Sounds of the Season

Saturday, December 12, 2009
7:30 p.m.

Atonement Lutheran Church
9948 Metcalf

  • Bring your family and friends to hear some of the season’s most wonderful music.  You’ll hear something traditional, something meaningful and something fun!  This is a concert event the whole family will enjoy.  Come ready to hear the Kansas City Civic Orchestra with the Atonement Lutheran Chorus (Rick Deasley, music director) perform your favorite SOUNDS OF THE SEASON!

KCCO and Atonement Lutheran Church will host a food drive to benefit Harvesters. We invite you to bring a non-perishable food item and help stamp out hunger in Kansas City this holiday season.

Cost: FREE, no tickets required.

Encore concert at John Knox Village

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Sounds of the Season (encore)

Encore performance
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
7:30 p.m.

The Pavilion at John Knox Village
520 NW Murray Road

  • Bring your family and friends to hear some of the season’s most wonderful music.  You’ll hear something traditional, something meaningful and something fun!  This is a concert event the whole family will enjoy.  Concerts are always FREE, so come ready to hear the Kansas City Civic Orchestra perform your favorite SOUNDS OF THE SEASON!

Cost: FREE, no tickets required.

Financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

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Kelts Prepares For Second Season

Christopher Kelts, Conductor
Christopher Kelts, Conductor

A native of St. Louis, Christopher Kelts is ready to begin his second season as music director/conductor of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. He also conducts the Eastern Jackson County Youth Orchestra, and has guest conducted with the Chamber Orchestra of the Ozarks and the Atchison Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Kelts is also the former assistant conductor of the Kansas City Ballet.

Mr. Kelts is currently finishing a doctoral conducting degree from UMKC-Conservatory of Music & Dance. He holds degrees in orchestral conducting; studying with such teachers as Robert Olson, Glenn Block, and Paul Vermel. Alongside his conducting training, Mr. Kelts is also a trained violist. His teachers include Karen Tuttle, Kate Hamilton, and Amy Muchnick. While at UMKC, Mr. Kelts served as assistant conductor of the Conservatory Orchestras and Opera. He has performed such operas as Le nozze di Figaro, Il Ritorno di Ulisses in Patria, Sussanah, Pirates of Penzanc e, Hansel and Gretel, Guilo Cesare, and Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. [nggallery id=1]

For the past seven years, Christopher Kelts has served as faculty and conductor for Missouri State University’s Summer String Institute. Mr. Kelts is currently faculty for the Stringedo String Insitute through the Conservatory’s Academy of Music & Dance.

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Brett Gibson, Accordian

Brett Gibson performs with Kansas City Civic Orchestra

From the May, 2007 United States National Accordion News on-line

Kansas City based musician Brett Gibson received a rousing standing ovation and encore performance for his rendition of Piazzolla’s Concerto when he made his debut with the Kansas City Civic Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Andy Anderson.

Brett Gibson performs with KCCO
Brett Gibson, Accordian

Brett was born in Auckland, New Zealand but now makes his home in the Kansas City area of the United States where he has established himself as one of the leading accordion specialists in the Celtic music scene having performed several seasons with The Elders, Gabriels Gate and is a regular musician with Eddie Delahunt. Brett began playing the accordion at age seven and at the age of 12 won his first New Zealand championship for that age category and continued to seriously perform and compete into his late teens as a soloist and with duet, trio, quartet, ensemble and orchestra. He went on to tour overseas with both the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra and also the UMKC Accordion Orchestra.

The Kansas City Civic Orchestra focuses on community enrichment and interaction, drawing players from all walks of life and bringing music to people of all ages and interests, the Kansas City Civic Symphony’s concert on Saturday was the last in the 48th season.

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Uthe stands out in fine rendition of Puccini’s ‘Edgar’

Posted Thursday, August 18, 2005
by Timothy McDonald, Arts Writer
The Johnson County Sun

The Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City and the Kansas City Civic Orchestra presented a fine production of the rarely performed opera “Edgar” by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini at the Folly Theater last weekend.

