Music on the Edge presents STRIKE DUO in cooperation with Andy Warhol Museum

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This January, Pitt’s Music on the Edge and The Andy Warhol Museum will present Strike Duo (piano and percussion) in a program that highlights leading creative voices in contemporary music. The duo will perform at the Warhol  on January 25 at 8 p.m.

Nick Barnard of MusicWeb International describes Strike Duo members Jeffery Meyer (piano) and Paul Vaillancourt (percussion) as “exceptionally fine players both individually and in tandem.” Their program in Pittsburgh will explore a variety of music ranging from Chen Yi’s folk music inspired China West Suite to Mario Davidovsky’s Synchronisms No. 6, a classic of electroacoustic repertoire. The program will also include Brooke Joyce’s Sacred Trees, mark Mellits’ Tight Sweater (Remix), Eric Moes’ Cross Chop (for solo drum set), and Jim David’s Duo Toccata.

Paul Vaillancourt is Associate Professor of Percussion at Columbus State University. He has been a featured soloist with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, the National Arts Center Orchestra, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and at the Banff and Aspen Music Festivals. Recent concerto performances have included Michael Daugherty’s Raise The Roof with the CSU Wind Ensemble and Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with the CSU Philharmonic. He has had various performances broadcast by NPR, CBC and Radio-Canada and is in demand as an instructor and composer of Scottish pipe band drumming.

Born in Chicago, Jeffery Meyer has established an international reputation as both a conductor and pianist. Since 2002 he has been the Artistic Director of the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in St. Petersburg, Russia one of that city’s most innovative and progressive ensembles. He has appeared with orchestras in the United States and abroad, including ensembles such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, Sichuan Symphony, and the Orchestra Sinfonico “Haydn” di Bolzano e Trento. In recent concert seasons, the versatile Meyer’s busy schedule has included conducting, performing as piano soloist, as a chamber musician, and conducting from the keyboard.

Tickets are available through the University of Pittsburgh Stages Box Office, by calling 412-624-7529, or visiting music.pitt.edu/tickets. Tickets in advance: general admission is $15; students and seniors are $10. At the door: general admission is $20; students and seniors are $15. (No free student tickets at The Warhol.)

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top-5 To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (1/16 – 1/19)

The ShakerMike Buzzelli

There’s always a lot do in Pittsburgh. Every week we pick five fun things for your weekend. Here’s the list for January 16 – 19.

For the Birds

Defy Gravity (that’s a hint for something later in the list) with Heather Henson’s “Flight: A Crane’s Story.” It’s an exploration of nature’s deepest mysteries alongside Awaken, a young crane learning to fly. Since it’s from Heather Henson, daughter of Muppet Master Jim Henson, expect puppetry, kites and music and expect the unexpected.

This weekend, you can migrate to the Charity Randall Theater, Forbes Ave., Pitt Campus. Tickets can be found here; https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=92fa16a19df76731bdf523ffd26a2755
Pop it!

The Sweetwater Center for the Arts in Sewickley had an opening reception Saturday January 18th for their new exhibit, “Pop Explosion: The Artist and Popular Culture.” According to Pop King, Andy Warhol, “Once you ‘Got’ Pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought ‘pop,’ you could never see America the same way again.”

The exhibition is juried by Nicholas Chambers, The Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum, and Robert Beckman, Director at Artists Image Resource.

There is a special opening reception Saturday, January 18th. Pop up to the Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad Street , Sewickley, PA 15143, or click here; http://www.sweetwaterartcenter.org/

 

Meet some Important People

Speaking of Andy Warhol, Pittsburgh’s celebrated garage-rock trio Meeting of Important People returns to the stage January 18th with special guests The Nox Boys, who will be releasing their debut vinyl album that evening on the Get Hip label!

This will be an ALL-AGES event as part of Warhol’s Winter Sound Series, unveiling the museum’s new entrance gallery with a special inaugural performance.

Bop down to the Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, or click the light fantastic at www.thewarhol.org

 

Something Wicked this way comes

Defy Gravity with the hit musical about Elphaba AKA the Wicked Witch of the West. Get her side of the Oz story with lots of singing and dancing along the way.  “Wicked” comes to the Benedum Center this weekend and continues through Feb. 9

Hop on your broom sticks and head to the Bendedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh. Call 412-456-6666 or click www.trustarts.org.

 

Mountaintops

Celebrate MLK, Jr. Day early by attending “The Mountaintop,” Katori Hall’s fictionalized portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night, set in a hotel room hours before his assassination.

The Mountaintop opens this weekend and plays through February 9.

