Smile Politely

What to expect in music at Krannert Center this month

As the reopening year of Urbana’s Krannert Center comes to close, we can celebrate the return of local and visiting ensembles and one more month of the quality performing artists that have made the Krannert Center a world class venue for the performing arts.

The month begins with the Lyric Theatre of the University of Illinois performing Mozart’s famous opera, “The Marriage of Figaro” from April 5-9. Faculty member and world class operatic baritone, Nathan Gunn, will direct and Andrew Megill will conduct. This production will be sung in the original Italian of Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, with English supertitles. The Tyron Festival Theatre will host this production on Tuesday, April 5 and Thursday, April 7 at 7:30pm. The Saturday, April 9 performance is at 2pm.

Poster for the Marriage of Figaro, with two wedding rings as the prominent background image.

Image provided by Krannert Center.

Brooklyn born and Ivy League educated playwright, Lynn Nottage, has created a successful writing career by emphasizing the struggles of working class Americans. From April 15-23, her Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Sweat” will be performed in the Studio Theatre. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., except for the 2 p.m. final performance on April 23. Latrelle Bright will direct this intriguing study of the stresses of downsizing and layoffs on groups of friends. Check the Krannert website for the exact days as the performance schedule is basically a modified weekend schedule.

April 16 brings the Sinfonia da Camera back to the Foellinger Great Hall. Maestro Ian Hobson will conduct a program of 19th and 20th century classics ranging from Carl Maria von Weber’s “Overture to Oberon” (1826) to two works composed during World War II, Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber” and Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra.”

Image by Waleed Shah.

Amir ElSaffar’s River of Sound Orchestra will be performing at the Tryon Festival Theatre on April 19. ElSaffar plays trumpet as well as santur (hammered dulcimer). ElSaffar himself is Iraqi-American, and his style sees him combining Middle Eastern music with American jazz, and his River of Sound Orchestra combines 17 musicians from all walks of life who come together to create an entirely new sound.

On April 20, William Eddins and graduate student David Tech will combine in a concert of the UI Chamber Orchestra. Their posted program on the School of Music website covers three centuries of music from Mozart’s Piano concerto in D Minor, K. 466, to Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture” and Stravinsky’s “Dumbarton Oaks Concerto.” Maestro Eddins will assume the keyboard responsibilities for the Mozart concerto.

Ten days later, on April 30, Maestro Eddins and Andrew Megill will lead the University of Illinois Symphony with The Oratorio Society and the University of Illinois Chamber Singers in a performance of Brahms’ “German Requiem.” The “German Requiem” will also feature soloists Courtenay Budd and Nathan Gunn. Both performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall, and the School of Music advises you to check their website for possible changes.

The Champaign-Urbana Symphony will make its final appearance at the Krannert Center on April 23 in the Foellinger Great Hall. Maestro Stephen Alltop has programmed an evening of musical moments from Italy. Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture” and Rachmaninov’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” will give us Russian musical images of Italy, with Adam Nieman at the keyboard for the Rachmaninov. A home-grown composer will give us the music for Respighi’s “The Pines of Rome.”

April 28 brings the world famous Takacs Quartet back to Krannert for an evening in the Foellinger Great Hall that is anything but typical of string quartet concerts. Guest artist Julien Labro has added his talents on the accordion and bandoneon to the world’s repertoire of jazz and classical music and will accompany the Quartet  and perform some solo works as well.This concert will feature new works by Bryce Dessner and Clarice Assad that were co-commissioned by the Krannert Center. Ravel’s “Quartet in F Major” will round out this unique evening.

Portrait of Peiyao Cheng holding her flute, a blue sky and body of water behind her.

Image provided by Krannert Center.

A final Sunday Salon concert on April 24 will feature Krannert Debut Artist, Peiyao Cheng. You can hear this classical flutist on the stage of the Foellinger Great Hall with that special close-up experience or from the balcony for a lesser admission. These Sunday concerts of up and coming artists are at 3 p.m. and this is the last one of the 2021-22 Krannert season.

The early days of May will feature two School of Music ensembles, Illinois Wind Symphony and Orchestra (May 1) and the UI Philharmonia and Strings (May 4). That closes a comeback season for one of the most venerated venues in Central Illinois. The world class status of the Krannert Center was acknowledged this season from the stage by both the Faure Quartet and St. Louis Symphony, and with good reason.  One of the refreshing signs of recovery has been the return to life at the Krannert Center and you still have a bit more than a month to enjoy this great facility.

All tickets must be purchased online at Krannert Center’s website. That source will display even more offerings in April than what space could summarize here. Covid strictures are still in force for those attending, so bring your vaccine cards or negative test results. Face masks are still required during performances.

Top image provided by Krannert Center.

More Articles