We’ve known about the JFK opera for more than a year. It’s the third opera the Fort Worth Opera Festival has commissioned, a world premiere by David Little and Royce Vavrek, the duo behind the acclaimed Dog Days, which the company opens April 24th. JFK will focus on the president’s last moments in Fort Worth before he travels to Dallas on November 22, 1963. It opens the company’s 70th season next year and represents the festival’s emphasis on Operas of the Americas.
But the rest of the season combines the fun and familiar — Rossini’s Barber of Seville — with the unusual, a pair of updated Edgar Allan Poe horror stories done as one acts: Buried Alive and Embedded. Then the final week of the festival will feature Frontiers, its showcase for six to eight new composers, their works presented in 20-minute selections.
Here’s the full release:
• John Rutter will conduct his music with choir and orchestra on Sunday, April 19 at 7:00pm at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. You can learn more about the free concert at the church’s website.
• Listen to the KERA FM report:
• Listen to the full interview:
If you’ve ever been in a choir, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve sung the music of John Rutter.
For more than forty years, the English composer has been a favorite composer for choral occasions. His music was featured in the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, and he was the subject of a recent BBC documentary on the history of sacred music.
For many churches, schools and civic singing groups, his works have become mainstays of the repertoire. And that suits Rutter just fine, given his musical upbringing.
“I started my musical life singing, as a choirboy, and that has never really left me,” he said. “I always feel when I write for choirs that I’m coming home.”
Rutter’s latest composition is called The Gift of Life: Six Canticles of Creation, and it will be heard in full for the first time this weekend at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. The new work draws from uplifting sacred texts, and will be paired with his well-known Requiem – a study in contrasts.
“Requiems, of their nature, are all about death,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, what’s the opposite of a requiem?'”
Rutter noted that there is no liturgical form that celebrates life, so he had to draw from a variety of new and historical texts.
“You can’t take a ready-made text or set of texts and say, ‘Well, this is a life-iem,'” he said with a laugh.
The new work incorporates one of Rutter’s earlier compositions, Hymn to the Creator of Light, as one of its movements, and features darker, mystical harmonies, evoking strong emotion while exploring themes of light and nature.
“Emotion for me is an integral part of all art,” he said. “It’s a release; it’s an affirmation of our humanity.”
Like many composers before him, Rutter has a lot of questions about where he stands regarding his own religious faith. Yet, he still finds a sense of the divine in the music he writes within a spiritual context.
“Music is transcendental,” he said. “We don’t know what it is about just sounds vibrating in the air that can make strong men weep. … It has powers – healing powers, many people believe – that we don’t understand. Faith has an awful lot of those same boxes that you can tick, you know?”
Terry Price is the longtime director of music at Preston Hollow. Two years ago, he asked Rutter about writing a new large-scale work, to be commissioned by a church member. Rutter completed the work in a flurry of activity over the past few months, and he’s excited to lead its premiere here this weekend – in the same city where his Requiem premiered 30 years ago.
“This was something that I felt good about and thought I would like to be involved in,” he said. “And it was here in a city that I’m very fond of and where I’ve made music a number of times over the years.”
So, given that much of his life’s work involves writing for choirs, does Rutter worry that they may soon become a relic of the past?
“Never – that’s never going to happen,” he said emphatically. “Every child should have a chance to try it. … There will be some who will say, like the little kid I was, this is wonderful, I just wish all day could be singing.
“It was a kind of bliss, an altered state, something I didn’t experience anywhere else in my life. And there will be lots and lots of other children who will feel that way if you give them the chance.”
A YouTube user has posted videos of excerpts from Rutter’s works on the upcoming program, set to images by the late British painter Sir Stanley Spencer:
The Continental Gin Building is throwing open its doors this weekend. The community of artists in the venerable Deep Ellum building will host an open house Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m.
For 27 years, the studios in the historic warehouse have held an open house twice a year – once in the fall and spring. Alison Volk of VOLK PR says there are 48 tenants currently occupying three floors of space there, and some 35 artists will participate in this event.
Volk says the large number of artists and their variety — designers (apparel, graphic and interior), filmmakers, painters and photographers — all of them sharing one, vast building lends itself to creative collaboration: “Everything really goes hand-in-hand. These artists [and] craftsman all have similar interests, and they form a master-mind group naturally.”
