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Jean Oelrich
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Pacific Symphony and Chapman University join forces for “Shakespeare Reimagined” festival, exploring the Bard’s iconic plays and influence, now through April 19

Orange County, Calif. — March 06, 2015

This unique look at Shakespeare includes concerts, discussions, films, dance, lectures, theater, master classes and a symposium

Festival culminates with Pacific Symphony performance of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which reinstates the Soviet-era composer’s original happy ending

The world’s most brilliant playwright—William Shakespeare—is reimagined in unexpected ways when Pacific Symphony partners with Chapman University to present “Shakespeare Reimagined,” a festival that explores how The Bard’s plays have inspired not only other playwrights and directors, but also composers, choreographers and filmmakers. The festival, which runs through April 19, began last month with “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” at Chapman University, and continues on March 13 with a semi-staged version of Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performed by The Chapman Orchestra, Women’s Choir and Department of Theatre students. The festival culminates April 16-19 with four Pacific Symphony concerts featuring Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The ballet is presented with actors and dancers who help reinstate the composer’s original happy ending, which was banned by Joseph Stalin. For a complete listing of events, which include classical concerts, discussions, film screenings, dance, lectures, theater, master classes and a symposium on interpreting Shakespeare, please see the calendar below, or visit http://www.chapman.edu/events/shakespeare-reimagined/event-calendar.aspx.

“I am very excited about our ever developing partnership with Chapman University,” says Music Director Carl St.Clair. “We are uniting our two worlds and are creating some incredible new projects. Last year, we collaborated on a groundbreaking festival focused on the landmark works of Dimitri Shostakovich. This year’s Shakespeare festival is another powerful example of how our collaboration can enhance the understanding of the artistic process and shed new light on art.”

“Music is a vital part of the history of ideas, and the nature of our partnership is to bring to light such interplay in ways that will indelibly connect music to history and to other forms of art,” said Daniele Struppa, chancellor of Chapman University.

 

Pacific Symphony’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Prokofiev’s familiar “Romeo and Juliet” suite is part of Pacific Symphony’s core repertoire; in fact, it was performed on the orchestra’s landmark European Tour in 2006. But the version being performed April 16-19 has rarely been heard before. The “happy ending” was first turned up by Simon Morrison, a music historian at Princeton, and premiered by Brooklyn’s Mark Morris Dance Group. The Symphony has enlisted Artistic Adviser Joseph Horowitz, a major innovator in the use of related arts and cultural scholarship to illuminate music, to help reimagine this masterwork.

“There is no other orchestra that devotes such a high proportion of its time and resources to the exploration of new formats as Pacific Symphony,” says Horowitz. “Carl pushes the envelope very hard. Can you imagine another orchestra doing what Pacific Symphony has done—performing Prokofiev’s original happy ending to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and inviting me to write a script to present it, with two actors and two dancers? It would be inconceivable almost anywhere else, yet here in Orange County it is characteristic, it is representative of the kind of programming that Pacific Symphony does.”

For the Symphony performances, St.Clair has prepared a suite drawing on the complete ballet and the two suites extracted by Prokofiev, and has restored the original happy ending conceived by Prokofiev in 1935. Lorin Johnson of San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre provides choreography, and dancers David Tai Kim and Kiera Schwartz portray the young Romeo and Juliet. Two actors representing Romeo and Juliet in old age, Rich Words and Julia Amy Hitchcock, prepare a script written by Horowitz that combines Shakespeare and faux Shakespeare.

The Thursday-Saturday concerts, “Romeo and Juliet,” also include the principal violinists of Pacific Symphony igniting Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and Principal Cellist Timothy Landauer breathing passion into Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Sunday Casual Connections’ “Romeo and Juliet: Happy Endings” takes place at 3 p.m. on April 19 and offers another chance to hear Prokofiev’s famous ballet. Tickets for these concerts are $25-$99. For more information or to purchase, please visit www.PacificSymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

Also on April 19, Pacific Symphony offers a discussion called “Romeo and Juliet: How Should The Story End?” featuring Horowitz and UC Irvine Professor Julia Lupton, as well as the two actors, in the Judy Morr Theater at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Using film clips, they explore the different ways in which the lovers’ tale has been told, with special attention given to Prokofiev’s translation of an Elizabethan tragedy into a Soviet ballet.

