By Thomas Consolo
April showers bring May … showers. While we seem to be stuck in a wet cycle outdoors, the arts are blooming indoors, especially the aural kind. If spring has a voice, for instance, it’ll be raised in Music Hall for the next couple of weeks. There’s plenty more even beyond that, though, as you’ll see in a few paragraphs.
Cincinnati May Festival | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-3300
Like many traditions, the oldest choral festival in the Western Hemisphere had gotten a little set in its ways. Last year, the festival began a bit of a reinvention, including incorporating multiple artistic visions and a significant amount of newer music. That process continues this year. It’s still not quite the festival I’d like to see, but you cannot complain that there’s nothing to appeal to you out of the festival’s broad repertoire.
Read David Lyman’s look for M&M at the May Festival’s new style here.
Coming up in Week 1 (at Music Hall unless specified otherwise):
- Wednesday, May 15, 7 p.m.: The eight-voice ensemble “Roomful of Teeth” is dedicated to reimagining the possibilities of the human voice. The Grammy winners perform what’s been dubbed a Festival Extra at the Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202). This show is officially sold out (the Woodward is a small place, after all), but there may be a few no-shows.
- Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.: Juanjo Mena, the May Festival’s principal conductor, takes the podium for a program that starts in the familiar and heads for undiscovered country. Brahms’s “Song of Destiny” is followed by, appropriately, Vaughan Williams’ “Toward the Unknown Region.” Rounding out the program is the U.S. premiere of British composer Mark Simpson’s “The Immortal.” If you missed Roomful of Teeth at the Woodward, they’ll be back, featured in the Simpson.
- Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.: The majority of choral music is church-inspired, and this program shows it’s a tradition very much alive. Scottish composer-conductor Sir James MacMillian leads performances of Poulenc’s sunny “Gloria” and then his own more meditative and time-transcendent “Seven Last Words from the Cross,” a 1993 cantata comprising seven adagio movements – one of the most important choral works of the past 30 years.
Heritage Village Museum | 11450 Lebanon Road (U.S. 42), Sharonville, OH 45241; 513-563-9484
Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19: Civil War Weekend
With Memorial Day less than two weeks away, the Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods brings to life the bloody conflict that led to the commemoration of our war dead. Military and civilian re-enactors will be on hand for demonstrations of 19th-century artillery, food – both hardtack and stuff you actually might want to eat, plus music, games and art.
City Flea | 1230 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.
Summer must be on its way. Cincinnati’s favorite monthly, curated, urban flea market is back for another year. It’s a showcase of the Queen City’s creative artisans and artistic small businesses. If you haven’t experienced the Flea yet, head to Washington Park, get a slice of artisan pizza and peruse the offerings. Most are quite affordable. And bring your dog. Everyone else does!
Cincinnati World Cinema | 719 Race St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 859-957-3456 (FILM)
Friday through Sunday, May 17 through 19: “Aniara”
It’s sci-fi with a message this weekend at the Garfield Theatre. When a colony ship fleeing Earth’s calamities for Mars is damaged en route, the chances of survival for the passengers grow bleak. Is life meaningless without a destination? Is the planet Earth that much different from a fragile spaceship? Directors Pella Kagerman and Hugo Lilja ask us to think about it in this 2018 film.
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sunday, May 19, 7:30: “Alien”
Tuesday, May 21, 7:30 “Bisbee ’17”
The Mini shows us this week why it’s an important voice in our social discourse – and gives you the chance to support its programs.
“Bisbee ’17” tells a century-old story that resonates in the controversies of today, one of class, race and immigration: When 1,200 immigrant miners in Bisbee, Arizona, go on strike against Phelps Dodge in 1917, armed townspeople help round up the strikers, force them into boxcars and dump them in the middle of the New Mexico desert. In 2017, the town remembered and reenacted the event, and we clearly see the feelings have not all faded.
On Sunday, the Mini screens the claustrophobic, terrifying, sci-fi classic “Alien” as part of a series on important films marking anniversaries. Believe it or not, it’s been 40 years since we first boarded the Nostromo and met Ridley (Sigourney Weaver). The screening is a benefit fundraiser for the Mini. If you like what they do, attend and bring a friend!
