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items tagged with Adler Theatre

Glass (Ballet) Slippers: Ballet Quad Cities' "Cinderella" at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: News/Features

Category: Dance

2013-04-22 12:00:00

Ballet Quad Cities' CinderellaThere were two particular elements that made Ballet Quad Cities’ Cinderella (which ran for two Adler Theatre performances on April 20) especially watchable beyond Courtney Lyon’s exquisite choreography: clear storytelling, and humor. Not at one moment during Saturday evening’s performance did I find it hard to figure out which part of the fairytale was being depicted in dance, even down to the details of what specific characters were doing and feeling at all times.


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A Musical Mismatch: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, February 9 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-02-15 19:12:05

Five by Design

We do silly things for love. This must be one of them.

In what Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith termed a “fun experiment” at his February 7 “Inside the Music” lecture, the Quad City Symphony, for its “Valentine’s Day” Masterworks concerts, replaced classical-music repertoire for half of the program with tunes from the 1940s sung by a five-member swing group. Last year, we got Scheherazade; this year, we got the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

The orchestra was the opening act, performing Berlioz’s arrangement of Carl Maria von Weber’s Invitation to the Dance, Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Tchaikovsky’s “Waltz” from Swan Lake. During the second half, the orchestra served as backup band for vocal group Five by Design, which performed a variety of old-time pop selections including, among others, “Night & Day,” “Begin the Beguine,” “The Trolley Song,” “Mairzy Doats,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

I enjoy all kinds of music, and symphony orchestras have long attempted to attract new audiences by blending popular and classical music in their Pops concerts. Simply put, the swing music on the February program belonged in a Pops concert, and it diminished the Quad City Symphony's Masterworks series – whose traditional forms and repertoire are my balms against the temporal superficiality of what Mahler called “a garish world.”

The musical mismatch in conception was exacerbated in the February 9 Adler Theatre concert by the artistic disparity between the orchestra and vocal group, both in technical execution and ability to evoke an emotional response. Even judged only in its genre, Five by Design could not match the performance standard of the orchestra.


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Bohemian Rhapsody: The Quad City Symphony, October 6 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-10-17 13:54:57

It was standard repertoire in the expected order, but the performance that Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith and the orchestra gave at the opening of the Quad City Symphony’s 98th Masterworks Series on October 6 was anything but typical because of the thorough, culturally sensitive thinking behind the showcase piece.

Richard Wagner’s youthful Overture to Rienzi and Max Bruch’s lyric Violin Concerto No. 1 were executed consistent with German performance practices, largely confined to the composer’s instructions in the score. But Smith created a sharp contrast of musical styles to the concert’s first two pieces with “country kid” Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. Instead of the typical literal interpretation of the score, he transformed it through unwritten, more-expressive Bohemian playing techniques, creating a performance that felt authentic – similar to what audiences might have heard in its Dvořák-conducted 1890 debut in Prague.


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Birthing a Beast: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, December 3 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-08 19:32:06

Rarely and unpredictably, a performance will transcend music and become a living thing, a forceful creature that grabs the audience and won’t let go until the piece ends; it then lingers for hours in the mind. These experiences transport me beyond what Gustav Mahler called “the sounds of a garrulous world” and overshadow the conductor and musicians – not because they’re unimportant, but because the life-giving in their performance is so profound. On Saturday at the Adler Theatre, the beast arrived after intermission when the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith breathed life into Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1.


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Passion Sometimes Lacking in Precision: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra, October 1 at the Adler Theatre
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2011-10-06 15:42:34

Passion proved to be the Quad City Symphony Orchestra’s strength in its season-opening program at the Adler Theater on October 1, but the performance was vulnerable to imprecision.

While the program was titled Beethoven 5, the highlight of the concert was a brilliant performance of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s demanding Third Piano Concerto by guest pianist Haochen Zhang with bold yet sensitive accompaniment by the symphony under the direction of Music Director and Conductor Mark Russell Smith.


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