 

More on Prokofiev’s “Happy Ending”

Born in Russia in 1891, Prokofiev’s most notable works include his Fifth Symphony, Seventh Piano Sonata and “Romeo and Juliet,” which was originally scheduled to be presented by the Bolshoi in 1936 with what Prokofiev deemed a “happy ending.”

As reported by Simon Morrison in his 2009 book “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years,” a draft of the scenario dated May 16, 1935, concludes:  

Juliet lies in her bedchamber, having taken the sleeping potion prepared for her by Friar Laurence. “Romeo enters,” “dispatches the servant,” and “pulls back the cover,” but he is unable . . . to rouse Juliet; Romeo concludes that she has died and, grief-stricken, resolves to commit suicide. The arrival of Friar Laurence prevents him from pulling out his dagger . . . . “Juliet begins to breathe.” Friar Laurence “strikes a gong”; Romeo clutches Juliet and bears her from the room “into a grove.” The people gather, and Friar Laurence directs their attention to the lovers. “Juliet slowly comes to herself.” She and Romeo express their feelings of relief and joy in a final dance.” A quiet musical apotheosis comes last.

But, says Horowitz, a 1935 piano audition was poorly received. “The style seemed insufficiently Romantic,” explains Horowitz. “But the biggest sticking point was the ending. In collaboration with Prokofiev and the dramatist Adrian Piotrovsky, the director Sergey Radlov had decided to update Shakespeare’s story as “a play about the struggle for love, about the struggle for the right to love by young, strong and progressive people battling against feudal traditions and feudal outlooks on marriage and family.”

Then the Bolshoi premiere was canceled as part of a Soviet-style cultural overhaul during which the theater’s administrative director, Vladimir Mutnikh, was arrested and executed as an “enemy of the people.”

Horowitz says that in a series of ensuing revisions to the ballet, Prokofiev restored Shakespeare’s tragic ending. He was pressured into numerous other changes. Still others were taken behind his back. The premiere, in 1938, occurred in Brno, now in the Czech Republic. The first Russian performance finally took place in Leningrad in 1940, choreographed by Leonid Lavrovsky with Galina Ulanova as Juliet. In 1940, Stalin approved a Moscow performance. Within a decade, the ballet was an international success—and so it remains. In Morrison’s opinion, however, “the issue of the ending aside, the 1935 version  . . . makes more dramatic sense than the 1940 revision, which sounds in places like an exploratory draft.” Morrison also believes that the first and second concert suites extracted from the ballet in 1936 “provide a better sense of Prokofiev’s intended orchestration of the ballet than the actual score.”

As for the discarded happy ending, Prokofiev in 1941 said, “There was quite a fuss at the time about our attempts to give ‘Romeo and Juliet’ a happy ending . . . The reasons for this bit of barbarism were purely choreographic: living people can dance, the dying cannot. . . .What caused me to change my mind was a remark someone made to me about the ballet: “Strictly speaking your music does not express any real joy at the end.” That was quite true. After several conferences with the choreographers it was found that the tragic ending could be expressed in dance and in due course the music for that ending was written.”

 

Shakespeare Reimagined

In addition to “Romeo and Juliet,” other events on the “Shakespeare Reimagined” schedule include a lecture on “Shakespeare with Strings: Adapting Shakespeare for Performance with Orchestra,” The Chapman Orchestra performing a semi-staged version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with complete incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn, a screening of the film “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” the play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard, lectures on “Falstaff at the Opera,” “Science and Mathematics in Stoppard’s Work” and “Russian Shakespeare: How Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Pasternack Re-Read Shakespeare,” a symposium on “Shakespeare Reimagined: Interpretations Across the Arts” and a discussion on “Romeo and Juliet: How Should The Story End?”

