It may have been Election Day on Saturday, but the comic pursuit of love dominated in Opera San Antonio’s “The Barber of Seville” at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The opera company staged a union of virtuosic singing with physical comedy for the ever-popular masterpiece by Biachino Rossini before an audience of more than 1,100 people Saturday night. Stage director E. Loren Meeker prepared a highly entertaining interpretation of “Barber” with a cast that left nothing more to be desired.
The new season for San Antonio’s Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is a sizzling one, and they can’t wait to get started. For the first time, two series openings — Broadway and the Edge — will be launched in August. “We felt that it was the one time of year that didn’t have a lot of competition,” said Aaron Zimmermann, vice president of programming and marketing, “so it was a good opportunity to start the season a little earlier.” It’s the Tobin’s biggest season yet, he added.
Ballet San Antonio (BSA) and Artistic Director Willy Shives have announced the 2017-18 season as “Bold and Beautiful,” which will feature romantic and dramatic elements. When compiling the new series, Shives wanted to use a specific theme that embodied the color red, as well as powerful and memorable characters to tell the stories. He also wanted to incorporate choreography that included works from George Balanchine and Gerald Arpino to add essence to each performance.
The Witte Museum’s expansion, Luminaria’s 10th anniversary this fall, the redevelopment of the Centro de Artes gallery, the transformation of San Pedro Creek, which will include public art installations—San Antonio’s arts community is energized right now. “There are so many great things happening in arts and culture that are transforming our community,” says Debbie Racca-Sittre, executive director at the city’s Department of Arts & Culture.
The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ryan Garrison as artistic director. A native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Dr. Garrison comes to CCSA by way of Phoenix, Arizona, where he maintained an active schedule as a professional choral singer, conductor, and educator. Dr. Garrison will be the second artistic director in the organization’s 34-year history.
As vice president of programming and marketing for the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Aaron Zimmerman strives to bring in new shows that will bring in new audiences. “We want to continue to expand the theatrical options and tastes and likes and experiences for everyone,” he said. That’s why the 2017-18 season is laced with San Antonio premieres, including “Fun Home,” “A Gentleman’s Guide to Murder” and “Circus 1903.” He also knows that there is an interest in revisiting shows that have been through before.
Ballet San Antonio Artistic Director Willy Shives turned to a very special constiuency when he was deciding what to present in the 2017-’18 season. He talked to his dancers. “I asked them, ‘What ballets do you want to do?’” he said. “A lot of them talked about ‘Giselle,’ and I love ‘Giselle.’ Is San Antonio ready for it? They’d better be.” That’s because the classic piece will open the season. The dancers’ suggestions, as well as Shives’ desire to challenge them and audiences, helped guide his other selections for the season, too.
This city has heard the San Antonio Symphony perform Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 before. But this city has never heard those works like the San Antonio Symphony played them Friday night at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The high level of performance coupled with the responsive Tobin Center acoustics elevated these pieces to new concert heights. To hear both on the same program magnified the beauty of each, given the similar rich harmonic languages and the shared deep philosophical waters.
If audiences bring knowledge of world history to the San Antonio Symphony‘s newly announced classical season, they may hear familiar selections in new contexts. “I designed a season that is very much constructed around historical markers,” Symphony Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing told the Rivard Report. “We have a lot of anniversaries in ’17-’18 to celebrate.” The season will open with Grammy Award-winning pianist Emanuel Ax, performing an all-Beethoven concert as a one-night-only event on Sept. 16 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
One way to convey Friday night’s San Antonio Symphony program would be to report its mixture of French and Russian music, but the better description would be about all the fun that happened. The concert was American, too, featuring a twin-sister piano duo from New York City performing one of the French pieces, Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos. Piano duets rank as among the most challenging in all of repertory, mainly for getting the timing together. Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing has joked that it happens best when both players have the same mother.
Known for its 15-mile River Walk, the city offers a version of Texas that mixes traditional with innovative. By expanding the River Walk from three to 15 miles in 2013, and linking it to five Spanish colonial missions, San Antonio remains a jump ahead of the imitators. With the expansion of the River Walk, which runs in front of it, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts grew, too. Now a metallic honeycomb addition conceals two additional theaters appended to a 1920s-vintage auditorium.
The is warming up, and that means the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will be hosting another season of free, fun events on the Will Naylor Smith River Walk Plaza.
The music for Friday night’s San Antonio Symphony classical series concert may have all been composed in the 20th century, but the beautiful, fierce melodies and the rich orchestrations all screamed 1800s Romanticism. The best example was Igor Stravinsky’s Suite from “The Firebird” in its 1945 version that is longer than two earlier arrangements. Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing led a razor-sharp, electrifying performance as he guided the orchestra through tricky rhythms, mood swings and quick-switching tempo changes and a keen eye for details.
Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music were always hard to categorize. Ferry was boxed in by his devilish good looks; the band, by its undeniable glam image and attitude, which often overshadowed the musical brilliance. Ferry was often described as a rock crooner. The sexy album covers were to die for. But to focus on the glam exterior was to miss the elements of danger and menace Roxy Music possessed, and which Ferry commanded. The music was dense, not teenybopper pop.
Evin Nicole Eubanks, whose resume includes four years as executive director of the Chicago Dancing Festival, has been named executive director of Ballet San Antonio. She succeeds Jenniann Colon, who began her turn as executive director in December 2015 alongside Artistic Director Willy Shives. Shives remains with the company in that position. Eubanks' most recent post was with Cushman & Wakefield San Antonio Commercial Advisors. She has a bachelor's degree in theater arts from Texas Tech University.