Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tango Comes to Carnegie

A Glittery Night in Carnegie Credit: Courtesy Photo

When you think of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall’s building, with its classical Palladian architecture, tango may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  Nor is it likely that tango rises to the fore when you contemplate Carnegie itself, the town with the Scottish name and the signature onion-dome churches. 

But tango plays a dominant role the ACFL&MH’s annual benefit To Carnegie with Love, which takes place, Saturday October 1 at 7:30 p.m. Argentinian–born Raquel Winnica Young and her partners in the Bell’Art Ensemble thought of thought of incorporating tango when ACFL&MH Maggie Forbes met this year to discuss the ACFL&MH’s 2016 annual benefit performance. 

“We feel there is a romance and grandeur to this beautiful venue that stands the test of time, yet is very much a part of its late 19th century origins, says Winnica Young.  ‘It made us think of music’s ultimate romantic expression, the tango.” 

The mezzo-soprano acknowledges that the other members of Bell’Art – Ashley Freeburn on violin, Jack Kurutz and Billie Jo Miller on piano, and Lenny Young on oboe – are not Argentinian. Young is no stranger to Carnegie Carnegie Hall.  She performed the role of Cherubino in Duquesne University’s Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in 2006, as well as other roles in other Duquesne productions. 

“The Music Hall has such a wonderful sound and such an architectural presence," she said. 

Violinist Ashley Freeburn has also played in the Music Hall with the Freya Quartet. To Carnegie with Love takes its audience on a journey through western romantic music. The first act of the concert features excerpts from Georges Bizet’s Carmen, as well as works by Robert Schumannn, Antonín Dvořák, Eugene Goossens and two pieces by Sergei Rachmaninoff. 

The Bell' Art Ensemble Credit: Courtesy Photo

The second act is the “Tango Set,” with works by Astor Piazzolla, Homero Exposito, Carlos Gardel and others. Bell’Art will be joined by guest artists Tracy Mortimore on double bass, Ben Bogart on bandoneon (a type of concertina popular in Argentina, Uruguay and Lithuania that has buttons rather than the accordion’s keys) and dancers from PGHTango.  

Projection designer Joe Seamans is also part of the production. Five years ago Seamans began designing projections for theater and opera, and will create an original visual score to accompany To Carnegie with Love.

“I can’t wait to see what Joe does with this concert,” enthuses Forbes.  “His design for the invitation is sexy, provocative and fun, and is already creating a buzz!”

New rigging and curtains for the Music Hall, made possible by a grant from the Hillman Foundation, will be making their debut in the ACFL&MH’s first multi-media benefit. Bell’Art Ensemble is an outgrowth of the Living Room Chamber Music Project (LRCMP), which has been performing intimate and eclectic concerts in people’s homes throughout Allegheny County and beyond since 2010.  LRCMP is committed to bringing “the power of live music to everyone, one living room at a time.”  

To Carnegie with Love is the ACFL&MH’s major annual fundraiser. Proceeds from this benefit concert support the ACFL&MH’s ongoing efforts to restore and revitalize the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.  It will be followed by an after-concert supper throughout the ACFL&MH’s historic landmark facility.   The success of the benefit is more than halfway home thanks to the generosity of the many individuals, businesses and organizations that stepped up to sponsor the benefit.  

“To Carnegie with Love is going to be memorable and exciting,” says Forbes. “Of course it raises critically needed funding to advance the Library & Music Hall’s mission of service.  However, one of the best things about this benefit is that it showcases to a regional audience the ACFL&MH’s beautiful facility and the caliber of outstanding performances that take place in the Music Hall at decidedly non-benefit ticket prices."

As an added incentive for supporting the benefit, September is “Love Your Library” month.  All donations made to the Library during the month of September will be matched by a generous donor.  (All Allegheny County Library Associations are eligible for this initiative.Tickets for To Carnegie with Love are $125 ($80 tax deductible) for reserved orchestra seats and $75 ($30 tax deductible) for open seating in the balcony. Free shuttle service from Carnegie’s Main Street Parking lots. (Parking is free, permit parking restrictions are waived evenings and weekends.) For tickets and more detailed information visit or call 412-276-3456. X 8.

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