By Amy Wells
As winter quarter comes to a close, the College of Fine Arts is already working on productions and planning for a jam-packed spring quarter. With so many events on tap, now is a good time to look ahead and pencil in your schedule.
"Spring quarter offers a very eclectic time where you can see and experience a wide variety of different art forms," said Maureen Wagner, director of Arts for Ohio.
The spring calendar features three theatrical productions, including an opera performance; three dance concerts; three new gallery exhibits and too many music performances to recount.
Spring is also festival time for the university with the Athens International Film + Video Festival, Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwright's Festival and Moving Images International Dance Film Festival. In addition, this year's annual AZA! African music and dance concert will include a three-day African Arts symposium.
Be sure to check out the entire Arts for Ohio calendar for more events.
'The Trojan Women'
The School of Theater will get spring quarter off to a fast start with the production of "The Trojan Women," which will mark the first time the school has split production over two quarters.
"This is atypical for us but exciting," said Wagner, who also serves as the assistant director of the School of Theater. "To split a production into two quarters means as soon as the student get back for spring quarter they will be rolling right into tech week."
Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin, Euripides' play follows the stories of the women of Troy after Greek armies conquered their city and is the third tragedy in a trilogy about the Trojan War.
With "What the Butler Saw" closing a little more than a week ago and production elements already in the final stages of completion for "The Trojan Women," the school and its students have had no time to rest.
"Normally after a production closes, we would have a little time to catch our breath, but the opposite is true in this case," Wagner said.
"The Trojan Women" will run April 8 through 11, and April 15 through 18 with performances at 8 p.m. at the Forum Theater in the RTV Building.
The School of Music's Opera Theater has been rehearsing all quarter for its upcoming performance of the comedy "Gianni Schicchi" and hopes audiences will take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience opera in our area.
"Opera is a great experience for the student performers," said Richard Crist, director of opera theater. "It gives them an opportunity to not only sing on stage but to bring a character of life, be part of the production aspect and create something with 18 other people. It's a real challenge and more than just being part of an ensemble."
Because the production is sharing the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium with many other events, the cast will have little time to set the stage of before their performances at 7:30 p.m. April 24 and 25.
"This opera is kind of like watching an episode of 'The Sopranos' but with a comedy twist," Crist said.
"Gianni Schicchi" by Giacomo Puccini is a one-act opera set in Florence and based on a story that is referred to in Dante's "The Divine Comedy." After relatives of the deceased Buoso Donati learn that he left all of his money to a local monastery, they concoct a scheme to rewrite the will. The family teams with Schicchi, who is known for his clever schemes and who crosses the family to will everything to himself.
"You need to come to the opera to see how Gianni turns the tables and steals the money from them," Crist said.
Don't worry if you don't speak Italian -- the opera will be performed in English.
'Blues in Black and White'
The Kennedy Museum of Art kicks off spring with its newest photography exhibit, "Blues in Black and White" that will feature 50 to 60 photographs by Stanley Livingston documenting the behind-the-scenes activities and onstage performances of blues legends at the landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals of the late 1960s.
"Not only does the exhibit portray some of the most legendary figures every to play blues, but it captures a particular time in America when these two blues festivals occurred in Ann Arbor, Mich.," said Edward Pauley, the John B. and Dareth A. Gerlach Director of the Kennedy Museum of Art. "It's the first time we could document in photographs these mainly black artists playing in front of a mainly white crowd and reflects that pivotal time in America when these two groups who were traditionally segregated started to come together and create dynamic changes in our society."
Including artists such as B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter, Livingston's photographs document these events and how a form of American music brought together blacks and whites and also influenced popular music.
"Many of today's artist have been influenced by these artists and students will probably be surprised to discover that the music they listen to, whether it's hip hop and contemporary rock, there is a connection," Pauley said.
The exhibit will open April 17 and run through June 14.