Special guest lecturers and panelists for the “Shakespeare Reimagined” festival include Daniele Struppa, chancellor, Chapman University; Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser, Pacific Symphony; Alan Chapman, KUSC; Dennis Krausnick, founder, Shakespeare & Company; John Mangum, president and artistic director, Philharmonic Society of Orange County; Joseph Campana, Department of English, Rice University; David McCandless, Theater Arts Program, Department of Performing Arts, Southern Oregon University; Matthew J. Smith, Department of English, Azusa Pacific University; Don Weingust, director, Shakespeare Studies, Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, Southern Utah University; Lisa Wolpe, producing artistic director, Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company; and Julia Lupton, professor, UC Irvine.

 

Shakespeare Reimagined Schedule

Lecture: Shakespeare with Strings: Adapting Shakespeare for Performance with Orchestra 

Friday, March 13, 2-3 p.m.

Studio Theatre (Moulton Hall 149)

Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange

Free and open to the public.

 

Lecture by Dennis Krausnick, founder, Shakespeare & Company.

 

The Chapman Orchestra: A Midsummer Night's Dream, semi-staged with complete incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn

Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.

St. John’s Lutheran Church, 154 S. Shaffer Street, Orange

Free and open to the public.

Daniel Alfred Wachs, Chapman Orchestra, music director and conductor

Angel Vázquez-Ramos, Women’s Choir, music director

Michael Nehring, Department of Theatre, director

The Chapman Orchestra and the Women’s Choir collaborate with students from the Department of Theatre to present a semi-staged version of Felix Mendelssohn’s complete incidental music to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Program also includes “Ah non credea & Ah non giunge” from “La Sonnambula” (Bellini) and “Wesendonck Lieder” (Wagner). Daniel Emmet, baritone and Kylena Parks, soprano (winners of the Instrumental and Vocal Competition) are featured during this performance.

 

Film Screening: Shakespeare Behind Bars

Tuesday, March 17, 7 p.m.

Waltmar Theatre

Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange

Free and open to the public.

Shakespeare Behind Bars (SBB) offers theatrical encounters with personal and social issues to incarcerated and post-incarcerated adults and juveniles, allowing them to develop life skills that will ensure their successful reintegration into society. Now in its 20th year, SBB is the oldest program of its kind in North America. SBB programming serves incarcerated adults and youth using exclusively the works of William Shakespeare. SBB is the subject of Philomath Films award-winning documentary “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” which received its world premiere at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Curt L. Tofteland, founder & producing director for SBB, will speak before the film and answer questions following the screening.

 

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” by Tom Stoppard

Thursday – Saturday, April 9-11, 7:30 p.m.

Waltmar Theatre

Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange

Tickets are $20 general admission; $15 senior citizens, alumni and non-Chapman students; visit: chapman.universitytickets.com or call (714) 997-6812.

Directed by Gavin Cameron-Webb

Acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are Hamlet’s treacherous friends in Shakespeare’s play. Tom Stoppard gives the stage to these two characters, but when they finally get a chance to take the leading roles, reality and illusion intermix, and the two heroes comically and tragically find their way to an inevitable end.

 

Lecture: Falstaff at the Opera

Thursday, April 9, 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Shanley Choral Room (Bertea Hall 109)

Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange

Free and open to the public.

 

Lecture by John Mangum, president and artistic director, Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

 

Lecture: Russian Shakespeare: How Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Pasternack Re-Read Shakespeare

Thursday, April 16, 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Shanley Choral Room (Bertea Hall 109)

Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange

Free and open to the public.

 

This lecture by Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser for Pacific Symphony, discusses and compares interpretations of Shakespeare across different musical genres by Russian composers. Works include Tchaikovsky’s “Hamlet Fantasy Overture,” Tchaikovsky’s symphonic poem “The Tempest,” Shostakovich’s score to the film “King Lear,” and both Tchaikovsky’s and Prokofiev’s versions of “Romeo and Juliet.”

 

Pacific Symphony Concert: “Romeo & Juliet”

Thursday – Saturday, April 16-18, 8 p.m.

