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Friday, November 16, 2018

Nico Muhly on His Latest Opera, 'Marnie'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Isabel Leonard as Marnie (in yellow) with other cast members of 'Marnie' - KEN HOWARD/THE MET
  • Ken Howard/The Met
  • Isabel Leonard as Marnie (in yellow) with other cast members of 'Marnie'
In his latest opera, Vermont-born composer Nico Muhly, along with librettist Nicholas Wright,  reimagined Winston Graham's 1961 novel Marnie. The story follows a beautiful but troubled young woman who assumes multiple identities. Marnie, played by mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, compounds layers of deception as she drifts from job to job and lover to lover, eventually landing in the cruel, abusive grasp of a wealthy businessman, Mark Rutland, played by baritone Christopher Maltman.

The book inspired Alfred Hitchcock's disturbing 1964 film of the same name, in which the filmmaker used shuddering camera work and long, leering shots to render Marnie's increasing derangement. For his version, Muhly turns to music — specifically, his gift for mysterious tonality and dramatic composition — to convey the lead character's inner mania.

After premiering in London last year, Marnie opened at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City last month. It's the second Muhly opera commissioned by the Met. The first was his acclaimed  2013 work Two Boys.

Following a seven-show run, Marnie closed on November 10. If you missed it, either live or via one of the numerous "The Met: Live in HD" simulcasts, despair not. Town Hall Theater in Middlebury presents an encore broadcast of the opera this Sunday, November 18 — exactly one year to the day after it originally premiered in London. Seven Days recently caught up with Muhly by phone.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Six Vermont Artists and Art Advocates Recognized at Governor's Arts Awards

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 3:43 PM

Jerry Williams, left, and Chris Miller - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Jerry Williams, left, and Chris Miller

Last evening,  November 14, Gov. Phil Scott and the Vermont Arts Council honored six Vermont artists at the annual Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony, held at the Statehouse in Montpelier.


This year’s Award for Excellence in the Arts went to two recipients, selected by Scott from among 20 nominees: Sculptors Chris Miller and Jerry Williams, who worked together on a new Ceres statue for the top of the Statehouse dome. (The previous one had rotted and was removed earlier this year.) The figure, an allegorical representation of Vermont’s agricultural heritage, will be installed on November 30.

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New Voices Series Showcases Local Korean and Ghanaian Drum Groups

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 10:24 AM

Sori Mori - COURTESY OF THE FLYNN CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Flynn Center
  • Sori Mori
When Cindy Rancourt was living in her native country of South Korea, she wasn’t interested in Korean traditional music. But since moving to Vermont in 2006, the Essex resident has had a voracious appreciation for all things Korean.

Rancourt teaches at the Green Mountain Korean Culture School, helps out during the Korean Food Fest, practices taekwondo and attends a Korean church in Essex. She’s also a member of an all-female drumming troupe, Sori Mori, that performs in the samul nori folk style. These are all an expression of her “longing and yearning” for her home country, said Rancourt.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates Speaks at Sold-Out UVM Event

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 9:15 AM

Ta-Nehisi Coates - COURTESY OF GABRIELLA DEMCZUK
  • Courtesy of Gabriella Demczuk
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
Best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates was 33 when he voted for the first time. That was in 2008 and he voted for Barack Obama, Coates told the 3,200-strong audience at the University of Vermont’s indoor tennis courts on Tuesday evening.

The West Baltimore, Md., native said he had a “very radical but limited view of politics." Coates had felt that voting was "bad" and thought he would end up endorsing “for the lesser evil, at best.” But a professor friend recently told him, “Yes, that’s true, but I’m in favor of less evil.”

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