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Classical 101

Opera Columbus, King Avenue UMC Highlight Great Arts Weekend

Last Saturday I sat through Handel's Giulio Cesare live in HD from the Met in a full theater at Lennox Town Center. Some of the singers struggled, the sets and staging were fun, the orchestra and conducting were first-rate. It lasted five hours. It. lasted. five. hours. Anyone with sense would go home and go to bed. But this is Columbus. A few hours later, I was in the Southern Theatre, guest of the glorious Peggy Kriha Dye and Opera Columbus, for our local company's second collaboration with Canada's Opera Atelier, Mozart's Magic Flute. I even thought while driving downtown, Why am I doing this? I'm not 22 any more, I do have another life and do I really need to see another performance of the Magic Flute? I'm glad I saw this one. There wasn't a wrong note or a wrong step. Most of the singers performed at a very high quality indeed. Mozart's fairy tale singspiel, with Masonic overtones, was played neither full comedy nor full seriousness but as entertainment. Everyone on stage sang and moved well and everyone on stage had a great time, allowing the audience to do the same. This was a show that played not to the audience but with the audience. I was happy to see familiar faces on stage, from young artists I knew and loved as kids. Opera Columbus is preparing a return to locally cast productions, but not abandoning collaborations. Good to both. I regret not having had a busload of kids with me to see this show. The sets were multi-colored and beautiful, the staging witty. It was a performance about everyone in the building enjoying wonderful music and play, together. Then, as I was walking to my car after this splendid performance, I saw and heard crowds in Columbus Commons having a blast. Crowds were coming out of Warhorse at the Ohio Theater, and CATCO's marquee was preparing us all for Five Guys Named Moe. The town was alight and crowded at 11 pm. God bless CAPA. So Sunday I stay in bed, right?  I tried,  but King Avenue United Methodist Church was performing Mozart's Requiem at 3 pm. I skipped the gym and went off to Victorian Village. Christopher McManus conducted a splendid Mozart Requiem. It was great music making from a volunteer church choir performing at professional level to a packed church. This Mozart was truly "your friends and neighbors" and it was beautiful. ProMusica was at St. Turibius Chapel. I regret not being there as well since ProMusica, a local based organization with a national reach, is always terrific. Just another weekend in the arts for Columbus.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.