Share the dream at the City Theatre 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh. For more information, click www.citytheatrecompany.org.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School directors kick off nation-wide audition tour

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PITTSBURGH, PA (January 2013) – Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School  – the official training institution of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre – kicks off a nation-wide audition tour this weekend for its 2014 Intensive Summer Program, an immersive five-week training program held at PBT Studios in the Strip District for professional-track student dancers.

As part of the 2014 audition tour, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall and School Principal Janet Popeleski will hold auditions in 26 cities and 15 states to bring young dance talent to Pittsburgh. The team selects students from each audition to attend the school’s five-week Intensive Summer Program, which will be held June 23, through July 26, 2014 at PBT Studios in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. The U.S. audition tour concludes in Pittsburgh on February 16, with registration beginning at 1 p.m. and the audition at 1:30 p.m. at PBT Studios, 2900 Liberty Ave.

The PBT School ISP is a five-week program of diverse dance curriculum, including ballet technique, partnering, pointe and repertoire as well as jazz, modern and character dance. Under the direction of PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr and School Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, ISP includes instruction by PBT School faculty, PBT company artists and prominent guest instructors. ISP students attend classes six days a week, including seminars and workshops focused on nutrition, choreography, injury prevention and the psychology of dance. PBT School’s ISP is designed to instill long-term value for the art form through the study of diverse techniques that adapt well to the demands of professional ballet companies.

The nation-wide audition tour draws more than 700 candidates from around the country who are interested in studying dance in Pittsburgh. Each year, the audition tour also sees a number of international students, who are invited to audition by video. Past ISP students have represented countries including, Australia, Brazil, China, Canada, France, Italy, Guam, Japan and Mexico.  Recent years have also seen a surge in participation from Japanese students as a result of Mr. Marshall’s involvement with the annual Japan Grand Prix ballet competition, where he serves on an international panel of judges.

PBT School brings an average of 175 students to Pittsburgh each summer to participate in the five-week Intensive Summer Program, which culminates in a performance of repertoire classics and student-choreographed works at PBT Studios. Following the summer program, many ISP students return to PBT School to continue their training during the regular school year. PBT School’s current 2013-2014 enrollment includes 61 out-of-state students and 14 international students, who have relocated to Pittsburgh to enroll in the full-time High School and Graduate programs of PBT School’s Pre-Professional Division.

About the 2014 Intensive Summer Program

The 2014 Intensive Summer Program takes place June 23, to July 26, at PBT Studios, 2900 Liberty Ave., in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  Find the complete list of audition tour sites and dates at http://www.pbt.org/pittsburgh-ballet-theatre-school/audition-tour. Directed by PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr and School Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, ISP includes instruction by prominent PBT faculty members and accomplished guest instructors.  Faculty members at the Intensive Summer Program include: PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, PBT School Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, PBT School Principal Janet Popeleski and Pollyanna Ribeiro among others. The Intensive Summer Program also features guest instructors, including: PBT Ballet Master Steven Annegarn; PBT Ballet Mistress Marianna Tcherkassky; former PBT Artistic Director Patricia Wilde; current PBT Company Dancers Nurlan Abougaliev, Christopher Budzynski, Alexandra Kochis, Robert Moore, Christine Schwaner; and other notable guests from around the world, including:  Carrie and Li Chou Cheng, Reina Gen, Mireille Leterrier, Gyula Pandi, Viktor Plotnikov, and Larissa Ponomarenko.

As part of the ISP curriculum, various enrichment seminars will be offered on topics, including stress management, dance psychology, nutrition and injury prevention. The roster of ISP 2014 seminar presenters will include: Leslie Bonci (M.P.H., R.D., LDN, CSSD, Director of Sports Nutrition at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine), Antoine Douaihy (M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine Services at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and WPIC Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Unit), and Kathleen Nachazel (ATC, Assistant Director, UPMC Center for Sports Medicine).

Supervised room and board accommodations for students are available at Fickes and Woodland Halls on the beautiful campus of Chatham University as well as PBT’s own student residence, Byham House. The Byham House, which can accommodate up to 21 students, occupies three floors in a historic 7,000-square-foot property located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, less than one mile away from PBT Studios.

Audition Guidelines

The auditions and program are open to male and female ballet dancers 12 and older. For additional details about audition requirements and dates, please visit www.pbt.org.

