Poulenc’s 20th Century Opera Masterwork

 

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It’s opera week at the University of Utah and the entire school is mobilizing for this production of Poulenc’s powerful opera, Dialogues des Carmelites. I’ll be conducting from the pit with the Utah Philharmonia for this production by the University of Utah Lyric Opera Ensemble. Although this is my second go-round with the opera, I find it just as engaging as my first foray. Certainly, it promises to be a memorable evening.

The graduate opera literature class taught by my colleague Elizabeth T. Craft has put a fabulous website together covering the background, historical context and performance history of this important opera. Click here to check out their excellent work and familiarize yourself with the opera: https://music.utah.edu/mckay-music-library/dialogues/index.php?fbclid=IwAR0z3-qHOfaq_CMENfyyOSXIxt4bTOw80_T4nkYOsE9NXTfNFeGxv4ccFCc

The production is coming up Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20 at Kingsbury Hall. Get your tickets here: https://tickets.utah.edu/events/dialogues-des-carmelites-performed-by-university-lyric-opera-ensemble/

 

 

 

The Sands of Time: Music from the Middle East in Concert with the Utah Philharmonia

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The Stars Align.

There’s a very exciting concert ahead. I’ve been asked: Just how did this concert ever come to exist? Here’s the story:

Back in 2010, I received an unsolicited visit from Monika Jalili, a singer of Iranian/Persian music about having the School of Music donate space for a concert. Instead of a single act of charity, it was apparent that there was an opportunity to do something more. As Monika and I talked, it became clear that instead of a small ensemble concert, a more exciting collaboration might take place with orchestra. Those discussions led to a performance in 2013 with the Salt Lake Symphony of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Monika and her ensemble filling in between movements with traditional and popular music from the Middle East. We only had one music chart for orchestra to play along with her group back then, but even still, it was a great success. We all left the performance knowing that a future collaboration was possible sometime in the future.

Fast forward to this year, and thanks to Monika’s work getting the UofU Middle East Center onboard, and my securing a teaching grant, this concert is now a reality. The University of Utah Philharmonia will present this concert of music from the Middle East, by composers with Middle Eastern connections. (The only exception being Respighi’s Belkis: Queen of Sheba Suite, which has nonetheless has a historical and sonic roots firmly rooted there). Other music on the program includes a piece by Shalan Alhamwy, a Syrian refugee, titled Two Images from Aleppo (Thanks to my former student Mindi Davis-Loewen for introducing me to Shalan and his music); Mohammed Fairouz’s Pax Universalis; and six selections with Monika and her most versatile ensemble, Megan Gould (violin), Zeb Gould (guitar), and Shane Shanahan (percussion – and a musician with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble). Arrangements of those pieces are by Megan Gould and Jamshied Sharifi (who recently won a Tony for his orchestrations for the musical, The Band’s Visit).

Monika publicity photo

But there is MORE. We’ve just learned that we will have members of several refugee communities in attendance at the concert. There will be a major video shoot as well. We are getting attention from places far and wide for our program. That is gratifying, to say the least.

This is a concert that is in the true spirit of collaboration: performing musicians (soloists and orchestra), support staff, outside organizations, administrative personnel, and the composers and arrangers. Now all that is left to ask, is that you join us for this special performance. It’s on December 6, smack in the middle of the “holiday” season. There is no White Christmas, Silent Night, or Nutcracker on the program, but there will be a great deal of the goodwill that makes this time of year special for people from around the globe. I am happy that we can reach out in this way with this unique and moving concert. Hope to see you there. If you cannot make it. Please join us online at: https://music.utah.edu/libby-live/index.php

 

 

Campus Locations Libby Gardner Concert Hall
Cost General Admission: $12.50, Arts Pass event: Free for U of U students with UCard, Non-U of U Students: $6.50, Faculty, Staff, Seniors: $6.50
Ticket URL tickets.utah.edu…
Contact Name School of Music
Contact Phone 801-581-6762
Contact Email events@music.utah.edu
Campus Wide Event Yes
Link music.utah.edu

The Utah Philharmonia presents “The Sands of Time: Journey Through the Middle East” with special guests, Monika Jalili and ensemble: Shane Shanahan, Megan Gould, and Zeb Gould. Works to be performed include Ottorino Respighi’s “Belkis Queen of Sheba Suite,” Shalan Alhamwy’s “Two Images from Aleppo”, and Mohammed Fairouz’s “Pax Universalis.” Monika Jalili and ensemble will also perform Persian songs accompanied by the Utah Philharmonic. This event is in partnership with the University of Utah Middle East Center.