On the horizon

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance season opens

By Janell Ward

Photo: Dancers from Dayton Ballet take the stage in Cinderella, choreographed by Karen Russo Burke; photo: Scott Kimmins

Exciting performances await your arrival at the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. This year, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) will open its New Horizons season with Russian Panorama. This spectacular signature event celebrates and showcases the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Dayton Philharmonic Artistic Director and Conductor Neal Gittleman remarked on the choice of the 19th century Russian theme and the combination of the arts: “The idea is to show and remind the audience of the great jewel that we have of these three performing traditions. We settled on the idea of Russian because of the richness of that tradition. This is a taste of what people can look forward to all the way from now until next June 2015.”

Russian Panorama will be presented by Gittleman, Dayton Ballet Artistic Director Karen Russo Burke and Dayton Opera Artistic Director Thomas Bankston. It will feature eight famous Russian composers and their timeless music. “People can expect dazzle,” Gittleman said. “That is the intention. Guests will be wowed by what the musicians, dancers and artists can do.” Come climb into the composers’ imaginations, memories and emotions where you can witness rich history unfold through the tempos and melodies of each moving piece.

You will have the opportunity to hear The Festive Overture by the Russian composer and pianist, Dmitri Shostakovich. The Festive Overture was written in 1954 and is ironically joyful, despite the political complications Shostakovich faced with the Soviet government. Excerpts from Prokofiev’s Cinderella, Tchaikovsky’s None But the Lonely Heart and his opera Eugene Onegin will also be performed. “We will have great highlights of the composer Tchaikovsky,” Gittleman said. “It is the perfect vehicle to show what we can do.”

Are you a violin fiend? You will be serenaded by 20 violins playing the solo line in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise. Additional program notes in the Russian Panorama include Song of the Flea by Mussorgsky and Aleksandr Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” based on the opera Prince Igor. Take a spiritual sabbatical with Modest Mussorgsky’s “Coronation Scene” from the opera Boris Godunov.

More Russian classical music will be presented in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s second opening performance, From Russia with Love, which will be showcased on Sept. 26 and 27 with excerpts from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or. Some say Rimsky-Korsakov lost his life as a result of this work. Ten years before the October Revolution of 1917, Le Coq d’Or was written to reflect the persecution by the czarist regimes. Rimsky-Korsakov created this suite to reflect The Tale of the Golden Cockerel, a poem by Alexander Pushkin. The opera voices a story of a king who represented the Czar, and at the end of the tale the King meets a cruel fate. Due to the political controversy of this opera, it was banned by the government at the time.

From Russia with Love will also include Michael Schelle’s The Big Night, written in 1991, which combines the emotional turmoil of nervousness, sleepless nights and thrilling anticipation. You will witness the tale of a violinist who faces her first live performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Pieces of the actual violin concerto and additional Tchaikovsky works will be performed during this moving and expressive piece.

In order to reflect the story that is displayed through The Big Night, the conclusion of From Russia with Love will feature Chad Hoopes playing Tchaikovsky’s famous Violin Concerto in D major. This concerto was first featured in 1881, and acquired many critics at the time. However, it quickly rose in popularity and is now one of the most accomplished classical virtuosic performances. Hoopes, who is still a teenager, has performed internationally several times and has debuted with many fabulous orchestras from around the world.

The Dayton Philharmonic is one of the cornerstones of the Dayton Performing Art Alliance, playing the exquisite music of each opera, accompanying the ballet, and presenting its own full slate of programming, including the beloved Classical Series, the SuperPops Series, Rockin’ Orchestra, Classical Connection programs and the Family Series. “The Dayton Philharmonic is truly incredible throughout the entire year,” Angela Whitehead, Communications and Media Manager for the DPAA, said.

Since 1960, The Dayton Opera has served the greater Dayton community with new presentations and internationally renowned productions. You can take a journey through social and spiritual enlightenment in Dayton Opera’s Dead Man Walking. The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will also be presented. This piece is renowned as one of the most beloved works of Mozart, and it portrays the beauty and botherations that accompany young romance.

The Dayton Ballet is the second-oldest ballet company in the United States. The Nutcracker and Peter Pan are scheduled for this year; both performances will be accompanied by the Dayton Philharmonic. Ghost Stories will also be presented in October with choreography from Amy Seiwert.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance presents Russian Panorama on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra presents From Russia with Love on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. Both performances are at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. For more information, please call 937.334.3521 or visit daytonperformingarts.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Janell R. Ward at JanellRWard@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Janell R. Ward

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