Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...

Just another typical week in
America’s Arts Capital - Dayton

At last count there were three recitals, two plays, an opera and a ballet.  We had everything except the Olympics and the World Series.

Dayton Opera’s magnificent production of Turandot was covered last week.  The ballet, a revival of Stuart Sebastian’s Dracula, will get a full review next week.  In between was an olio of fine performances and one tired but happy reviewer.

Vanguard Concert – Violinist Mayuko Kamio

Impresaria Elana Bolling invited Tchaikovsky winner Mayuko Kamio to join pianist Rohan de Silva for the second Vanguard Concert of the season at the Art Institute’s magnificent Renaissance Auditorium.

Kamio has burst onto the international scene.  She lives in Zurich Switzerland, concertizing in Europe, Asia, and the USA.  Her youth, age 22, is in direct contrast to that of her violin, a 1727 Stradivarius.

The program began with two Brahms’ sonatas.  Both are mature works which call for great artistry and brilliant technique.  The changes in tempi and dynamics were well
done although, at times, the piano overshadowed the violin.

The second half of the recital was an exposition of violin pyrotechniques.  Fantasies of Wieniawski and Waxman on themes of the operas Faust and Carmen joined with Ravel’s gypsy rhapsody Tzigane.

The violin artistry was brilliant, with fingers flying.  While the works were full of excitement and sparkle, I longed to hear the wonders of the Stradivarius and this young virtuoso in more elegant examples.  It was in the encore by Elgar that the beauty of the instrument and this comely artist became fully realized.
Soirees Musicales – Aleck Karas

The next evening was spent in the lovely and lofty confines of Shiloh Church.  Impresario Don Hageman invited pianist Aleck Karas to return to Soirées Musicales.
Karas is a versatile pianist.  His interest in contemporary music has given the Soirées’ audiences great thrills.  For this concert, he returned to the late works of Frédéric Chopin.  Chopin’s understanding of the piano has given us a wealth of magnificent literature.  Exploring the expressions of his last years, Chopin died at age 39, gave special significance to the recital.

Karas played the first half of the concert - three Mazurkas, two Nocturnes and a Barcarolle - without pause.  His mastery of the nuances of both composer and instrument wove a spell over the audience.  Audible sighs preceded the vigorous applause.

The second half continued the enchantment.  Three more Mazurkas, three Waltzes and a Berceuse had spirit and many magical effects.  The Berceuse sounded as if a child was singing in bel canto.  Hard to explain but easy to enjoy.

The powerful Polonaise-fantaisie was a stylistic tour de force.  Karas is a true artist - versatile, scholarly and passionate.  His youth and brilliance promise many more visits to Dayton.

The third recital of the week was another jewel.  Daytonian Joshua Zink is a budding baritone.  He has studied with the finest and is climbing the ladder to great artistic achievements.  He has sung with the Dayton Bach Society, Dayton Opera, St Paul’s Church and many other local and national venues.  His recital as part of the University of Dayton’s Department of Music series featured the equivalent of an athletic “iron man” race.

Schubert’s song-cycle Winterreise is a setting of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller.  The themes – thwarted love, disappointment, resignation and death are rarely absent from Schubert’s songs.

This is a work which demands a mature artist. The vocal requirements, the emotional tension, the linguistic subtleties and the sheer physical exertion would put this out of reach of a young singer.

One fact attracted me to the recital.  Joshua’s accompanist was the famed John Wustman.  Wustman is more than the dean of vocal accompanists – he is the icon of that important art form.  If he would join this handsome but very young man, there must be something very special – and, there certainly was.

The cycle was spun on a web of both gossamer thread and hardened steel.  Nearly everything was accomplished.  I hope to hear Joshua sing many times in the future.  I can only imagine what greatness is yet to come.

The Human Race – Ears on a Beatle

Finally, came the plays.  The Human Race mounted Ears on a Beatle.  Two actors, fabulous actors, Resident Artist Tim Lile and Ryan Wesley Gilreath in debut, played contending FBI types during the difficult Vietnam era.

They acted on one of the most innovative sets imaginable.  It was rather down-hill from there.  Somehow, this retelling of John Lennon and his foreordained fate left me cold.  I cared little about the characters in spite of the fine acting.

Sinclair College - Macbeth

Opposites were true of Sinclair College’s production of Macbeth.  In Shakespeare, particularly his relentless tragedies, you care about each and every character.  Each line, nearly every word, has special significance.

Brian McKnight is a fine Shakespearian actor.  As director, he was able to instill a considerable amount of understanding of the play into his student cast.  Terry Stump’s set, a character in its own right, was amazing in providing the scaffold for the power of the play.