“Edgar” was Puccini’s second opera, written for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala in 1889. While it does not approach the name recognition of the composer’s more mature works (“Madama Butterfly,” “La Bohème” and “Tosca), “Edgar” contains its fair share of voluptuous melodies.

The semi-staged production featured an onstage orchestra partially hidden from view by sets, a small chorus veiled in monks’ robes, and five principal singers. The placement of the orchestra resulted in a better balance between voices and instruments than has been the case in previous productions employing the Folly pit.

The opera was cast well, particularly with regard to the women’s roles. Megan King portrayed the pure-hearted shepherdess Fidelia, and sang splendidly with her lovely, light soprano voice.

Stacey Stofferahn Uthe was the standout singer in the role of the lusty and wild Tigrane. The darker coloring made a fine contrast with King’s, and her rapid passages were nicely delivered. In her opening piece, though, the low range did not project well.

Bruce Burstert as Frank and Robert Grady in the title role of Edgar generally sang well and with expression. Grady sang with a tight upper range that was not always attractive in Act I, but improved markedly in later acts.

Opera librettos can be convoluted, but that of “Edgar” was downright silly at times, with plot twists and references that make you want to jump up and say “huh?” The music was wonderful, though, and included a welcome number of marvelous orchestral interludes, played with passion by the Civic Orchestra under the direction of Andy Anderson.

The Civic Opera and Orchestra are to be commended for taking a chance on a little known work by a major composer and turning into a wonderful evening of summer opera.

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Civic Opera’s ‘Edgar’ a solo success

OPERA Review: Civic Opera’s ‘Edgar’ a solo success

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005
By PAUL HORSLEY
The Kansas City Star

In opera, you can hear only so many “La Bohèmes” before you are ready to move on to fresh fare.

On Sunday at the Folly Theater, I found myself fascinated and more than a little amused by Puccini’s early opera “Edgar,” in a shoestring production by the Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City.

Despite being the composer’s first completed opera, it is hardly a primitive piece: It predates his “Manon Lescaut” by only four years and “Bohème” by just seven. It contains the Debussian parallel chords and Wagnerian orchestration of the later works, not to mention the ferocious choral climaxes. Its voluptuous vocalism is, if anything, refreshingly unfettered compared to the more mannered restraint of the later works.

The Civic Opera’s “Edgar” won the heart with remarkable solo singing and an inventive stage setup that might prove revelatory for future small-scale opera productions here.

The orchestra was upstage, largely hidden by the stage set — designer Laura Burkhart’s lowlying representation of a wall, a set of glass doors and so forth — and a choir of monks.

This allowed the leads to sing from the stage extension, which thrust them into the audience’s front-and-center view. Three video monitors allowed them to follow conductor Andy Anderson, who was well behind them.

The setup somehow filled the hall with amazingly rich sound. From the balcony, I heard a blend between soloist and orchestra that was as fine as you get in any theater in Kansas City.

Granted, the performance remained earthbound by marginal choral males and unpredictable orchestral playing by the Kansas City Civic Orchestra. And the supertitles were so faint as to be unreadable, leaving us to rely on our college Italian.

But none of this obscured the fine solo performances. Bruce Burstert as the hotheaded Frank sang with a warm, mellow sound. Robert Grady in the title role belted out the high notes, at least, with precision, and commanded the part despite some lack of vocal support, which might explain why his voice was failing by Act 3. Phil Eatherton showed off a highly polished voice in the small role of Gualtiero.

Stacey Stofferahn Uthe’s focused, penetrating voice made her ideal for the torchy Gypsy

Tigrana. Act 3 belonged to Megan King as Fidelia, which she inhabited with a sparkling, textured soprano and a mature dramatic grasp.

The Civic Opera continues to take risks and to score marginal successes despite its use of volunteer performers. For a few dollars more, the company could easily pass into the ranks of truly significant local arts groups.

