"...Were slacks a good idea for a first date? Is Mom's decision to spend every Christmas by herself in Barbados a measure of how little she loves her kids? Such questions may have never bedeviled Madama Butterfly or Don Giovanni – or the protagonists of Jake Heggie's operas Dead Man Walking and Moby-Dick, for that matter – but that doesn't mean they aren't the stuff of opera. For as inconsequential as they may look in print, in Heggie's chamber works At the Statue of Venus and Three Decembers, just mounted together at the University of Texas' Butler Opera Center, they become springboards to the larger question "What is it to be loved?" And that's been at the heart of opera since the form was born...."
"...Usually when I hear of a production like this, I rather skeptically suspect a desperate marketing ploy, since modern settings are among the most common ways for opera companies to generate appeal and keep the operas fresh for audiences. (Incidentally, the Butler Opera Center at the University of Texas is currently running a modernized version of Don Giovanni in which Donna Elvira struts across the stage with a dyed bob cut and an iPhone.)..."
"...The desire to liberate operas from their traditional settings to modern-day milieus can yield powerful and intriguing new productions from which we experience the music, story, and characters, perhaps even our world, with a refreshed clarity. The University of Texas Butler Opera Center's fall production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte (set in the world of contemporary high finance) was such a bold reimagining..."
"...But somehow a handful of colleagues and former students of this beloved professor of voice have settled on some two dozen selections with which to pay tribute to their late friend and mentor. It will be a fittingly eclectic program, ranging from Robert Schumann's "Widmung," sung by tenor Leonard Johnson, to an aria from Sergei Rachmaninoff's Aleko, sung by bass Nikita Storojev, to selections from Sweeney Todd, performed by Butler Opera Center students, to a scene from The Mikado from Taylor's old friends at the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin..."
"...AO Artistic Director Richard Buckley has spoken of his desire for the company to explore the operatic repertoire beyond the staples of the 18th and 19th centuries, and programming newer works – and specifically newer American works – enhances for audiences a sense that opera is still a living art form and one that's relevant to people in this country today. Certainly, an opera that centers on a contentious battle for the presidency, on the manipulation of war heroes for political gain, and on a relentless drumbeat of sloganeering about outsiders and enemies invading our homeland more than qualifies on the latter count...."
"...The Daughter of the RegimentDell Hall at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside www.austinopera.org Through Feb..."
"...A Woman in MoroccoMcCullough Theatre, 2375 Robert Dedman, UT campus, 512/477-6060 butleroperacenter.music.utexas.edu Through Nov. 3 Running time: 2 hr, 30 min..."
"...Wolfe. The critical response was enthusiastic, and though the show's subsequent run at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., fared poorly, plans were made to take the show to Broadway with Patti LaBelle – who had sung numbers from Queenie Pie in a 1983 PBS special celebrating Ellington's music, the one time the opera connected with the network it was intended for...."
"...But the composer hasn't been seen around these parts much since Austin Lyric Opera provided the North American premiere of the Glass opera Waiting for the Barbarians in 2007. This Butler Opera Center production is thus an increasingly rare opportunity to hear this living master's work performed live..."
"...Rowling Hall, the new graduate education building for the McCombs School of Business, and fill 4,000 square feet with a mural. Though the artist is well-known for working on a large scale – for the likes of the One World Trade Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music – the as-yet untitled work that will cover the grand entrance to the Zlotnik Family Ballroom in Rowling Hall will exceed anything he's done to date. [image-3-right]..."
"...• The University of Texas' Butler School of Music has commissioned a new opera from Mexican composer Daniel Catán in honor of Sarah and Ernest Butler, the school's longtime patrons. Catán, "one of the most significant operatic composers today," according to Butler Opera Center Director Robert DeSimone, will compose an opera based on the 1941 film Meet John Doe, written by Richard Connell, Robert Presnell, and Robert Riskin and directed by Frank Capra..."
"...Queenie Pie, Butler Opera Center..."
"...Who made the big stories of 2010 in Austin's creative scene? Each of the individual artistic disciplines can lay claim to its share. The visual arts delivered a one-two punch of dynamically reinvented venue openings in the fall: the Visual Arts Center on the University of Texas campus, built by Lake|Flato from the bones of the Art Building's old exhibition galleries, and Arthouse, its historic HQ Downtown given an inventive makeover by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis..."
"...The most recognized musical was Ragtime, produced by Zach Theatre to open its Topfer Theatre, also receiving seven nominations. Earning six nominations each were The Poison Squad, an ingenious devised drama by theatre collective the Duplicates; the comedy Under Construction, another madcap theatrical mash-up by Charles Mee directed by David Long for the Mary Moody Northen Theatre; and the Blue Lapis Light aerial dance work Heaven-Earth-One, which has been revived and can be seen on the Long Center Terrace – and above it – through Sunday, May 26...."
"...1) Blue Rhapsody (Austin Chamber Music Center) The temptation was strong to top this list with the Long Center's awesome debut, marking Austin's continued rise as a cultural capital. But in the end, instinct pointed to the Austin Chamber Music Festival's opening gala, about which I still ramble incessantly..."
"...The source of the record donation – the largest ever to a music school at a public university – was hardly a surprise. Ernest and Sarah Butler are well-known and active in the local cultural scene (he serves on the UT College of Fine Arts Advisory Council; she's chairwoman of the Ballet Austin board of directors and a member of the Blanton Museum Council), and they have a history of major gifts to the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art, and the Long Center for the Performing Arts..."
"...Duke Ellington called it an opera. It's being staged by the Butler Opera Center..."
"...The Doyle and Debbie Show, Long Center for the Performing Arts..."
"...I Am My Own Wife, Zachary Scott Theatre Center..."