Arts Scene: Hendrix Theater And Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Masterworks

Mar 8, 2016

Part 1: Hendrix College in Conway has a wonderful tradition in the theater department, where, each Spring, a guest director is in residence for several weeks, working with students on the play of choice suggested by the director and approved by the department. This year, Melora Kordos is here. The play chosen is Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Chicago-born Melora grew up in a theatrical family. An exceptionally fine high school laid the groundwork for what has become her career.

Measure for Measure runs February 24-27 at the Hendrix Cabe Theatre.

Part 2: The Arkansas Symphony's fifth Masterworks concert presents one of the greatest choral works of all time, the German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, preceded by Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms -- new to many of us perhaps, such as I, which adds to the anticipation. There are two soloists in the Brahms, baritone Robert Holden and soprano Maria Fasciano, accompanied by seven choirs, one soloist -- a countertenor, in the Bernstein. Today, Robert is my guest. He grew up in Philadelphia, into an athletic family. One of five boys, an older brother sang, so he did too, but played all sports until injury cut short football stardom. A grandfather played for the Philadelphia Phillies. So he stayed in music.

Part 3: The Requiem is one of two works. The concert includes Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein, also with choir, but only one, with one soloist, countertenor Ray Chenez. We had to record Ray Chenez in France - Skype came to the rescue - where he was rehearsing an early Baroque opera. He was born and raised in Lockport, New York, and all his early training was in the United States. He was clearly happy to talk about his life so far and where it seems to be taking him. He made his debut in Lincoln Center last season and is full of praise for the way 21st century directors are looking back to the 16th century and earlier and is delighted to be part of this exploration. He also loves Mozart.

The ASO Masterworks concert is Sat., Feb. 27 and 28.

This program originally aired Sun. Feb. 21, 2016.

Arts Scene with Ann Nicholson airs weekly on KLRE at 12:00 p.m. and KUAR at 5:30 p.m. in Little Rock.