PBT School to Offer New “Company Experience” Workshop
New to the summer curriculum this year, PBT School also will offer a new, two-week “Company Experience” workshop from June 9-20, at PBT Studios, 2900 Liberty Ave. The workshop will offer aspiring professional dancers, ages 16 and up, the opportunity to work with company dancers in a professional setting. Students will learn choreography and repertoire from PBT company dancers, artistic staff and choreographers, and learn more about the dynamics of dancing with a professional ballet company. Workshop faculty members will include PBT principal dancers Julia Erickson, Christopher Budzynski and Alexandra Kochis as well as a number of other company dancers and artistic staff. For more information, or to submit a pre-application form, visit http://www.pbt.org/company-experience.


About Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School

As the official training institution of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School is recognized as one of the nation’s finest schools for dance education and training. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr and School Directors Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, PBT School offers classical ballet training and a diverse dance curriculum to approximately 1,000 students of all ages, levels and degrees of interest taught by faculty and guest teachers of international acclaim. Strengthened by daily exposure to PBT’s professional company of dancers, PBT School provides dance training through Children’s, Student, Pre-Professional and Adult Open divisions.

NEW LASER SHOWS AT CARNEGIE SCIENCE CENTER FEATURE AEROSMITH, GUNS N’ ROSES, AND DEADMAU5

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Michael Jackson, Lasers of Oz, Other Favorites Return
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 9, 2014— Starting Friday, Jan. 10, Carnegie Science Center will launch a new lineup of laser shows, including Aerosmith vs. Guns n’ Roses, Lasermau5, and a second, distinctly different, Pink Floyd show. The new shows are: Aerosmith vs. Guns n’ RosesJoe Perry or Slash?  Steven Tyler or Axl Rose?  Aerosmith or Guns n’ Roses?  Think you have to choose?  Dream on!  Two of the greatest hard rock bands of all time team up in this sizzling laser shootout.  Feast your eyes – and ears – on your favorite solos and riffs from rock staples like “Paradise City,” “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” and more!Lasermau5Looking for more great music, special effects, lasers n’ stuff? Lasermau5 is a new show featuring music from EDM’s biggest act. Our booming sound system and state-of-the-art laser and lighting effects will  have your mind spinning with Deadmau5 hit singles like “I Remember,” Ghosts N’ Stuff,” and “Raise Your Weapon.” Get ready to dance to this playlist of incredible mau5terpieces!

The Vision Bell: The Best of Laser Floyd

Perfect for those who love Floyd but don’t want to stay up past midnight, this show is offered Saturday evenings at 7 pm. Experience Pink Floyd in a show as vibrant and diverse as their entire discography. Featuring selections from many of their hit albums (including Wish You Were Here, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, The Wall, and Dark Side of the Moon), The Vision Bell captures the many flavors of Pink Floyd and displays them in a rich and engrossing feast for the eyes and the ears, sure to leave any Floyd fan satisfied!

Back by popular demand are Michael Jackson, at 5 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and The Lasers of Oz in daily matinees at 1 pm Monday through Friday and 2 pm Saturday and Sunday. Daft Punk and Led Zeppelin continue on Friday evenings, and of course Midnight Pink Floyd remains at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, as it has for decades. This laser lineup will run through May 4.

The Buhl Planetarium offers a unique live experience with state-of-the-art solid state lasers and a brand new vibrant LED lighting system. All laser shows throb with energy, mesmerizing lights, and 3D atmospheric effects that fill the air above the audience. Each laser appears many, many times brighter than the old argon gas system that was formerly used in laser shows.

Admission to laser shows is just $2 for members or $8 for non-members. For complete show times and descriptions of all shows, visit CarnegieScienceCenter.org.

WATCH/LISTEN:  ‘Burgh Vivant interview with Amanda Iwaniec – Education Coordinator, Demo Theaters and Buhl Planetarium, CARNEGIE SCIENCE CENTER
About Carnegie Science CenterCarnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center’s goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh’s premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes and off-site education programs.About Carnegie Museums of PittsburghFounded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and the Andy Warhol Museum. Annually, the museums reach more than 1.2 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities and special events.

The REP presents Pittsburgh premiere of gripping, award-winning contemporary drama ‘Heads’

 

 Heads_PosterThe Shaker

Directed by John Shepard, show previews Jan. 30, runs Jan. 31-Feb. 16 at Pittsburgh Playhouse

PITTSBURGH – The REP, Point Park University’s professional theatre company, continues its compelling 2013-2014 season with the Pittsburgh premiere of EM Lewis’ heart-wrenching prize-winning drama, Heads.

Directed by John Shepard, Heads previews on Thursday, Jan. 30, and runs Jan. 31-Feb. 16, in the Studio Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave. Performances are 8 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Written by EM Lewis and called “provocative and wonderfully threatening” by Edward Albee, Heads tell the deeply human story of four hostages in a war zone and how they each respond to their ordeal by making difficult choices to survive.

