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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

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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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Burlington Celebrates the Fifth Annual A_Dog Day

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Andy "A_Dog" Williams - COURTESY OF BEN SARLE
  • Courtesy of Ben Sarle
  • Andy "A_Dog" Williams
One of the most important days for Burlington's hip-hop and skateboard community is upon us. Now in its fifth year, the annual A_Dog Day celebrates the life of DJ, artist and skateboarder Andy "A_Dog" Williams, who passed away nearly five years ago. The multifaceted memorial event kicks off on Saturday, August 25, with a multitude of artsy happenings at various locations in downtown Burlington.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Cultural Mosaic: Susmita Dhakal Brings Bollywood Vibe to A2VT

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Susmita Dhakal - COURTESY OF SUSMITA DHAKAL
  • Courtesy of Susmita Dhakal
  • Susmita Dhakal
While some people treat "diversity" and "inclusivity" as buzzwords, for Susmita Dhakal those terms are guiding principles. Dhakal, a Bollywood dance performer, is a member of the local Afro-pop group, A2VT.

"I've always been the person [who] gets involved in different cultures because I feel that's the way I grow," said the University of Vermont sophomore. A native of Nepal born to Bhutanese refugees, Dhakal is the only A2VT member who's not from the African diaspora. She joined the group about six months ago.

"She brings a bit of Bollywood vibe to [the group]," said A2VT manager David Cooper. "They embraced her."

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Kat Wright to Host Live Album Recording Event

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 3:33 PM

Kat Wright - COURTESY OF ASH LAROSE
  • Courtesy of Ash LaRose
  • Kat Wright
This week, Burlington's reigning queen of soul, Kat Wright, is recording a live album. The artist and her Indomitable Soul Band set up shop on Saturday, August 18, at Applehead Recording in Saugerties, N.Y. — and you can be there to watch the magic happen.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Nina's Brew Win Grand Point North Local Band Contest

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2018 at 2:02 PM

Nina's Brew - COURTESY OF NINA'S BREW
  • Courtesy of Nina's Brew
  • Nina's Brew
The results of this year's Grand Point North Local Band Contest are in. And the winner is … Nina's Brew!

Out of nearly 100 bands and artists nominated, Seven Days readers chose the bluesy soul outfit to join festival founder  Grace Potter, Jackson Browne, Ani DiFranco and others at the two-day music and arts festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16, at Burlington's Waterfront Park. As is tradition, the contest's winner opens Grand Point North on Saturday afternoon.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vermont Arts Council Exhibit Spotlights New American Artists

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2018 at 12:24 PM

Aline Mukiza (with drum) and Burundian dancers - COURTESY OF JEFF WOODWARD
  • Courtesy of Jeff Woodward
  • Aline Mukiza (with drum) and Burundian dancers
The Vermont Arts Council is on a mission to broaden the definition of who a Vermont artist is, said director Karen Mittelman. "There are new groups of Americans who are enriching [the] landscape in ways that most people don't see and recognize," she said.

Mittelman is hopeful that the arts agency's latest photo exhibit will introduce residents and visitors to the state's diverse cultural landscape.

With help from the Vermont Folklife Center, the VAC has assembled a collection of photographs for its Spotlight Gallery that feature the music, dance and fiber traditions of local Bhutanese, Bosnian, Burundian, Karen, Somali and Tibetan communities.

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Higher Ground Website Temporarily Shut Down Amid Ticketfly Hack

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 4:58 PM

High Ground logo - COURTESY OF HIGHER GROUND
  • Courtesy of Higher Ground
  • High Ground logo
Ticketing service Ticketfly recently shut down its website — as well as the sites of certain music venues that use the service — after it determined that it had been the victim of a "cyber incident." Websites of concert venues around the country, including South Burlington nightclub Higher Ground, are currently offline. 

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Cultural Mosaic: The Kiesse Brothers Bring Congolese Performing Arts to Vermont

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 1:54 PM

Rodrick (left) and Beny Kiesse - COURTESY OF BENY KIESSE
  • Courtesy of Beny Kiesse
  • Rodrick (left) and Beny Kiesse
Beny Kiesse describes himself as a producer, singer, dancer, designer, illustrator and model. Recently,  he's earned another title:  community organizer.

On Saturday, May 12, Kiesse will perform alongside his brother Rodrick and other local artists at the Social Club & Lounge in Burlington for an event that he's dubbed "International Affairs Night."

"Many of the performers are talented but don't have any support," explained Beny, whose stage name is BenyGola. He said it took him about a month to organize the event, which will include performances by A2VT and Cadoux Fancy. "The sole purpose of this show," he continued, "is to show everyone that we, indeed, have undiscovered talents within the city."

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Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ray Vega to Host 'Friday Night Jazz' on Vermont Public Radio

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2018 at 6:12 PM

Ray Vega - COURTESY OF RAY VEGA
  • Courtesy of Ray Vega
  • Ray Vega
To anyone who had Ray Vega in the "Who's the Next Host of 'Friday Night Jazz?'" office pool: congrats! Vermont Public Radio has tabbed the acclaimed trumpeter and educator to helm the show, beginning May 18.

Vega is the latest in a line of local jazz luminaries to take up residence behind the VPR mic on Friday evenings. The most recent inhabitant was Reuben Jackson, who hosted the show from 2012 to April 2018. George Thomas hosted FNJ before Jackson.

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