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An operatic portrait of Puccini…

MUSIC AND DANCE NOTES
An operatic portrait of Puccini…
Posted Sunday, Aug. 07, 2005

By PAUL HORSLEY
The Kansas City Star

Even those with a casual acquaintance with opera have probably seen or heard something from Puccini’s “Tosca,” “Madama Butterfly” or “La Boheme.”

But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, even opera fans, who have seen the composer’s “Edgar” on the stage.

This week Kansas Citians will have a chance to see Puccini’s first completed opera, a youthful morsel with flashes of the greatness that would bloom in later verismo masterpieces.

At 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Folly Theater, the Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City opens its 21st season with “Edgar.” Andy Anderson is conductor and stage director of this semi-staged production.

“It’s a love triangle. Actually it’s a love square,” Anderson said of the story. “Boy and girl are in love, but boy (Edgar) has loved another girl before that. And the girl has loved others, too.

Several others. It happens that the boy’s best friend, Frank, is in love with the girl he loved earlier.”

And on it goes. “It’s very Carmenesque,” Anderson said.

The musical language, he added, is that of the Wagner and Verdi that the young Puccini was hearing at the time.

“In a lot of ways, it’s the Puccini that we’ve come to know, with a twist.” The female lead sings in a florid bel canto style, he said, while the other characters are more in keeping with the later Puccini.

“The orchestra is thick and lush, like all his other operas,” Anderson said. This “Edgar” marks the inaugural collaboration between the Civic Opera Theater and the Civic Orchestra of Kansas City, which Anderson also directs.

The cast includes Robert Grady in the title role, Bruce Burstert as Frank, Megan King as Fidelia, Stacey Uthe-Stofferahn as Tigrana and Phil Etherton as Gualtiero, the father.

Tickets cost $18 ($15 for students and seniors, $10 for persons in groups of six or more). Call (816) 235-6222.

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The Kansas City Civic Orchestra LIVE at the Folly Theater in 2009

Civic Orchestra demonstrates passion for music

By:Timothy McDonald, Sun Arts Writer April 15, 2004


Some people play music for a livelihood, some for a hobby. The members of the Kansas City Civic Orchestra play out of sheer passion for classical music.

The orchestra played recently in Yardley Hall, at the Carlsen Center of Johnson County Community College, in a program featuring music by Giacomo Puccini, Max Bruch and Johannes Brahms.

Founded in 1959, the Kansas City Civic Orchestra draws its membership from the entire Kansas City metropolitan area. While some performers are music teachers, most work in a variety of other fields, from insurance agent to TV weatherman.

The concert opened with the “Preludio Sinfonico” by Giacomo Puccini, a relatively unknown but lovely piece by the famous Italian opera composer. Many of Puccini’s signature traits were noticeable, especially the poignant and long-breathed romantic melodies.

Tiberius Klausner joined the orchestra for the “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor” by German romantic composer Max Bruch. Klausner, a Johnson County resident, was the longtime concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra and professor emeritus at the UMKC Conservatory of Music.

Klausner performed with elegance and a highly attractive tone. The concerto’s central slow movement was particularly sensitive and lyrical, and the orchestra, under the direction of Andy Anderson, responded well to Klausner’s songlike approach.

The popular finale was dancelike and effervescent. Klausner managed the multiple stop passages deftly, and the orchestra, despite some tuning inconsistencies, performed admirably. The final work on the program was Johannes Brahms’ “Symphony No. 2 in D Major.” The orchestra played the attractive opening movement with a sense of urgency and drama. Energetic playing and contrasting dynamics and tempos kept the third movement appealing.

The next concert by the Kansas City Civic Orchestra will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 16 at the Rose Theater of Rockhurst High School in Kansas City. The ensemble will perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7” and Ralph Vaughn Williams “Tuba Concerto.” For more information, go to kccivic.org

©The Johnson County Sun 2004

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