The group includes: Rob Aikey, Diana Antohe, Jay Bailey, Connie Roschlau Ball, Donna Davis Ball, Fannie Brito, Alan Cook, Patsi Davila, Alison De Vito, STATUS Design, Bill Planey Graphic Design, Marianne Gargour, Andrea Guay, Anne L. Hines, Jenny Keller, David Klucsarits, Nancy Miller, Ty Milner, Marsha Moser, Bob Nunn, Lindsey Owen, Jan Partin, Kim Petty, Paula Radvansky, Ethan Salazar, Kitty Snead, John Sustaita, Michael Sutton, Carroll Swenson-Roberts, VET and Leonard Volk.
Hear retired architect Leonard Volk discuss photography and creativity with Krys Boyd on Think in January 2013:
From the UK to TX
Included among the work of local artists, guest participants and longtime CGB tenants will be paintings by featured artist Stuart Burne from the small island town of Holyhead in Anglesey, Wales.
It’s about as close as Wales gets to Ireland — that little outcropping across from Dublin — and Burne grew up exploring the coast. So those familiar scenes of the Welsh landscape — the Irish Sea, the Stena Line ferries between Holyhead and Dublin, the Virgin trains that run through northern Wales — they became primary subjects of his paintings, he says. Burne paints with acrylic on canvas and often paints on location to get the best images for his work: “As I was growing up the sea was a natural, continuing influence on the subconscious mind, which kept influencing my desire to paint.”
The open house will be Burne’s first time exhibiting in the U.S., and he will show eleven paintings, a few etchings and drypoint prints, he says.
Heather Helen Ray, a former makeup artist turned professional photographer, is hosting Burne not only in the States but also in her personal studio space in the Continental Gin Building, where she has had her office for about six years.
“[The CGB] feels like you’re in New York. You can hear the train going behind on the DART rail,” she says. At the Continental Gin, you “step out of normal Dallas,” she says, into “something different.”
Ray has participated in the open houses since she began renting the space, and for the upcoming event, she will show one large piece she’s been working on for about six months. The rest of her efforts were put into bringing Burne and his paintings across the pond, she says.
Last October, when trying to get an artist collaborative going, Ray was researching online, looking at international galleries and arts organizations, and discovered Burne’s vibrant landscapes.
“Stuart talks a lot in his artwork through colors,” she says. “He really draws you in.”
Burne adds that he’s most looking forward to meeting the artists and general public and showing them his part of Wales — another reason Ray wanted to bring him to Dallas.
More on the open house
Ray says the biannual event is unique among area art exhibitions because of the energy and excitement of the visitors — and the friendly welcome from the artists in their studios.
“It’s almost like getting invited to a house party,” Ray says. Visitors don’t feel like mere spectators but rather become part of the building.
And like any good house party, there will be music. Local “folk, jazz and indie” band, Felix Flores will play Friday on the second floor of the CGB. And on Saturday, CGB artists will participate in the Deep Ellum Art Walk.
History of the Continental Gin Building
The Continental Gin Building dates from when North Texas was one of the great centers of cotton production and processing. (That’s why the Cotton Bowl is in Fair Park, got it?). It was originally a cotton gin factory built by Robert S. Munger in 1888, housed in a series of brick warehouses along Elm Street and Trunk Avenue. The CGB was the largest manufacturer of cotton-processing equipment in the country.
The company closed in 1962, when Deep Ellum went through several changes. But 20 years later, John Tatum, a local real estate developer, purchased the property and rented the spaces to artists, distinguishing the 125-year-old building as the oldest art community in Deep Ellum.
- Between Action and the Unknown runs through July 17 at the Dallas Museum of Art.
- Listen to the KERA FM radio report
After World War II, a group of avant-garde artists in Japan began challenging the limits of painting. Though the Gutai art movement isn’t widely known in the US, the Dallas Museum of Art is paying a lot of attention to it. KERA contributor Joan Davidow explains how the DMA’s exhibition of two Gutai artists reveals influences and similarities with American artists working at the same time.
Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns ASK ME ABOUT ART offering lectures, tours and program planning in the arts.
The seventh annual Dallas Art Fair, April 10-12, was a home run for the home team. That is, for founders John Sughrue and Chris Byrne and for the nine Dallas galleries which exhibited work. They stood out above the crowded field of 90-plus galleries from all over the world. The Dallas galleries included Barry Whistler, Cris Worley, Zhulong, Talley Dunn, Valley House, Galleri Urbane, Ro2, Conduit and Kirk Hopper. Sorely missed was RE Gallery, which was a big hit in a small space last year.
