Classical Music

This weekend -- just in time for Valentine's Day -- Tulsa Opera will offer two performances of Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette." This classic opera will be staged on Friday the 13th at 7:30pm and Sunday the 15th at 2:30pm, with both productions happening at the Tulsa PAC.

On Saturday the 24th, in a performance beginning at 8pm, the highly acclaimed Rastrelli Cello Quartet will return to Tulsa. The concert happens at the Williams Theatre in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and is presented by Choregus Productions. Our guest is the founder and artistic director of this group, Kira Kraftzoff. As he explains, the Rastrelli has been deliberately focused on -- and enthusiastically passionate about -- what classical music buffs sometimes call "non-traditional programming" since its inception in 2002.

On this installment of ST, we speak with James Bagwell, a widely admired and diversely experienced classical music and choral conductor who's been on the faculty at Bard College since 2000, where he is currently the chair of the undergraduate music department and co-director of the graduate program in conducting. He's worked with organizations ranging from the American Symphony Orchestra and The Concert Chorale of New York to The Dessoff Symphonic Choir and the Jerusalem Symphony.

This coming weekend, on both Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th, Tulsa Opera will present Tulsa Youth Opera’s production of composer Susan Kander's "The Giver." This piece, as noted at the Tulsa Opera website, is "an opera for young people based on the bestselling novel by Lois Lowry. 'The Giver' tells the story of a seemingly utopian society free from pain or strife, but also devoid of color and memory.

On this edition of ST, we learn all about the bART Center for Music (formerly known as the Barthelmes Conservatory). This nonprofit organization, per its website, was "founded in 2001.... Its sole purpose is to provide music education for the larger Tulsa community... The Center offers superior private music lessons for piano, cello, violin, viola, bass, flute, African drums, voice, and guitar for all ages and abilities." Our guests are Bill Andoe, the newly named Executive Director of the bART Center, and John Rush, its Artistic Director.

Tomorrow night, Saturday the 6th, at the Tulsa PAC, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will present a winter- and holiday-themed concert with Steven Smith as Guest Conductor. This is Smith's second appearance with the TSO, and he's our guest on ST today. On the program for tomorrow evening, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor (with violinist Rossitza Jekova-Goza as the soloist) as well as two selections from Tchaikovsky: the seldom-heard-but-excellent Symphony No. 1 in G minor (a/k/a "Winter Dreams") and, of course, Selections from The Nutcracker.

The Signature Symphony at TCC has narrowed its search for a new artistic director and conductor to three finalists: Andrés Franco, Michael Rossi, and Timothy Verville.

At the Tulsa PAC this coming weekend -- on the evening of Friday the 24the and the afternoon of Sunday the 26th -- Tulsa Opera will stage Rossini's delightful romantic comedy, "La Cenerentola" (or, if you prefer, "Cinderella"). This well-liked piece, which tells the familiar rags-to-riches story of a poor and mistreated yet nevertheless good-hearted young woman, will be sung in Italian with projected English translations. Tulsa's own Lauren McNeese stars in the title role. Our guest on ST today is Marc Astafan, who's the stage director for this production.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone to Joshua Gindele, a founding member of -- and the cellist for -- the world-renowned Miró Quartet, which will soon perform here in Tulsa.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Grant Cooper, who has been the Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra since 2001. Years ago -- in the late 1970s and early 1980s -- Cooper was actually a trumpet player in the bygone Tulsa Philharmonic, and this weekend, he returns to our community to be the Guest Conductor for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. The TSO will present an all-Sibelius concert on both Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th at the Tulsa PAC; the Saturday concert begins at 7:30pm, and the Sunday performance starts at 2:30pm.

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