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UW Symphony Presents ‘Porgy and Bess’ Oct. 8

September 29, 2015
head portrait of man
Robert Sims

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra opens the fall season with George Gershwin’s masterpiece “Porgy and Bess” Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the concert hall at the newly renovated Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets cost $10 for the public; $7 for senior citizens, UW faculty and staff; and $6 for UW students. Tickets are available at www.uwyo.edu/finearts or by calling (307) 766-6666. Tickets also are available at the Wyoming Union information desk and Performing Arts box office.

The program is part of the formal reopening of the Performing Arts Center. Free tours, beginning at 5 p.m., will explain the details of the building's expansion and highlight new state-of-the-art rehearsal rooms, classrooms and music studios, with demonstration rehearsals led by UW music student ensembles.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled at 6 p.m. and, following the performance of “Porgy and Bess,” audience members can meet the evening’s artists at a reception in the new instrumental rehearsal hall.

Also at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8, the UW Department of Theatre and Dance opens its season with the Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Directed by Leigh Selting, the show runs Oct. 6-10 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center’s new Thrust Theatre. Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students.

The UW Symphony Orchestra will be joined by guest soprano Louise Toppin, guest baritone Robert Sims and the UW Collegiate Chorale, directed by Nicole Lamartine, UW Department of Music associate professor.

Set in Charleston’s waterfront in 1930, “Porgy and Bess” explores the lives, loves, violence and hopes in the Afro-American neighborhood of Catfish Row, says Michael Griffith, UW Symphony conductor and woman singing with conductor in front of herprofessor in the Department of Music.

The concert’s first half will feature theater music from the 20th century American stage. The overture to Bernstein’s “West Side Story” will begin the festivities with music from Bernstein’s “Candide.” Audience members will hear music from Aaron Copland’s film score “Our Town” and his opera “The Tender Land.”

Other numbers include classic American songs such as “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” “My Man’s Gone Now” and “Bess, You Is My Woman Now.”

Toppin won the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions, was a finalist in the Munich International Competition and has sung in Europe and several Pacific countries.

Sims is a Gold Medal winner of the American Traditions Competition and has been praised for his interpretations of African-American spirituals. He has performed throughout the United States, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia, toured Japan with the Pacific Music Festival and recently appeared with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

New this year in the concert hall are “Tweet Seats.” Audience members who like to stay connected to social media are welcome -- silently -- to post their comments and share their experiences online. “Tweet Seats” are available only in the back two rows of the auditorium.

For more information, contact Griffith at (307) 766-3069 or email symph@uwyo.edu.


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Chad Baldwin

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