'The Nutcracker'

Elizabeth Devanney and Jacob Miller perform in “The Nutcracker.”

Officials at UNC School of the Arts announced its 2019-2020 performing arts season this week, with offerings in dance, music, theater, opera, film and multi-media productions.

Interim Chancellor Brian Cole said the season offers “spectacular, professional-level art and entertainment right here in Winston-Salem.”

Performers include guest artists, faculty artists and pre-professional students.

Fall highlights

  • Sept. 20: The School of Filmmaking presents a free screening of curated films by second-, third- and fourth-year students during the last academic year, with local casts and locations.
  • Sept. 28, Nov. 23: Guest conductors for the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra include Xian Zhang (Sept. 28), the first woman to serve as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as well as a major Italian orchestra, Verdi Orchestra of Milan; and Mark Gibson (Nov. 23) of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The September concert features Rimsky Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” and a performance by Peter Smith, winner of the 2019 UNCSA Concerto Competition. In November, the orchestra will perform Gustav Mahler’s “First Symphony” and the 21st-century work “Peregrinos” (Pilgrims) by Gabriela Lena Frank.
  • Oct. 1 and 5: Sphinx Virtuosi (Oct. 1) and Eighth Blackbird (Oct. 5) are among the acclaimed chamber ensembles who will perform. Sphinx Virtuosi is composed of 18 of the nation’s top black and Latino classical soloists, the alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition. Award-winning, Chicago-based Eighth Blackbird has been called “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune.
  • Oct. 3-6: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare will be directed by Drama faculty member Cameron Knight. With a modern version of the symbolic forest as the backdrop, Knight celebrates Shakespeare made relevant for today’s audience. The re-imagined comedy explores magic and illusion.
  • Nov. 14-17 and 21-24: “Spring Awakening” is a coming-of-age story played out in an electrifying fusion of adolescence and rock ’n’ roll. Adapted from the German play by Frank Wedekind with score by Duncan Sheik, the musical will be guest directed by Gary Griffin. In “Spring Awakening,” which won eight Tony Awards, teen-agers Wendla, Melchior and Moritz rely on one another to navigate the rocky paths of sexuality and mortality. Recommended for mature audiences.
  • Dec. 13-15 and 18-22: “The Nutcracker” features the return of guest conductor Karin Hendrickson, who directed the fall 2018 production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.” The Nutcracker Orchestra performs Tchaikovsy’s score, with original staging by former Dean of Dance Ethan Stiefel and scenery by the School of Design and Production. Assistant Dean of Dance Jared Redick directs. This year will include extra family-friendly matinees.
  • Dec. 20: The School of Design and Production will present “Photona,” its themed multimedia show of lighting and projections.

Spring highlights

  • Feb. 1: Inaugural performance of the Reynolda Quartet at the Reynolda House Museum of American Art. Reynolda Quartet is led by internationally renowned violinist Ida Bieler and includes violist Ulrich Eichenauer, violinist Janet Orenstein, and cellist Brooks Whitehouse, all on the School of Music faculty.
  • Feb. 7, 9, and 11: Mozart’s take on opera seria, the style of serious Italian opera, “La Clemenza di Tito.” Emperor Tito wants Servilia to be his bride, but when she tells him that she’s in love with another, he chooses to wed Vitellia, daughter of the deposed emperor.
  • March 17: New York Alumni Quintet includes four UNCSA alumni — including three members of the New York Philharmonic string section, performing faculty member Kenneth Frazelle’s “Elegy for Strings,” and more. Alumni Lisa Kim, violin, Rion Wentworth, double bass, and Ru-Pei Yeh, cello, are members of the New York Philharmonic.
  • March 26-29 and April 2-4: “The Odyssey.” Fourth-year directing student Carlo Feliciani Ojeda directs Homer’s epic poem, adapted by Mary Zimmerman. Victorious during the Trojan War, Greek hero Odysseus returns home to retake the throne of Ithaca amidst insurmountable odds and obstacles including mystical creatures and the wrath of the gods.
  • March 28: Guest conductor Michael Butterman leads the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, with guest artists Jamie Laredo, violin, and Sharon Robinson, cello, (also an alumna) of the famed Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio joining the students in a performance of a new consortium commission by Chris Brubeck.
  • April 16-19: Emmy Award-nominated faculty member Andy Paris directs a work of devised theater. Together, actors, designers and theater technicians develop the plot, script and characters for an always-new audience experience.
  • April 23-25: Spring Dance. The featured performance for UNCSA’s annual NextNow scholarship fundraiser, Spring Dance is a collaboration between the schools of Dance, Music and Design & Production (D&P). Under the baton of faculty member Mark Norman, the Symphony Orchestra will provide live music for each of the pieces.

lfelder@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7298 @LynnFelder

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