The REP’s production of Heads stars Tony Bingham as Michael Apres, Patrick Cannon as Jack Velazquez, James Fitzgerald as Harold Wolfe, and Diana Ifft as Caroline Conway. Scenic design is by Britton Mauk, costume design by Don DiFonso, lighting design by Todd Wren, and sound design by Steve Shapiro. Alicia DiGiorgi is the stage manager.

Tickets range from $24 to $27; preview tickets are $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Pittsburgh Playhouse box office at 412.392.8000, or online at www.pittsburghplayhouse.com. Patrons can take advantage of the “Pay what you will” performance at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, subject to availability. New in 2013-2014, The REP’s Talkback series, where the audience is invited to stay after the performance and discuss the show, has been moved to the matinee performance on the second Saturday of every show. For Heads, the Talkback session will be held after the 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, Feb. 8.

The Los Angeles Times named Heads one of the Top 10 productions of 2007, with critic David Ng writing, “EM Lewis’ new drama at the Blank Theatre Company, tells a story so topical that it feels as if the play was co-written by CNN.” The Denver Examiner said of the play, “If you are looking for an evening of theatre that will get you thinking, that will leave an indelible impression long after the show has ended, and that will move you to tears – then this is for you. … Heads is a welcome, intelligent, and moving drama that is a must see.

For The REP, John Shepard has directed Buried Child, The Chicken Snake (world premiere), One Flea Spare, The Visit, Mother Courage and, most recently, August: Osage County, which was named “Best of 2012” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Conservatory Theatre Company productions he has directed include Evita, Marat/Sade, Candide, and Joined at the Head, among others. He has directed locally for Off the Wall (Shining City) and at theatres across the country. As an actor, he recently appeared in the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Our Town, as well as the world premieres of The Electric Baby for Quantum and Mid-Strut for The REP. He has appeared in many other productions for Quantum, City Theatre, PICT and The REP, and was chosen as Performer of the Year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for his performance as Willy Loman in The REP’s 2008 production of Death of a Salesman. Shepard has appeared on Broadway – in American Buffalo with Al Pacino (as well as the subsequent national tour and on the West End) and A View from the Bridge (with Tony LoBianco) – Off-Broadway, and at many regional theaters. He teaches acting and directing at Point Park. For more information visit www.johnshepard.info.

EM Lewis won the 2008 Francesca Primus Prize for an Emerging Female Theater Artist for Heads. Her award-winning plays have been produced around the country, and worldwide.  In addition to winning the Primus Prize for Heads, Lewis won the 2009 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for her play Song of Extinction, and 2010-2011 Hodder Fellowship in playwriting from Princeton University. Lewis is a member of Moving Arts Theater Company, the Dramatists Guild, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, and the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.

Phipps Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show Offers Cure for the Winter Blues

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Premier Pittsburgh public garden provides perfect cold weather escape.

Pittsburgh, Pa.—Opening on Jan. 18, the annual Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will provide a welcome escape from the cold, chasing away the winter blues with a healthy dose of color, inspiration and beauty. Featuring elegant orchids planted in garden beds and hanging baskets, and offering a chance to view the public garden’s permanent collection of tropical bonsai, this treat-of-a-show is not to be missed.

Celebrated for their stunning appearance and delightful diversity (more than 25,000 species exist around the globe), orchids are truly special. The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show features hundreds of these beloved flowers, and the Barbara Tisherman Slipper Orchid collection, curated in collaboration with the Orchid Society of Western Pennsylvania to be one of the world’s definitive slipper orchid resources, will also be on display for guests to explore and enjoy.

Offering a striking contrast, Phipps’ tropical bonsai — dwarfed trees trained to take on the shapes of their larger counterparts in nature — will also be showcased in many forms, from the iconic formal upright bonsai to the more dramatic slant bonsai that resemble windswept trees. Said to give those who practice the art a sense of well-being, this time-honored Japanese tradition classifies specimens by size and style based upon the shapes of their trunks, roots and branches.

For anyone looking to start their own orchid and bonsai collections at home, public programs, held free with paid admission throughout the duration of the show, will also be held on select Saturdays and  Sundays at 1:30 p.m. in the Tropical Forest Conservatory. Additionally, bonsai classes on a variety of topics for all skill levels are available through Phipps’ adult education program throughout the year.

Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show, designed by Phipps staff, runs from Jan. 18 – March 9 and is open daily from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children (ages two-18). Members and kids under two enter for free.

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org.

