Culture FIX: April 12-18

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the culture is … well, it’s sprouting up everywhere! So enjoy the warmer weather, get out there and see what Cincinnati’s arts scene has to offer this week.


Wednesday, April 12

Alyssa Weinberg

CCM Musica Nova, “Sparrows” | 7:30 p.m., Patricia Corbett Theater, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati, 513-556-4183. DETAILS: The growth of trees, the motion of planets, the play of birds — quite a set of themes for the CCM new music ensemble’s program, conducted by Kevin Michael Holzman. Of special interest is Alyssa Weinberg’s colorful “Rings and Roots” for chamber orchestra. In her mid-30s, Weinberg is prominent in her generation of composers, and she teaches at several major institutions, among them Juilliard. Also on the program: “Epicycles” by the late avant-garde composer/mathematician Iannis Xenakis; [fuse] by Nick Omiccioli, who writes “pop music for classical musicians.” And soprano Rachel Kobernick is the student soloist in the beautiful title work “Sparrows” by Joseph Schwantner, a Pulitzer Prize winner who just turned 80. Free admission.

Thursday, April 13

Friends of Music Hall, “Silent Movies Made Musical” | 7 p.m., Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-621-2787. DETAILS: Well, isn’t this another fine mess? Organist/arranger Clark Wilson unleashes the Mighty Wurlitzer on a collection of short silent films by Laurel and Hardy from the late 1920s: “Putting Pants on Phillip,” “Leave ‘Em Laughing,” “Habeas Corpus,” “The Finishing Touch” and “That’s My Wife.” Film historian Joe Horine hosts.


Paul Robeson

Opera Fusion: New Works, “Robeson” | 7:30 p.m., Wilks Studio at Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-241-2742. DETAILS: The cutting-edge collaboration between Cincinnati Opera and the College-Conservatory of Music continues with a musical exploration of a towering figure in 20th century American culture: Football star, famed singer, actor, lawyer and activist Paul Robeson, a true Renaissance man who used his fame to advocate for equality and justice, only to be blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Free, but reservations are required.


Cincinnati Ballet, “Beauty and the Beast” | 7:30 p.m., Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-621-5219. DETAILS: In this Family Series offering, the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company and students from the Otto M. Budig Academy perform a ballet based on the beloved fairy tale that has inspired more than a dozen films including, of course, the Disney animated and live-action classics. The one-hour performance is narrated, suitable for all ages, and a special sensory-friendly performance takes place at 10:30 a.m. April 14 in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s. Through April 16.


CCM Dance, “Fairies, Swans and Still Waters” | 8 p.m., Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati, 513-556-4183. DETAILS: CCM’s Dance Series presents an intriguing program that combines a bow to the classics – selections from “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake” with music by Tchaikovsky – with the premiere of “Still Waters,” a collaboration between faculty choreographer Shauna Steele and doctoral composition student Grace Choi. Through April 16.

Friday, April 14

Dayton Opera, “Das Rheingold” | 7:30 p.m., Schuster Center, 1 W. 2nd St., Dayton OH 45402, 937-228-3630. DETAILS: This is a Big Deal: A rare (in our region, at least) full production of an opera from Richard Wagner’s epic “Ring Cycle,” which, as Dayton Opera points out, paved the way for modern-day fantasies such as “Lord of the Rings,” Harry Potter and, yes, even “Star Wars” (well, maybe except for “The Rise of Skywalker”). Dayton Opera has never performed “Das Rheingold” (the cycle’s prologue) before, and hasn’t done any Wagner opera in 50 years. Guess it’s high time. Among the cast are baritone Lester Lynch as Wotan and bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock as Alberich. Neal Gittleman conducts. Also April 16.


“Bird+Tree” by Tyler Spohn

Visionaries + Voices, “The Bird Show” | Opening reception 5-8 p.m., Northside Gallery, 3841 Spring Grove Ave., Cincinnati OH 45223. 513-861-4333. DETAILS: Spring is for the birds, you know, so what could be more appropriate than an exhibition focusing on avian artwork? The artists at Visionaries + Voices have assembled a varied collection of art pieces, created in the V+V studios, reflecting our love of and fascination with these winged creatures. Through June 2.


