Stage notes: Akron Symphony performs ‘Four Seasons’; Miller South creates play

By Kerry Clawson
Beacon Journal arts writer

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Olivier Brault, guest artist for The Four Seasons

Olivier Brault, concertmaster of Apollo’s Fire, Cleveland’s baroque orchestra, will lead the Akron Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Saturday in Vivaldi’s celebrated The Four Seasons at the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall.

“We are thrilled to welcome Olivier Brault back to Akron as soloist in one of the most celebrated works in the repertoire,” Music Director Christopher Wilkins said. “Vivaldi is a master at painting pictures in sound, bringing nature to life like the most accomplished landscape artist. Olivier Brault, one of the world’s foremost virtuosos on the Baroque violin, adds his infectious presence and brings a lifetime of devotion to music of this period.”

Brault, a native of Terrebonne, Quebec, also performs as a soloist with Ensemble Caprice, Les Boreades de Montreal, La Bande Montreal Baroque, the Quatuor Franz Joseph and Les Idees Heureuses. He gives workshops and master classes at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montreal, McGill University, Case Western Reserve University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

The Four Seasons are the first four concertos in a collection of 12 for solo violin and orchestra. Vivaldi paired each concerto with an anonymous sonnet describing joyful spring, the blazing sun of summer, autumn harvest and icy winter. The sonnets are included in the Akron Symphony’s program.

The concert will open with two of Mozart’s masterpieces from the early classical period. Principal bassoonist Todd Jelen will perform the joyous Bassoon Concerto, which will be followed by Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A Major, “one of the jewels of the repertoire,” said Wilkins.

Jelen also is principal bassoonist with the Canton Symphony and Wheeling Symphony in West Virginia. The Mozart Bassoon Concerto is the premier concerto for the instrument.

Concert tickets range from $25-$55, half-price for students. Call 330-535-8131, 330-972-7570 or see www.akronsymphony.org or www.uaevents.com.

Miller South production

Miller South drama students will perform an original work, Diversity Play, at 7 tonight, 9 a.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday at the school’s Margo Snider Theatre, 1055 East Ave., Akron. The play is a collage of poetry, monologues, dances and dramatic interpretations created by a cast of 41 from fourth through eighth grades.

The collaborative work explores cultural differences through the sensibilities of today’s young people. Writing teams were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Sojourner Truth of the civil rights movement as well as African-American artists Ira Aldridge, Alvin Ailey, Elizabeth Catlett and Mahalia Jackson.

The cast participated in story circles with students from the University of Akron’s sociology department, under the guidance of Carolyn Behrman. The play is directed by India Burton of Ma’Sue Productions and Wendy Duke, Miller South drama teacher. Both are graduates of the University of Akron theatre program who learned how to create original community-based performance material with professor James Slowiak.

Choreographers are former Miller South dance student Karol Jackson-Bostick and Donna Peckett of Tapit/New Works Ensemble from Madison, Wis. Miller South piano student Kofi Boakye provides musical accompaniment. Cost is $10 for adults or $5 for senior citizens and students, or $15 for reserved seating. Call 330-761-3106.

The show will be reprised at 7:30 Jan. 17 at the University of Akron’s Daum Theatre, Kolbe Hall.

At PlayhouseSquare

• Single tickets go on sale Jan. 17 for the hit musical Jersey Boys, which will play at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre May 6-18. Tickets begin at $30. Call 216-241-6000 or see www.playhousesquare.org.

• The national tour of Menopause the Musical will play Tuesday through Feb. 2 at PlayhouseSquare’s Hanna Theatre. For tickets to this ode to hot flashes and chocolate binges, which run from $10-$60, call 216-241-6000 or see www.playhousesquare.org.

Cleveland Orchestra news

The Cleveland Orchestra’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert is already sold out for Jan. 19 but guests can still attend the 14th annual Community Open House from noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 20 at Severance Hall. The free day of activities and performances celebrating King’s legacy will include the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorus as well as El Sistema@Rainey and El Sistema@University Circle orchestras.

The Jan. 19 concert will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on WCLV (104.9 FM) and WCPN (90.3 FM).

In more Cleveland Orchestra news, violinist Julia Fischer will perform in a weekend devoted to the music of Brahms at 7:30 tonight, 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday at Severance Hall, conducted by Franz Welser-Moest. Students ages 7 to 17 may attend for free with an accompanying adult who has a full-price ticket.

Also this weekend, host Maryann Nagel and the Cleveland Orchestra will offer “The Cheerful Cello and Vibrant Violin” program for children ages 3 to 6 at 10 a.m. Friday at Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall. Orchestra musicians and guests will perform short solo selections and kid-friendly tunes as Nagel gets the children singing, clapping and moving to the music. Cost is $7 for adults and free for children under 18 accompanied by an adult with a full-price ticket. Call 216-231-1111 or see www.clevelandorchestra.com.

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or kclawson@thebeaconjournal.com.


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