Pittsburgh Opera presents Nico Muhly’s DARK SISTERS

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Photo above  by Kelly & Massa for Opera Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh, PA… Pittsburgh Opera continues its 75th anniversary season with Nico Muhly’s DARK SISTERS, a new production of a very new opera exploring issues ripped from the headlines and created by a thirty-something composer. The first work in Pittsburgh Opera’s American Opera Series,* DARK SISTERS stars the Resident Artists and is on stage at CAPA Theater January 25 – February 2.

Exploring issues of suppressed individuality and subservient women’s roles, the opera uses episodes from the media – most recently the 2004 raid on FLDS leader Warren Jeffs’s compound in West Texas – to tell the story of the women’s suffering, and how one woman tries to escape. Premiered in 2012, DARK SISTERS revolves around sister-wife Eliza, who has a profound self-discovery after the world comes to the gates of her family’s complex, run by The Prophet. During an appearance on national television to defend her way of life, Eliza makes a dramatic confession, and her world falls into chaos. Resolving to make her own way in the world, she faces the consequences of leaving everything she has ever known.

Pittsburgh Opera’s DARK SISTERS features Resident Artists in the roles of the sister-wives: Jasmine Muhammad is the rebellious Eliza; Meredith Lustig is the lovesick Zina; Nicole Rodin is the troubled Ruth; Samantha Korbey is Presendia; and former Resident Artist Alexandra Loutsion (Rinaldo, 2011) is Almera. Resident Artist Joseph Barron takes the dual role of The Prophet and the newscaster King. Rebecca Belczyk (The Magic Flute, 2013) portrays Eliza’s daughter Lucinda. Resident Artist George Cederquist is the stage director for DARK SISTERS. Head of Music Glenn Lewis conducts the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. Composer Nico Muhly is expected to attend the opening night performance.

* Pittsburgh Opera’s American Opera Series is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and includes DARK SISTERS, PAUL’S CASE (Feb. 22 – Mar. 2) and ORPHÉE (Apr. 26 – May 4).

Facts about the opera and the composer

DARK SISTERS premiered in 2012 at Gotham Chamber Opera in New York City, and was co-produced and co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia.

Nico Muhly, a 32 year-old “wunderkind” (Huffington Post) who defies convention and definitions, has worked with Philip Glass, Björk, Benjamin Millepied, and Grizzly Bear. He was recently featured on the cover of Opera News, in advance of the premiere of his Two Boys at The Met. Mr. Muhly composes film scores (The Reader, Joshua, Choking Man), liturgical music (an Our Father, a Nunc Dimittis, a setting of Psalm 139), and scored the ballet From Here on Out with Millepied for American Ballet Theater. Most recently, he appeared at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge with violinist Pekka Kuuisto; the featured piece was a Bach Partita with other pieces interspersed between the original piece’s movements.

In October 2013, Mr. Muhly’s opera Two Boys premiered at The Metropolitan Opera, with former Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Juan José de León in the cast. The opera revolves around a detective investigating a murder of a teenager that leads her to a trail of clues on the Internet.

Nico Muhly has been researching the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints for many years. “I read the diaries of some of the wives of Brigham Young; you think you could be reading something from the Old Testament or from today. Similarly, once you get in the world of what constitutes marriage, it was always political, and about property, land. Marriage for love was a Victorian construct.”

Nico Muhly has been quoted as saying that “I can’t think of one opera that isn’t political in some way. When you look at Rameau, Handel, Mozart, they were all looking at the world around them socially and politically. [Mozart’s] Cosi fan tutte is an incredibly political opera. Right now there is a flare-up of interest about Mormonism, but the politics and discussions around it aren’t new.”

The story, in brief
At a polygamist compound in the American Southwest, five mothers cry out in despair. State officials have just raided their homes and removed their children, under the suspicion that minors are being abused and forced to marry. The husband of the five women, a professed Prophet, discloses that he has received a revelation. He must journey into the desert, where he will receive guidance that will ensure the return of their children. The Prophet instructs his wives to “keep sweet” while he is away, explaining that total obedience is necessary to ensure their salvation and the safe return of their children.

Eliza, the fourth wife, has visions of her only child, Lucinda. She remembers her wedding: she was 16, afraid, an unwilling bride. Eliza does not want her daughter to suffer the same fate, but cannot imagine how they could ever leave this life. As night slowly turns to day, Eliza passes the time with her sister-wives. Almera is haunted by dreams of her mother and grandmother, while Presendia and Zina work diligently to pass the time, longing for their husband’s return. Ruth is tormented by mental illness and the memory of her two sons, both of whom died tragically.

