By NANCY HERMANN
AIDA: Tulsa Opera presents the grandest of all grand operas, Aida, April 20, 26 and 28 at the Tulsa PAC, starring soprano Adrienne Danrich in the title role.
Courtesy Tulsa PAC
March was a mega-entertainment month. Did you enjoy a performance or show that you’ve added to your biggest hits list? Maroon 5 or Muse at the Center? Willy Nelson at the Hard Rock? Hairspray at the Convention Center or Peter Pan at the ?
March events had people talking! In addition to wildly popular headliner shows, many times a performance with less hype in a small theatre can be the most rewarding experience, like March’s Of Mice and Men (American Theatre Company) and Quartetto di Cremona for Chamber Music Tulsa. Grand or intimate, there is much to look forward to in April, and your biggest hits list is about to get bigger.
Among my favorite events each year at the are speakers, and I love it even more when those speakers are writers, like Canada’s Margaret Atwood, who will be at the Apr. 3 for the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers. Book clubs across town are gearing up for her by reading Alias Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin. Here’s an opportunity to hear one of our era’s finest authors.
You can see the work of two other writers, Nora and Delia Ephron, in a light and funny staging of Love, Loss and What I Wore, presented by Theatre Pops, Apr. 4-7. This production threads together a series of monologues, performed by actresses with the help of props, tagging clothes and accessories to some of life’s most memorable moments. Tickets are $15; $10 for students and seniors. Ladies Night is Apr. 4 with admission at the bargain basement price of $7.50.
Tulsa Symphony is back with more superb entertainment for this year’s color-themed concert series. “Orange,” slated for Apr. 6, features returning conductor David Lockington and guest artist Dylana Jenson, Lockington’s wife of 30 years. Interesting story there. Jenson was a child prodigy who performed on a 1743 Guarneri del Gesu violin, loaned to her by a benefactor. When that benefactor learned of her marriage plans, the loan was rescinded, and Jenson’s career floundered while she recovered from the loss. There’s more to the story that you will no doubt hear recapped, but all that is an aside to a glorious evening with Samuel Barber’s “School for Scandal,” Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.
In addition to the free noontime Brown Bag It concert series that the Trust hosts this month — Apr. 3, 10 and 17 — the Trust presents MOMIX’s “Botanica” on Apr. 7 in Chapman Music Hall. If you are familiar with Pilobolus Dance Theatre, you will have a feel for this highly creative spectacle that incorporates eclectic music, dancer-illusionists, puppets and inventive lighting under the guidance of Moses Pendleton, a Pilobolus founding member. This event will be engaging for a range of tastes and ages.
The Trust also hosts the children’s show Angelina Ballerina: The Musical, Apr. 12-13, and the outrageous Forbidden Broadway, Apr. 19-20. The latter pokes fun at Broadway blockbusters like Annie, Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera. And since Broadway’s irreverent The Book of Mormon leaves no group or belief unscathed, it is especially appropriate fodder for this hilarious roast.
Other events of note in April at the are business columnist and author James B. Stewart, speaking for Tulsa Town Hall on Apr. 5, Gatha Odissi and Krishna Apr. 7, showcasing 20 dancers from two prestigious troupes from India performing in different styles, and the Gryphon Trio for Chamber Music Tulsa Apr. 14.
Chamber Music Tulsa has reached new heights with its programming and outreach and is winning new fans for next season’s roster. In this last concert of the 2012-13 season, the Gryphon Trio performs “Lonesome Roads,” composed in 2012 by the 30-year-old Dan Visconti. Cellist Roman Borys, pianist James Parker and violinist Annalee Patipatanakoon will also play works by Haydn, Dvorak and Shostakovich.
I am very much anticipating the return of Verdi’s Aida, Tulsa Opera’s last production of the year, starring Adrienne Danrich in the title role. This was the first opera presented at the newly built in 1977. Spectacular. It is referred to as the grandest of all grand opera with reason. The Egyptian story lends itself to elaborate sets —sometimes a live elephant or two if the production is held outside but, truly, Aida’s majesty is in the music. Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and dancers from Tulsa Ballet II take part, Apr. 20, 26 and 28.
Another collaboration you might want to check out is “8.” Theatre Tulsa, Theatre Pops, Odeum Theatre Company and Nightingale Theatre come together for this staged reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play dramatizing the closing arguments of Petty v. Schwarzenegger concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California — Proposition 8. Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor at the time. Catch this event Apr. 25-27.
We’ll talk more about West Side Story, opening Apr. 30, next month. And speaking of spectaculars, remember that tickets for this summer’s The Lion King are on sale now. I often times close with, “we’ll save you a seat,” but there are no promises on that one!
Nancy Hermann is the Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.