Sept. 25

Lectures: The Bard’s influence just keeps on

Ben Jonson, a contemporary of Shakespeare, spoke truly when he said of the Bard, “He was not of an age, but for all time.”

Shakespeare’s timeless tales of doomed lovers, dangerous feuds and dysfunctional families never grow stale, but if Jonson were alive he might be astonished at how far the originals have traveled. Tony (a Polish-American) and Maria (a Puerto Rican) as the “star-cross’d lovers” in the musical “West Side Story?” An all-female, rock ’n’ roll production of “Julius Caesar” soon to appear on Broadway? Every generation finds a story in Shakespeare and spins it in unexpected ways.

On Wednesday, James Reel, classical music director of Arizona Public Media and a popular lecturer at the Arizona Senior Academy, begins a four-part series exploring how the Bard’s compelling plots and characters influenced later artists in a variety of media.

Adapting a phrase from Shakespeare, he calls it “The Pillage of a Giglot Bard: Shakespeare’s Origins and Evolutions.”

“Romeo and Juliet” launches the series. Subsequent lectures focus on “King Lear” (Oct. 2), “Othello” (Oct. 16) and “The Taming of the Shrew” (Oct. 23). All lectures run from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

As Reel points out, Shakespeare was a literary pillager who drew upon the works of earlier writers. For example, “Romeo and Juliet” was an embellished adaptation of a popular Italian novella written by a Veronese in 1530.

The play inspired many operas, a symphonic poem by Tchaikovsky, a ballet with music by Prokofiev, and a choral symphony by Berlioz, who carried on a lifelong musical affair with Shakespeare.

Duke Ellington wrote a haunting song in which tenor and alto saxophones represented the young lovers. And “Romeo and Juliet” was a popular hit of Dire Straits, a British rock band of the 1980s. What a tale, and it isn’t over!

Caroline Bates

Sept. 24

Duo will perform works from Bach to Stravinsky

Two young musicians, cellist Theodore Buchholz and pianist Elena Miraztchiyska, will perform in concert at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Academy Village.

The program will feature Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne,” J.S.Bach’s “Suite III for Solo Cello” and Gabriel Faure’s underperformed masterpiece, “Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor.”

Buchholz has been called a “virtuosic cellist” by the Arizona Daily Star, and every year he performs in more than 70 concerts as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestra section member.

Buchholz made his debut at New York City’s Merkin Hall. He was the principal cellist of the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, associate principal cellist of the Stockton Symphony for four years and is now a core member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

Buchholz serves as president-elect of the American String Teachers Association of Arizona and is on the faculty of Pima Community College.

Miraztchiyska, a native of Bulgaria, made her solo debut with the Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra at age 12. From 2003 to 2008 she studied music at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She earned a master’s of music degree at Yale School of Music in 2010.

At the UA, Miraztchiyska was named a winner of the 2010-11 Concerto Competition. She won first prize and Audience Prize at the 2011 Lois Tester Piano Competition, and she was a 2012 Carnegie Hall Competition finalist. She will receive a doctor of musical arts degree in May 2014.

Priscilla Moore

Sept. 26

How to battle bed bugs, other persistent pests

UA entomology professor Dawn Gouge will speak on reducing the risk of insects considered pests at an Arizona Senior Academy lecture beginning at 3:30 p.m. next Thursday.

In addition to teaching, Gouge supports state and federal agencies concerned with pest-related health issues. She co-directs a USDA-sponsored regional working group that addresses pest management in schools (with participants from 13 Western states), and she’s a member of the Federal Bed Bug Working Group.

In her Sept. 26 talk, Gouge will touch on bed bugs because they’re a significant issue today.

“They are truly amazing little ectoparasites that are very well adapted to living on and with us,” she said, adding that bed bugs have been biting for more than 3,500 years, and they’re not likely to stop.

During the presentation she’ll cover some bed bug basics, ways to reduce the chances of acquiring these unwanted visitors, and effective management options in the event they do show up in your home or workplace.

In addition to biting people, insects have plagued farmers and gardeners since the dawn of agriculture, and they continue to munch their way through enormous quantities of valuable vegetables every year.

America’s first attempt to deal with bad bugs on an industrial scale was to douse the countryside with toxic chemicals, but that approach has significant downsides. Pesticide exposure can trigger a range of human health problems, to say nothing of negative consequences for other links in our now global food chain.

Gouge will discuss integrated pest management (IPM), an alternative to saturating our environment with poisons.

With IPM, pests are controlled by combining biological, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes cost as well as health risks.

Stan Davis