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U of M School of Music's University Opera Theatre Presents Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein's 'Parables' April 19-22

Aldridge & Garfein in residence and the ‘Parables’Engagement Project

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The University of Minnesota School of Music’s University Opera Theatre (UOT) will present the stage premiere of Parables, a new dramatic cantata and American choral work by the Grammy Award-winning team of composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein. “Parables” will run from Thursday, April 19 through Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. in Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S., Minneapolis. “Parables” will be directed by School of Music professor and UOT Director David Walsh and will be conducted by School of Music professor and Director of Choral Activities Kathy Saltzman Romey.

“Parables,” a timely artistic response to racial and religious intolerance around the globe, promises to be a powerful experience for audiences. Each of the work’s seven sections tells a unique story, or parable, featuring the intertwining of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

“Parables” had been performed twice previously, on the East Coast, purely as concerts. Unconventional staging and the inclusion of four languages—English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Greek—contribute to the distinctiveness of UOT’s production.

Director David Walsh describes “Parables” as UOT’s largest undertaking ever, with 200 performers from the University Orchestra, University Singers, and Men’s and Women’s Choruses. As part of the performance and prior to the 50-minute cantata’s debut, several local performance groups will share music and dance representing each featured religion.

“Parables” will be performed by a professional cast, consisting of School of Music faculty members Adriana Zabala (mezzo soprano) and Philip Zawisza (baritone), joined by Monica Yunus (soprano) and Dennis Peterson (tenor) as well as School of Music students Carolyn Cavadini (soprano), Sidney Walker (mezzo soprano), Joseph Okell (tenor) and William Bryan (baritone).

A pre-opera lobby discussion begins 45 minutes before each performance with director David Walsh, composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein.

Twin Cities Public Television will film “Parables” for future broadcast, and the University of Minnesota Department of Communication Studies will document the engagement portion of the “Parables” Project.

Tickets: $22 general admission; $12 for U of M students; group rates available. Two-for-one tickets for University students, faculty, staff, retirees, and alumni. Call 612/624-2345 or visit www.opera.umn.edu.

Parking is available in the 21st Avenue Ramp, one block southwest of the concert hall. Photographs available upon request. Email requests for photographs to marsh396@umn.edu. For more information on UOT, visit opera.umn.edu.

Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein Residency
As part of the U of M School of Music’s Creative Instructional Residencies Initiative program, composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein will be in residence at the School of Music April 1 through 14. Their residency will feature a recital of works by Aldridge and Garfein, as well as School of Music composition student Tiffany Skidmore, on Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. in Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall in Ferguson Hall. The recital is free and open to the public.

Engagement
The “Parables” Project, an engagement program in conjunction with the production, involves David Walsh and School of Music graduate student T.K. Vu visiting Minneapolis and St. Paul high schools to lead religious and cultural dialogues with 120 selected students. After group visits to a basilica, temple, and mosque, the students will be invited to the “Parables” forum “Religion and the American Dream: Religious Diversity in America,” an on-campus religious tolerance talk, at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in Room 225 Ferguson Hall. The forum will be moderated by David Walsh, with composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein in attendance. This forum is free and open to the public.

Support for this production and the “Parables” Project was provided in honor of Professor Jean B. and Julie Reeves.

Established in 1902, the University of Minnesota School of Music offers a dynamic, comprehensive program to more than 550 music students in undergraduate and graduate programs, led by a world-class faculty of more than 75 artists, scholars, and teachers. The School of Music presents more than 400 free concerts per year. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.music.umn.edu or call (612) 626-1094 for a brochure.

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EVENT LISTING INFORMATION

‘Parables’ forum: ‘Religion and the American Dream: Religious Diversity in America’
Wednesday, April 11, 5:35 p.m., Room 225 Ferguson Hall
Part of the “Parables” Project, a religious tolerance forum inspired by Robert Aldridge’s “Parables,” moderated by University Opera Theatre Director David Walsh, with composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein in attendance. Discussions will center on the issue of diversity in America in its religious, social and cultural aspects. Free and open to the public.

Recital of Works by Artists in Residence Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein
Friday, April 13, 8 p.m., Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall, Ferguson Hall
A recital of works by artists-in-residence composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein, as well as School of Music composition student Tiffany Skidmore. Free and open to the public.

University Opera Theatre presents Robert Aldridge’s ‘Parables’
By the Grammy Award-winning team of composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein
Directed by David Walsh, conducted by Kathy Saltzman Romey
Thursday, April 19; Friday, April 20; and Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. All in Ted Mann Concert Hall, 2128 4th St. S., Minneapolis
The events of 9/11, seared as they are into the collective consciousness of America, have triggered a powerful backlash against non-Christian-based religions and cultures, which comprise a significant portion of the country’s social fabric. This dramatic cantata by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein, composer and librettist, respectively, for last season’s hugely successful production of “Elmer Gantry,” is a timely artistic response to the growing tendencies of racial and religious intolerance emerging across this nation and throughout the world, propelled by inflammatory catchphrases such as “illegal aliens,” “the global war on terror,” or the “threat of Islamic radicalization.”

Illuminating their theme by means of the three major “American” religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—the cantata argues the case for finding strength and promise, rather than menace and evil, in the extraordinary diversity of the world’s cultures and celebrates this in a gloriously uplifting finale.

Tickets: $22 general admission; $12 for U of M students; group rates available. Two-for-one tickets for University students, faculty, staff, retirees, and alumni. Call 612/624-2345 or visit www.opera.umn.edu.

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