A fall concert-and-stage sampler
From Richter to Sibelius, opera, Bird and Albee

by Judith Reynolds

Plunge in. The local performing arts season starts this week. If you pay attention and get your tickets early, you’ll have an entertaining season of music, drama and dance to take you through Thanksgiving.

Everything starts this Sat., Sept. 16. Classical guitarist Brad Richter opens a stellar musical season at Fort Lewis College at 7 p.m. in Roshong Recital Hall. Richter will appear thanks to the FLC Artist in Residence Program and professional colleague Brian Wagner. In addition to serving as director of the Durango Arts Center, Wagner also teaches classical guitar at the college and persuaded Richter to give the season’s opening recital.

“Brad’s music is very accessible,” Wagner said in a recent interview. “He’s composed a lot for the guitar and performs contemporary as well as traditional guitar music.”

Based in Tucson, Richter teaches at the University of Arizona and has won a variety of awards – everything from a national finger-picking championship to the top prize at London’s Royal College of Music. A prolific composer, Richter has published widely and has appeared on PBS and NPR.

Tickets are available at the new FLC Box Office downtown, and the recital will be preceded by a free master class at 6 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 15, also in Roshong. Wagner said the class is open to the public, and if you’ve never been to one, try it. You’ll learn a lot about the instrument and how both technique and expression are taught.

Among other FLC Music Department highlights this fall:

• Faculty Collage, 7 p.m. Sun., Sept. 24, Roshong Recital Hall. Expect to hear a bit of everything from everyone in this talented group of musicians. Revenue from ticket sales goes toward student scholarships.

• Percussion Ensemble CD Release Concert, Fri., Sept. 29, 7 p.m., Community Concert Hall.

• Violinist Mikylah Myers McTeer faculty recital 3 p.m. Sun., Oct.1, Roshong Recital Hall, with pianist Lisa Campi and violinist Miriam Belyatsky.

• Men’s Choir and the Durango Women’s Choir “He and She” concert at 7 p.m. Fri., Oct.13, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Rivalry never sounded so sweet.

• Flutist Rochelle Mann and percussionist John Pennington joint faculty recital 7 p.m. Sun., Oct. 15, Roshong Recital Hall. For ticket information regarding all FLC events call the box office: 247-7657.

In other action, the San Juan Symphony opens the 2006-07 season on Oct. 7-8 with a shimmering program titled “Saga of the North” featuring a guest soloist born in Iceland. Music Director Arthur Post has a true gift for programming thematic concerts and introducing gifted soloists to the Four Corners. This tribute to Nordic music underscores that reputation. Following works by Grieg, Nielsen and Rantavaara, the centerpiece will be Sibelius’ deeply beautiful “Finlandia.” The finale will be Tchaikovsky’s spectacular Violin Concerto featuring Judith Ingolfsson. Icelandic born, Ingolfsson made her concert debut at the age of 8 in Germany. Admitted to the Curtis Institute at 14, she has performed with orchestras all over the world and recorded the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Budapest Philharmonic.

Fast on her final notes will be the second San Juan pair of concerts in early November. Post and company will perform overtures, arias and choruses from a variety of operas with Durango’s own sterling soprano Gemma Kavanagh and Spanish tenor Israel Lozano as soloists along with the Durango Choral Society. “Opera Mondo” will feature works by the big guns of opera: Verdi, Puccini and Wagner, among others.

On Durango’s dramatic stages you’ll find interesting and unusual offerings beginning in only two weeks. Among the early entries:

• Durango Lively Arts will present “Wiley and the Hairy Man” on Fri., Oct. 6, at the Durango Arts Center. Director Lisa Kramer, who has a doctorate in youth theater, said in a recent interview that she’s wanted to stage “Wiley” ever since she first encountered it. Based on an American folktale, Suzan Zeder’s play takes place in the Alabama bayou and centers on a youngster plagued by fears of a menacing man. It’s a perfect vehicle for a company whose mission is to stage works for intergenerational casts. “Wiley” will run two weekends with matinees. Call DAC for information: 259-2606.

• Durango High School Thespian Troupe 1096 starts its season off with a free gala at 6 p.m. Thurs., Sept. 21. Designed to showcase the talents of underclassmen and women, the gala will use the tales of Scheherazade for a theme.

The big fall musical will be “Grease,” opening Fri., Nov. 3, and running through the 18. The best way to ensure a seat for this regularly sold-out program is to get a season pass for $50. Call DHS at 259-1630, Ext. 3, for the box office.

• Fort Lewis College Department of Theatre presents an adaptation of Leonard “Red” Bird’s acclaimed memoir “Folding Paper Cranes” on Oct. 11. The performance will follow a dedication ceremony of the newly named Peace Park on campus. Additional performances continue on Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21. Directed by Kathryn Moller, the piece is part of a college-wide celebration of Bird, his work, and his career at FLC.

Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women” will be presented on the Main Stage beginning Nov. 2 and run through the 12th. Directed by Ginny Davis, the play is one of Albee’s stark signature pieces, a tantalizingly disguised portrait of the playwright’s adoptive mother. For information on tickets and season passes, call the department’s info line: 247-7089.

There are many more concerts and performances than can be listed here. Watch for selected previews and the Telegraph’s weekly calendar of events. •

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