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Bob Dylan at Midway July 10; SPCO musicians voting by mail

dylan photo
Coming to Midway Stadium: Bob Dylan.

In June, Bob Dylan will launch a summer tour that would knock most people flat, even those who aren’t 71 years old. (He’s currently on a spring tour that runs through May 5.) He’s coming to Midway Stadium on July 10, with Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. through eTix online or by phone (1-800-514-ETIX), in person at the Midway Stadium box office or First Ave’s Depot Tavern. He’s calling his new tour the AmericanaramA Festival of Music. Tickets are $68, all general admission.

Because several SPCO musicians are currently away from home and performing elsewhere, the musicians decided Saturday to vote on management’s latest proposal by U.S. mail. Instead of enforcing its original deadline of 5 p.m. yesterday (and canceling more concerts), management has adjusted its timeline and also made some minor adjustments to the proposal based on discussions with the musicians’ negotiating committee. If the new proposal is ratified on or before Monday, April 29, the SPCO will begin rehearsals on May 7 and resume concerts on May 9.

With no public drama, the Minnesota Opera has successfully completed negotiations with its orchestra musicians for a new four-year contract that includes small increases in fees and pension contributions starting in 2014. We could hold this up as an example for the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra, except we’d be comparing apples to oranges. 

Like the musicians of the two larger orchestras, those of the Minnesota Opera Orchestra are members of the Twin Cities Musicians Union and the American Federation of Musicians. But this is a per-service orchestra, not a full-time orchestra. The musicians are not on salary, and they play about 28 performances each year. There’s a core orchestra of 54 players who are called first; additional musicians are called as needed. No one is paid for not playing. Plus – drum roll – management and musicians get along. In the press release about the new contract, Twin Cities Musicians Union President Brad Eggen praised the “positive and productive working relationship” and the “forward-thinking administration.”

mn opera orchestra
Courtesy of the Minnesota Opera
The musicians of the Minnesota Opera are not on salary; they play about 28 performances each year.

Minnesota Opera president and general director Kevin Ramach shed some light on this Monday in a conversation with MinnPost. “We’ve worked together to become a better organization all the way around,” he said. “The orchestra had for a long time wanted a music director; we found the right person at the right time [in Michael Christie, appointed last January], and that has helped our relationship. [Until 2011], we had a long tradition of having the SPCO play for one production a year. Our musicians felt, ‘If we’re the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, we should play for all the performances.’ So we eliminated having the SPCO play. The fact that we’re in the Arts Partnership with the SPCO made it more difficult to part with them, but that has helped our relationship with our players.” The musicians wanted more input into the audition process, and the establishment of permanent assistant principal positions; both are part of the new contract, which takes effect July 1, 2013.

university singers
Courtesy of the University Singers
The University Singers – 55 students and graduate
student conductors – will provide clinics and voice
instruction to high-school choirs.

If you’re in Osseo, the Brainerd area, or Cambridge, the University Singers are coming your way. On its first-ever tour through Minnesota, the University of Minnesota School of Music’s choral group – 55 students and graduate student conductors – will provide clinics and voice instruction to high-school choirs. They’ll also perform with high-school students on Thursday, April 25 in the Osseo High School Auditorium; Friday, April 26, at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter; and Saturday, April 27, at Cambridge-Isanti High School. All performances are at 7:30 p.m., free and open to the public.

Ananya Dance Theatre travels a bit farther later this month – to Zimbabwe, where it will present “Moreechika: Season of Mirage” at the Harare International Festival of the Arts on April 30. Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea to an original score by composer Greg Schutte, “Moreechika” is an evening-length work about oil and the environmental, cultural, and human costs of its extraction, particularly on women in global communities of color. Ananya recently made big changes in its governance and management structures. Gina Kundan will chair its board of directors, succeeding Anne Jin Soo Preston; Gary Peterson has been named to the new post of managing director, succeeding Jessica Briggs, who served as program manager.

The Guthrie’s recent announcement of its 51st season was met with matter-of-fact reporting, not the hue and cry of last year, when the 50th season was faulted for ignoring women and minorities. The mainstage line-up for 2013-14 includes first-time Guthrie productions of Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart,” to be directed by the Guthrie’s Marcela Lorca, and Nina Raine’s Drama Desk winner “Tribes,” to be directed by Wendy C. Goldberg.

Other mainstage productions include a stripped-down version of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya;” Garson Kanin’s “Born Yesterday;” Kneehigh Theatre’s production of “Tristan and Yseult,” adapted and directed by Emma Rice; Shakespeare’s “Othello,” directed by Marion McClinton; Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Our Country’s Good,” performed by the British international touring company Out of Joint; the current Broadway hit “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” directed by Joel Sass; and the summer musical, “My Fair Lady,” directed by Joe Dowling. Penumbra will present “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall on the Guthrie’s proscenium stage; Lou Bellamy will direct. The New York-based The Acting Company will return with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Joe Chvala will once again direct “A Christmas Carol.”

The partial list of shows slated for the Dowling Studio includes David Goldstein’s “Skiing on Broken Glass,” Mark St. Germain’s “Freud’s Last Session,” Sun Mee Chomet’s “How to Be a Korean Woman,” Kyle Loven’s “Moon Show 143,” and productions by Pillsbury House Theater and the Mount Curve Company, Carlyle Brown & Company, Walking Shadow Theatre Company and Black Label Movement.

