Cleveland Opera Theater Presents "La Bohème" and Five Other Classical Music Events Not to Miss This Week

Cleveland Opera Theater, see La Boheme
This week’s picks range from the Egyptian to the Electric, from classical pops to popular opera, and from Beethoven at his wildest to Wagner at his most erotic.

Westerners like to think of the art music of other cultures as “world” music, but there are “classical” traditions everywhere. One good example is the wasla, the classical music suite developed in Egypt between the last third of the 19th century and the 1940s. The Cleveland Museum of Art will give you the opportunity to take a plunge into this music on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 pm, when it brings Tarek Abdallah, oud, and Adel Shams El Din, riqq, to Gartner Auditorium. The two musicians grew up in Alexandria but now live in France, where they got together for the first time in 2013. Like some of today’s Western musicians, they’ll play the classics first, then use them as a basis for their own improvisations. Tickets can be reserved online.

The Cleveland Orchestra welcomes guest conductor Antonio Pappano and mezzo-soprano Marie-Nicole Lemieux to Severance Hall this weekend for performances on Thursday, April 28 at 7:30 pm, Friday, April 29 at 11:00 am, and Saturday, April 30 at 8:00 pm. The program is all about love: the tragic kind in Richard Wagner’s “Prelude and Love-Death” from Tristan and Isolde, the poetic in Ernest Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer, and the narcissistic in Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) — the hero being the composer himself. The repertoire will give the Orchestra — and Lemieux — a particularly wide range of opportunities for sonic splendor. Tickets from the Severance box office.

Cleveland Opera Theater will take on one of the most popular operas ever on Friday, April 29 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 1 at 3:00 pm when it raises the curtain on Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. Directed by Scott Skiba and conducted by Domenico Boyagian, the cast features Andrea Anelli (as Mimi), Marian Vogel (Musetta), Timothy Culver (Rodolfo), Brian Keith Johnson (Marcello), Benjamin Czarnota (Schaunard), Jason Budd (Colline), and Jason Fuh (Benoit/Alcindoro).

The story of a gaggle of impoverished artists trying to make it in Paris inspired the Broadway show Rent, but it’s difficult to match a full operatic production of La Bohème for texture and excitement. And Puccini’s music (remember Moonstruck?) sticks in the ear and the heart.

A big plus for this production is the venue. The acoustics and sightlines of Masonic Auditorium are amazing, and you can take drinks and snacks from the concession stand to your seat (they won’t let you do that at The Met). Tickets can be ordered online from Cleveland Opera Theater.

Carl Topilow’s Cleveland Pops Orchestra will spend Friday evening, April 29 at Severance Hall revisiting the music of George Gershwin and the lyrics of his brother, Ira. Pianist Richard Glazier will be on hand for Rhapsody in Blue as well as a whole array of the Gershwins’ Broadway music. Tickets for the 8:00 pm show can be reserved here.

Kent State University’s Vanguard New Music Series caps off its season with “Live Wires,” a concert of new music for electric guitars and electric cello featuring composer Arthur Hernandez, guitarists and composers Matt Sargent and Thomas Schuttenhelm, and cellist Jeffrey Krieger. The program includes Schuttenhelm’s Fantasia Variations on “O Nata Lux” (2014) and Analog Angels Inside the Digital Devil (2014), Hernandez’s Janus (2012) and Old Badman (2011), and Sargent’s a thin line to draw us together (2014). The free concert takes place on Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 in Ludwig Recital Hall at Kent State University (1325 Theatre Drive, Kent).

The Amici String Quartet, made up of Cleveland Orchestra members Takako Masame and Miho Hashizume, violins, Lynne Ramsey, viola, and Ralph Curry, cello, continue their six-year expedition through Ludwig van Beethoven’s 16 string quartets on Sunday, May 1 at 3:00 pm on the Arts Renaissance Tremont series at Pilgrim UCC Church. Sunday’s program includes Quartet No. 3 in D, Op. 18, No. 3; the amazing Große Fuge, Op. 133; and Quartet No. 7 in F, Op. 59, No. 1. Come at 2:00 pm to hear Donald Rosenberg and the musicians talk about the music and play some excerpts. The performance is free, but donations are encouraged.

For details of these and many other events, visit the Concert Listings page.
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