Ruth discovers a letter in the Prophet’s study and gives it to Eliza: the letter voices Lucinda’s concerns about being promised to a much older man. Eliza is shocked to learn that her daughter would be promised so soon, and resolves to leave the compound. The Prophet returns, and Eliza convinces him to spend the night with her. She needs his full trust so that she can travel with him the next day and enact a plan to share her own message with the world. Alone in their bedrooms, the other women seethe with jealousy, sadness and longing.

The next day, television personality King interviews the women via satellite. The women are careful to stay on message. Afraid and distraught, Ruth suffers a breakdown during the interview. Although paralyzed with fear, the women continue with the show.

Eliza, afraid that she may not have the courage to speak out, suddenly explodes with the announcement that she was indeed married underage. She also seizes the opportunity to speak to her daughter – she looks into the camera and begs Lucinda to have faith, and to relays her own divine message: “Don’t be afraid of what lies beyond the sharp cliffs, the red earth – blaze a trail beyond the canyons! This is my hope for you, Sisters of Zion! I promise you, kind hearts beat for all of us in the outside world!”

Chaos erupts. Eliza’s sister-wives cannot believe she would betray them. Later that night, Ruth sits atop the mesa near the compound, under a starlit sky. Praying for relief from her pain, and longing to be with her two children in heaven, she jumps to her death.

Back at the compound, a few days later, Ruth is buried. The children have been returned to the ranch. Eliza comes to the gate of the compound and is shunned by the other women. Lucinda approaches her mother, furious – she is sickened that Eliza lost her faith and will not gain eternal salvation. Lucinda refuses to leave with her mother. Eliza pledges that she will always be waiting for Lucinda, and will always love her. Heartbroken, she walks away from the compound and into the unknown.

Tickets to DARK SISTERS are $50, with all performances at CAPA Theater, 9th Street and Ft. Duquesne Blvd., Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information, videos, photos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of DARK SISTERS, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.
The 2013-14 Pittsburgh Opera season is generously supported by PNC.
American Eagle Outfitters is the Friday Night Sponsor.
Dark Sisters is generously sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Filstrup.
The National Endowment for the Arts provides project support for Pittsburgh Opera’s 2014 American Opera Series.

Giant Eagle Foundation is the Resident Artist Program Sponsor.

WQED is a media sponsor for the 2013-14 Pittsburgh Opera season.
WYEP and WESA are media sponsors for Dark Sisters.

Cast and Artistic Team (cast is listed in order of vocal appearance)

Zina                                                           Meredith Lustig *

Presendia                                                 Samantha Korbey *

Almera                                                      Alexandra Loutsion **

Ruth                                                          Nicole Rodin *

Eliza                                                          Jasmine Muhammad *

Prophet/King                                             Joseph Barron *

Lucinda                                                     Rebecca Belczyk

Conductor                                                 Glenn Lewis

Director                                                     George Cederquist *

Set Designer                                             Dan Daly

Costume Designer                                   Antonia West

Lighting Designer                                      Robert Figueira
Director of Musical Studies                      Mark Trawka

Associate Coach/Pianist                          James Lesniak

Hair & Makeup Designer                          James Geier

 

DARK SISTERS is a new production by Pittsburgh Opera.
+    Pittsburgh Opera debut

*     Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist

**   Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni

 Tickets and Group Discounts

Tickets for all performances of DARK SISTERS are $50. Group and subscriber discounts are available. For tickets, call (412) 456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213.

 

Related Events

Brown Bag Concert
Saturday, January 11 – 12:00 p.m.

George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters (2425 Liberty Avenue)

These casual, one-hour concerts feature our Resident Artists in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. January’s Brown Bag concert features an All-American program. Guests can meet the performers after the concert. Free and open to the public; no RSVP required. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. For more information, call (412) 281-0912 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org

 

Opera Up Close: DARK SISTERS

Sunday, January 12 – 2:00 p.m.

An in-depth look at the music and story of Nico Muhly’s DARK SISTERS with singers and directors from the production, in the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters. Panelists include Resident Artist Jasmine Muhammad; stage director, Resident Artist George Cederquist; conductor Glenn Lewis; and Director of Artistic Operations Bill Powers. Admission is $5; the event is free to members of FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera and donors at $50 and above. For more information, visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

 

DARK SISTERS Previews on WQED-FM 89.3 and WQED.ORG

Saturday, January 18 – 1:00 p.m.; Friday, January 24 – 7:00 p.m.

