The fifth annual Tucson Desert Song Festival kicks off Wednesday, Jan. 18, for its nearly three-week run that crisscrosses Tucson and involves everyone from Ballet Tucson to the Arizona Early Music Society.
Over those 19 days, fans of art songs and classically-trained voices can experience 11 distinctive vocal events — several of them performed more than once — with leading vocalists whose stars continue to rise on regional, national and international stages.
The 2017 lineup also includes veteran Broadway-Hollywood actress Bernadette Peters, a Drama Desk, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner who will have a 10-piece band backing her when she comes to Centennial Hall with UA Presents on Jan. 21.
Arizona Opera is mounting Puccini’s much-loved “Madama Butterfly” (Jan. 28-29), while True Concord Voices & Orchestra is taking on Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah,” with Grammy-award winning dramatic baritone Richard Paul Fink (three performances Jan. 27, 28 and 29). This will, quite possibly, be the first fully professional performance of the work in Tucson. The piece has been done a number of times over the years by the University of Arizona using students and a community choir.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra is mounting the biggest work in Brahms’ repertoire, “A German Requiem,” and the TSO premiere of Arnold Schoenberg’s “A Survivor From Warsaw,” a work for men’s chorus and orchestra (Jan. 20 and 22).
As a complement to the concert, TSO is teaming up with the Tucson International Jewish Film Festival to present the documentary “Drawing Against Oblivion” on Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Jewish Community Center, The film traces artist Manfred Bockelmann’s series of charcoal works of childhood Holocaust victims. The film has won numerous awards .
After the screening, TSO principal trombonist Michael Becker and pianist Russell Ronnebaum will perform Maurice Ravel’s “Kaddisch,” followed by a conversation with operations and orchestra manager Ben Nisbet, the music director of St. Andrew’s Bach Society, and Olivia Miller, exhibitions curator at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Sunday’s event begins at 7 p.m. at the JCC, 3800 E. River Road. Admission is $9 through tucsonjcc.org
The festival closes with Ballet Tucson’s “Love and Other Dances,” featuring baritone Bernardo Bermudez and soprano Victoria Robertson. You have five chances to see the show between Feb. 3 and 5.
See more festival stories in next week’s Caliente and the Jan. 15 Home + Life section.
5th annual Tucson Desert Song Festival
• 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18: Opening lecture-recital, Crowder Hall at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, North Park Avenue and East Speedway; free.
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19: Tucson Guitar Society recital with mezzo-soprano Angela Brower and French guitarist Judicaël Perroy, UA Holsclaw Hall; $25, $10 for students at tucsonguitarsociety.org
• Friday, Jan. 20: Tenor Rufus Müller masterclass, 11 a.m. at UA Holsclaw Hall; free. Tucson Symphony Orchestra Brahms German Requium, 7:30 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., $30-$86 at tucsonsymphony.org Concert repeats at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.
• Jan. 21: Soprano Heidi Stober masterclass, 2 p.m. at Tucson Symphony Center, 2175 N. Sixth Ave.; free. Bernadette Peters with UA Presents, 8 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd. on the University of Arizona campus; $35-$100 through ticketmaster.com
• Jan. 22: Tenor Rufus Müller and lutenist Daniel Swenberg with Arizona Early Music Society, 3 p.m. at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St. TSO Brahms German Requiem, 2 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall.
• Jan. 26: Kristin Dauphinais hosts “New Directions in Art Song” lecture/recital, noon, Holsclaw Hall; free. Soprano Heidi Stober accompanied by pianist Alan Pierello with Arizona Opera, 7 p.m. at Holsclaw Hall; $25, $15 students through azopera.org
• Jan. 27: True Concord Voices & Orchestra with baritone Richard Paul Fink in “Elijah,” 7:30 p.m. at Catalina Foothills High School Auditorium, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive; $25-$40 through trueconcord.org Concert repeats 7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley; and 3 p.m. Jan. 29 at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway.
• Jan. 28: Tucson Desert Song Festival K-12 Songwriting Competition Finalist Showcase, 2:30 p.m. at Holsclaw Hall; free. Arizona Opera’s “Madama Butterfly,” 7:30 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall; $30-$125 through tickets.azopera.org Performance repeats at 2 p.m. Jan. 29. True Concord “Elijah,” 7 p.m. in Green Valley.
• Jan. 29: Arizona Opera “Madama Butterfly,” 2 p.m. at Tucson Music Hall. True Concord “Elijah,” 3 p.m. at Catalina United Methodist Church.
• Jan. 31: Tenor Rene Barbera recital presented by Arizona Opera, 7 p.m. at UA’s Holsclaw Hall, University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music; $25, $15 students at tickets.azopera.org
• Feb. 1: Soprano Tony Arnold joins Enso Quartet with Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, 7:30 p.m. at Leo Rich Theater, 260 S. Church Ave. $30, $10 students at arizonachambermusic.org/tickets
• Feb. 2: Master class with pianist Kevin Murphy, vocal program director at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, with UA Fred Fox School of Music. 3 p.m. at Holsclaw Hall; free.
• Feb. 3: “Love is Here to Stay” with Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute vocalists, with UA Fred Fox School of Music. 7 p.m. at Holsclaw Hall; free.
• Feb. 3-5: Ballet Tucson’s “Love and Other Dances” featuring baritone Bernardo Bermudez and soprano Victoria Robertson, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 and 1 and 5 p.m. Feb. 5 at Stevie Eller Dance Theatre on the UA campus; $45 at ballettucson.org
Special guests and their hosts
Tucson Desert Song Festival features 22 guest artists — Angela Brower, Bernadette Peters Cheryl Lindquist, Daniel Montenegro, Bernardo Bermudez, Elizabeth Futral, Judicaël Perroy, Marco Cammarota, Heidi Stober, Kristin Dauphinais, Heather Phillips, Kevin Murphy, Rena Harms, Rebecca Ringle, Nathaniel Olson, René Barbera, Sandra Lopez, Trey Smagur, Tony Arnold, Refus Müller, Richard Paul Fink and Victoria Robertson — performing with 10 organizations — Ravinia Steans Music Institute of Illinois; Arizona Early Music Society, Arizona Opera, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Ballet Tucson, Tucson Guitar Society, University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True Concord Voices & Orchestra and UA Presents — over 19 days. The festival runs Jan. 18-Feb. 5.