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Three days before it opens, “Carmen” has become the all-time box office queen of the Minnesota Opera. The company reported Wednesday that tickets sold to date had bested the previous revenue record of $951,000 for the entire run of “The Magic Flute” in 2014.
Bizet’s iconic opera opens Saturday for nine performances over two weeks at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. Nora Sourouzian and Victoria Vargas will alternate in the title role. Tenor Rafael Davila will sing Don Jose.
“Achieving this milestone with our new production of ‘Carmen’ is an incredible way to conclude our 2014-15 season,” general director Nina Archabal said in a statement.
As usual, the Opera company says “good seats still available” although several performances have sold out. 612-333-6669 or mnopera.org
On Easter Sunday, Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vanska and concertmaster Erin Keefe were married in a private ceremony. The couple's engagement was announced, via Facebook, in early January 2014.
The two orchestra VIPs have not released any details or photos from their nuptials. The orchestra released a brief statement acknowledging the wedding and adding, "we wish them all the very best."
While the newlyweds kept their plans quiet, a couple hundred music lovers got advance notice following Saturday night’s Minnesota Orchestra concert. While introducing a post-show bonus performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” featuring Keefe and Vanska (on clarinet) in Orchestra Hall’s atrium, principal cellist Tony Ross casually mentioned that the couple were to be wed on Easter Sunday.
The pair reacted with reserve, but earlier in the night Keefe’s husband-to-be gave her a decorous smooch on the cheek after her mesmerizing solo work on Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” the highlight of the first concert in the orchestra’s month-long “Spirit and Spring” series.
Soprano Leah Partridge.
This is the company’s fourth year of presenting an outdoor summer opera in the ruins of the old mills. The previous three seasons have sold out. This year’s schedule has six shows and runs July 11-21.
Soprano Leah Partridge will play the title character. At the Metropolitan Opera in 2010, she sang the role, subbing for an ill Diana Damrau. She is joined by tenor Chad Johnson, baritone Bradley Greenwald, bass Nathan Stark and mezzo Cindy Sadler.
David Lefkowich, the company’s artistic director, will stage the performance. Brian DeMaris is the music director.
Tickets for opening night are on sale now. Donors who give $250 or more will be invited to a pre-sale for general tickets on May 11 and the remainder of seats will be opened to the public on May 18.
612-875-5544 or www.millcitysummeropera.org
Warren Mack succeeds Gordon Sprenger as board chair of the Minnesota Orchestra, the state's largest arts organization.
Warren Mack, a partner at the Minneapolis law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, has been elected chairman of the board of directors of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mack thanked the community at large for its support of the orchestra and said, "In return, the musicians, Osmo [artistic director Osmo Vanska], the staff and the board pledge to give you some of the most exciting music in America.”
Mack succeeds Gordon Sprenger, who he credited with helping the orchestra's management and musicians reunite after a bitter 16-month lockout over labor disputes. Allen Lenzmeier, who was to have succeeded Sprenger, had to withdraw over health issues.
Mack has served on many for-profit and nonprofit boards, including Buffalo Wild Wings, North Memorial Health Care, Madeline Island Music Camp, and the Michael Steinberg & Jorja Fleezanis Fund for Music. He has experience on nearly all of the orchestra board's committees, most recently co-chairing, with Principal Trombone Douglas Wright, the Liaison Committee, a group of musicians, staff and board formed immediately following the labor dispute. An Orchestra subscriber for more than forty years, Mack is also a pilot and an amateur cellist.
Mack said that he and his wife, former Star Tribune architecture critic Linda Mack, “appreciate our world-class orchestra's sound delivered by Orchestra Hall's unbeatable acoustics. We bought our first season tickets in 1969 and sat in the top balcony of Northrop Auditorium, where we could hear some of the music some of the time and vaguely see Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s arms waving in the distance. Now we sit in the third row where we feel intimately connected with Osmo and the musicians. Every concert is a thrill.”
Kristen Bruya has been named the Minnesota Orchestra's principal bass. Her first scheduled concerts are tomorrow and Friday, Feb, 5 and 6, when she will join the orchestra in a program featuring Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World."
Bruya is the first principal musician the orchestra has appointed since the 15-month lockout ended in January 2014.Two other musicians have been hired since then, violinist Cecilia Belcher and bass trombonist Andrew Chappell.
Most recently the assistant principal bass with the Toronto Symphony, Bruya held that position since 2010. Before that, she was a member of the Nashville Symphony for four years. A native of Missoula, Montana, Bruya has also played with the Sante Fe Opera and various chamber groups.She also taught as an adjunct professor at the Unversity of Toronto.
"It's an honor to join the Minnesota Orchestra with its rich history," she said.
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