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Collaborative magic: ICO and DK concert includes two dancer/choreographer farewells

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A sentence in Rainer Maria Rilke's "Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge" resonates for me on many levels, and Sunday it seemed especially applicable to Joshua Blake Carter' s new setting of one of the most durable short pieces in the classical repertoire.  The Dance Kaleidoscope artistic director's new work was one of two premieres on a program combining the modern-dance troupe and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra at their highest level of achievement. In his only novel, the German poet wrote: "The room next door is the only one that is always completely different  from what you think." Cody Miley and Julie Russel in "To Meet Again" In the capacious house of Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings," the room my mind goes to is home to a celebration of erotic mystery and attraction. It sits next door to the larger room the piece inhabits for most people today: a place of lamentation, with music appropriate for bereavement.  Hanging c

From the ISO, three at the 19th-century cool-kids' table: Liszt, Saint-Saens, and Augusta Holmès

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Karem Abdullah brings diversity to the table. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has put the classical part of Race Month into high gear with programming that ticks the diversity box as well as offering great representatives of the century where almost everyone's symphonic hearts still lie: the 19th. Friday night the novelty was a lengthy tone poem in symphonic form by Augusta Holmès, an ambitious Frenchwoman of Irish parentage who (incidentally) turned aside marriage proposals by Camille Saint-Saens, one of the concert's two eminent figures. The third composer was the continental favorite from Hungary, Franz Liszt. It's worth starting this account by holding up the Liszt Piano Concerto in E-flat, the program's companion Benjamin Grosvenor in a pensive pose piece to Holmès' "Roland Furieux (Symphony after Ariosto)." That's because it received an especially sparkling rendition that went well below the surface as played by Benjamin Grosvenor, a Briti

Venerated pianist at a great jazz club. Resonance erects monument to the uniqueness of Art Tatum

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A midcentury fixture in Chicago's Loop, the Blue Note played host to a variety of the era's brightest stars under the watchful, welcoming eye of Frank Holzfeind, who founded the club in 1947. Now, by arrangement with the proprietor's family and with cooperation from the Art Tatum Estate, comes a three-disc set of Tatum trio performances from August 1953. Resonance Records last month released "Jewels in the Treasure Box," a package with the label's usual elan of verbal and visual support in the accompanying booklet. The classiness rests on a firm foundation of worthy recordings, previously unreleased and brought to light with the tireless dedication of Zev Feldman. Tatum is the genial, relaxed voice introducing the tunes, reflecting his comfort at the jazz club — an impression he shared with many other great jazz figures who appeared there, including Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. The pianist's rapport with his sidemen, guitarist Everett Barksdale and

Indianapolis Opera presents 'A Little Night Music,' a sexy comedy of Scandinavian manners

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"Send In the Clowns" is a rarity among modern musical-theater hits in being selectively lifted from the show by singers who simply want to do it, even though Stephen Sondheim's most popular song is thoroughly nestled in, and essential to, "A Little Night Music." A production of the sometimes blithe, sometimes sentimental operetta by Indianapolis Opera runs through today at the Toby at Newfields . Predictably, "Send In the Clowns" went over superbly as delivered by the aging actress Desiree Armfeldt in the second act. The song can best be understood in context, despite the way it has been put across by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Renata Scotto. Desiree and Frederik refresh their bond.  Here it was beautifully set up by the orchestra, under the sensitive direction of Alfred Savia, and performed within an aura of Desiree's cherished memories and indelible regret by Heather Hertling Narducci. In the reprise, she was joined by Daniel Narducci (her hu

'Romeo and Juliet' at Clowes: Star-crossed lovers in a star-favored production

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  now and then there is a person born who is so unlucky that he runs into accidents which started out to happen to somebody else In the golden age of newspapers last century, Don Marquis' inimitable lower-case cockroach Archy exuded bug wisdom in free verse. The insight above can be applied to the particular situation of Romeo in Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, the basis of the ballet "Romeo and Juliet." A spectacular new production debuted Friday night at Clowes Hall in the first of three performances marking an unprecedented collaboration of Indianapolis Ballet and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. What about Juliet? Well, she also runs into accidents, the product of her forbidden love across the formidable barrier of a family feud. Feuds, after all, are "accidents which started out to happen to somebody else." But her fate is bound up in the patriarchy of the Renaissance, with gender roles rather more restrictive on women than they are today.  The c

ALT's 'A Case for the Existence of God': Anything you can suffer I can suffer better?

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 Unaccustomed as I am to reviewing the next-to-last performance in a run, I was not surprised to find the American Lives Theatre production of "A Case for the Existence of God" so solidly embedded in the two actors' performances Saturday night. On Phoenix Theatre 's Russell Stage, Eric Reiberg and Eric Thompson had every detail as well as the large, turbulent arc of Samuel D. Hunter's play thoroughly in hand. Directed by Andrew Kramer, the 90-minute show captures the audience's engagement from the start. A torrent of words and shifts in two men's relationship in a small Idaho city ensues. It's a tribute not only to the writing but also to the evident commitment of Reiberg and Thompson to their tasks that within a few minutes I was thinking: "Okay, you guys, I'm thoroughly in this thing. Wherever you take me I'm ready to go." And that stuck, though I had to question some of the turns the dialogue takes, as if Hunter couldn't bear

ISO under Märkl breasts the tides once again in ocean-oriented program

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Fortunately not like Wagner's Flying Dutchman,   Jun Märkl  and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra have landed significantly together before setting sail again with another sea-themed voyage. In 2014, the German-Japanese conductor's fitness for the job he now holds was evident. Not that he was unloved by the larger musical world, but Märkl's mutual admiration with the ISO has an official seal on it with his appointment as the ISO's eighth music director. Die Frist ist um, und abermals verstricken sind sieben Jahr' , sings the opera's title character in his first presentation, telling the audience through monologue that, after another fated seven-year period at sea,  he has just about given up finding an end to his wanderings through a woman's true love. Well, it's been seven years since Märkl directed the ISO into safe harbor with a similar program.  Two of the works — Elgar's "Sea Pictures" and Debussy's "La Mer" — are repe