Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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  • PHOTO COURTESY OF OLD DEERFIELD PRODUCTIONS<br/>Soprano Mari-Yan Pringle will sing the role of Sojourner Truth in the opera "Truth" at the Academy of Music.
  • PHOTO BY JON DOYLE<br/>"Lungs" cast members Leslie Roth and James Zebooker
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UMASS DEPT. OF MUSIC AND DANCE<br/>Christoper Krueger
  • PHOTO BY BRAD LEARMONTH<br/>Craig Harris performs Feb. 21 at Bowker Auditorium at UMass, part of the Magic Triangle Jazz Series.
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  • PHOTO COURTESY OF UMASS DEPT. OF THEATER AND DANCE<br/>The UMass University Orchestra

Music at UMass

Christopher Krueger, Renaissance flute, and guest artist Stan Charkey, Renaissance lute, will present a recital Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in Bezanson Recital Hall on the University of Massachusetts Amherst. On the program: music from the Renaissance era, played on original instruments.

∎ The University Orchestra, featuring soloist Elliot Lee, violin, will be presented Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall. Lee is a winner of the 2012-e_SSRq13 UMass Concerto Competition.

Conducted by Teresa Cheung, the orchestra will perform Brahms’ “Tragic Overture,” Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto in D Major” and Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”

Tickets for both concerts cost $10; $3 for UMass Amherst students; $5 for other students, senior citizens and children under 18. To reserve, visit fac.umass.edu/musicanddance or call the UMass Fine Arts Center box office at 545-2511.

∎ The UMass Opera Workshop, an ensemble of students from the Department of Music & Dance, was selected by audition to participate in the Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition at the National Opera Association’s 58th National Conference, which took place last month in Portland, Ore.

Preparation for the competition included 30 hours of rehearsals during the last two weeks of the fall semester, when students, under the direction of Amy Johnson, director of the opera workshop and a professor of voice at UMass, learned the Act I finale from “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss II.

While at the competition, Johnson and the students attended performances, seminars, workshops and master classes on topics such as auditioning, transitioning into the professional performance world, and performance and teaching techniques. Although they did not win a prize, the UMass students report that many people told them that the “Die Fledermaus” performance was among their favorites of the competition.

Debut exhibit

“To My Surprise,” an exhibit of abstract paintings by Ann McNeal, will open with a reception Feb. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m. and will remain on view through March 9 at Henion Bakery, 102 North Pleasant St., in Amherst.

This is the first art show for McNeal, a retired biology professor and researcher at Hampshire College, who has been painting for seven years. She says some of her paintings “feature swoops and swirls of vivid colors, often with an amorphous, cloudy feel that comes with painting with scraps of rag rather than brushes.”

The bakery is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

‘Truth,’ the opera

A chamber version of “Truth,” Old Deerfield Production’s opera about Soujourner Truth, will be performed Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton.

The story of Truth, a former African-American slave, who became an influential abolitionist, is told in an American opera for the first time, according to Linda McInerney, director of Old Deerfield Productions.

The opera debuted in Northampton a year ago and has been invited to Skupifest, an international theater and opera festival in Skopje, Macedonia. Saturday’s performance marks the kickoff of a national and international tour of the opera.

The role of Sojourner Truth will be sung by Mari-Yan Pringle, a member of the cast of the 75th Anniversary National Tour of George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”

Tickets cost from $15 to $30. To reserve, visit academyofmusictheatre.com or call 584-9032.

Searching for the past

“Diaspora Africana,” an exhibit of work by metal sculptor Kamil Peters, will open with a reception Feb. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. and will remain on view through March 15 at the Augusta Savage Gallery on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.

Born in Lubbock, Texas, Peters grew up in Amherst and received a bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Hampshire College.

With influences ranging from the ancient terra cotta heads of South America to modern sculptors like Thaddeus Mosley and Elizabeth Catlett, Peters says, he searches for a lost African past, recycling the strength of ancestral spirits in his work.

The gallery is located at 180 Infirmary Way. For information, call 545-5177.

Jazz series

The 2013 Magic Triangle Jazz Series presents Craig Harris’ “Souls Within the Veil” Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. at Bowker Auditorium on the UMass campus.

Harris, a composer and trombonist, composed the piece in 2003 to commemorate the centennial of W.E.B. Du Bois’ seminal work, “The Souls of Black Folk.”

The concert-length piece, performed by a 10-piece ensemble, captures the book’s timeless social commentary, using Du Bois’ concept of “double consciousness,” the “two-ness” of being African as well as American.

Tickets cost $12; $7 for students and are available through the Fine Arts Center box office, 800-999-UMAS.

Take a deep breath

“Lungs,” a two-character play by Duncan Macmillan will be performed Feb. 21-23 at 8 p.m. in Studio 3 on the Amherst College campus.

The production is directed by Amherst College student Constance Congdon. The production is a senior acting project for Leslie Roth, also an Amherst College student.

The play is about a young couple’s struggle to decide if they should have a child in a time of global anxiety, terrorism, erratic weather and political unrest.

Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended. Call 542-2278 to reserve.

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