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Weekend Picks: Moody Nordic music; reimagining ‘Beowulf’; a cabaret and variety show

Plus: Pipa plus orchestra; Unpredictable Drawings; Jill Bernard in a one-person show.

Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik will be playing Edvard Grieg’s Ballade in G minor, Op. 24, at Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church on Friday.
Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik will be playing Edvard Grieg’s Ballade in G minor, Op. 24, at Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church on Friday.
Courtesy of the artist

Things get unpredictable this weekend with the art of improv. At Huge Theater, Jill Bernard brings a world-touring, one-person show, “Drum Machine” — made up on the spot each night. Gao Hong brings improvisation into the world premiere of her new pipa piece with the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis. Meanwhile, at the Black Forest, Walking Shadow treats to you a “Feast” of Beowulf, Norway House brings out the emotion with Scandinavian music, and Xochi de la Luna debuts their new talk show and variety show.

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Nordic Unrest

Get ready for some moody Scandinavian classical music when Norwegian pianist Oda Voltersvik visits the Twin Cities for a concert presented by the Edvard Grieg Society, a program of Norway House. The program is called “Nordic Unrest.” Voltersvik is an internationally touring musician, having played in venues like Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and St Martin in the Fields in London, and the Norwegian Opera House. She’ll be playing Edvard Grieg’s Ballade in G minor, Op. 24, a work the composer wrote soon after the death of his parents. He said of the work, which is made up of nine variations plus a coda on a Norwegian folk theme, that it was composed “with my life’s blood in days of sorrow and despair.” The concert includes other selections by Grieg as well as work by another Norwegian composer, Geir Tveitt, and Icelandic composer Atli Heimir Sveinsson. Friday, March 3, at 7 p.m. at Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church ($20). More information here.

Jill Bernard
Photo by Pablo Jones/Balls Cabaret
Jill Bernard

Drum Machine

Twin Cities comedian Jill Bernard takes on numerous characters in a one-person show filled with scenes, monologues and songs at Huge Theater. After interviewing an audience member, Bernard launches into an entirely unscripted musical based on the details of their life, decontextualized in a different historical period the audience chooses. A veteran of  ComedySportz Twin Cities and a founding member of Huge Theater, Bernard has taken the piece, “Drum Machine” all over the world. For this performance, she’ll be accompanied by Kelly Shuda on keyboard. Fridays in March and April (except March 23) at 9:30 p.m. ($15). More information here.


It’s dinner theater like you’ve never experienced when Walking Shadow presents Megan Gogerty’s “Feast,” co-produced by the Black Forest Inn. Isabel Nelson will perform solo in the one-woman show, directed by Allison Vincent. It reimagines the story of “Beowulf,” from the perspective of Grendel’s mother, a bog witch who seeks justice for the murder of her son, the monster. The Black Forest Inn is serving a three-course meal of pork ribs, sauerkraut, root veggie pot pie and chicken paprikash with the play, which alludes to the mead hall of “Beowulf.” You can also buy a non-dinner ticket to the show. If you want even more Beowulf goodness, come March 4, 18 or 25 at 5 p.m. and see Walking Shadow’s co-artistic director John Heimbuch’s one-man version of Beowulf before “Feast.” Friday, March 3, Saturday March 4, through March 25 ($20-$30 show only, $55-$65 with dinner). More information here.

“Unpredictable Drawings” by David Goldes
Courtesy of Dreamsong
“Unpredictable Drawings” by David Goldes

Unpredictable Drawings book launch

Dreamsong gallery has returned from Los Angeles after a spending a week at Frieze LA to launch a new art book featuring artist David Goldes, “Unpredictable Drawings.” It compliments “Unpredictable” Goldes’ solo show on view, a fascinating exploration of electrical currents and chemistry with images that are at once stark and full of chaos. The art book was published by Radius Books, with text by Pavel S. Pyś, curator of visual arts at the Walker Art Center. The book launch takes place Friday, Mar. 3 at 5 p.m. at Dreamsong, (RSVP here). More information here.

The Mirror Palace Premiere

A cabaret and variety show is coming to Mixed Blood Theatre, with music, dance, performance art gets interspersed between interviews with artists of all different types. Xochi de la Luna acts as a host for the evening, conducting interviews in between sets by the likes of choreographer Noelle Awadallah, musician Anita Velveeta, and the smart and funny performance duo We Are Married, among others. Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5, Mixed Blood Theatre (free). More information here.

Musical Journey for Pipa and Orchestra

The Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis celebrates its 70th anniversary with classics and contemporary music, including the world premiere of Gao Hong’s “Musical Journey for Pipa and Orchestra,” commissioned for the event, on the heels of Hong’s own 50th year playing the pipa. Hong’s work is infused with hope and optimism, as well as the triumph over struggle from the lens of journeying through life as a musician. She will be using improvisation as part of the performance.  The concert will also highlight “Seven O’Clock Shout” by Valerie Coleman, inspired by frontline workers during the COVID pandemic, as well as Adolphus Hailstork’s “An American Fanfare,” and “New World Symphony” by Antonín Dvořák. Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall (free). More information here.

Editor’s note: The work referenced in “Feast” has been updated.