Live Music Project's Jewish Themes back by popular demand at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts May 2


Fairfield University's Live Music Project (LMP) returns by popular demand to the Quick Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 p.m. with a powerful program, "Jewish Themes." The program depicts the secular and mystical worlds in a vibrant and emotional concert that combines music and dramatic readings in the approachable style familiar to audiences of Connecticut's only conductorless orchestra. There will be a pre-concert Art to Heart discussion from 7:00-7:40 p.m. with Howard Kissel, New York Daily News chief drama critic and cultural tourist.

Under the direction of Israeli violinist and LMP co-founder Netta Hadari, the group offers a sprightly performance of an early string symphony of Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn and Bloch's "Suite Hébraïque," featuring LMP principal violist, Ellen Higham.

"The Golem," a centuries-old legend of a dark creature created by a mystical rabbi to protect Jews, captures the imagination in a riveting dramatic reading made all the more eerie by an original score by LMP's co-founder Daniel Smith.

In the charming and funny Isaac Bashevis Singer story, "The Son From America," lighter Jewish traditions are explored. Typical of Singer's keen eye for inevitable and familiar situations, he pits assimilation against old world ways and, once again, the story is enhanced by Hadari's original music.

The LMP plays an assortment of not-often-heard traditional European klezmer music. New Haven cantor Joshua Konigsberg is a featured performer of sacred Jewish music.

Much of the power of this evening's work is found in LMP's unambiguous design to confront the world's hatred toward Jews, first, embodied in Richard Wagner's famous treatise in which he argues the inferiority of Jewish composers and advocates the suppression of their work.

Continuing the bold thread of controversy, LMP performs the Nazi anthem "Die Fahne Hoch." This piece of music was prominently featured in Leni Reifenstahl's epic 1930s Nazi propaganda film "Triumph of the Will," which ushered in a new openly violent era for the Jews of Europe.

The evening crescendos with a dramatic reading of a deeply powerful script - originally aired as a radio drama in 1943 - called "The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto," again with original orchestral score by Smith. Actors breathe life into the tragic true story of the struggle to find hope where none exists and LMP orchestra members sharpen the focus with accompaniment.

The five-person-cast includes Tom Zingarelli, New Haven, Josiah Rowe, Cheshire, Gary Cavello, West Haven, Geoffrey Gilbert, Stratford and Brianne Bresky, Monroe.

Tickets are $35 and are available online at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Sign up at fairfield.edu/quick to receive e-mails for special offers and discounts for Quick Center shows.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 14, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 301