Hosted by WQED’s Stephen Baum, and broadcast over the airwaves as well as the WQED website, the DARK SISTERS preview gives listeners an engaging introduction to the singers, music and story of the opera. For more information, visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

 

Pre-Opera Talks

CAPA Theater Black Box

Ticketholders are invited to attend a Pre-Opera Talk on DARK SISTERS one hour before each performance’s curtain in the Black Box at CAPA Theater. Learn about the composer and the story of the opera. Free to all ticketholders.

 

Audio Description: DARK SISTERS
Tuesday, January 28

Ticketholders with visual impairments are invited to use Pittsburgh Opera’s Audio Description service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description should reserve seats to the Tuesday, January 28 performance: call Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or groups@pittsburghopera.org. Braille and large-print opera programs are also available in the lobby.

 

Meet the Artists of DARK SISTERS

Tuesday, January 28

Immediately following the opera, in the CAPA Theater Black Box

Ticketholders for the Tuesday, January 28 performance of DARK SISTERS are invited to gather in the Black Box immediately following the performance for interviews with General Director Christopher Hahn and the stars of the opera. This event is free to all Tuesday performance ticketholders.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Presents “Swan Lake” Valentine’s Day Weekend at the Benedum Center

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PITTSBURGH, PA – Ranked among the most iconic classical ballets of all time, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents the mesmerizing love story of “Swan Lake” with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Orchestra over Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 13-16, at the Benedum Center.

“Swan Lake” symbolizes more than 100 years of tradition and some of the most revered roles in classical ballet. In a performance of emotional intensity and technical mastery, the ballerina portrays both eternal love and deception in the coveted dual role of the Swan Queen, Odette, and her dark twin, Odile. Since its 1877 premiere at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, ballet companies all over the world have developed their own interpretations of the traditionally four-act ballet and its dramatic ending. PBT’s version of “Swan Lake” is staged by Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr after original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The ballet is set to one of Tchaikovsky’s most memorable masterworks – and his first original ballet composition – featuring the evocative Swan theme.

WATCH/LISTEN: ‘Burgh Vivant interview with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, Terrence S. Orr

“Swan Lake” tells the story of a young village girl trapped in a curse by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. Bound by day as the Queen of the Swans, she returns to her human form only after nightfall, when she first encounters Prince Siegfried near the enchanted lake during a hunting expedition. Prince Siegfried soon falls in love with the beautiful Odette, but can only set her free by pledging his eternal love and fidelity. In order to thwart the lovers, Von Rothbart transforms his daughter Odile into the dark double of Odette to deceive Prince Siegfried at the royal ball. Performed by the same dancer, the character of Odette/Odile demands great technical and emotional range to morph from the pureness and fragility of Odette to the darkness and deception of Odile.

Ranging from the ornamentation of the court to the lyricism of the Swan scenes, the choreography of “Swan Lake” especially showcases the technical prowess of the ballerina through virtuosity of the Swan Queen, the intricate variations of the Cygnets and the lyrical unification of the corps de ballet. “Swan Lake” features its own signature movement vocabulary, such as the undulating port de bras of the White Swan and the Black Swan’s famous 32 fouettés – consecutive quick turns considered to be one of the highest feats of virtuosity, stamina and strength demanded of a ballerina. The expressive choreography of the Swan Scenes sets one of ballet’s highest standards for the corps de ballet, which moves as one entity with lyrical movements that create images of a swan’s wings, necks and mannerisms.

Danced in four acts, “Swan Lake” alternates between the lavish scenery of The Great Palace and the moonlit Swan Scenes near the enchanted lake. The costumes also vary from the elaborate robes and gowns of the courtesans to the ethereal aura of the swans, which are set apart with pure white, feather-trimmed classical tutus. Created after designs by Peter Farmer, PBT’s “Swan Lake” costumes were built in the PBT Costume Shop under the direction of Costumier Janet Groom Campbell, who celebrates her 40th anniversary with PBT this season.

Tickets start at $25.75, and can be purchased online at www.pbt.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or visiting the Box Office at Theater Square.

World-Renowned Brewmaster Garrett Oliver to Headline First-Ever Pittsburgh Brew ’N Chew

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PITTSBURGH, Pa., November 14, 2013 – GoodTaste! Pittsburgh is excited to announce that legendary Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster, Garrett Oliver will be headlining the first-ever Pittsburgh Brew ‘N Chew on January 11, 2014, at the Monroeville Convention Center. One of the foremost authorities in the world on the subject of beer, Oliver will bring his more than 20 years of experience to the event to discuss how to create the perfect pair when matching food with beer.

