The Union Recorder

March 4, 2014

CURTAIN CALL: How about some mandolins and a little opera?

Tom Toney
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — “Oh mighty warrior of great fighting stock, Might I inquire to asking what's up doc?”

Well, this past week we had a great concert of jazz music, courtesy of Swing Division, and a mighty fine play in the form of “Willy Wonka,” presented by the Georgia College Theatre Department.

So for this coming week, how about some mandolins and a little opera?

This Friday evening Allied Arts will sponsor a performance by the Mandolin Consort of Atlanta (MCA) starting at 7:30 p.m. The show will take place in historic Allen's Market.

The MCA (why am I suddenly thinking of a Kingston Trio song?) offers a program of musical styles ranging from classical to contemporary. They were founded by a select group of members of the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra in 2013.

All tickets are $10 each and need to be reserved in advance. You can give a call to Allied Arts at 478-452-3950 or stop by their headquarters at the Marlor House for more information or to make your reservations.

Then on Monday evening, March 10, the GC Music Department will present soprano Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, accompanied by Deborah Ayers on piano. The concert will take place in the Magnolia Ballroom at the Student Activities Center, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Charbonnet is internationally recognized as a leading force in German and contemporary opera repertoires. The New York Times has described her as a “spine-chillingly powerful” performer.

She has performed in many of the major European opera houses and has been a regularly featured star with many U.S. opera companies, including the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera and the New York City Opera.

In other words, this gal comes with a considerable pedigree!

So what brings her to little old Milledgeville? Family connections.    

It seems as if GC music professor Richard Greene, who grew up in southern Louisiana, is a cousin to Ms. Charbonnet.

Who knew?

Richard actually had lost track of his cousin for many years - not unusual in a large family - until he was researching topics for his music history class and he came across one of her videos.

He then reached out to his famous cousin to see about having her visit Georgia College.

In addition to her Monday evening performance for the public, Charbonnet will have a special workshop with voice students.

The Monday evening program will include songs by Arnold Schoenberg and Johannes Brahms as well as cabaret style songs by musical theater composer Kurt Weill and American composer William Bolcom.

This is a very rare occasion for folks in central Georgia to hear an artist of true international stature. People pay big bucks all over the world to hear her perform.

Tickets for the March 10 show are $10 for general admission with seniors and GC faculty and staff getting in for $7. All the money raised goes toward scholarships for music students at GC.

And remember the performance is in the Magnolia Ballroom. That's a little different location than most of the weeknight concerts presented by the music department.

Also, let me put a quick plug in for the upcoming GC Jazz Band concert, which will take place Thursday and Friday evenings, March 13 and 14 in Russell Auditorium.

The concert is titled “Jazz Generations,” a fitting name, as the program will feature a collection of jazz songs from a broad spectrum of time. More on this concert in next week's exciting chapter, but I suggest marking your calendars for this always great show.

OK, with some opera coming up this week, I chose my opening lyrics from that great source of operatic music - the Warner Brothers cartoon library. More specifically, the classic cartoon, “What's Opera, Doc?”

Directed by Chuck Jones in 1957, this animated short is sometimes referred to as “Kill the Wabbit,” after the line sung by Elmer Fudd to the tune of Wagner's “Ride of the Valkyries.”

In 1994, “What's Opera Doc?” was voted No. 1 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of All Time by 1,000 members of the animation field.

Later in the cartoon as Bugs, dressed as a blonde haired maiden, comes riding down on a great white horse, Elmer Fudd sings, and Bugs Bunny responds with...

“Oh, Brunhilda, you're so wuvley.”

“Yes, I know it, I can't help it.”

Catch you on the flip side.