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m.: TEDxCincinnati
Through either YouTube, the “TED Radio Hour” show or some other cultural reference, you’ve probably heard a TED (technology, entertainment, design) talk at some point. This week, the Cincinnati-based organization inspired by the philosophy mounts its annual Main Stage Event, featuring performers and speakers on bringing the theme, “Extraordinary,” to life. The highlight for many will be the talk and performance by singer-songwriters Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, better known as the band Over The Rhine. Pre-event networking begins at 5:30 p.m.
The May Festival is a big deal, but it’s hardly the only musical game in town this week.
Catacoustic Consort | 63 S. Main St., Middletown, OH; 513-772-3242
Saturday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.: “Lost and Found”
In 1735, Georg Philipp Telemann sent a set of a dozen fantasias for unaccompanied viola da gamba to his publisher. Since then, the works were believed to have been lost. Until late 2015, that is, when it was announced that a copy had been discovered. It was a major discovery, and this weekend you get to hear some of them, performed by three bass viol players, and within the context, some viol music you may already know – by Bach.
Sorg Opera House | 63 S. Main St., Middletown, OH 45044; 513-280-8181
Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.: Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra
Last month we tipped you off to the CCJO’s program of new high-energy, horn-fueled arrangements of music by Ray Charles and Earth Wind and Fire. This weekend the ensemble takes the gist of the program up I-75 to Middletown’s historic Sorg Opera House. Jazz jams with R&B, funk and soul in songs including “Georgia,” “Sing a Song” and “September!” We still bet you can’t sit still.
Matinée Musicale | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-231-0964
Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m.: Reed Tetzloff
This young American pianist brings the Matinée Musicale season to a close at Memorial Hall. A prizewinner around the world (including at the Tchaikovsky Competition), Tetzloff performs post-Romantic finger busters by Debussy and Scriabin, Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde” and Busoni’s arrangement for piano of Liszt’s Fantasia and Fugue on the Chorale “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” (that theme from Meyerbeer’s opera “Le Prophète). If it sounds impressive, that’s because it is.
Read more about Reed Tetzloff in M&M, courtesy of Thom Mariner.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company | 1195 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-381-2273
Opens Friday, May 17: “A Flea in Her Ear”
The Belle Époque has faded back into history at the Cincinnati Art Museum, but it will take center stage at the Budig Theater in Georges Feydeau’s 1907 sex farce “A Flea in Her Ear.” The fresh translation by David Ives still takes us to the Frisky Puss, a hotel of dubious reputation but elite clientele, for this comedy of mistaken identities and intentions. Through June 2.
Fairfield Footlighters | 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield OH 45014; 513-867-5348
Opens Friday, May 17: “Boeing, Boeing”
Speaking of French sex farces, a more jet-age version takes the stage of the Fairfield Community Arts Center. Parisian bachelor Bernard is happily juggling the attentions of three stewardesses … until a faster Boeing jet enters service and all three flight attendants find themselves in Paris simultaneously. Through May 26.
• “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”: Hugo’s “Notre Dame de Paris” loses the architecture lectures and gains songs by Disney’s musical superstars, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Through Saturday, May 18, in the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater (650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-2787).
• “Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville”: A comic take on the classic detective mystery of the moors. Through Saturday, May 18, at Falcon Theatre (636 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071; 513-479-6783).
Wyoming Art Show | 1 Worthington Ave., Wyoming, OH 45215. 513-761-1749
May 19, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Neighborhood arts fair
Wyoming has a long history of supporting the visual arts, and this festival celebrates that tradition amidst the verdant lawns and historic homes of this bucolic Cincinnati first-ring suburb. An ideal way to while away a spring afternoon…
And also this week, a trio of last chances…
• “Winslow Homer to Georgia O’Keeffe”: Fifty-five works by American masters – including Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe and Helen Frankenthaler – span a century of the modern creative spirit in the United States, ranging from realistic landscapes to bold abstract forms. Through Sunday, May 19, at the Taft Museum of Art (316 Pike St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-241-0343).
• “Drawn”: Manifest Gallery’s sixth annual International Exhibition of Contemporary Drawing. Also closing is concurrent show, “Packaged.” Both through Friday, May 17 (2727 Woodburn Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206; 513-861-3638).
• “Springmageddon”: A showcase of works – paintings, sculptures, photographs and more – by both emerging and seasoned artists with disabilities in Over-the-Rhine. Through Friday, May 17, at Art Beyond Boundaries (1410 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-8726).