Preview Talk with Joseph Horowitz, KUSC’s Alan Chapman and Principal Cellist Timothy Landauer begins at 7 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Tickets are $25-$99; visit: www.PacificSymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser

Rich Wordes, Romeo

Amy Hitchcock, Juliet

David Tai Kim, Young Romeo (dancer)

Keira Schwartz, Young Juliet (dancer)

Lorin Johnson, choreographer

Relive the timeless tale of star-crossed lovers through Prokofiev’s masterful music. Here actors and dancers reinstate Prokofiev’s original happy ending which was banned by Joseph Stalin in favor of Shakespeare’s tragic finale. But first, the principal violinists of Pacific Symphony ignite Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins and Principal Cellist Timothy Landauer breathes passion into Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

 

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard

Thursday – Saturday, April 16-18

Chapman University, Waltmar Theatre

One University Drive, Orange

7:30 p.m., with an additional performance April 18 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 general admission; $15 senior citizens, alumni and non-Chapman students; visit: chapman.universitytickets.com or call (714) 997-6812.

Directed by Gavin Cameron-Webb

Acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are Hamlet’s treacherous friends in Shakespeare’s play. Tom Stoppard gives the stage to these two characters, but when they finally get a chance to take the leading roles, reality and illusion intermix, and the two heroes comically and tragically find their way to an inevitable end.

 

Lecture: Science and Mathematics in Stoppard’s Work

Friday, April 17, 4-5 p.m.

Chapman University, Waltmar Theatre

One University Drive, Orange

Free and open to the public.

In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, Chapman University Chancellor Daniele Struppa discusses the creative ways in which Stoppard uses mathematics and more general scientific method to convey poetic ideas and significance. Examples will include excerpts from Hapgood (1987), Arcadia (1993), and, of course, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1966).


 

Symposium: Shakespeare Reimagined: Interpretations Across the Arts

Saturday, April 18, 1-5 p.m.

Chapman University, Musco Lecture Hall (Oliphant Hall 301)

One University Drive, Orange

Pre-Registration is recommended and will be available online March 13
Free and open to the public.

Thomas F. Bradac and Kent Lehnhof, co-moderators

Scheduled panelists include:

•         Joseph Campana, Department of English, Rice University

•         David McCandless, Theater Arts Program. Department of Performing Arts, Southern Oregon University

•         Matthew J. Smith, Department of English, Azusa Pacific University

•         Don Weingust, Director, Shakespeare Studies, Department of Theatre Arts & Dance, Southern Utah University

•         Lisa Wolpe, Producing Artistic Director, Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company

 

Pacific Symphony Discussion: Romeo and Juliet: How Should The Story End?

Sunday, April 19, 1-2:30 p.m.

Segerstrom Hall, Judy Morr Theater

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Free and open to the public

Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser

Julia Lupton, UC Irvine professor

Rich Wordes, Romeo

Amy Hitchcock, Juliet

 

Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” ballet was originally conceived with a happy ending. In fact, there are many versions of this story, and many ways to end it. Using film clips, Pacific Symphony Artistic Adviser Joseph Horowitz and UC Irvine Professor Julia Lupton explore the different ways in which the lovers’ tale has been told, with special attention given to Prokofiev’s translation of an Elizabethan tragedy into a Soviet ballet.

 

Pacific Symphony Concert: “Romeo & Juliet: Happy Endings”

Sunday, April 19, 3 p.m.

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Tickets are $25-$99; visit: www.PacificSymphony.org or call (714) 755-5799.

 

Carl St.Clair, conductor

Joseph Horowitz, artistic adviser

Rich Wordes, Romeo

Amy Hitchcock, Juliet

David Tai Kim, Young Romeo (dancer)

Keira Schwartz, Young Juliet (dancer)

Lorin Johnson, choreographer

 

Relive the timeless tale of star-crossed lovers through Prokofiev’s masterful, memorable music! Here, actors and dancers reinstate Prokofiev’s original happy ending which was banned by Joseph Stalin in favor of Shakespeare’s tragic finale.

 

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