At the academy: A roundup of free events

At the Academy: Desert Song preview, Shakespeare talk and a discussion of political power

2013-10-10T00:00:00Z At the Academy: Desert Song preview, Shakespeare talk and a discussion of political powerSubmitted by Mike Maharry Academy Village Volunteer Arizona Daily Star

Oct. 15

3 UA classical musicians to preview song fest

Three young UA musicians will return to the Arizona Senior Academy stage at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday for a free performance.

Mezzo soprano Mackenzie Romriell and tenor Humberto Borboa will be appearing with pianist Elena Miraztchiyska.

Their Arizona Senior Academy concert will feature the song literature of Faure, Debussy and Dvorak and will give concertgoers a preview of the second annual Tucson Desert Song Festival, which will be held Jan. 30–Feb. 16, 2014.

Romriell is a doctoral candidate in vocal performance at the University of Arizona and will be performing with the Arizona Opera this season. She also will be soprano soloist for the Tucson Messiah Sing-in and Bach’s “Magnificat” with the Arizona Repertory Singers in December.

Borboa is pursuing his master’s degree in vocal performance at the UA. He has the lead role in Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” at the UA Opera Theater in November.

Miraztchiyska is finishing her doctoral degree in piano performance at the UA. She has appeared in solo and collaborative recitals in her home country of Bulgaria as well as Poland, Japan and the United States.

The Tucson Desert Song Festival will bring together Tucson’s leading arts groups and internationally celebrated guest artists to showcase works by composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Berlioz and Poulenc.

The mission of the Tucson Desert Song Festival is to elevate Tucson to a world-class destination for vocal music lovers by presenting three weeks of performances and events celebrating classical voice at its highest level.

Marcia Reinagel

Oct. 16

‘Othello’ headlines 3rd

lecture in Bard series

With “Othello,” James Reel will give his third of four lectures on Shakespeare, the eternal muse, at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy.

Reel, classical music director of Arizona Public Media, will show how the powerful plots and larger-than-life characters Shakespeare created are a gift that keeps on giving to the worlds of theater, film and music — especially opera.

Many composers adapted Shakespeare to the operatic stage, none more movingly than Giuseppe Verdi with his incomparable “Otello.”

Set against the backdrop of the trade and culture wars between Venice and the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, “Othello” tells a riveting tale of interracial love, jealousy and treachery.

Its complex hero, a Moorish general betrayed by his villainous aide, Iago, is a thespian’s dream. Notable actors from Edmund Kean to John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier have performed the role, sometimes in blackface or a mask. Paul Robeson first played Othello in London in 1931, but in 1943 he made American theatrical history as the first black Othello with an otherwise all-white cast.

It’s a leap from that production to such modern adaptations as “Othello — The Remix,” a hip-hop version performed in Chicago last summer for inmates of the Cook County jail. Or to the 2001 movie “O,” in which the title character is a high school basketball star.

The women in “Othello” are the focus of Paula Vogel’s “Desdemona — A Play About a Handkerchief.” In “Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet),” Ann-Marie MacDonald’s inventive mash-up of “Othello” and “Romeo and Juliet,” an English professor, convinced that the two tragedies were originally comedies, finds herself transported into the plots of both.

On Oct. 23, in his last lecture in the Shakespeare series, Reel will turn to a comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew.”

Caroline Bates

Oct. 17

UA prof Volgy to discuss ‘status’ in intl. politics

Status is “soft” power, and the quest for status and its maintenance exist not only on Facebook but between nations and cultures as well.

What status is and how it is determined and used among nations will be discussed in a two-part lecture series at the Arizona Senior Academy on successive Thursdays, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, by former Tucson mayor, current UA professor of political science and director of the International Studies Association, Thomas J. Volgy.

Volgy’s two-part lecture, “International Politics: The Pursuit and Importance of Status,” will incorporate more than eight years of research and his work with the U.S. State Department in post-Cold War Russia and Central Asia. It will look at the major international powers — the U.S., Russia and China — and other important nations in terms of perceived status and foreign policy results.

Each lecture will begin at 3:30 p.m. The first lecture, on Oct. 17, Volgy will focus on the major world powers and discuss international “hard” and “soft” power, the ability to influence the direction of other nations’ foreign policy decisions and subsequent actions.

Hard power can be connected to international power influencers such as the size of a nation’s military and economic strength. Soft power, on the other hand, involves diplomacy, media information, foreign aid assistance and cultural programs to achieve foreign policy goals.

International status strategies and perceived ranking by other foreign policy decision-makers and the factors for status strategies will be highlighted in Volgy’s first lecture.

Volgy is internationally known among academics for his research and published work in the field of global affairs. As executive director of the International Studies Association, the largest association of its kind focusing on international politics, he represents a membership of more than 5,000 scholars from 80 countries.

He is the editor of a 2011 book on status, served on the Tucson City Council from 1977 to 1987, and was mayor of Tucson from 1987 to 1991. He’s been on the UA faculty since 1971.

George Scholz

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