 

“When it comes to brewing, I’m not sure it gets any bigger than Garrett Oliver,” said Dee Weinberg, president, GoodTaste! Pittsburgh. “Not only is he one of the most recognizable figures in the industry, he is also one of the best when it comes to pairing beer with food. It’s simply a match made in heaven for the Brew ‘N Chew and we couldn’t be more excited to have him at this year’s event.”

 

Oliver is entering his 20th year as brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery. Since joining the Brewery in 1994, he’s been creating unique and delicious brews and hauling in awards both domestically and abroad. He is widely known for his flavorful interpretations of traditional brewing styles and as an avid and entertaining lecturer and writer on the subject of beer, penning “The Brewmaster’s Table” and serving as Editor-in-Chief of “The Oxford Companion To Beer”.

 

But Oliver is more than just the mastermind behind the bottle; he’s also an expert when it comes to pairing beer with food. In fact, he’s hosted more than 800 beer tastings, dinners and cooking demonstrations in fourteen countries and is internationally recognized as an expert on traditional beer styles and their affinity with good food. To add to his impressive resume, he is also a frequent contributor to beer and food-related periodicals.

 

To learn more about the inaugural Brew ‘N Chew event, purchase tickets or inquire about participating as a sponsor or vendor, please visit www.goodtastepittsburgh.com.

 

About GoodTaste! Pittsburgh

GoodTaste! Pittsburgh is Western Pennsylvania’s largest food and cooking extravaganza, dishing up events that showcase food and spirits as an entertaining, exciting and engaging experience. Our plate is full with large one-day shows that feature national and local chefs; corporate events for clients and employees; food events and shows with stellar regional partners like the Heinz History Center; and workshops for foodies.

 

 

The Buzz from Buzzelli – This Weekend’s Top To-Do’s (1/9 -1/12)

The ShakerMike Buzzelli

There’s always a lot do in Pittsburgh. Every week we pick five fun things for your weekend. Here’s the list for January 9 – 12

Soussside n’ nat

Tami Dixon returns to the Southside for “South Side Stories,” her one-woman show where she inhabits the lives and stories of some of the residents in Pittsburgh’s busiest, booziest section. Yinz should come dahn to the City Theater n’nat.

South Side Stories are on the South Side at the City Theatre 1300 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh through Jan. 26.

Call 412-431-2489 or visit them at www.citytheatrecompany.org

 

A Tell Tale Heart

Dixon isn’t the only one-person show in town. David Crawford is Edgar Allan Poe in Explore the life and “Poe’s Last Night.”  Find out why the famous writer would exhale nevermore. The show continues through Jan. 18.

“Poe’s Last Night” is at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre 937 Liberty Ave, 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh. More information can be found at www.pghplaywrights.com

An Unreal Reality Show

Ever wonder what would happen if a reality show went really wrong? You can find out in “Dating Can Be Murder,” an interactive murder mystery dinner theater. Solve the crime over a plate of Italian food.

Bring your magnifying glass and deerstalker cap to Gaetano’s Restaurant 1617 Banksville Rd., Pittsburgh.

For more information call 412-343-6640

 

Medium at Large

There’s a celebrity from an actual reality show in town. Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium. See Theresa Caputo Live in “Theresa Caputo Live the Experience.” Sunday, Jan 12 at 3:00 p.m. Caputo claims she can talk to your relatives on the other side. Find out if she’s a fake or the real deal at the Benedum. Theresa will give interactive readings to audience members throughout the show and will also share personal stories about her life and her unique gifts.

Don’t worry. It’s not like you can drop by unexpectedly. She knows you’re coming!

You can catch the medium at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 237 7th Street, Pittsburgh, PA. For more information go here: www.trustarts.org/visit/facilities/benedum

 

The plural for Beer is Beer

Saturday, January 11, 2014, at the Monroeville Convention Center you can get your eat, drink and be merry for a good cause. It’s the first annual Pittsburgh Brew and Chew (A portion of all proceeds will go to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Give Kids The World).

The Brew and Chew promises to not be your ordinary beer fest. They are bringing together pours from dozens of America’s favorite craft beers, bites from some of our region’s favorite restaurants and food vendors, and even stations featuring everyone’s favorite beer-drinking activities!

Legendary Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster, Garrett Oliver will be there. He’s one of the foremost authorities in the world on the subject of beer, Oliver will bring more than 20 years of experience to show fest-goers how to create the perfect pair when matching food with beer.

We’ll be there, how about you?

For more information go here: http://goodtastepittsburgh.com/pittsburgh-brew-n-chew/

That’s a wrap, kiddies. See you back here next week for five more fun events around Pittsburgh.