The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra last night gave its first official concert since the end of the lockout, and how sweet it was. At Shepherd of the Valley Church in Apple Valley, the musicians were greeted with a prolonged standing ovation and shouts of “Welcome back!” Led by the ebullient Thomas Zehetmair, they did what they do: play beautifully as one, something a group of freshly minted conservatory grads could never manage.
We heard a bright, tight “Figaro” overture; Schumann’s gorgeous cello concerto, with guest artist Steven Isserlis giving a passionate, ecstatic performance; Schoenberg’s “Ten Early Waltzes for String Orchestra;” and Mozart’s majestic Symphony No. 39. The Schoenberg was a surprise for two reasons. First, because of its lilting beauty (this is Schoenberg, that 12-tone guy?), and second, because it’s brand-new to the SPCO. They’re playing it for the first time this weekend, and they didn’t get the music until a little over a week ago. Through Sunday. FMI and (very few) tickets.
On Tuesday, the SPCO announced that Bruce Coppock will return as the orchestra’s president and managing director starting in June. Coppock served in that role from 1999-2008, during which the SPCO’s audience grew to an all-time high, the annual fund increased by nearly 70 percent, the endowment fattened significantly, and the budget was balanced in all but one year (the recession of 2003). Coppock left in 2008 for health reasons; most recently he was managing director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami residency.
When the musicians of the SPCO signed the contract ending their months-long lockout, they called for “the immediate commencement of a search for a new SPCO leader with proven orchestra management experience, and the vision and skill to substantially increase revenues.” Coppock is all that, plus he’s a musician who has performed extensively, including with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Times are different now, but still, he sounds pretty perfect. Dobson West, who served as interim president and board chair since March 2012, will continue as board chair.
The Minnesota Orchestra’s 2012-13 season is gone but will never be forgotten. It’s the season that will go down in infamy. The lost season, the season of our discontent. All remaining concerts, two weeks’ worth, were canceled Wednesday by the orchestra’s management, which means we won’t end the season with Osmo Vänskä conducting Sibelius and Dvorák and that bubbly mix of this-season’s-over, looking-forward-to-the-next-one melancholy and anticipation.
Meanwhile, management has proposed a three-weekend summer season of six concerts (including Vänskä, Sibelius and Dvorák) at the Ted Mann from July 20-Aug. 2, provided the contract is settled, and has asked the musicians back to the bargaining table on May 20, 21 and 22, with a federal mediator present. The musicians have responded through their attorney with a series of questions they want answered before they say yes. (A sampling: Will MOA [the Minnesota Orchestral Association] terminate the lockout? What is your projected Orchestra Hall reopening date? What are your plans regarding Music Director Vänskä’s announced resignation intentions?) Meanwhile, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will perform two free concerts on Sunday, May 19, of music by Bach, Vivaldi and Piazzola. Concertmaster Erin Keefe is among the featured soloists. At Temple Israel, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Free.
Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” opens tonight. Get a little background on one of St. Paul’s favorite sons with a three-minute video from the Minnesota Historical Society. Or watch the video, read the book, and skip the movie. Do we really want to see Leonardo DiCaprio in 3-D?
More State Fair Grandstand goodness: Three new shows have been added to the line-up. Monday, Aug. 26: The Happy Together Tour. The Turtles with Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night), Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere & the Raiders). A sequential series of blasts from the past. Thursday, Aug. 22: Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon from SNL. Friday, Aug. 30: MN Music-on-a-Stick. With Trampled by Turtles, Mason Jennings, and the Chalice (so far; more artists TBA). Tickets to all go on sale Saturday, May 18.
On sale at 10 a.m. today: Diana Ross at the Orpheum, Wednesday, Aug. 28. That’s MISS Ross. FMI and tickets.
Our picks for the weekend
Tonight (Friday, May 10) at Burnet Gallery, Le Méridien Chambers: “Inner Workings” solo exhibition by HOTTEA opens. City Pages named HOTTEA (Eric Rieger) Best Street Artist for 2013. Maybe you saw the large piece he created for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for last year’s Northern Spark. His first solo show is a collective self-portrait. Nine different pieces, including one you crawl into, form a rough chronological narrative. Opening reception 6 – 9 p.m. Free. Through July 7. FMI.
Tonight at the Lagoon: “Angels’ Share” opens. Ken Loach’s bittersweet comedy about a high-stakes crime and a young Glaswegian hoodlum with a good nose opened this year’s Film Fest. It’s terrific. Here’s the trailer. FMI.
Tonight at the St. Anthony Main Theatre: “Caesar Must Die” returns after selling out multiple screenings during Film Fest. It’s a movie about staging Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in a prison in modern-day Rome. We’re guessing there are no money shots of the Spanish Steps. Through Thursday, May 16. Trailer. FMI and tickets.
Tonight through Sunday at the Cowles: Zenon Dance continues its 30th anniversary season with Faye Driscoll’s “Mariana,” Wynne Fricke’s “Wine Dark Sea” (with live percussion by Peter O’Gorman), Mariusz Olszewski’s “Hotel Tango (para Sharon),” and Daniel Charon’s (Storm). These will be company member Greg Waletski’s final performances. Here’s our interview with Peter O’Gorman about what it was like to work with Fricke. FMI and tickets.
Tonight at Studio Z in Lowertown: Xavier Charles/Frederic Blondy/Guylain Cosseron Trio, Nick Hennies. Part of Jesse Goins’ “Crow with No Mouth” series of electro-acoustic improvisations. For the adventuresome and the big-eared. 8 p.m. Read what Goins has to say. FMI and tickets.
Saturday at Hopkins Center for the Arts: Laura Caviani: From Bach to Bop. Jazz pianist Caviani is one of the shining stars of our local scene, knowing for her too infrequent performances of music by Thelonious Monk. She’s classically trained, and this concert presents the best of both worlds: works by Schumann, Chopin, Bach, Stravinsky and more arranged for a jazz ensemble including Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Adam Meckler on trumpet, David Milne on saxophone, Phil Hey on drums, and Chris Bates on bass. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets.
Saturday at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Eco Experience Building (formerly the Progress Center): Craftstravaganza. The well-curated indie craft show, now in its eighth year, features more than 90 artists with all kinds of things to bring home and admire: ceramics, glass, leather, prints, candles, candies, jewelry, paper. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. 1265 Snelling Ave. Free admission. FMI including list of vendors.