Stage notes: Hampson concert, ‘Creole Cinderella’

By By Kerry Clawson
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Tuesday Musical continues the celebration of its 125th Anniversary Season with the RESCHEDULED Thomas Hampson concert on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm at E.J. Thomas Hall, The University of Akron.

It’s the moment vocal music lovers have been waiting for: Thomas Hampson, America’s leading baritone, will perform a rescheduled concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at E.J. Thomas Hall.

Hampson, presented by the Tuesday Musical Association, will perform pieces from his “Song of America’’ project, which explores the poetic and musical legacy of song that has shaped American culture through the centuries. With pianist Craig Rutenberg, Hampson will perform more than 20 selections in a walk through history, from an anonymous 16th century work through the 20th century.

The sought-after soloist had been scheduled for his Akron debut Oct. 18 but was forced to cancel due to illness. The singer, who is called an “ambassador of American song,’’ was honored in 2010 with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as special adviser to the study and performance of music in America.

On Sunday, Hampson’s program will range from the folk ballad works of Stephen Foster and Paul Bowles to art songs by Charles Ives, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thompson. The concert will begin with My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free, composed by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and end with Danny Deever by German-American composer Walter Damrosch, who first conducted Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Season subscribers may use their original October tickets for the rescheduled concert. Call 330-761-3460 if duplicate tickets are needed.

Audience members are invited to watch Hampson conduct a master class on stage at E.J. Thomas Hall after the concert. He will work with four students from the University of Akron, Kent State University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Voice faculty member JR Fralick of Oberlin also will give a pre-concert talk on Hampson’s repertoire at 1:30 p.m.

‘Creole Cinderella’

There’s going to be a wild Mardi Gras party down at the Civic Theatre on Thursday night when Neos Dance Theatre of Mansfield performs Creole Cinderella, conceived by Michael Thomas and Bobby Wesner and choreographed by company member and resident choreographer Mary-Elizabeth Fenn.

The ballet, which is billed as an outrageous, silly, touching retelling of the classic tale, will be a cabaret-style performance at 7:30 p.m. Call 330-253-2488 or see www.akroncivic.com for tickets, which cost $25.

Wesner said the company wanted to do a story ballet that would allow it to create a more contemporary tale set to Dixieland music. The original Mansfield performance last year incorporated local Dixieland band the Rib Ticklers. Since then, Wesner has created a soundtrack for the dance using the same style of music.

Wesner said that audiences who have gotten to know Neos at the Heinz Poll Dance Festival the last several summers and seen them do works by the late Poll, founder of the Ohio Ballet, will be in for a treat.

“They’re going to see this [Creole Cinderella] and see a much, much different side of who we are,’’ Wesner said.

Dancers will create the world of pre-World War I New Orleans with the help of simple props and lots of costume changes. Each of the nine dancers will play several roles. Fenn will play Cinderella and male guest artist Jens Lee Peterson will play the stepmother, which requires an eccentric, Broadway-style performer, Wesner said. Other performers will be Neos co-founder Brooke Wesner; Akron natives Jennifer Moll Safonovs, Juliana Freude and Katie Edmonds; UA graduate Erin Buck; and Anna Trumbo.

A lot of hard work has gone into creating the viewpoint of a chaotic Mardi Gras party atmosphere, according to the company. Neos will give an encore performance as part of the Downtown Partnerships March Art Walk between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Akron Main Library, 60 S. High St.

Symphony back on stage

The busy Akron Symphony Orchestra just came off its Gospel Meets Symphony high last weekend and will celebrate spring with Pastorale Symphony at 8 p.m. Saturday at E.J. Thomas Hall. Music Director Christopher Wilkins and Chorus Director Maria Sensi Sellner will lead a program featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 Pastorale and Haydn’s Spring from The Seasons.

Soprano Linh Kauffman, tenor Timothy Culver of Stow and Northeast Ohio baritone Brian Keith Johnson will make guest solo appearances in Spring. A pre-concert lecture will be offered at 7 p.m. Cost is $22-$52. Call 330-535-8131 or 330-972-7570, see www.akronsymphony.org or www.ejthomashall.com.

More dance

The acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., will come to Cleveland for a single performance at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Palace Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Presented by DanceCleveland, the company will perform Canonic ¾ Studies, created in 1982; the 2011 Festival Dance; and the 2010 Socrates.

The company, known for its commitment to live music, will be accompanied by a quartet of musicians. MMDG was founded in 1980 by Morris, who danced with Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean and Eliot Feld before founding his own company, for which he has created more than 130 works.

For tickets, which cost $20-$65, call 216-241-6000 or see www.playhousesquare.org.

UA happenings

The University of Akron Concert Band and University Band will perform a free concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union Ballroom. Also, the University of Akron Symphony Orchestra and guest violinist Ilya Kaler will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 7 at First Congregational Church, 292 E. Market St., Akron. The free program will include Bruch's Violin Concerto, Op. 25 and Holst's The Planets, Suite for a Large Orchestra, featuring the women of the UA Concert Choir and Westlake High School Choir. Guy Bordo will conduct. Call 330-972-8301 for more information on either concert.

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


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