Tuesday, February 23, 2016

More Than Meets the Eye

Although the KSO schedule as seen on the homepage may look as if there's a lull, nothing could be further from the truth, as there is an opera coming up and a ballet in Maryville.

I have to go waaay back in the memory machine to recall my last time performing Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, to 1984, when I still lived up in Hartford.  The pit was cramped and cold, and I think I did some damage to a violist's back with my bow, but the hypnotic beauty of Humperdinck's score has stayed with me to this day.  It has been nostalgic to revisit the opera recently in preparation for Knoxville Opera' s production this coming Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday at (2:30 p.m) at the Tennessee Theatre.  Humperdinck is the quintessential "one-hit wonder," but zounds, what a hit, although he did compose further.  His opera Konigskinder boasts the first use of sprechstimme, a vocal technique somewhere between singing and speaking, and made famous by Arnold Schoenberg. Speaking of Arnold, in 1965, aspiring British pop singer Arnold Dorsey changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck (same spelling, I guess to avoid confusion : p).  He enjoyed considerable success thereafter.

Looking ahead to March 4th and 5th, we'll be shuffling off to Maryville to perform with the Appalachian Ballet Company for their Spring Gala.  This is the first full, non-Nutcracker ballet production the KSO has done in about ten years, since the City Ballet dissolved their partnership with the Tulsa Ballet.  There will be three numbers based on books by Knoxville children's author Libba Moore Gray; My Mamma Had a Dancing Heart, When Uncle Took the Fiddle, and Little Lil and the Swing-Singing Sax.  The classic Sylvia by Leo Delibes will also be on the program, which will take place at the Clayton Center for the Arts.  Check out the ABC's website for ticket info.

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