So. Many. Operas. And good ones, too!
With The Dallas Opera wrapping up its season and the Fort Worth Opera kicking off its acclaimed annual festival, there's loads of opera to be heard on area stages this month. There is also plenty of chamber music available in April, with concerts that feature standard repertoire from the 19th century as well as more diverse modern offerings (i.e. music for the accordian and a percussion ensemble playing on two-by-fours). Let's get to it:
April 4: An Accordionist and Animation Artist Collaborate at the Nasher's Soundings Concert. A pianist accompanies a tenor and mezzo-soprano in The Diary of One Who Disappeared, a dramatic song-cycle by Czech composer Leos Janacek that tells the story of a young boy who disappears, running away from home to chase love. The second half of the concert features a unique collaboration between accordionist and composer Merima Kljueo and animation artist Ruah Edelstein. Kljueo's unique piece tells the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah, an ancient Jewish manuscript saved from destruction.
April 5, 11 and 13: A Fun Barber of Seville at The Dallas Opera The Dallas Opera wraps up it's 2013/2014 season with a colorful, high-energy production of this familiar comedic opera. It's smart, witty, entertaining and beautifully sung. You can check out my full review of this production here. In addition to live performances at the Winspear Opera House, the April 11 performance of Barber will be simulcast (for free!) at the Cowboy's AT&T Stadium. For tickets and more information, visit the opera's website.
April 7: The AT&T Performing Arts Center's Recital Series Features Pianist Khatia Buniatishvili If you think spelling Khatia Buniatishvili's last name is tough, try playing the music this hot young pianist will perform at the Winspear Opera House. Buniatishvili's program is full of luscious, late Romantic fare and features piano sonatas by two nineteenth-century greats of the keyboard: Chopin and Liszt. The intoxicating, bubbling, whirling dance of Ravel's La Valse and the more modern, rhythmic punches of Stravinsky's Petrushka round out this exciting program.
April 9: SMU's Meadows Symphony Performs at the Meyerson Every spring SMU's resident student orchestra, led by Maestro Paul Philips, heads downtown to the Meyerson to show off their sound in a big space and raise a little money for student scholarships. SMU has a great student orchestra, and if you've missed out on hearing them play in the past, this is your chance to see them perform at their best. This concert features two gorgeous orchestral works: Italian composer Ottorino Resphigi's enchanting "Church Windows" and Mendelssohn's "Italian" symphony.
April 14: Mantra Percussion Performs Timber SMU's Meadows School of the Arts presents a unique (and free) opportunity to hear Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon's mesmerizing concert-length percussion masterpiece, Timber. Mantra Percussion, the innovative classical group that co-commissioned the piece, will be on hand to perform Timber on a set of six graduated, amplified Simantras. A Simantra, by the way, is basically just a two-by-four suspended from a stand. Each piece of wood is cut at a different length, giving each "instrument" a unique sound and range. This piece of music creates a trance-like effect as the percussionists "play" the two-by-fours in a complex pattern of swelling and shifting poly-rhythms. The concert is free and open to the public and takes place in the Taubman Atrium inside the Owens Arts Center on SMU's campus (6101 Bishop Boulevard).
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April 17: Cliburn Gold Medalist Jon Nakamatsu Performs at the Kimbell The Cliburn foundation brings us yet another impressive piano recital, this time featuring Jon Nakamatsu, winner of the 1997 Cliburn Gold Medal. This recital takes place in the still shiny and new Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. This recital features romantic character pieces from the 19th century by Schumann (Carnival) and Schubert (Impromptus) as well as Chopin's third piano concerto. For tickets and information, visit the Cliburn Foundation's website.
April 19: Get Your Opera Fix: The Fort Worth Opera's 2014 Festival Begins In just a few short weeks in April and May, the Fort Worth Opera presents a total of four operas (as well as a concert featuring the popular trio Forte of America's Got Talent fame). The festival features familiar operas by Mozart (Cosi fan tutte) and Bizet (The Pearl Fisher) alongside two exciting contemporary operas. With Blood, With Ink, composed in 1993, tells the gripping story of a brilliant 17th-century Mexican feminist nun. Composer Kevin Puts' Silent Night uses English, French, Italian, Latin and German to recreate the famous Christmas Eve truce of 1914 among World War I soldiers. See them all or pick your favorite, but don't miss this impressive festival. Tickets and more information available on the opera's website.
April 28: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Beethoven Festival Kicks Off With Chamber Music This spring the Dallas Symphony celebrates the music of Beethoven with concerts featuring the famous composer's symphonies as well as some of his more intimate chamber works. This chamber concert, which takes place across the street from the Meyerson at Dallas City Performance Hall, kicks off the festival. DSO co-concertmasters Alexander Kerr and Nathan Olson along with pianist Alessio Bax will perform two of Beethoven's violin sonatas (Numbers 3 and 8) and a piano trio by Haydn.
April 29: Cliburn Sessions Presents Time for Three at Live Oak Music Hall The three string players that make up this trio met when they were students at Philadelphia's renowned Curtis Institute for Music. They soon discovered that their talents lied beyond just performing classical music (which they do brilliantly). Click on their website to get a taste for this group's eclectic, energetic sound that bounces between classical, jazz and good old fashioned fiddling. Tickets to this casual night of mesmerizing string playing are available on the Cliburn's website.