The cast did very well.  Unevenness is expected in college productions.  Here it was minimal.  Diction, always difficult in iambic pentameter, did pose some problems.
Macbeth was played very well by guest actor Matt Harding.  Stephanie Shutts, James Roselli and Amy Hamilton as Lady MacBeth, Banquo and Hecate deserve bravos.

The large cast acted well and fought magnificently.  Many of them died with dramatic valor.  I particularly enjoyed the three witches and their mutable characterizations.
I cannot miss Dayton’s “Mr. Theater.”  Chuck Larkowski, WSU Professor of Music, has been thoroughly bitten by the acting bug.  He appears in every venue and often with real brilliance.  I love to seem him on stage.

Congratulations to Sinclair and Dr. Kathleen Cleary, chair of the department.  Her enthusiasm broadcasts to students and audience.  Brava, Kathleen, Bravi Sinclair.

Organ Spectacular kicks off St. Paul’s Artist Series

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 19, an enthusiastic audience drawn from all over the Miami Valley had a chance to learn just why the organ is known as the King of Instruments. The first concert of the 2008–2009 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Artist Series—a musical outreach of the parish to the wider community—showcased St. Paul’s own Austin Organ Opus 2275 in its 50th anniversary year. David B. Comer, St. Paul’s gifted organist, was joined at the console by Russell L. Elias, who serves as organist and instructor of organ at Southminster Presbyterian Church.

The power and versatility of both instrument and artists was demonstrated in a dazzling program that ranged across 500 years and embraced musical styles from baroque to ragtime, from English pastoral to American jazz. The organ sang, whispered, bubbled, rang, fluted, and boomed in heavenly fashion, and even longtime St. Paul’s parishioners heard new harmonies as the artists literally pulled out all the stops. In a program filled with high lights, standouts included Mr. Elias’s rendering of the Adagio and Toccata from Widor’s popular Symphony No. 5, the pairing of the artists in John Rutter’s organ duet “Variations on an Easter Theme,” and Mr. Comer’s virtuoso performances of Franck’s “Trois Chorals” and the concert-ending Final from Louis Vierne’s Symphony I. Mr. Comer provided rich background notes on the musical selections for the program, which added to the listeners’ appreciation.

On this memorable occasion, St. Paul’s sanctuary resounded in concert with more than 250 other venues around the world where organ recitals were held on October 19, as part of the “Organ Spectacular” organized by the American Guild of Organists (of which Mr. Comer is a member) to mark the International Year of the Organ. The audience at St. Paul’s, which included Southern Ohio Episcopal Bishop Tom Breidenthal and his wife, Margaret, was warmly welcomed by the Reverend Jack Koepke and by St. Paul’s Director of Music, John W. Johns, organizer of the Artist Series, and the artists were honored with a reception in the Cloister following the concert. The free will offering collected will go to the “care and feeding” of our organ.
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming concerts in the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Artist Series, and spread the word that St. Paul’s doors are open, providing magnificent music in sacred space for the enjoyment and inspiration of all.

St. Paul’s Artist Series Upcoming Concerts:

November 15, 2008 4:00 p.m.
The Hofeldt-Phillips Piano Trio
Betsey Hofeldt, violin – Mark Hofeldt, cello – Stephen Phillips, piano.
Joined by Clara Hofeldt, violin

February 22, 2009 4:00 p.m.
Musica! Dayton’s professional choral group,
under the direction of Dr. Robert Jones

April 1, 2009 7:00 p.m.
Due Colori
Megan Monaghan, soprano – Daniel Boring, guitar

OSU Marching Band at Schuster Nov. 12

The Best Damn Band in the land is coming to Dayton. The 225-piece Ohio State University Marching Band will play a rare off-campus concert at The Schuster Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Nov. 12.

Tickets go on sale Monday, Oct. 20, and are priced at $50 & $35.  Attendees can purchase tickets at the Shuster’s Center Stage Box office or you call 937-228-7591  

The sound from this band in the Schuster will be truly an exciting experience.  Come early because you do not want to miss the start - it will send chills down your spine to your tapping feet.

Tri-Art Club Fall Show slated Nov. 1 & 2

The Tri-Art Club will be holding its members Fall Show at the High Street Gallery, 48 High St., Dayton on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1 and 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. The show is chaired by Diane DeWall.

The judge will be Jane A. Black, executive director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center. Winning presentations are planned for 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

The fall show will feature not only paintings but jewelry as well that will be available for sale. The Tri-Art Club is comprised of women members from the greater Dayton area.

Gallery St. John Studio Social Nov. 2

Gallery St. John, 4400 Shakertown Rd., will be hosting a Studio Social on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is cordially invited. RSVP at 320-5405 if planning to attend. The works of Brother Joseph Barrish, SM, will be featured in a show entitled, Dayton Dialogue, running through Nov. 23.


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October 28, 2008
Volume 17, No. 44

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