“The theme’s around human loss and the emotion there, redemption and mercy, specifically. He wanted to make people cry and I think he did that in this, in a good way”-Kathryn Bisanti
UNO Faculty members bring together music theater and dance for the School of Music’s’ first production this semester, Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. Performing in the production are faculty members of the school of music, theater department and UNO’s modern dance group, The Moving Company. Telling us about the piece composed for small theater is Associate Professor and Director of Bands, Dr. Karen Fannin.
FANNIN: “We came up with this idea to put this piece together, about a year and a half ago. It’s always difficult to get a group of faculty together, especially since several of them are are members of the Omaha Symphony, so we thought we would put this together at the very beginning of the year and have this be one of the first performances in the School of Music.”
Like all good music, there’s an interesting story that ends with a twist.
FANNIN: “Just a very short synopsis of the story, there is a soldier who has a fiddle and he trades the fiddle for a magic book which he gets from the devil. This magic book brings him misfortune, so these bad things happen. He finally figures out a way to get the devil drunk and he finally gets the fiddle back. With the fiddle he is able to do good; he brings a princess back to life and he marries her. So, that is where the dancers a part of bringing the princess back to life. So things are good for a while, but then the princess says “Why don’t we go back home?” And so he agrees, and when he steps over the line, the devil snatches him again, and that is how the story ends, he’s back in the grass with the devil.”
Not only might the story take you by surprise, but the music is a little unusual too.
FANNIN: “Igor Stravinsky wrote this piece during WWI, and it was meant to be a piece that could be performed in a really small theaters and be done very cheaply. If you know much about Stravinsky, he started off his career writing huge Russian works and of course money was tight in WWI, and this is a piece that could be performed easily and what is really interesting about it is he says that this is a jazz influenced piece, but it doesn’t really sound like jazz. He got his picture of jazz through looking at sheet music in Europe, of how it was notated. So he didn’t hear jazz, or so he says. He says a lot of things and we learn that things are a different way, so he’s kind of an interesting composer. But, all of these forms that he uses, the march, the pastorale, the dances; there is something odd about them and that is the hallmark of his second period of composition which is called Neoclassicism.”
You can find Dr. Fannin conducting UNO staff, in a performance of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” is this Wednesday evening at 7;30 in the Strauss Perfoming Arts Recital Hall on the UNO Campus. Tickets are available at the door, and free for students. For more information, contact Dr. Karen Fannin at email@example.com or cal 402.554.3446
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Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, Chris Botti is touring again and will be performing music from all of your favorite genres this Wednesday evening. From jazz to classical masterpieces and more, Botti talks about the experience you can expect from one of his live shows.
Botti: “It’s really something that I’m most proud of, the group and the way the we’ve set up our show to really feature, of course, great jazz musicians and great jazz music, but popular music, R&B, Rock n’ Roll and Classical as well so we carry two different singers and a fantastic concert violinist. So we’ve been able to go around the world, and play music and keep the focus on music rather than, I mean, popular music today is more about background dancing and computers, and stuff being taped. This is just really great musicians on stage.”
Chris Botti has gained some of the greatest musical opportunities that brought his career where it is today. He has performed and toured with Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, and talks about his relationship with English musician, Sting.
Botti: “I started my solo career in 1995, so it’s been twenty years now and in 1999 my opportunity to joins Sting’s group as a member of his group but with a solemn promise from that he would break the sound of my trumpet to the world. “Many of them”, his quote was, “are not jazz fans, but they will become your fan”. He has become one of my closest friends and that relationship to this day has opened so many doors for me and took my career from, just a guy who wants to make it as a solo career, to a guy that has incredible visibility and incredible opportunities to play. Yes, it has a lot to do with music but also where you place yourself along your journey, and meeting him and having that relationship that really clicked like that has done so much for my career.”
This Grammy Award-winning artists’ love and dedication to his music has never stopped.
Botti: “I’m sort of very, not content, but I’m really driven by the same sort of drive that I had when I was ten or twelve or fifteen years old, and that is to play my trumpet great. I feel very fortunate to travel the world with this great band and we can play anywhere in the world right now and that is very unusual, and so I just feel very fortunate to be able to do that.”
An Evening with Chris Botti presented by Omaha Performing Arts, is this Wednesday evening, the show Starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiewit Concert Hall at the Holland Performing Arts Center. For tickets and more information visit omahaperformingarts.org.