Never Say Never

In last week's Chronicle, I authoritatively stated that, prior to the Austin Lyric Opera production of Tannhäuser, Austin had never seen a production of a Wagnerian opera. Well, I should know better than to make such sweeping statements. No sooner was the ink dry on the page than I received a very polite note from Ron Seeliger at the University of Texas informing me that such was not the case. Mr. Seeliger, a librarian in the Perry-Castaneda Library and a longtime opera fan, writes that in March, 1971, our fair city was treated to a version of Tristan und Isolde by the San Antonio Grand Opera Festival. Ingrid Bjorner, Walter Cassell, Jean Cox, and Nell Rankin performed and Victor Alessandro, then the conductor of the SA Symphony, presided. "It was a very fine performance in a very traditional setting," Mr. Seeliger says. He has also found evidence that a touring group may have presented Wagner's Parsifal here in 1908. But even so, he graciously adds, I am "correct that this is the first locally produced Wagner attempt." I thank him, apologize for the error, and herewith vow to leave all historical pontificating to Mr. Smarty Pants.


Screen Dreams, Part Two

If you failed to realize your daydreams of silver screen stardom by responding to our notice last week about The Newton Boys, the new film by Rick Linklater about to be shot locally, you have another opportunity to fulfill your fantasy this weekend. Movie extras are needed for a feature to be lensed in Austin very soon. The movie is Michael, it's by writer-director Nora Ephron (When Harry Met Sally..., Sleepless in Seattle), and it will star John Travolta and Andie McDowell. Men, women, and children of all ages are needed, so your chances are good. If you're interested, get a mug shot (non-returnable) and hit the Open Call on Sunday, January 21, between 10am and 5pm, at the Wyndham Hotel, I-35 and Ben White. No phone calls.


FronteraFest Jams

As if the folks at Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre didn't have enough acting, dancing, emoting, and all other manner of performing going on around them these days via their FronteraFest performance jamboree (more than 200 artists presenting over 40 works by February 10), they're now adding opportunities for more performance work during the four-week festival run. F@HP Artistic Director Vicky Boone reports that "Performance Jams" are being scheduled for the late-night slots following the Saturday shows. These free-form programs will be open to any artist, including the Fest's guest artists and Austin performers not taking part in the Fest proper. Each Jam will feature 10 seven-minute slots; sign-up for the slots begins at 10:30pm the night of. Showtime is 11:30pm. Admission is by donation. To find out more, call the F@HP office, 419-7408.

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The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

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It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003

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