UNCG Opera Brings Home an American Prize

The American Prize in Opera Performance has announced the 2019-2020 winners, with UNCG Opera Theatre’s production of Falstaff receiving second place in the college/university division, tying with Louisiana State University.

Falstaff, Verdi’s last opera, is a revenge comedy based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. The UNCG production, mounted in the spring of 2019 and directed by David Holley, included 10 principals, a chorus of 30, and the University Symphony Orchestra. Metropolitan Opera baritone Richard Zeller was in the title role. Peter Perret was the conductor. Costumes were designed by Deborah Bell and created with the help of costume design students. The set was designed by Randy McMullen with design and production students, and Chip Haas served as technical director.

In addition to the second place honor for the production, Holley is a finalist for the Charles Nelson Reilly Prize for stage direction, and Perret is a finalist for the Opera Conducting Award.

The UNCG Opera Theatre is the recipient of a number of awards. Seven productions have won First Place in the National Opera Association Opera Production Competition, including Susannah, Little Women, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Consul, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Don Giovanni, and five production have placed Second: Galileo Galilei, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, La vida breve, and Albert Herring and Gianni Schicchi. The Magic Flute and Amahl and the Night Visitors have received Third Place.

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests in the performing arts, unique in scope and structure. Founded in 2010, contestants hail from all fifty states, representing literally hundreds of communities and arts organizations across the nation.

Students Awarded Community-Based Research and Creativity Grant

The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Office (URSCO) Community Based Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award was presented to four students: Triston Broadway, Gabriel Figuracion, Maguette Seye, and Heather Lofdahl.

The team collaborated with Dr. Rebecca MacLeod to write a grant in support of the creation of a diverse online music learning community for young people by young people in partnership with Peck Elementary School and the Peck Alumni Leadership Program (PAL). The project seeks to provide more diverse examples of performers and musical styles for young string musicians.

The grant-writing team included:

  • Triston Broadway – music composition major, alumnus of the Peck Alumni Leadership Program
  • Gabe Figuracion – music education major
  • Maguette Seye – biology major, member of Sinfonia, alumnus of the Peck Alumni Leadership Program
  • Heather Lofdahl – PhD Music Education student, Peck Alumni Leadership Coordinator

The Undergraduate Research and Creativity Award (URCA) is designed to help faculty and students partner in meaningful projects that result in advances in understanding within their discipline/field of study. The community-based research (CBR) initiation grant supports proposals that represent collaborative partnerships among community partner, student, and faculty teams. Projects should advance the development of community partner capacity, student learning through the high impact practice of undergraduate research, and facilitate the evolution of faculty scholarly identity as it relates to community-identified needs.

Wilson Kimber

Distinguished Alumnus Presented Award from Society of American Music

Distinguished Alumnus Marian Wilson Kimber (BA ’83) was recently awarded the Sight and Sound Subvention from the Society for American Music for her work “In a Woman’s Voice: Musical Readings by American Women Composers.”

This project will be a video recording of musical readings for spoken word and piano by women composers, performed by Marian Wilson Kimber, reciter, and Natalie Landowski, piano. It is based on the work in Wilson Kimber’s book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017). The influx of female performers into elocution during the Progressive era resulted in women’s dominance of spoken-word compositions, which were frequently performed for audiences in women’s clubs from the 1890s to the 1940s. The texts treat stereotypically feminine topics—fashion, courtship, or domestic life—often in satirical tones, supported by musical commentary in the piano. Composers such as Phyllis Fergus and Frieda Peycke created works that specifically appealed to women while subtly resisting existing gender norms. Wilson Kimber and Landowski have been performing these works for several years to warm response in academic settings and for the music’s original audience, women’s groups; this recording will help further the rediscovery of this practice.

Marian Wilson Kimber is Professor of Musicology at the University of Iowa. She has published numerous articles about women in music, Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, and recitation in concert life. Her book, The Elocutionists: Women, Music, and the Spoken Word (University of Illinois Press, 2017) won SAM’s H. Earle Johnson Subvention, as well as a subvention from the American Musicological Society. With pianist Natalie Landowski, Wilson Kimber is a founding member of the duo, Red Vespa, which is reviving the performance of comic spoken word pieces by women composers. Red Vespa has delighted audiences in Kansas City, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC, and has appeared at Ohio State University as the William A. Hammond Lecture in the American Tradition.

Source: Society for American Music Bulletin

School of Dance Alumna Giving Greensboro “Something Our Community Needs Right Now”

School of Dance Alumna Princess Johnson, founder of Royal Expressions Contemporary Ballet, is taking her company’s Juneteenth Arts Celebration online.

“The entire Greensboro community will benefit from watching it as we all seek healing and reconciliation in our varying ways,” Johnson said.

Read more in this Greensboro News and Record Article.

Photo from News and Record article. Princess Johnson talking with Ryan Deal, Executive Director of Creative Greensboro, at a recent rehearsal for the Juneteenth Arts Celebration.

School of Dance Alumna Organizing for Change

Melanie Greene (’13 MFA Dance) is a dancer and writer who hosts the Dance Union Podcast, with dancer J. Bouey. When the document titled “An Open Letter to Arts Organizations Rampant With White Supremacy” began circulating on the internet, Greene and Bouey used their podcast to begin dialogue and action to make a difference.

Their work is featured in this New York Times article, A Model for the ‘Dance World We Want’.