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25 MOST WANTED: Spring 2011 highlights in music, dance and theater

January 14-February 6: Another American: Asking and Telling (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Actor/playwright Marc Wolf interviewed some 150 individuals about the U.S. military’s recently repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and the play that resulted won an Obie Award.

January 21: Sequentia, Voices from the Island Sanctuary(Friends of Chamber Music). The sanctuary in question is the walled Cathedral of Notre Dame complex of 12th-century Paris, and this stimulating program by the outstanding early-music group traces the rise of polyphony from within those walls.

January 22: Joshua Bell, violin (Harriman-Jewell Series). If ever a classical musician could be called a living legend, it’s Josh, who plays violin with an innate musicality that has rarely been matched.

January 29: Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (Performing Arts Series at JCCC). One of the pioneers of American modern dance, Lar has been dubbed a “national treasure.”

January 29: Radu Lupu, piano (Friends of Chamber Music). Perhaps the most interesting pianist of his generation performs two quirky sets of pieces by Schumann (PapillonsBunte Blaetter) and Schubert’s magisterial final Sonata in B-flat Major.

February 5: Chanticleer, The Divine Orlando (Friends of Chamber Music). America’s favorite all-male a cappella choir honors the man dubbed already during his lifetime as the “King of Musicians,” the inimitable 16th-century master Orlando di Lasso.

February 13: Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano (Harriman-Jewell Series). The Kansas Citian who is quickly gaining the status of “America’s mezzo-soprano” grew up in Prairie Village. She is, quite simply, one of the best opera singers working today, with a luscious voice that has made her a belle of major companies everywhere.

February 19: The Daughter of the Regiment (Lyric Opera of Kansas City). Donizetti’s frothy comedy features a pretty orphan girl and an aria that serves as the ultimate test of a tenor’s “high Cs.” Stage director Dorothy Danner has a special knack for comedy, as Lyric audiences know from her brilliant previous productions here.

March 4-5: Adam Schoenberg, An American Symphony, a commissioned premiere (Kansas City Symphony). The concert also features an appearance by young Jonathan Bissperforming Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1.

March 10: Giselle (Kansas City Ballet). This classic full-length ballet of love and betrayal gets top treatment by our own crack company, in a production that scored big here in 1999 and again at its revival in 2003.

March 18-April 10: Cabaret (Kansas City Repertory Theatre) Kander & Ebb’s hit is American musical theater at its best: Bold, lyrical, edgy, dark but optimistic. KayCee native John Kanderdid us all proud here. The Rep’s Eric Rosen directs.

March 18-20: Osvaldo Golijov, world premiere (Kansas City Symphony). The concert also features violist and Curtis Institute of Music director Roberto Diaz performing the Penderecki Concerto.

March 19: Garrick Ohlsson, piano (Friends of Chamber Music). One of the true poets of the piano, Garrick helps the Friends celebrate the composer’s 200th birthday (in 2010) with a generous serving of his music.

April 1: Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Boston Early Music Festival (Friends of Chamber Music). There’s far too little Baroque opera in Our Town, so this fully-staged production of Handel’s magnificent masque-turned-opera is more than welcome.

April 2: Joffrey Ballet (Performing Arts Series at JCCC). America’s favorite ballet company brings great dance to Johnson County.

April 9: The Marriage of Figaro (Lyric Opera of Kansas City). Some opera fans deem this peerless comedy of 18th-century class war not just Mozart’s greatest but perhaps the greatest opera ever. Featured is top-drawer soprano Sari Gruber.

April 16-May 1: Ruined (Unicorn Theatre). This bracing play about a bar/brothel in civil-war-torn Congo, based partly on interviews with Congo refugees, won author Lynn Nottage the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Drama..

April 16: Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer and Zakir Hussain (PAS at JCCC). Strains of the Indian tabla join Bela’s banjo wizardry and Edgar’s double-bass virtuosity in a celebration of global music – commonalities and contrasts.

April 29-May 29: Let’s Do It: The Lyrics of Cole Porter(Quality Hill Playhouse). There was never a lyricist quite like Cole, and QHP’s J. Kent Barnhart serves up a generous portion of this great American’s peerlessly elegant hits.

April 30: Romeo and Juliet (Tchaikovsky), Russian National Ballet Theatre (Harriman-Jewell Series). Also on the program is Fokine’s Chopiniana.

May 5-8: Mercy of the Elements, a new work by William Whitener (Kansas City Ballet). The program also includes Jerome Robbins’ revolutionary ballet Moves and Twyla Tharp’sThe Catherine Wheel Suite.

May 14-15: Shakespeare in Song (Kansas City Chorale). This program by Our Town’s Grammy Award-winning choir, led by Charles Bruffy, features music inspired by, or set to texts by, the bard.

May 20-22: Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky Cantata (Kansas City Symphony). The program also features Beethoven’s First Symphony and the Brahms Alto Rhapsody with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

June 17-19: Stefan Jackiw, violin (Kansas City Symphony). At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll say it again: Stefan is, to my ears, the most committed, brilliant, promising and fundamentally musical violinist of his generation.

 July 8-August 21: Honky Tonk Angels (American Heartland Theatre). Ted Swindley’s brilliant play uses classic Country tunes in the service of a story about three women who “follow their dreams to Nashville.”

 

BOX OFFICE PHONES

American Heartland Theatre: 816-842-9999

Friends of Chamber Music: 816-561-9999

Harriman-Jewell Series: 816-415-5025

Kansas City Ballet: 816-931-2232

Kansas City Chorale: 816-235-6222

Kansas City Repertory Theatre: 816-235-2700

Kansas City Symphony: 816-471-0400

Lyric Opera of Kansas City: 816-471-7344

Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College: 913-469-4445

Quality Hill Playhouse: 816-421-1700

Unicorn Theatre: 816-531-7529

Paul Horsley, Performing Arts Editor 

Paul studied piano and musicology at WSU and Cornell University. He also earned a degree in journalism, because writing about the arts in order to inspire others to partake in them was always his first love. After earning a PhD from Cornell, he became Program Annotator for the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he learned firsthand the challenges that non profits face. He moved to KC to join the then-thriving Arts Desk at The Kansas City Star, but in 2008 he happily accepted a post at The Independent. Paul contributes to national publications, including Dance Magazine, Symphony, Musical America, and The New York Times, and has conducted scholarly research in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic (the latter on a Fulbright Fellowship). He also taught musicology at Cornell, LSU and Park University.

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