Pull up a chair and grab a cup of hot chocolate as Iowa Public Radio's December Iowa Arts Showcase outlines details about several holiday musical offerings. John Cook, Minister of Music and Fine Arts at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, and freelance theater director Ron Gilbert share the background behind the church's production of The First Nowell by Vaughan Williams. Complete with orchestra, choirs, soloists, and a cast of fine actors, the Westminster Presbyterian Church presents Vaughan Williams's final and unfinished Christmas oratorio on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 8:45 and 11:00 a.m.
The Des Moines Metro Opera is out in full force this holiday season with a variety of performances. First, the DMMO’s Executive Director, Michael Egel, discusses their production of Amahl and the Night Visitors with performances on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7, 2013 at the historic Hoyt Sherman Place Theater. Amahl, a crippled boy played by Pierce Mansfield, and his mother, sung by soprano Julie Makerov, host the three Wise Men on their journey to find the newborn Child. King Melchior is performed by DMMO favorite, baritone Todd Thomas. Also, another DMMO favorite, visiting baritone Michael Mayes chats about his upcoming January 4th recital in Des Moines at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Mayes will present music including Rigoletto’s Pari Siamo and an entire set from composer Jake Heggie.
Maestro Joseph Giunta, executive director and conductor of the Des Moines Symphony, talks about his exciting collaboration with Iowa’s own bass-baritone Simon Estes and the Simon Estes Foundation for their upcoming benefit program called the "Iowa Students Care Christmas Concert." Students from all of Iowa's 99 counties will create a massive choir performing holiday carols. The Iowa Students Care Christmas Concert hopes to raise awareness and funds for the Simon Estes Foundation's Eliminate Malaria Campaign. The Des Moines Symphony’s Youth Orchestra, under Maestro Giunta, will perform with the choir to present the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel's Messiah. This concert will be held at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames on December 15, 2013 at 3 p.m.
And music director and conductor of the Cedar Rapid Opera Theatre Daniel Kleinknecht talks about the CROT’s January production of Bizet's most well-known opera of passion, seduction, and betrayal, Carmen. Mezzo soprano Janara Kellerman, a native of Iowa, sings the title role, along with baritone Philip Torre as Escamillo, and tenor Alok Kumar as the soldier Don Jose. Performances will be held at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.
Please join us for the December Iowa Arts Showcase at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, 2013 on Iowa Public Radio Classical.