jesse Davis.
Directed by Jonathan Eaton Musical Director: Joel Goodloe         Pianist: Agnieszka Sornek
Saturdays at 11 am on July 9, 16, and 23, Hilda Willis Room, Winchester Thurston School.

CONCERT AND RECITAL SERIES Continuing Opera Theater’s tradition of sold-out recitals, SummerFest includes an expanded array of concerts, featuring world-class singers and pianists, emerging international talent, and special programs to celebrate music from around the world.

LIAM BONNER IN CONCERT, Thurs., July 7 at 7:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston. SummerFest celebrates the international success of Pittsburgh baritone Liam Bonner who started his career with Opera Theater and ended up at the Met. The Pittsburgh native and Carnegie Mellon University alumnus performs an evening of French and German arias, selections by Cole Porter and more, accompanied by Brent McMunn. SummerFest Opening Night Party follows the recital.   

THE THREE (COUNTER) TENORS, Sun., July 10 at 6:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston. Taking on the repertoire of the famed castrati, acclaimed countertenor Andrey Nemzer joins Min Sang Kim and Zachary Wood as they chart the path and the music of the castrato, through the male alto, to today’s countertenor voice.

ALDERSON AS PIAF IN RECITAL, Thurs., July 14 at 7:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston. When French icon Edith Piaf came to Carnegie Hall in 1956 she received a seven-minute standing ovation. Beloved Pittsburgh chanteuse Daphne Alderson recreates this legendary 1956 recital to mark Bastille Day 2016.

YOUNG ARTISTS’ SCHUMANN RECITAL, Wed., July 17 at 6:30 pm, McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal. This free recital showcases the stars of tomorrow as talented Young Artist Program participants take the stage with art songs by Robert Schumann at the historic Calvary Episcopal Church on Shady Avenue. Open to the public at no charge.

LA DIVINA CORNETTI IN CONCERT, Thurs., July 20 at 7:30 pm, Falk Auditorium, Winchester Thurston. Internationally-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti (and Western PA native) headlines an evening of the great Italian arias of Verdi, Puccini and Ponchielli, accompanied by Stephen Varianes. Then Marianne is joined by 'her' Divos and Divas, the SummmerFest Young Artist Program Cornetti scholars, in a musical melange of arias, duets and songs from Bellini to Broadway, and Mozart to madcap Mame! Ticketed reception follows the concert.

OPENING NIGHT PARTIES AND LATE NIGHT CABARETS
The festival spirit permeates Opera Theater SummerFest with ticketed Opening Night Parties ($25) for each main stage production, featuring the popular Late Night Cabarets, food, drink, and good company. Two additional free Late Night Cabarets follow Kiss Me, Kate on Sat., July 16 and the closing performance Julius Caesar on Sat., July 23 at 10:30 pm. See website for details.

Tickets: Main stage opera and musical tickets start at $25 (Falk Auditorium) with pick 2/3/4 packages available. A SummerFest Gold Passport provides admissions to every event and all post-opening receptions; the Silver Passport provides admission to every SummerFest event. Night Caps general admission tickets are $35. Recitals tickets are $25-75 for reserved seating in the Falk Auditorium.

The Young Artists recital at Calvary Church is open to the public at no charge. Children’s opera tickets (Hilda Willis Room) are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Discounts are offered for AAA members, groups, and many others at discounts of 10% and more. Student tickets (half-price) are available in advance on line or at door, with a valid student ID. Carmen at Sphinx student tickets are $5. Students with ID are admitted to recitals at no charge.
Order tickets online at otsummerfest.org or by phone at 412-326-9687. Details on the website include reserved parking passes, accessibility information, and much more.
Other patron conveniences include light fare by Fabled Table, selection of beverages, pre-show entertainment by Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Park before selected events, and an art exhibit.

THE OPERA THEATER SUMMERFEST COMPANY

SummerFest features a company of performers including top national and regional singers, and rising stars from its Young Artist Program. Members of the six-week Young Artist Program are recruited from more than 300 candidates in auditions in Pittsburgh and six cities across the US. The program combines performance opportunities for emerging professionals with a comprehensive training experience including coaching, master classes, and a variety of special events. Forty-five young artists, including singers, pianists and stage directors from the United States and nine other countries take part.

ABOUT OPERA THEATER OF PITTSBURGH
Opera Theater reaches out across traditional lines of demarcation in the arts, presenting works which engage diverse, new and younger audiences, bringing in supporters of music, theater, dance, and the visual arts. By presenting high-quality productions not available elsewhere, the company works at the forefront of the genre. In its 38-year history, Opera Theater has presented more than 50 Pittsburgh premieres, many of them American operas that would not have been produced by other regional companies, including more than 20 world premieres. 

Over its first four seasons, SummerFest has drawn more drew more than 25,000 people to operas, musicals, new works and recitals. Founded by Mildred Miller Posvar in 1978, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh has served a diverse market of music drama audiences in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. Jonathan Eaton has served as Artistic and General Director since 1999.
Opera Theater of Pittsburgh is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and at 412-326-9687 and otsummerfest.org.

ABOUT WINCHESTER THURSTON SCHOOL

Winchester Thurston School is a nationally recognized coeducational independent school in Pittsburgh, PA with a pre-K – 5 campus in Allison Park and a pre-K – 12 campus in Shadyside. Winchester Thurston actively engages each student in a challenging and inspiring learning process that develops the mind, motivates the passion to achieve, and cultivates the character to serve.www.winchesterthurston.org
Visit otsummerfest.org for tickets and details on all events.
SummerFest Box Office 412-326-9687  

Performance Venue:  Winchester Thurston School, 555 Morewood Ave. at Ellsworth (Shadyside), Pittsburgh, PA 15213