Looking for something fun to do this weekend in the Twin Cities or elsewhere in the region? Classical MPR host John Birge offers his picks in classical music, theater and more.
"The Human Voice is the most perfect instrument of all."
This weekend, it's all about the voice: a truly stunning array of amazing voices. Hear as many as you can!
At Minnesota Opera, it's Richard Strauss' Elektra. I was there opening night for Sabine Hogrefe's take on the title role, powerful and appropriately terrifying. But look out for Marcy Stonikas, who plays her sister, Chrysothemis. Wow! Amazing vocal power, and dramatic humanity. Here she is six years ago, singing Turandot.
Speaking of Turandot, if you're a fan, the Metropolitan Opera has Puccini's classic live in HD at cinemas around the country on Saturday.
Great singers often appear in pairs. Two of the Twin Cities' most charismatic and versatile vocalists, Bradley Greenwald and Maria Jette, sing from Showboat and Threepenny Opera on Sunday with the Wayzata Symphony. And a pair of the greatest singer/songwriters of the past 30 years team up Saturday in St. Paul at the O'Shaughnessy's "Women of Substance" series; hard to think of a better description for Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Choral music that glows with divine light; that's what VocalEssence offers Sunday in its "Divine Light" concert, exploring the relationship between the human and the divine. The concert includes a new piece by Jake Runestad, A Silence Haunts Me, inspired by Beethoven's life and spirit, with a surprise ending (about which I'm sworn to secrecy), and György Ligeti's Lux Aeterna, the haunting choral piece used in the classic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
While we're on the subject of sci-fi, if you didn't get enough to celebrate at Sigourney Weaver's 70th birthday last week, check out the new Alien 40th-anniversary documentary, Memory: The Origins of Alien (and remember Howard Hanson's Romantic Symphony in the closing credits).