Arts Beat for Oct. 26: Beethoven meets Chinese folk song

World-renowned pipa player Wu Man and the Shanghai Quartet will blend the sounds of China and Western string quartet in an unforgettable evening of music at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in Robison Hall (the Concert Hall) at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
The program will include a suite of traditional Chinese folk songs, solo pipa works, Beethoven’s Op. 95 “Quartetto Serioso” and a new multimedia work by eminent Chinese composer Zhao Jiping and his son, Zhao Lin, including one of Jiping’s most famous cinematic scores: “Raise the Red Lantern.”
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Grammy Award-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer, giving her lute-like instrument — which has a history of over 2,000 years in China — a new role in both traditional and contemporary music.
Renowned for its passionate musicality, impressive technique and multicultural innovations, the Shanghai Quartet (Weigang Li, violin; Yi-Wen Jiang, violin; Honggang Li, viola; Nicholas Tzavaras, cello) has become one of the world’s foremost chamber ensembles.
There will be a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Room 125.
Tickets are $25 for the general public. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 443-6433 or go to
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., the Compass Music and Arts Foundation presents a special event with the UK violinist Madeleine Mitchell, who will give a presentation with musical illustration.
Violinist Madeleine Mitchell has been described by the Times of London as “one of Britain’s liveliest musical forces.” She has performed as soloist and chamber musician in some 50 countries and in major venues including the BBC Proms, Lincoln Center and Sydney Opera House. She has frequently represented the UK abroad, including at the queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Mitchell’s acclaimed recordings, for which she has been nominated for Grammy and BBC Music Awards, include “Violin Songs” released by Brandon-based Divine Art Records and many award-winning albums for several other major labels.
Although this is a free event, donations are welcome and reservations are requested. Call 247-4295 or e-mail [email protected] for reservations or for more information.
Town Hall Theater will broadcast MET Opera’s “Tannhäuser” live from New York at noon on Saturday. There will also be a free pre-show talk at 11:15 a.m. in the downstairs studio.
James Levine conducts Wagner’s early masterpiece in its first return to the Met stage in more than a decade. Today’s leading Wagnerian tenor, Johan Botha, takes on the daunting title role of the young knight caught between true love and passion. Eva-Maria Westbroek is Elisabeth, Peter Mattei sings Wolfram and Michelle DeYoung is the love goddess, Venus.
History, myth and invention come together in “Tannhäuser” to create a unique and powerful drama. The title character was a real 13th-century Minnesinger who inspired a legend that Wagner used as the basis for the opera. He notably added the character of Elisabeth, based on the historical Saint Elisabeth of Hungary, wife of the Landgrave of Thuringia.
Estimated run time is 4 hours, 20 minutes.
Tickets are $24, $10 students. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Opera Company of Middlebury. For tickets and information, call 382-9222 or go to
Middlebury Actors Workshop’s production of “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” by Paul Zindel continues at Town Hall Theater with a 7:30 p.m. performance on Thursday and a repeat performance on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Beatrice Hunsdorfer was abandoned by her husband and left to raise her two young daughters without money or help. She ekes out a living in her Staten Island storefront by taking in elderly, dying boarders. Her life has been a bitter disappointment to her, and she wreaks a petty revenge on those she loves best, even as she tries to protect them from the cruelty of the world that betrayed her.
Ruth, her eldest, exudes a savage charm and relish for life, yet struggles with disturbing nightmares and seizures. Tillie, the younger, finds salvation in her fascination with the natural world and the wonders of the cosmos. Her gift for science and the mentorship of a thoughtful teacher at school, lifts her beyond the squalid minefield at home.
Tickets are $22 adults, with a $10 student rush available at the door. For tickets and Information, call 382-9222 or go to
The exciting 2015-2016 Hirschfield International Film Series continues on Saturday at Middlebury College with the 2014 Belgium/France/Italy film, “Two Days, One Night,” directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.
In this Dardenne brothers’ film starring Marion Cotillard, young Belgian mother Sandra works at a solar-panel plant but learns that her coworkers have voted against her medical leave to preserve their bonuses. She has only one weekend to persuade them to change their minds.
“Cotillard gets so persuasively inside Sandra’s skin that it’s not at all surprising that this performance has earned her another Oscar nomination,” says Calvin Wilson in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The film, in French with English subtitles, will be shown at 3 and again at 8 p.m. in Dana Auditorium on College Street (Route 125). It’s free. Some of the films in this series may be inappropriate for children.
There will be two live performances this week at Two Brothers Tavern in Middlebury. Join Two Brothers every Wednesday at 9 p.m. for The Open Mic, an evening of music, comedy, or anything else, alternately hosted by Mark Sikora and Kai Stanley. Come cheer on your friends or let loose on the stage. It’s free to enter and there is no cover charge.
Then, on Saturday, the tavern presents The Horse Traders who will be headlining Two Brothers’ annual Halloween Bash, at 9 p.m. Between the music, the decor and the costumes (everyone comes in costume — including the band and the bartenders), this party is not to be missed. Prizes are awarded to the most creatively dressed in a number of different categories. There is a $3 cover charge. For more information, call Two Brothers at 388-0002.
There will be two live musical events this week at Middlebury’s 51 Main. At 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Myra Flynn will take to the stage. Her original indie/soul/folk songs blend soulful vocals with a lyrical delivery that doesn’t let one get too comfortable.
Then, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Ivory will perform for a Halloween costume party. Local musicians Bruce Costello (keyboards) and Michael Boise (bass) have combined their talent and experience to bring you an evening of classic rock-and-roll from many of your favorite artists including Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Wilson Pickett, Steely Dan, B.B. King and many others. Prizes will be awarded in various categories.
All ages, no cover. For additional information visit or phone 388-8209.
A new exhibit of Middlebury College student sculpture, “Line in Space: Just a Corner of Your Memory Palace,” opens on Thursday in the Johnson Memorial Building.
The students exhibit works that focus on the limitless, form-making possibilities of welded-steel rod. While tackling elemental aesthetic issues of balance, volume, perspective and scale, each sculpture provides a glimpse into the artist’s own personal narrative. The exhibit, which runs through Nov. 10, is free and the public is welcome.
“The Dick Forman Jazz Group: A Jazz Conversation” will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday in Robison Hall (the Concert Hall) at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
This will be an evening of sparkling, sophisticated, mainstream jazz, enhanced by a chance to look behind the curtain and see how jazz is created. Long a favorite of Vermont audiences, the Jazz Group features Forman on piano, with some of New England’s finest musicians: Paul Asbell, guitar; Michael Zsoldos, sax; Jim Daggs, bass; and Geza Carr, drums.
It’s free and the public is welcome.
Anne Janson and Friends will perform at 4 p.m. on Sunday in Robison Hall (the Concert Hall) at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts.
Affiliate artist Anne Janson and University of Vermont colleague Sylvia Parker perform the Claude Bolling Suite for flute and jazz trio with UVM music faculty Jeff Salisbury, drums; and John Rivers, bass. The concert also includes works by Mozart, Bartók, and Faure. It’s free and the public is welcome.

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