Fairfield University celebrates France's contribution to the world of Arts and Letters


Image: FrenchOoh la, la! C'est manifique! Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts will present a "French Showcase: Evolving Arts" from Sunday, Feb.10, through Monday, March 25. The six-week festival offers a perspective on and celebrates the many contributions the French have made to the world in the areas of arts and letters.

Opening Day Events:

The festival opens with a lecture on Sunday, Feb.10, at 3:15 p.m, "The Pleasures of Paris," with Dr. Diana Mille, director of the Thomas A. Walsh Art Gallery who will explore the sites and sounds of this "City of Lights" - the cafes, theaters, boulevards, circus and racetracks - during the "belle époque," and discuss the paintings and graphics of artists from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

Following the lecture there will be a "Crepe Demonstration" at 3:30 p.m. with David G. Smith from Lighthouse Personal Chef Service, who will prepare hot crepes including: Savory crepes, Sweet crepes, and classic Suzette. The production of the crepe batter and Suzette sauce will be the highlight of this demonstration which includes a flambé sauce which is poured over the crepe.

In addition there will be a "Wine Tasting," "Vin d'Honneur" by the oldest distributor in Connecticut, Hartley & Parker, Ltd., in conjunction with the Wine Seller Spirits of Fairfield, CT, who will offer tastes of five outstanding French wines exploring an array of regions. A variety of light crisp white wines ranging to deep full-bodied reds are waiting to be discovered. Tickets for all three events are $15. The afternoon will also include French music, crafts, a travelogue, language labs and more.

Music:

The musical component of the French Showcase begins on Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m. when the Orchestra of St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, featuring Kurt Ollman, baritone, performs works by Ravel and Schubert. A pre-concert "Art to Heart" discussion with Daily News Chief Critic and Cultural Tourist, Howard Kissell, takes place at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

The second concert of the festival takes place on Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m., and features Paula Robison, dubbed "The First Lady of the Flute," and award-winning pianist Jeremy Denk, a 1998 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant and a 1997 winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions. Robison and Denk share an artistic collaboration that combines the magical sounds of the flute with the many colorations and enormous palette of the piano.

The duo will perform a French program of: Poulenc's "Sonata for Flute and Piano," Debussy's "Syrinx for Solo Flute," two Preludes for Solo Piano, four Melodies for Flute and Piano, Godard's"Suite de Trois Morceaux for Flute and Piano" and Faure's "Sonata in A Major" (adapted by Robison from the Sonata for Violin and Piano). A Pre-concert "Art to Heart". discussion with Dr. Laura Nash, director of Fairfield University's Classical Music Department, takes place at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30, $27, $24.

The retro-cabaret quintet, Paris Combo, arrives on Thursday, April 25, at 8 p.m., to celebrate the rich diversity of the music of contemporary Paris. Fronted by chanteuse, songwriter, and accordion player, Belle du Berry, Paris Combo has perfected a jazzy and intriguing twist on the chanson tradition. Therefore, Berry has inevitably been compared to Edith Piaf. However, trumpet player David Lewis traces the group's sound to the influence of flamenco, blues and cabaret tradition that flourished in Paris before World War II. Tickets are $20.

Dance:

The dance component of the festival opens on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. when the internationally acclaimed ballet company, Lyon Opera Ballet, under the direction of Artistic Director, Yorgos Loukos, performs new versions of the great classical ballets. The company has commissioned works by a wide range of international choreographers and the Quick Center's All-Ravel repertory program will showcase his "Bolero," choreographed by Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard, which premiered on Dec. 26, 1998, and his "Gaspard," choreographed by Finland's Tero Saarinen, which premiered Feb. 12, 1999 at the Lyon Opera House. Tickets are $38, $33 and $28.

Theater:

The theater segment of the festival opens on Saturday, Feb.16, with the Radio Drama: "Sensual French Tales of Temptation and Suspense" at 3 and 8 p.m. Enjoy these delightful tales of love, war and madness by the 19th-century master of the French short story, Guy De Maupassant, translated and adapted especially for this production by Bob Adrian. The director is Brett Somers of Westport. A post-show "Art to Heart" discussion with the company follows the production. Tickets are $10.

Theatrical Readings:

Three classic French readings, presented in collaboration with the Theatre Artists Workshop are planned in conjunction with the festival: Moliere's "The Learned Ladies," directed by Katie C. Sparer, takes place on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m.; Jean Anouilh's "Antigone," directed by Muriel Nussbaum, takes place on Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m.; and Jean Giradoux's "The Madwoman of Chaillot," directed by Mark Basile, takes place on Wednesday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all three productions are $15. Single tickets are $7.

Films:

The Quick Center's cutting-edge Monday night French film package includes: "Les Miserables" (1995), to be screened on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., directed by Claude Lelouch, written by Victor Hugo and Claude Lelouch; "La Haine" ("The Hate") (1995), to be screened on Monday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m., directed by Mathieu Kassovitz with Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde and Said Taghmaoui; "Les Enfants du Paradis" ("Children of Paradise") (1945), directed by Marcel Carne (chosen in honor of his passing in 2001), to be shown on Monday, March 11, at 7 p.m., written by Jacques Prevert, starring Arletty, and Jean-Louis Barrault; and "Tatie Danielle" (1990), screened on Monday March 25, at 7 p.m., directed by Etienne Chatiliez, starring Tsilla Chelton, Catherine Jacob, Isabelle Nanty, Neige Dolsky.

This comedy shows the relationship of an oh-so-nice Tate Danielle and her family when she finally meets her match! Tickets for all four films are $20; single tickets are $7. French Bistro fare including salads, soups, cheeses will be available for sale prior to each film.

Lectures:

In addition to the aforementioned opening day lecture, "The Pleasures of Paris" with Dr. Diana Mille, director of the Thomas A. Walsh Art Gallery, the Quick Center will also present: "Meat and Mysticism from Naturalism to Symbolism: French Theatre in Shock," which will explore the battle between two ideologies for dominance of mind and art, on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. with Dr. John Rassias, executive director of the Rassias Foundation at Dartmouth College (which has developed an innovative and highly effective approach to teaching languages). Rassias is also a professor of 18th-century French literature at Dartmouth, former director of language programs and consultant for the Peace Corps, workshop leader, theater writer, director and actor in the United States and in Europe and author.

Trips:

The Quick Center for the Arts has also planned a trip to the Hill-Stead Museum and Connecticut Culinary Institute in Farmington, CT, on Wednesday, April 24. The schedule is as follows: Participants will depart the Quick Center at 9:30 a.m. and return at approximately 4:30 p.m. At 11 a.m. they'll visit the Culinary Institute and observe students preparing food and talk with the director Bill Mellow. At noon travelers will enjoy a buffet lunch featuring a special French menu prepared in honor of our French Showcase.

At 1 p.m. the group will drive to the nearby Hill-Stead Museum to view the art work which includes an extensive collection of French Impressionists' works. They will also have the opportunity to visit the beautiful sunken garden on the Hill-Stead property. Tickets are $40 per person and include transportation and lunch.

Discounts on tickets are available for seniors, students and groups. For more information about any of these events, please call the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396 or visit our web site at www.quickcenter.com. Voila!

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 15, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 137