Renée Fleming visit to include master class; Dessa at the O’Shaughnessy

Photo by Andrew Eccles
Renée Fleming

Renée Fleming will open the Schubert Club’s International Artist Series on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Her concert at the Ordway is already sold out except for standing room,* but she’ll stay over an extra night for a two-hour master class at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, starting at 1 p.m., four to six lucky-duck advanced voice students will be coached by the superstar soprano. Some of us will be able to watch and listen. Tickets ($20) go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at MacPhail Student Services, or call 612-321-0100. Seating is limited. Students, go here for the Master Class Application.

This is likely Fleming’s first-ever Twin Cities master class. If it’s not the first, it’s her first in the past 10 years. It’s worth trying to get into, if you’re into this sort of thing. In YouTube videos of other master classes, Fleming is warm, generous, personable, and funny, and the students aren’t too terrified.

We can’t help think of another master class at MacPhail – Theater Latté Da’s 2014 production of Terrence McNally’s “Master Class,” with Sally Wingert as Maria Callas. This will be different.

* For the concert, you can add your name to an email wait list in case of turnbacks. Call the Schubert club box office (651-292-3268) or email

Two Bach groups announce 2016-17 seasons

Under new artistic director Matthias Maute, a conductor, composer, flutist, Bach specialist and winner of a JUNO award (Canada’s Grammy), the 84-year-old Bach Society of Minnesota will give three concert programs from September through April, 2017. Concerts will be held at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall, Central Lutheran Church in Winona and First Lutheran Church in Marshall.

Thursday-Sunday, Sept. 22-25: “Alleluia! Contatas and motets by the Thomaskantor.” Plus the fourth “Brandenburg” and a partita for solo recorder. Friday-Saturday, Oct. 28-29: “In Heaven’s Castle: From Luther to Bach.” In a nod to the Martin Luther exhibition that opens at Mia on Oct. 30, this program begins with a motet by Luther, then continues with music by Praetorius, Schutz, Buxtehude and J.S. Bach. The season ends Friday and Sunday, April 21 and 23, with Bach’s “Easter Oratorio.” Go here for locations, times and tickets (adults $23).

Photo by Bill Blackstone
Matthias Maute

The considerably newer Minnesota Bach Ensemble, co-founded in 2013 by conductor Andrew Altenbach, Minnesota Orchestra players Dave Williamson, Basil Reeve and John Miller, and sopranos Linh Kauffman and Madeline Cieslak, started out playing in area churches. It has found a home at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall and will present three programs there from October through May, 2017. Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 22-23: “Storms, Comfort and Light,” with works by Bach, Telemann and Haydn (Symphony No. 8, “Le soir”). Sunday-Monday, Feb. 19-20: “Brilliant Dances,” with music by Bach (Concerto for Two Violins in D minor), Vivaldi (Concerti for Strings), Fasch and Marcello. Sunday and Monday, May 7-8: “Dialogues and Soliloquies,” featuring Bach cantatas, the double harpsichord concerto and Frederick the Great’s Symphony in G. FMI and tickets (adults $25).

Patrick’s Cabaret throws ‘Becoming-Out Party’

In late March, Patrick’s Cabaret lost its lease. In less than two months, by the end of May, it would have to vacate the firehouse on Minnehaha it had called home for 16 years. Executive Artistic Director Scott Artley, who had been on the job since January, moved Patrick’s office and home base to ArtsHub at Intermedia Arts and took a month off. Then the planning began.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Patrick’s will hold a “Becoming-Out Party” at Intermedia Arts to announce its fall season programming, which will include new shows and new programs in new performance spaces. “Patrick’s Cabaret’s artistic output is going to look very similar to what you’re used to,” the invitation says. “But we’re going to do our work in new ways.” In other words: “Out of the firehouse, and into the fire!” The event is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Learn more here. RSVP here.

