Dayton performing arts groups join forces for New Year’s Eve spectacular

The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Neal Gittleman, will join dancers from the Dayton Ballet and vocalists from Dayton Opera in a New Year’s Eve celebration of “American Vistas” Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Schuster Center. CONTRIBUTED
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The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of maestro Neal Gittleman, will join dancers from the Dayton Ballet and vocalists from Dayton Opera in a New Year’s Eve celebration of “American Vistas” Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Schuster Center. CONTRIBUTED

New Year’s Eve concert Saturday at Schuster.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance ushers in 2017 on Saturday, Dec. 31, at the Schuster Center with a New Year’s Eve Signature Event concert of gorgeous waltzes and familiar musical gems of stage and screen.

>> RELATED: Your guide to ringing in 2017 in Dayton

It’s all jointly presented by the Dayton Opera, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Dayton Ballet.

“American Vistas” encompasses an appealing array of works from well-known American composers. The lineup includes Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, and a double dose of Johann Strauss (father and son), among others. In particular, the DPO will present the charming animated film “Farmer Glorp,” scored by DPAA “Music Alive” composer-in-residence Stella Sung and based on the story of “Sunlandia,” written in 2014 by first-graders at the Miami Valley School in Dayton.

“It’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s a fun, varied, celebratory program,” said DPO music director Neal Gittleman. “This year we’re celebrating a wide range of American music, song and dance.”

In addition to the introductory performance of Dudley Buck’s rousing “Festival Overture,” based on the theme of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the first half of the concert features the aforementioned “Farmer Glorp” as well as Bernstein’s “Divertimento,” a composition including “Mazurka,” “Samba,” and “Turkey Trot” performed by Dayton Ballet dancers Margot Aknin, Peter Kurta, Annalise Woller and Case Bodamer.

“‘Divertimento’ is a piece Bernstein wrote in 1980 for the Boston Symphony’s centennial celebration,” Gittleman noted. “It’s eight short movements, 15 minutes in all, including a couple of cute dance numbers. Case Bodamer is choreographing to the ‘Mazurka’ and ‘Turkey Trot’ movements and the orchestra will play the ‘Samba’ movement in between as the dancers catch their breath and maybe even do a quick costume change. I love just about everything Bernstein wrote, including his concert works, so look for lots of Bernstein in the next couple of seasons.”

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Soprano Kara Shay Thomson will perform selections from famous American operas in the DPAA New Year’s Eve “American Vistas” concert. CONTRIBUTED

Soprano Kara Shay Thomson will perform selections from famous American operas in the DPAA New Year’s Eve “American Vistas” concert. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Soprano Kara Shay Thomson will perform selections from famous American operas in the DPAA New Year’s Eve “American Vistas” concert. CONTRIBUTED

Also, soprano Kara Shay Thomson, whose acclaimed voice was last heard with Dayton Opera in the title role of Puccini’s “Tosca” in 2013, will offer two selections from famous American operas. She will perform “Ain’t It a Pretty Night” from Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” and “What Good Would the Moon Be” from Weill’s “Street Scene” featuring lyrics by Langston Hughes and based on Elmer Rice’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The first half will end with the jazz-infused beauty of Gershwin’s iconic “An American in Paris.”

The second half of the program features Arthur Harris’ festive “Americana,” Joplin’s “Ragtime Dance,” and the return of Thomson to sing Kern’s “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” from “Show Boat” and Victor Herbert’s “Art is Calling for Me” from his 1911 comic opera “The Enchantress.” The evening, which also incorporates a flute of champagne at intermission and a colorful climactic balloon drop, will fittingly conclude with a traditional rendering of “Auld Lang Syne.” Food-by-the-bite from Citilites will be available for purchase in the Wintergarden prior to the show beginning at 7 p.m.

As Gittleman hinted, patrons can specifically anticipate more compositions from Bernstein (1918-1990) among the DPO programming in upcoming seasons. In fact, Saturday’s concert will include a special sneak peek of what is in store from the DPAA in the 2017-2018 season.

“Get ready for lots of Lenny in the next couple of years,” Gittleman said. “2018 is what I’m calling his ‘Cent-Lennial’ and putting some Bernstein on this show was meant as a little tease for Bernstein works that we’ll be performing in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.”


WANT TO GO?

What: "New Year's Eve: American Vistas."

Where: Schuster Center, Second and Main streets, Dayton.

When: 8 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: $25-$74.

Tickets/more info: Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com.

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