UO Opera to Stage Henry Purcell's `Dido and Aeneas'
Byline: The Register-Guard
Eight concerts, including an opera production and the final two concerts of the weeklong Music Today Festival, will be presented in the coming week by the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, 961 E. 18th Ave.
UO SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Charles Dowd, timpani
Friday, Room 163
As part of the Music Today Festival, timpanist Charles Dowd will give a recital Friday honoring contemporary composer Elliott Carter.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning composer wrote "Eight Pieces for Four Timpani" (one player), six of them in 1949 and two in 1966.
To celebrate Carter's 100th birthday, Dowd will play all eight. Carter, who composed in an atonal style using musical set theory, is credited with "inventing" metric modulation.
Dowd, a professor of percussion studies at the UO, will speak about each of the eight pieces before performing them.
The performance is at 8 p.m. in Room 163 of the music building. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and senior citizens, at the door.
Joe Powers, harmonica
Saturday, Beall Hall
Harmonica virtuoso and UO alumnus Joe Powers will close the Music Today Festival on Saturday with a concert titled "Tango Passion: Music and Dance."
Powers' program will also feature pianist Naoko Aoki and tango dancers Liz Foster and Andrew Dugas. The evening will feature tangos, waltzes and milongas by such Argentine composers as Carlos Gardel, Carlos Marcucci, Julian Plaza and Francisco Canaro; Tango Nuevo (New Tango) compositions by Astor Piazzolla; and original tango compositions by Powers and Aoki.
Powers recently won the Belgian Crystal Harmonica Award in the classical division, and was nominated for 2008 best male artist by the Portland Music Awards.
Powers has performed all over the world since winning fourth place in the jazz category at the world harmonica competition in Trossingen, Germany, in 2005.
Concert time is 8 p.m. in Beall Hall. Tickets are $8, $5 for students and senior citizens, at the door.
UO Opera Ensemble:?"Dido and Aeneas"
Friday and Saturday, Sheldon High School auditorium
The UO Opera Ensemble, directed by new voice professor Nicholas Isherwood, presents two performances of Henry Purcell's opera "Dido and Aeneas" this weekend.
The plot involves the hero Aeneas, who embarks on a journey to refound Troy in current day Rome. On the way, he meets Dido, the queen of Carthage. She has promised to be faithful to her deceased husband, but succumbs to Aeneas' charms. A sorceress sends an imposter Mercury to order Aeneas to continue on his journey, and Dido kills herself.
"On the surface, the story of Dido and Aeneas is merely that of tragic love," Isherwood says. "But a more in-depth reading reveals greater complexity."
For example, why does the Sorceress bear ill will towards Dido? "In our production, Dido and Aeneas represent the establishment," Isherwood says. "Aeneas and his sailors are military men. ... Dido and her train are high society ladies."
Dance is a fundamental aspect of this opera, which includes choreography by Alli Bach. Musicologist, baroque cellist and Collegium director Marc Vanscheeuwijck conducts the historically informed performance. The costumer is Desiree Townley, and the lighting is handled by Jerry Glenn.
The role of Dido is played by doctoral voice student Bereniece Jones. Aeneas is sung by master's voice student Derek Larson. Other singers in the production are Brook Cagno, Catherine Olson, Rachel O'Malley, Cecelia French, Sheerya Shivers, Sam Dertig and Mattia Tucksen. …