Culture FIX: March 15-21

Last month, the nation’s choral directors came to Cincinnati. This week, the invading hordes are ceramic artists, teachers, etc. And local visual arts venues are taking advantage. Check out some of the major exhibits here.

Beyond ceramics madness, there are other options a-plenty this week in music, theater, dance, comedy and Legos (yet another madness all its own). Fit these in and around Xavier and NKU b-ball games, or as a substitute if things get ugly – your choice!

Wednesday, March 15

Audrey Causilla and Elise Hyder

Trinity Episcopal Church, Midday Musical Menu | 12:15 p.m. 326 Madison Ave., Covington, KY 41011. 859-431-1786. DETAILS: Part of Trinity’s 3rd Wednesday lunch series, this program features mezzo-soprano Elise Hyder and pianist Audrey Causilla in spirituals, art song, musical theater and opera – music from Brahms, Amy Beach, John Duke, Margaret Bonds, Saint-Saens, Richard Rodgers and Cincinnati composer Greg Reedy. Full disclosure: Elise and I have sung together for more years than we’d like to admit. When she soars into her upper register, she will just knock your socks off. Lunch is available, for just $7, at 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, March 16

Kali Marsh and Evan Koons in “Kiss Me, Kate”

Cincinnati Landmark Productions, “Kiss Me Kate” | 7:30 p.m. Covedale Theater, Price Hill. 513-241-6550. DETAILS: Not sure whether or not this was deliberate, but the timing could not be better for this production, coming on the heels of its Shakespearian inspiration, “The Taming of the Shrew,” which just opened at Cincy Shakes. If purposeful, well done, Landmark folks. If not, I want then them to fill out my March Madness bracket. Cole Porter, the unparalled master of 20th-century song lyrics, takes on The Bard, to marvelous effect. Runs Thursday-Sunday through April 8.

Friday, March 17

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “The Mermaid” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: I’m a big fan of thoughtful, thematic programming such as this pairing of very different works based on mythical, hybrid female/fish creatures. Felix Mendelssohn‘s concert overture, “Die schöne Melusine” (The Fair Melusine), from 1836, is brief and fiery. Alexander Zemlinky‘s “Die Seejungfrau” (The Mermaid), from 1905, is a 40-minute evocation of Hans Christian Anderson‘s tale. In between these programmatic pieces comes the gorgeous 1945 violin concerto by one of the greatest cinematic composers, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, rendered this week by the elegant Simone Lansma. Emerging German conductor Kevin John Edusei (a potential music director candidate?) leads these performances. Repeats Saturday evening.

Falcon Theatre, “Every Brilliant Thing” | Monmouth Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport, KY 41071. 513-479-6783. DETAILS: If you are sucker for a hilarious and heartwarming play about a grim subject, this one’s for you. According to London’s Evening Standard, “What (playwright Duncan) Macmillan offers, with great sensitivity behind the abundant laughs, is a child’s fierce, flawed attempt to make sense of adult unhappiness and a meditation on the shadow that a loved one’s depression casts over the lives of a family.” Presented in partnership with 1N5, a nonprofit whose mission is to change the conversation about mental health among the area’s youth. Runs through April 1.

Fitton Center, “Heroes and Villains” | 7:30 p.m. 101 S. Monument St., Hamilton, OH 45011. 513-863-8873. DETAILS: The Fitton features an impressive array of arts events across the spectrum. This weekend, Cincinnati Ballet makes its way to Greater Cincinnati’s northwest corner for two performances: This evening features Otto M. Budig Academy students. Saturday evening showcases the company’s CB2 dancers in a program contrasting classical and contemporary choreography. CB2 is the organization’s “second company” and consists of 14 up-and-coming dancers who have been invited to train alongside the professional dancers.

Taft Theatre, Paula Poundstone | 8 p.m. 317 E. 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. DETAILS: We get to hear her regularly on NPR’s quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” but here you can immerse yourself in an evening of uniterrupted Paula Poundstone and catch up with her observations on the logical order of things, or not.

Saturday, March 18

Cincinnati Museum Center, “Bricktionary: The ultimate LEGO A-Z” | 1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45203. 513-287-7000. DETAILS: Bricks, bricks and more bricks coming our way this week. How many are too many?! (Never too many, according to my grandson.) The key here is inventive uses and designs, which are sure to amaze your aspiring architects and engineers. Plus, there are interactive opportunities for those who just have to get their hands dirty right now. Tickets are separate from museum admission.