Meanwhile, the firehouse is now the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, “a mission-driven arts organization and performance space … where artists of all classes, cultures and origins can begin, grow and mature as artists.” Its performance space, called the Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge, will have a series of grand opening events starting this Saturday (Sept. 3) with a concert by Charlie Parr. Singer/songwriter Lianne Smith will open. FMI and tickets ($8/$10). Upcoming events include a Bluegrass Bash on Sept. 10, the LoLa Art Crawl and after party on Sept. 17, Erik Koskinen on Oct. 7 – and Patrick’s Cabaret founder Patrick Scully’s “Leaves of Grass—Uncut,” for two weekends in October, details TBA.

The picks

Tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 3) at Birchbark Books: Wayne Horvitz: “21 Pianos.” We’ve often mentioned the Bösendorfer piano on loan at Crooners, a magnificent instrument with more keys than usual. McKnight visiting composer Horvitz is touring Minnesota with a small ship’s piano with fewer keys, just 67. It’s old, decaying, and so out of tune that it makes John Cage’s prepared piano sound like a chorus of angels. For his “21 Pianos” project, Horvitz is visiting 21 towns and cities across the state, inviting people to play, and recording their performances. Later, he’ll use the recordings to compose 21 pieces of electronic music. The project will be documented in a book that includes two CDs. Stop by Birchbark anytime Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to observe or take part. Here’s more about the project. And here’s a video of the piano being played.

Sunday at Common Good Books: “Too Cute for Words”: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Letters to His Daughter. “Dear Pie,” Fitzgerald once wrote to his daughter, Scottie, “Worry about courage. Worry about cleanliness. Worry about horsemanship. Don’t worry about popular opinion.” For September’s FitzFirst@Four, a monthly series presented by Fitzgerald in Saint Paul, Melissa Barker will talk about the letters and their connection to a series of short stories Fitzgerald wrote for the Saturday Evening Post in the 1930s. 4 p.m. Free. P.S. There’s a big Fitzgerald conference coming to St. Paul in June of next year, and it’s not too soon to start hanging out with the right people.

Next Thursday (Sept. 8) at the Fitzgerald: National Geographic Live: Photography Without Borders with photojournalist Annie Griffiths. Minneapolis-born Griffiths was one of the first women photographers to work for Nat Geo. She has photographed in nearly 150 countries, and she is also executive director of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of photographers who document programs that are empowering women and girls throughout the developing world, especially as they deal with the effects of climate change. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15-$45).

Next Friday (Sept. 9) at the O’Shaughnessy: An Evening With Dessa. For her largest hometown headliner of 2016, the rapper/singer/essayist/poet/Doomtree hip-hop crew member will be joined by her full band and some new collaborators for ballads, rap and banter. Chicago-based MONAKR will open. This night is part of the “Women of Substance” series. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($45-$15).

Coming up

Sept. 9-11 at Northern Clay Center: 18th Annual American Pottery Festival. Northern Clay’s annual celebration of the art of the pot may be experienced on several levels: as a member, a collector, an enthusiast, a student, a teacher, a tourist, a shopper. Works by 30 artists from here and across the U.S. will be shown and available for sale. Workshops, artist-led slide lectures, panel discussions and an opening night party are available. If you’re interested in pots, or curious to know why other people are, check it out. Friday night’s opening party is $25; Saturday and Sunday admission is $5 at the door. FMI.

Courtesy of Northern Clay
Ceramic work by Matt Repsher

Sept. 11 and 18: Bike tours. Winding through the parks and parkways of the saintly city, the family-friendly 22nd Annual St. Paul Classic Bike Tour happens Sunday, Sept. 11. FMI. Register here (adults $40; other prices for other ages). Starting and ending at Boom Island, the 10th Annual Minneapolis Bike Tour is a ride through parks and byways on the other side of the river. FMI. Register here ($35 through Sept. 11, $45 day-of-ride). Always trying to be cooler than St. Paul, Minneapolis’ bike tour has an after party with beer. Sorry, no before party with beer.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jim Million on 09/02/2016 - 09:35 am.

    Relax and Smile.

    Renée Fleming …to be heard and enjoyed.

    A great classical voice of America (Indiana, PA), as is Frederica von Stade (Somerville, NJ).

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