Coastal Wrap: Opera, a golden oldie musical and more …

The community-wide crescendo of arts events is blasting past fortissimo.

Just when everyone has exhaled after last weekend’s Brahms’ Requiem at Community Church, the drama moves Sunday to the Performing Arts Center at Vero Beach High School.

After a free afternoon performance of Beethoven’s Fifth by the combined forces of the Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra and the VBHS Philharmonic, leave it to Vero Beach Opera to up the intensity that evening by sponsoring a massive production of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”

Staged by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and an assemblage of choruses plus soloists, “Carmina Burana” is one of classical music’s best-known works — so well known it was co-opted by rapper Puff Daddy.

The music was originally intended to engulf the stage in action – each note of music tied to physical movement – but over time the production has mostly been presented as a cantata.

Based on secular texts in Latin dating to the 11th century, “Carmina Burana” was written in the 1930s by the German composer Carl Orff, who gathered 24 of the poems and set them to music.

The work requires a huge number of musicians, and they’ll be bused in from BSO’s home base of the King Center in Melbourne, where the mammoth production will be staged the night before, in celebration of the orchestra’s 60th anniversary.

Hard to top “Carmina Burana” as a golden oldie,

And another golden oldie of Broadway closes out the season at Riverside Theatre. “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

It’s the second year in a row that Riverside has co-produced its season finale with Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where “How to Succeed” will head after closing in Vero at the end of the month.

Based on a book written in 1952, “How to Succeed…” opened on Broadway in 1961, starring Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee, with a movie version starring the same pair opening in 1967. There were revivals in 1995 and 2011 (starring Matthew Broderick and Daniel Radcliffe, respectively).

Ashford’s work is currently on tour with the Broadway version of “Evita,” playing through April 13 at West Palm’s Kravis Center. Ashford’s choreography, which significantly upped the focus on the tango, was nominated for a Tony Award when the Broadway revival opened. The touring production stars Caroline Bowman in the title role and Josh Young as Ché, the narrator.

Hard to believe it was that same Ché Guevara to whom folk singer Judy Collins paid homage with her ballad “Che”, five years after his 1967 death. Ever the activist, Collins, who turns 75 next month, appears this weekend at the Emerson Center in Vero. A lifelong champion of equality for women and minorities, she has been an ambassador for UNICEF since 1995. As a singer, she was at the vanguard of protest folk.

In the 1960s, Collins vociferously protested the Vietnam War. She also gave her backing to the Yippie movement of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, testifying on their behalf, along with Arlo Guthrie and Norman Mailer, when the Chicago Seven were arrested during demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

All the while, her music became part of the soundtrack of the 1960s. A piano prodigy in early childhood, Collins was introduced to popular music by her father, a blind radio broadcaster and a singer as well. He taught her to love Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, but she turned to the folk music of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie in her teens. While her first albums were traditional folk songs, she soon began recording covers of the folk music of Bob Dylan, eventually recording songs by Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, all relatively unknown at the time. Her breakthrough hit was Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” in 1967; it was her mid-1970s version of the Steven Sondheim song, “Send in the Clowns,” that launched her into the pop mainstream.

Today, she records on her own label, Wildflower, which she created in 2000. Along with fundraising for UNICEF, she is a frequent speaker on suicide prevention, after losing her only son to suicide in 1992. She has also written of her battle with alcohol dependency.

Another vintage great, Boz Scaggs, is making a stop in our area in May. The 1980s rocker has been touring with his most recent album, “Memphis,” released last year. He is playing the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce May 3, two weeks after a tour in Australia, and fresh from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Atlanta’s Symphony Hall. Concert reviews on line are trending to five stars, with fans attesting to his lasting vocal qualities. “Memphis”, is his first solo album in five years, recorded in Willie Mitchell’s iconic Royal Studios (where Al Green’s sound was laid down – and in tribute, Scaggs covers Green’s “So Good to Be Here”). Produced by Steve Jordan, the legendary drummer who has played with and recorded Eric Clapton and John Mayer, the album includes covers of “Rainy Night in Georgia” and “Corinna, Corinna” as well as “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl,” recorded by Willy Deville in the 1970s, which Scaggs covered and released as the album’s first single.

Judy Collins sings on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Emerson Center, 1590 27th Ave., Vero. Tickets are $42.50 and $52.50, or $92.50 for concert plus meet-and-greet. Go to www.emersoncenter.org for tickets.

“Carmina Burana” is performed Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center (PAC). Tickets are $30, $40, and $50. Call the PAC box office at 564-5537.

“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” plays at Riverside Theatre through April 27. Go to www.riversidetheatre.com or call the box office at 231-6990.

“Evita” plays at the Kravis Center through Sunday (a matinee) in West Palm Beach. Tickets start at $25. Go to www.kravis.org or call 1-800-KRAVIS-1.

Boz Scaggs plays the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce May 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $55 and $65. Go to www.sunrisetheatre.com or call 772-461-4775.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment