The fifth annual Tucson Desert Song Festival will pirouette into the sunset this weekend with Ballet Tucson’s “Love Songs and Other Dances” and a recital from a quartet of vocalists from the prestigious Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute.
Here are three reasons why you should see both:
- Hearing into the future: Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute is pretty terrific; it has a great reputation for spotting talent, nurturing that talent and happily springing that talent onto us. The Chicago-based program is bringing us a return visit from baritone Nathaniel Olson, who was at the 2014 Tucson Desert Song Festival. He joins Ravinia colleagues soprano Heather Phillips, mezzo Rebecca Ringle and tenor Trey Smagur for a recital accompanied by pianist Kevin Murphy. The quartet performs Friday, Feb. 3, in the intimate Holsclaw Hall.
- Musical magic: For a dozen years, baritone Bernardo Bermudez and soprano Victoria Robertson have performed together including as Duetto, a crossover duo that delves into opera and music theater. With all those years together, we can only assume the pair has gotten pretty good at reading each other”s musical minds.
“We have a wonderful connection and love for music,” said Bermudez, who met Robertson while the two sang for San Diego Opera years ago. “We’ve become very, very good friends. She’s a wonderful person and we work really well together.”
The pair team up with Ballet Tucson for “Love Songs and Other Dances,” which they will perform five times between Friday, Feb. 3, through Sunday, Feb. 5. It will be the second time that Bermudez has appeared with Ballet Tucson in the song festival after joining the company and Tucson Guitar Society last year.
“It’s going to be fun,” Bermudez said, adding that his performance last year was the first time he had ever performed in a ballet. “For me it was really exciting and refreshing to do something that’s pretty special.”
- Premieres and prima donnas: Ballet Tucson’s new work “Love Songs” features two premieres — the charming big band swing “In the Mood,” choreographed by Mark Schneider; and the operatic “Love Songs,” choreographed by Daniel Precup. This is the one featuring the return of Bermudez, who joined Ballet Tucson and the Tucson Guitar Society for the 2016 festival, and introduction of Robertson, making her festival debut. Also on the program: “Romantic Duets,” centered on love-themed duets from “Romeo & Juliet,” “Swan Lake” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Chieko Imada and Mary Beth Cabana choreographed the piece.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch
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