Culture FIX: April 5-11

I’m happy to take over Culture FIX this week for Thom Mariner, who’s busy performing during this Holy Week (see Knox listing for Friday, April 7). It’s a lighter week for cultural events, with many groups pausing during the Easter and Passover season. But there’s still a good number of noteworthy events for your consideration:

Wednesday, April 5

St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, The Ancient Office of Tenebrae | 7:30 p.m., 325 W. 8th St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-421-5354. DETAILS: The cathedral’s excellent resident choir presents this special seasonal liturgy of music from medieval to modern, notably Allegri’s “Miserere,” the mystery-cloaked work that the 14-year-old Mozart supposedly wrote down from memory after hearing it once. “Tenebrae,” Latin for “darkness,” is celebrated during the days before Easter, usually Wednesday, and is marked by ceremonies featuring the lighting and extiguishing of candles. Free, no tickets required.

Thursday, April 6

The Cincinnati Zoo is famous for its blooming gardens in April.

Cincinnati Zoo, Tunes and Blooms | 5-8:30 p.m., 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati OH 45220. 513-281-4700. DETAILS: The Zoo launches its April series of Thursday night performances by Cincinnati area rock musicians with The Harmed Brothers, a cross-country band that now hails from Ludlow, Ky. The event takes place in the Zoo’s famed gardens; food and drinks will be available. Also, local singer-songwriter Kryst Kruer performs at The Grove on the Zoo grounds as part of Tunes and Blooms. Admission is free; parking is $10.

Studio Kroner, “Vestiges of Atomic Love” | opening reception 6-9 p.m., 130 W. Court St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-428-9830. DETAILS: Noted for her mixed-media work, Cincinnati artist Tracy Casagrade Clancy draws on her experience as a pediatric grief therapist and counselor for this show, which she describes as “a celebration of human interconectedness.” The exhibition of paintings and sculptures “celebrates the concept of the infinite invisible thread that binds us as a global community,” she writes. The artist gives a talk at 1 p.m. April 15, and the exhibition closes with a reception 2-5 p.m. April 29.

Friday, April 7

Stephen Hough

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra | 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, 513-381-3300. DETAILS: This program of Russian music, with guest conductor Christian Reif, includes two familiar works and one that ought to be better known. The CSO calls the featured work, Dmitri Shostakovich‘s Symphony No. 5, a “symphonic double agent.” Indeed. Out of favor with Stalin and trying to stay out of a labor camp (or worse), Shostakovich labeled it “A Soviet Artist’s Creative Response to Just Criticism,” but the music’s heroic triumphalism has more than a hint of irony and sarcasm. At any rate, it saved his hide. Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s beloved “Vocalise” opens the program, but the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 1, with the incomparable Stephen Hough as soloist, is the highlight. Rachmaninoff never understood why his Opus 1 was ignored in favor of his Second and Third Concertos. He’s not alone. Its youthful exuberance (he was 17 when he wrote it) and brash brilliance might surprise listeners who think they know Rachmaninoff. The program repeats at 7:30 p.m. April 8.

A performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at Knox Church in April 2022

Knox Music Series, St. John Passion | 7:30 p.m., Knox Presbyterian Church, 3400 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208, 513-321-2573. DETAILS: J.S. Bach‘s St. John Passion, the predecessor to his more famous St. Matthew Passion, conveys the Gospel of John’s passion story with high emotions and dramatic changes. Performances of this extraordinary work are not that frequent, and this is one not to miss. Conductor Earl Rivers, esteemed for his decades of musical leadership at CCM, the Vocal Arts Ensemble, Knox Church and more, has much experience performing both Bach Passions. Tenor Daniel Weeks, who is on the CCM voice faculty, performs the central role of the Evangelist, with a full orchestra, the Knox Choir and several other fine soloists (yes, including M&M’s own Thom Mariner as Jesus). Free, but a freewill offering will be collected.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, “As You Like It” | opening night 7:30 p.m., 1195 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202, 513-381-2273. DETAILS: What the First Folio is going on here? Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” as you’ve likely never seen it before, that’s what. In a tuneful (with songs by Cary Davenport) ’90s twist on a classic, Cincy Shakes takes a “Brit-pop musical romp” through the Bard’s delightful comedy, which has seem more than its share of quirky adaptations. But of course, there’s never too much of a good thing, right? Through April 29.

Saturday, April 8

Christ Church Cathedral, Last Words of Christ: Immersive Sound Liturgy | 6 p.m., 318 E. 4th St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-621-1817. DETAILS: Christ Church Cathedral observes Holy Saturday with a multimedia event, created by various artists, meant to reflect and meditate on the seven last sayings of Christ. The presentation in Centennial Chapel will include music based on the seven sayings, with visual projections and sensory stations. People are encouraged to bring mats, pillows or blankets, though chairs will be available.

Sunday, April 9

Classical Revolution, Chamber Music | 7:30 p.m., The Loon, 4124 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati OH 45223, 513-542-5666. DETAILS: Easter Sunday will be a quiet day where arts events are concerned, but this particular day is the second Sunday of the month – and that means Classical Revolution Cincinnati offers its monthly chamber-music evening at the Northside wine bar. This month, it’s guitarist Donald Broerman, pianist James Loughery and other performers.

Monday, April 10

Bassist David Lloyd, pianist/vocalist Tom Schneider and vibraphonist/vocalist Paul Hawthorne will perform with drummer Alex Merk for the Jazz at The Memo series.

Jazz at The Memo, “A Time for Love” | 7 p.m., Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-977-8838. DETAILS: Subtitled “Songs of Longing, Loving, and Losing from the Great American Songbook,” this program on the Monday-night Jazz at the Memo series features vibraphonist/vocalist Paul Hawthorne and pianist/vocalist Tom Schneider in an array of jazz standards on the theme of love. Joining them are bassist David Lloyd and drummer Alex Merk.

Tuesday, April 11

Playhouse in the Park, “A Chorus Line” | 7:30 p.m., 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-421-3888. DETAILS: Just a reminder that only a few days are left to see a certain singular sensation – the opening production in the Playhouse’s new Rouse Theatre, aka Moe & Jack’s Place. Marvin Hamlisch’s classic 1975 musical is performed with new choreography by Alex Sanchez. Ends April 15.

Music Live at Lunch, The Faux Frenchmen | 12:10 p.m., Christ Church Cathedral, 325 W. 8th St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-421-5354. DETAILS: The regionally famous and definitely real Faux Frenchmen bring their talents to Christ Church’s free weekly midday series for a shot of “hot club-driven jazz.” The quartet – guitarists Brian Lovely and George Cunningham, violinist Paul Patterson and bassist Don Aren – have been performing their distinctive style of jazz since 2002.

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