You-review-it Monday

May 7, 2012
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For me, the weekend included "Oedipus Rex" on the Art Museum grounds, "Faust" at Clowes Hall, and "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" at the Center for the Performing Arts.

And "The Avengers." Of course, there was "The Avengers."

More on all of these soon.

In the meantime, what did you see on the A&E front this weekend? 

Your thoughts?

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  • KUDOS to Indianapolis Opera
    My family and I attended this weekend's Indianapolis Opera production of FAUST. WOW! What a feast this was for my children and us. The almost holographic sets supported the story and the phenomenal singing. Congratulations to the Opera for providing this incredible experience!
  • The Avengers: As advertised
    I saw "The Avengers" at the AMC Showplace 17 on the south side of Indy. It was what I expected from the hype - no more, no less. I must say, though, that the number of previews wore me out as much as it did many of the kids who were there to see the feature.
  • Faust
    I saw the Indianapolis Opera's production of Faust on Friday. The projection sets were quite effective except a couple of scenes when the projections seemed on top of rather than behid the performers. James Carager and the ISO members knocked it out of the park with the music. The vocal performances were strong and Kevin Short brought a great deal of whimsy his performance which kept the production from being too dark. Without question Faust was the best IO production in Clowes this year.
  • Good weekend for music
    I attended the ISSMA concert band state finals at LCHS that featured performances by the 16 highest adjudicated ensembles from around the state. There were some terrific performances, including Avon, North Central, Carmel, Bloomington North and Lawrence Central. Matt Harloff did a great job with the eventual champion Avon Band, especially in Eric Whitacre's Equus. Other highlights of the day included North Central's performance of Bums Rush by Donald Grantham and Carmel's vivid rendition of Epiphanies by Ron Nelson. Mike Nemiec led Hamilton Southeastern in one of the most memorable works - With Heart and Voice by David Gillingham. Penn HS from Mishawaka played a very good performance of Angels in the Architecture of Frank Ticheli. Janis Stockhouse led Bloomington North in a finely interpreted performance of Grainger, Jager and Peter Graham works. Some programs were a bit tame and a little too musically bland, but the day produced mostly interesting renditions of a wide variety of works.

    Saturday evening was the performance of the Berlioz Requiem by the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and an orchestra consisting mostly of ISO players. The ISC was celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the massive Berlioz work was a great vehicle for this, as it is almost solely dependent upon the choir. It uses a tenor soloist briefly, and Joe Shadday made a heroic and memorable statement in that role. Music Director Eric Stark did a great job with the choir, who sang beautifully in this complex score, which has dynamics ranging to the extremes at both ends of the spectrum and which requires wide ranges in all parts. The diction was excellent and the intonation and balance was very good. The work calls for four brass ensembles, which were placed in the two orchestral boxes and in the balcony. The brass were very effective and the rhythm was excellent, which is often difficult to achieve with that much separation. ISO tuba player Tony Kniffen deserves a comment for his wonderful playing of a difficult and exposed part, especially when he was seated in one of the boxes. The strings and woodwinds seemed just a bit tentative, perhaps concerned about overpowering the choir. The balance was never a problem, and more energy from the string section especially would have been nice. Berlioz calls for several interesting percussive effects, including four players rolling on chords in timpani and the use of four pairs of cymbals played together very softly. It can be a magical effect but the crashes were so soft it was hard to hear them. Unfortunately one cymbal was dropped and it definitely was not hard to hear that. Bravo to Eric Stark and the ISC for a memorable concert of a work that I have not heard in 30 years.

    On Sunday afternoon the Indianapolis Youth Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble played a fine concert at the Indiana History Center. Conductor Gary Doherty did a nice job with selection of music and rapport with the audience and tuba soloist John Nemiec, who will attend the IU Jacobs School of Music next year, played a good performance of a movement of the Gregson Tuba Concerto.
    • Faust and Avengers
      I don't think my weekend could have gotten any better with this combination. Indianapolis Opera's Faust was certainly the coolest opera production I'd ever seen in my life. The set was just absolutely gorgeous.

      And the Avengers? I'd been waiting for this since 2008! And I was not disappointed. A fantastic epic conclusion to the first volume in a series of films. One of my favorite things about this film series is that it really does feel like issues in a volume of a series of comic books. Oh look, and they're comic book movies! I think that's pretty cool. It's very difficult to fully appreciate the Avengers if you haven't seen all the other movies, but according to my brother, it's still "pretty freaking awesome".
    • Thanks - and we couldn't say it better.
      Dear CConrad:

      Thanks for attending the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir's concert on Saturday evening. All around, a resounding success, and we couldn't agree with you more.

      It's thanks to dedicated arts patrons that the Symphonic Choir, our friends at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as the gifted students from Butler University were able to present a performance of such grand scale. The magnitude - wow!

      Three cheers of Indianapolis and its top-notch arts community.

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