The documentary Dare to Drum captures the musical collaboration of a local percussion ensemble, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and one of the most famous rock ‘n’ roll drummers in the world. The film is part of the Dallas International Film Festival, and this week, we talk to its director, who happens to be a drummer himself.
Dare to Drum screens at the Angelika Film Center Thursday at 7 and Saturday at 3.
Check out Bill Zeeble’s 2011 story about the collaboration.
This is the sixth year for ARTsPARK. This community event is brought to you by NorthPark Center and the Business Council for the Arts. This Saturday, on April 18 from 1 to 5 p.m., over 50 arts groups will be on hand for you to learn more about them. See groups perform, create some art, register for a class, or sign up to volunteer at your favorite arts organization. There are many, many ways for you to connect with the arts and it is all under one roof, for one day at NorthPark Center. As always, Art&Seek will be there to help you hook up with art groups in our area. Come find us and sign up to win tickets from some of these participating art groups: AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Creative Arts Center of Dallas, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Shakespeare Dallas, and TITAS. Get a head start and sign up below to win some ARTsPARK Goodies now.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first here, then sign away below.
UDPATE: We have all our winners. We hope you will be hearing from us soon. See you at ARTsPARK at NorthPark on Saturday. Thanks for playing.
AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series: Disney’s Newsies. Opening night, April 29, 8 p.m. at the Winspear Opera House.
Off-Broadway on Flora Series: Stop Hitting Yourself with Austin’s Rude Mechs. May 30, 2 p.m. at the Wyly Theatre
TITAS Presents Parsons Dance Company. April 25, 8 p.m. at the Winspear Opera House
TITAS Presents Ballet Biarritz. May 1, 8 p.m at Dallas City Performance Hall
AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House Recital Series: Brooklyn Rider on April 26, 7:30 p.m.
AT&T Performing Arts Center Presents Rhonda Vincent & The Rage with Boxcar Bandits. May 2, 8 p.m. at Strauss Square
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s ReMix: Hollywood Exile on May 9 at Dallas City Performance Hall
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare An Abridged Staged Reading: Henry VIII. April 26 or 27 at the Wyly Theatre.
Don’t forget to check out two other Big Deals this week – tickets to the Fort Worth Opera Festival’s La Traviata at Bass Performance Hall, or tickets to The Joy Luck Club at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson.
For their 2015 festival, the Fort Worth Opera will open their Bass Hall season with La Traviata. The memorable songs from Verdi’s masterpiece will be performed by Australian rising star Rachelle Durkin, as the self-sacrificing Violetta, and Patrick O’Halloran as the stalwart lover, Alfredo. This lavish production will also feature sets and costumes from Lyric Opera of Chicago. Win this Big Deal and you can leave your opera glasses at home because you and your guest will enjoy the opening night performance on April 25 from your orchestra level seats.
Take the time now to sign up to win our other Big Deals this week – tickets to see The Joy Luck Club at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts Center in Richardson, or enter for a chance to win an ARTsPARK Goodie Basket with tickets from art groups participating in this year’s ARTsPARK at NorthPark- groups like AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Creative Arts Center of Dallas, the DSO, the Nasher, TITAS and the Perot.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see the La Traviata presented by the Fort Worth Opera at Bass Performance Hall.
UPDATE: We have our winner. Thanks for playing!
The Joy Luck Club, based on the best-selling novel by Amy Tan, will play at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts for one night on April 25. Sign up here for a chance to see the moving tale of mothers and daughters bridging the gap of cross cultures and cross generations.
Take the opportunity now to also sign up for our two other offerings this week – tickets to the Fort Worth Opera Festival’s La Traviata, at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, or enter for a chance to win an ARTsPARK Goodie Basket with tickets from arts groups participating in this year’s ARTsPARK at NorthPark. Groups like AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Creative Arts Center of Dallas, the DSO, the Nasher and the Perot.
PLEASE NOTE: Only Art&Seek e-newsletter subscribers can win the Big Deal. If you are not a subscriber take care of that first, then sign up below for a chance to see The Joy Luck Club at the Eismann Center.
UPDATE: We have our winner. Thanks for playing!