After nearly 20 years of requests, the Bell Museum may finally get funding for a new facility and planetarium, the Minnesota Daily reports. Outdated plumbing, no air conditioning, rodents, mold, flooding in the basement storage area and the lack of proper wheelchair access are just some of the problems plaguing the current location at 17th and University avenues on the U’s East Bank campus. The new museum would be built on the St. Paul campus.

We’d love to see what the Bell could do with a modern space. They already have modern ideas; their Valentine’s night “I Dig You!” event (a picnic dinner on a blanket before a diorama of your choice) sold out, they recently named several artists in residence, and the annual Bell Social draws crowds for a night of science, art, and music. Speaking of, this year’s Bell Social happens Saturday (April 27) starting at 6 p.m. Festivities include a performance by the Chastity Brown Trio, the debut of new works by Bell artists, a food truck, cash bar, and door prizes. FMI and tickets ($12/$10).

Our picks for the week

Tonight at the Film Festival: MN-Made Short Narratives 3. Five short films from Minnesta-based/Minnesota-native filmmakers include “Angelica,” about a love that never dies; “Golden Hour,” about an older man’s search to recover his lost memories, filmed in 10 different locations across the state (including Nokomis Coffee Shop); “School Night,” in which two teenagers break into their high school with plans to blow it up; “City Boots,” in which a horse knows best; and “Sicky,” about a six-year-old girl who invents an imaginary friend to cope with her mother’s illness. 7 p.m. Also showing tonight: the feature-length film “Gold Fever,” which explores what happens to a small town in Guatemala when a gold mine opens. From the Minnesota-based filmmaking team behind the 2008 festival hit “Pond Hockey.” 7:15 pm. tonight, 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

ringwald quartet
Courtesy of Concord Music Group
Molly Ringwald's debut jazz CD, “Except … Sometimes,” is a pleasant surprise.

Tonight at the Dakota: Molly Ringwald Quartet. From “The Breakfast Club” to the Dakota stage is not such a stretch for Ringwald, whose father was a jazz musician. Her debut jazz CD, “Except … Sometimes,” is a pleasant surprise. (As Dakota owner Lowell Pickett gently reminded us last week, Ringwald was signed to Concord, a major label, and “Concord isn’t stupid.”) Drawn mostly from the Great American Songbook, the songs include “Pick Yourself Up,” “I’ll Take Romance,” “Exactly Like You,” and the “Breakfast Club” classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” Ringwald can sing, she can swing, and she fills the lyrics with meaning. Plus she’s adorable, which doesn’t hurt. This could be fun and charming. 7 p.m. and 9 ($35/$25). FMI and tickets.

Tonight in the Mall of America rotunda: Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader Auditions. Sixty finalists compete for 34 spots on the team, performing dance routines and cheers for a panel of judges. 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday at The Museum of Russian Art: MinnPost columnist Andy Sturdevant and TMORA curator Dr. Masha Zavialova host a panel discussion on conceptual art. Panelists include artists Marcus Young, Caroline Kent, Alexa Horochowski and Ruben Nusz. Presented in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibition, “Concerning the Spiritual in Russian Art, 1965-2011.” 6:30 p.m., doors at 6. Limited seating; reserve here. $5 general admission, free for TMORA members.

Wednesday at Fireside Pizza: One of the best-kept secrets among jazz and music fans is this cozy, neighborly Richfield pizzeria. Every Monday and Wednesday, Denny Malmberg and Charmin Michelle perform standards and favorites on accordion and voice. It’s like hearing live music in your living room, except your living room probably doesn’t have a big plastic tree and thin-crust pizza. This Wednesday, Malmberg and Michelle release their first CD together, “Struttin’ Out.” No cover, plenty of free parking, good music, a reasonable dinner tab and two-for-one house wine and tap beer. 7 p.m,

Opens Wednesday at Mount Zion Congregation: “We Could Recall/We Could Tell Stories.” A new play by Sharon DeMark (“Knit One, Purl the Other”), directed by Leah Cooper, based on oral histories of Minnesota holocaust survivors (and Mount Zion members). DeMark weaves the words of eight people from five different countries into a tapestry of suffering and renewal. Performers range in age from 14 to 88 and include both professional and community actors. 7 p.m. Wednesday, 7 p.m. Saturday (April 27), 2 p.m. Sunday (April 28). Free, but space is limited and reservations are required. Visit the website or call 651-698-3881.

Thursday and Friday at SPCO Center: Jace Clayton (DJ/rupture) performs “Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner.” Focusing on the life and music of gay African-American composer, pianist, and vocalist Julius Eastman, one of the first musicians to combine minimalist processes with elements of pop music, Clayton restages two Eastman compositions in new arrangements for multiple pianos and real-time electronic processing. In other words, he pulls piano sounds through the laptop, transforming and layering them with digital tools. He also adds video and theatrical vignettes. Clayton is performing this work in only three U.S. cities, of which St. Paul is the third; he was at MoMA PS1 in Brooklyn earlier this week. He’s bringing his own group – Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Emily Manzo, David Friend, and Arooj Aftab – and adding two top area pianists, deVon Gray (dVRG) and Bryan Nichols. This program is part of the SPCO’s Liquid Music series curated by Kate Nordstrum. FMI and tickets.

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