Cincinnati Song Initiative, “Unforgettable: The Golden Age of the Great American Songbook” | 7:30 p.m. Liberty Exhibition Hall, 3938 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45223. DETAILS: Just to make it clear: The term “art song” can extend beyond Schumann, Schubert and Fauré. It can also apply to Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, and Rodgers and Hart. And, this evening, the founders of Queen City Cabaret – vocalist Sarah Folsom and pianist Matthew Umphreys – welcome special guests – local, legendary jazzers Mandy Gaines and Steve Schmidt – to make sure all chapters of the “GAS” are covered.

Sunday, March 19

Excerpt from a rehearsal for 2020’s “We Gotta Shout”

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, CCJO Meets Gospel: “Amazing Grace” | 4 p.m. Corinthian Baptist Church, 1920 Tennessee Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45237. 513-280-8181. DETAILS: Reprising the most popular CCJO concert ever, the big band is joined by an all-star gospel choir led by A. Michael Cunningham to bring to life music from great gospel artists including Aretha Franklin (her “Amazing Grace” album), Kurt Whalum, Saskia Dian, Lailah Hathaway and more.

Soyeon Kate Lee, Stefani Matsuo and Ilya Finkelshteyn

Linton Chamber Music, “Queen City Connections” | 4 p.m. First Unitarian Church, Avondale. 513-381-6868. DETAILS: Artistic directors Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo stick with talent close to home for this installment. CCM pianist Soyeon Kate Lee collaborates with concertmaster Stefani Matsuo and principal cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, both of the CSO, in classic 19th-century works by composers in their prime: Chopin (cello sonata), Brahms (violin sonata) and Mendelssohn (piano trio). Encore performance is Monday, 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland.

Christ Church Cathedral

May Festival, “25 for 25 Community Showcase” | 2-7 p.m. Christ Church Cathedral, downtown. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Twenty-five area choirs – from youth to adults, from small to large – each perform a 20-minute mini-concert. As part of its 150th anniversary celebration, May Festival collaborated with Luna Composition Lab, a fellowship program that provides mentorship and performance opportunities to young composers who are female, non-binary or gender nonconforming. The result is twenty-five new choral works that will be part of this showcase. The event is FREE. For the complete list of participating choirs and timings, visit the Community Choral Showcase landing page.

Students performing as part of a NIMAN convening in Chicago

Cincinnati Symphony: NIMAN Festival Orchestra + CSO: Side-by-Side | 7 p.m. Music Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: In collaboration with National Instrumentalist Mentoring and Advancement Network, forty emerging musicians of color will study and perform with CSO musicians during the National Pathways Festival and Annual Convening this weekend. The musical intensive culminates with this side-by-side performance by the National Pathways Festival Orchestra and the CSO in a program led by CSO guest conductor Kevin John Edusei. (See CSO, above.)

Monday, March 20

Art Academy of Cincinnati, “A Moveable Feast” | 1212 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-562-6262. DETAILS: Filling all three galleries at AAC – Pearlman, McClure, and Chidlaw – this Group Thesis Exhibition highlights the capstone projects of six students preparing to share their talents with the real world. On display only five days before a closing reception – Friday, March 24, 5-8 p.m.

Concert:nova, “User Agreement” | 7:30 p.m. ARCO, 3301 Price Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205. DETAILS: This multimedia performance explores our relationship with the digital world via composer Ian Dicke’s installation, “User Agreement,” along with other compositions exploring the virtual universe. Dicke examines and employs the actual text of Twitter’s Terms of Service (e.g.”We broadly disseminate your information…” Maybe we should read these things!). As listeners move among widely space musicians, their physical position is tracked by mounted beacons, which deliver a unique combination of audio streams through the mobile application. As a result, no two listeners experience the work in the same fashion.” A peek into the near future of performance. Repeats Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, March 21

Ariel Quartet
Ariel Quartet

College-Conservatory of Music, Ariel Quartet | 7:30 p.m. Werner Recital Hall, University of Cincinnati. 513-556-4183. DETAILS: The very busy (see Linton Music above), award-winning pianist Soyeon Kate Lee joins the Ariels in Brahms’ just-plain-thrilling Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34. The balance of the program is TBA, but not sure it matters. The Brahms is enough.

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