POSTED ON APRIL 29, 2009:
Opera, Banter and Painters
The Tulsa PAC and local galleries are bustling this week with a festive variety of shows
Encore. L'Elisir D'Amore opened Saturday to a wildly appreciative audience. I overheard more than a few patrons comment on how much they loved the show and would love to see Tulsa Opera do more like it.
Last weekend, Tulsa Opera delivered a magnificent production, Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir D'Amore, to close out its 2008-2009 season.
L'Elisir D'Amore (The Elixir of Love) opened Saturday to a wildly appreciative audience. I overheard more than a few patrons comment on how much they loved the show and would love to see Tulsa Opera do more like it. They also commented at how quickly it was over--at just over two hours, it's a short opera.
Elixir of Love is a comedy; I joked to my "date" (UTW columnist Natasha Ball) that it was a "feel-good" opera, but it really was.
In it, Nemorino (Gregory Schmidt) is a shy, naïve peasant living in the Italian countryside. He's in love with Adina (Mari Moriya), a stubborn landowner who toys with his emotions and mocks his affection. Desperate to win her heart, Nemorino purchases an elixir of love from a traveling doctor (read: quack) named Dulcamara (Terry Hodges). The elixir is nothing but wine, but it fills Nemorino with a confidence he's never known and is he able to act aloof and unconcerned around Adina, sure that she will fall in love with him soon.
Adina, insulted that Nemorino has taken his attention from her, agrees to marry the sergeant of a military regimen that's made a stop in their town. Belcore (Christopher Feigum) is a conceited, philandering fool, but Adina agrees to the wedding only to get a reaction out of Nemorino. It works.
Nemorino, desperate for money and more elixir, joins Belcore's army for a stipend, which he quickly spends on a bottle of elixir the size of his torso. Meanwhile, the ladies of the village get word that Nemorino's rich uncle has died and left him a millionaire, and they flock after him, leaving Nemorino and Dulcamara to believe that the love potion has worked.
In the end, Adina buys back Nemorino's contract, saving him from war, and declares her love for them. The two marry, and everything ends happily ever after--which is so unlike an opera.
It's a beautiful story, both humorous and poignant, and its singers are superb.
It's a fantastic show for first-time opera goers or those who get tired of the doom and gloom that can accompany some tragic operas.
It's fast-paced and filled with such beautiful singing (it's written in bel canto style, which means, literally, "beautiful singing") that it's difficult not to be taken by it.
And, you have two more opportunities to see it. Tulsa Opera continues its run of L'Elisir D'Amore Friday, May 1 at 7:30pm and Sunday, May 3 at 2:30pm in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center's Chapman Music Hall, 110 E. Second St. Tickets start at $20 and are available at www.tulsapac.com.
Fun and Games
For 75 years, the Tulsa Press Club has, in the name of education, poked fun at city, state and national government with its satirical music revue, Gridiron.
The 76th annual Gridiron, titled "Stimulate This! Or, You Can't Fight (Find) City Hall!" is sure to leave audiences rolling as it mercilessly (and sometimes tastelessly) takes jabs at presidential politics, the mother of all Wall Street bailouts, the battle over the president's stimulus package, citizens' difficulties in finding Tulsa's new City Hall, OU's "stunning" BCS Bowl performance, Britney Spears' return and much more.
Local celebrities and members of the media will show off their vocal talents (or lack thereof) in a production comprised of well-known borrowed tunes whose lyrics have been adjusted to accommodate current events.
Last year, UTW's own Katie Sullivan gave a memorable performance as former County Commissioner Randi Miller in a Gridiron rendition of Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" called "County Woman."
Local jazz songstress Rebecca Ungerman directs the production and serves as vocal coach, while former Channel 2 news anchor Sam Jones narrates. The Tulsa World's Randy Krehbiel is chief author, and music directors are Terry Cooper and Frank Brown.
Gridiron performances are April 30 and May 1 and 2 at 8pm in the Liddy Doenges Theatre of the Tulsa PAC. Tickets are $20, and all of the proceeds support the Tulsa Press Club Educational and Charitable Trust's mission, which is to encourage the study of journalism.
More at the PAC's Web site.
Through the Lens
Cherry Street's Joseph Gierek Fine Art gallery, 1512 E. 15th St., presents photographs by painter P.S. Gordon in an exhibition opening Thursday, April 30.
The Claremore-born Gordon received a BFA from the University of Tulsa in 1974 and moved to New York City in 2003.
His prominence as an artist began in 1982 with an exhibition at the Fishbach Gallery, followed by an exhibit at Joseph Gierek Fine Art.
Though he began his career in watercolor, a shift to oil on canvas, now his primary medium, coincided with his move to New York.
So, why photography?
"I have always loved beautiful things. Call me shallow, but call me shallow with a good eye. Photography has always been a part of the process of making a painting," said Gordon in an artist's statement. "First I assemble together the primary subject matter, arrange it, light it, darken it, whatever it needs to be done, is done to match the internal vision in my head. Once my internalized view of the painting is complete, I get out my camera and begin to photograph my subject.
"Now there was a time that photography was like alchemy, to me. I didn't really understand how it worked... Now, with the new technologies, I, like the rest of the yuppies, the Baby Boomers are spoiled with technological gadgetries and the mysteries that comes with the digital 35mm camera."
The subjects of Gordon's camera lens are the rolling Osage Hills, where he's reconnected with his hometown.
"I leave New York City, my view of the Hudson River and New Jersey, the entry to and the constant car noise entering into the Lincoln Tunnel, and from my terrace, the view to downtown Manhattan, for the quiet of the Osage Hills," writes Gordon.
"To me, that is the gift of the Osage... So when I need centering. I come to the Osage and to my friends Chris and Kreg. And I always bring my camera."
"Multiple Images," an exhibition of lithographs, serigraphs and photographs will be on display April 30 through May 16. The exhibit opens with an artist's reception Thursday at 5pm. The exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm. For more information, visit www.gierek.com.
Opening May 1 in the PAC Gallery is a body of work by abstract artist Diane Salamon.
Salamon's work is colorful and vibrant, often incorporating elements of movement that she says come from musical influence.
"Before painting I will either write about what I would like the painting to convey, or I will play the piano," writes Salamon in an artist's statement at www.dianesalamon.com. "Often, I will do both, which seems to open up my creativity."
"My work often looks chaotic and unorganized when I begin," writes Salamon, "but as I add and subtract layers, add monoprints, and work the paint into the canvas or paper, a calm but active presence usually emerges."
The exhibition runs through May 28 and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:30am to 5:30pm and during Chapman Music Hall events. For more, visit the PAC's Web site.
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