Cellist Zuill Bailey will take the stage at the upcoming Alaska Airlines Winter Classics chamber music series on something of a high note.
His latest CD, in which he's the soloist in the cello concerto and cello sonata of Benjamin Britten, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's classical music chart last month. It edged out two star-power competitors: Hilary Hahn's album of popular encores and the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert led by Daniel Barenboim.
Bailey, director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, will be joined by the festival's founder, violinist Paul Rosenthal, and pianist Piers Lane. Highlights in the announced Anchorage programs, which take place in Grant Hall at Alaska Pacific University, are as follows. Tickets are available at centertix.net.
- 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14: Schubert's "Piano Trio No. 1," Chopin's "Polonaise Brilliante for Cello and Piano."
- 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15: An all-Mendelssohn program including his "Cello Sonata No. 1" and "Piano Trio No. 2."
- 4 p.m. Feb. 16: Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata and Schubert's "Piano Trio No. 2."
In addition to the concerts, Bailey will host a one-hour session to introduce the music and musicians featured in the series at 10 a.m. on Feb. 15, also in Grant Hall. We're not sure how much of an introduction Rosenthal needs for Alaskans; he's been part of the scene here for about 45 years. But it should be interesting and it's free.
The Winter Classics series kicked off with a house concert in Juneau on Friday. Other destinations this month include:
Fairbanks, 8 p.m. Feb. 13, Davis Concert Hall. Lane will perform the complete Chopin Nocturnes. Information and tickets at fairbankssymphony.org.
- Soldotna, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17, Christ Lutheran Church. Rosenthal and Lane will present a program of Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, sponsored by the Performing Arts Society. Advance tickets are available at River City Books and Northcountry Fair in Soldotna and at Already Read and Country Liquor in Kenai. More information is available by calling 283-3219 or online.
- Sitka, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22, Allen Hall/Odess Theater. Lane will perform the complete Chopin Nocturnes by candlelight with tapas and desserts. Tickets are available online or at Old Harbor Books. Lane will also present a community concert at noon Feb. 20 at Harrigan Centennial Hall with admission by donation, and at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 will conduct a master class to which the public is invited, admission $5. More information is at sitkamusicfestival.org.
Readers review "Four Seasons"
I couldn't make the Anchorage Symphony's performance with soloist Rachel Barton Pine on Feb. 1, but people who did have chimed in with their thoughts on what was, by all reports, an outstanding concert. Some of their comments are posted at adn.com/artsnob.
Busy Valentine's weekend
The calendar brims with enticing performance events this Valentine's Day weekend. In addition to the Winter Classics concerts, we note:
"Jihad Jones and the Kaleshnikov Babes" opens a three-week run at Cyrano's with a preview on Feb. 13. The Feb. 15 show will be a special benefit to help put a belated star for Alaska actor/cinematographer Ray Mala on Hollywood Boulevard. Playwright Yussef El Guindi will be in town later in the month, a guest at the World Affairs Council meeting at the Petroleum Club on Feb. 21. The production features longtime Anchorage Community Theatre director Bob Pond and the ever-impressive Kevin Bennett. Dick Reichman directs.
"Rush at Everlasting," Anchorage author Arlitia Jones' latest play, will be presented at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts by Perseverance Theatre Feb. 14-23. Charity Pomeroy, Paul Schweigert and Tiffany Nichole Greene make up the cast. Bostin Christopher directs.
"Simply Sinatra," a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes featuring Vegas crooner Steve Lippia accompanied by the Anchorage Symphony, will take place in Atwood Concert Hall on Feb. 14.
"Night of the Iguana," one of Tennessee Williams' most acclaimed plays, and one we don't see much up here, will be presented by the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Theatre and Dance on the Mainstage, Feb. 14-March 2. Steven Hunt directs.
"Charley's Aunt," the quintessential British farce, wraps up Feb. 14-16 -- plus the 3 p.m. show on Feb. 9 -- at Anchorage Community Theatre.
"AlaskAvengers vs. Dr. Despicable" is the delightful title of this year's Rondy Melodrama staged by the Alaska Sound Celebration. We mention it to note that Fur Rendezvous will start on Feb. 21, the same day this wacky "superhero melodrama" opens. The show will go on with performances Thursdays-Sundays until March 8.
Speaking of ACT, Anchorage Community Theatre is looking for scripts, programs, playbills and posters from productions past. If you come across any such treasures, they'd love to help you get them out of your crawl space. Call 344-4713.
Military free at Fairbanks museum
The University of Alaska's Museum of the North in Fairbanks has announced that active-duty military personnel and up to four members of their immediate families can visit the Museum of the North for free this year. The program is made possible by Wells Fargo. You will need to show your military ID.
Cleaning out old periodicals recently, I came across a 1994 magazine item that said the Anchorage Assembly had approved spending $22,000 for the foundation of a life-size bronze statue of a woolly mammoth to be placed near Loussac Library. It was to be installed by early 1995. Going back through newspaper reports, it seems the magazine may have misstated the case. The assembly, it turns out, only approved the money on the condition that California sculptor Douglas Van Howd -- who has something of a mammoth facsimile franchise -- came up with a donor to pay for the statue itself. $500,000. Evidently, that has not happened. It would look pretty impressive, though.
Reach Mike Dunham at email@example.com or 257-4332.