Cincinnati World Cinema, “Smoking Causes Coughing” | 7 p.m., Theatre at the Garfield, 719 Race St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 859-957-3456. DETAILS: And now for something completely different: Cincinnati World Cinema screens a whacked-out, French superhero comedy from director Quentin Dupieux, who revels in “low-budget absurdist comedies with preposterous premises that he always takes at face value, no matter how demented,” a New York Times critic recently wrote. “Smoking Causes Coughing” (“Fumer Fait Tousser”) is about a team of bumbling, spandex-clad superheroes dubbed the “Tobacco Force” who use the toxic chemicals in cigarettes to vanquish their enemies. With superhero names such as Méthanol, Nicotine and Benzène, they are trying to save the world from the alien villain Lézardin. In French with English subtitles, not rated and, according to CWC, not for kids.


Alton Fitzgerald White in “The Lion King”

School for Creative and Performing Arts, “Broadway and Beyond” | 6 p.m., Mayerson Theater, SCPA, 108 W. Central Parkway, Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-363-8015. DETAILS: SCPA alumnus Alton Fitzgerald White, an acclaimed actor best known for playing Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway (in more than 4,300 performances!), returns to SCPA to headline a benefit performance and reception, with all proceeds going to support SCPA’s Vocal Arts Scholarship, established by White. Tickets are $25.

Saturday, April 15

Must-see Music Saxophonist Steven Banks
Saxophonist Steven Banks

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, “Pictures at an Exhibition” | 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, 513-381-3300. DETAILS: The brilliant saxophonist Steven Banks, who made his local debut last fall with Matinée Musicale, returns to perform the premiere of jazz pianist-composer Billy Childs’ Saxophone Concerto, a CSO commission. The rest of the program is more conventional but most welcome: Rimsky-Korsakov‘s “Russian Easter Overture,” fittingly programmed on Orthodox Easter weekend, and Mussorgsky‘s piano masterpiece “Pictures at an Exhibition” in the familiar orchestration by Ravel. Ramón Tebar is the guest conductor. Also April 16.

Sunday, April 16

Collegium Cincinnati in concert

Collegium Cincinnati, “Alleluia” | 3 p.m., Christ Church Cathedral, 325 W. 8th St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-421-5354. DETAILS: Collegium Cincinnati, ensemble-in-residence at Christ Church Cathedral, is led by Associate Artistic Director Manami White in a program keyed to the Easter season: Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 7, Vivaldi’s motet “Longe mala, umbrae, terrores,” and Mozart’s beloved “Exsultate, jubilate,” with its ending “Alleluia.” A pre-concert reception at 1:30 p.m. features a talk with Artistic Director Matthew Phelps, with wine and hor d’oeurves. It’s the ensemble’s season finale.


Male singers of Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble in rehearsal

Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble, Spring Concert | 7 p.m., Calvary Episcopal Church, 3766 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati OH 45220, 513-861-4437. DETAILS: The Cincinnati Boychoir joins the Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble in a program of choral and organ music by Fusion conductor Howard Helvey, Johannes Brahms, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Francis Poulenc and other composers. Bradley Hunter Welch is the guest organist. Free admission.

Monday, April 17

EWI Quartet

Jazz at the Memo, EWI Quartet | 7 p.m., Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202, 513-977-8838. DETAILS: EWI. It’s pronounced “ee-wee.” It’s been called “the saxophone’s crazy cousin.” The Electronic Wind Instrument, wielded by Eric Lechliter – Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra music director and a Xavier professor – lends its name to this quartet, which also includes Michael Sharfe on bass, George Simon on guitar and Jeff Mellott on drums. This is a chance to hear some top local jazz players in a creative program, and it closes Jazz at the Memo’s Memorial Hall season.

Tuesday, April 18

A scene from “Hadestown”
Photo by T Charles Erickson

Broadway in Cincinnati, “Hadestown” | 7:30 p.m., Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati OH 45202. 513-721-3344. DETAILS: In a recent theater overview, Long-time Movers & Makers contributor David Lyman raved about “Hadestown” as “easily one of the most anticipated productions of the year.” This unusual show, which received 14 Tony Award nominations and won eight of them (including best musical and best score) in 2019, combines the mythological tale of Orpheus and Eurydice with that of Hades and Persephone in a setting that’s been described as “a timeless steampunk dystopia.” The music, lyrics and book are all by Anaïs Mitchell, who premiered the musical in Vermont and spent a decade reworking it before its off-Broadway opening in 2016. Through April 30.


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