Friday, March 20, 2009

ArtsBuzz: Ballet Florida cancels rest of season

A scene from the Ballet Florida staging of The Nutcracker.

WEST PALM BEACH -- Citing the failure of a proposed partnership with the city of West Palm Beach and "unforeseen financial challenges," Ballet Florida this afternoon canceled the remainder of its 2008-09 season.

The troupe had been scheduled to present performances at the Broward Center on April 4-5, the Duncan Theater at Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth on April 24-25, and PBCC's Eissey Campus Theater on May 1-3.

“We wish to thank the city of West Palm Beach, Mayor (Lois) Frankel, the city commissioners, and the CRA for their efforts towards a partnership with Ballet Florida and are disappointed that they were not able to go forward at this time,” Juan J. Escalante, the company's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Escalante could not be reached Friday evening for further comment.

The company plans to resume performances for its 24th season on Dec. 23-28, when it will present its annual Christmastime production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at the Kravis Center. The 2009-10 season is also scheduled to include world premieres by leading choreographers Jerry Opdenaker, Ben Stevenson, Ron de Jesus and Ma Cong, the company said today.

Ballet Florida's financial hardships "would have damaged the artistic integrity of Ballet Florida should the company have continued with its performances this season," the West Palm Beach-based troupe said in a statement, adding that the board of directors is committed to a financial restructuring.

Subscriptions or single-ticket sales already bought for the upcoming performances will be credited towards any of the performances in 2009-10, Ballet Florida said. In addition, the activities of the Academy of Ballet Florida will continue uninterrupted, and auditions for next season scheduled for Sunday will take place as planned. -- G. Stepanich

Pianist Jose Feghali.

Watts cancels Monday recital, Feghali will substitute

WEST PALM BEACH -- Pianist Andre Watts has pulled out of his Monday afternoon recital at the Kravis Center due to illness, officials at the performing arts organization said today.

Brazilian pianist Jose Feghali, the gold medalist at the Van Cliburn Competition in 1985, will appear in his place. On Feghali's program will be the Mozart Sonata in B-flat, K. 333, the F minor Fantasy (Op. 49) of Chopin, and Schumann's Fantaisestucke, Op. 12.

Feghali, who teaches at Texas Christian University, also has programmed three works by Brazilian composers: Impressoes Seresteiras, by Heitor Villa-Lobos, three pieces by the pianist and tango composer Ernesto Nazareth (Odeon, Escorregando and Apanhei-te, Covaquinho!), and the most famous work of Zequinha de Abreu, Tico-Tico no Fuba.

Watts had been scheduled to play works by Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven, as well as Bach in two transcriptions by Watts himself. Tickets for his concert will be honored at the Feghali recital, Kravis Center officials said.

A return appearance for Watts has not yet been scheduled. For more information, call the box office at 832-7469. - G. Stepanich

The Delray String Quartet, from left: Mei-Mei Luo,
Richard Fleischman, Susan Moyer Bergeron,
and Laszlo Pap.

Delray Quartet to play Lauderdale series

DELRAY BEACH -- The Delray Beach String Quartet will be performing a concert series outside of Palm Beach County for the first time next season, officials said this week.

The group, which ends its fifth season Sunday, April 5, will perform a series of Saturday night concerts at All Saints Episcopal Church, just off Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

There are two other concert series also in the works for the quartet, plus additional area concerts, said Richard Fleischman, the quartet's violist.

The All Saints concerts will take place at 7:30 p.m. on the Saturdays before the same program is given at 4 p.m. Sunday in Delray Beach's Colony Hotel. Programs include:

Saturday, Dec. 5-Sunday, Dec. 6: Quartet No. 4 (in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4) by Beethoven and the Piano Quintet in F minor of Cesar Franck, with pianist Tao Lin.

Saturday, Jan. 2,-Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010: The lone String Quartet (in F) of Maurice Ravel, the Overture in C minor (D. 8a) by a teenage Franz Schubert, and the one-movement String Quartet (Op. 23) of the 20th-century American composer Howard Hanson.

Saturday, Feb. 6-Sunday, Feb. 7: String Quartet No. 5 (in D minor, Op. 70) of the Russian composer Alexander Glazunov, the String Quartet No. 64 (in D, Op. 76. No. 5) of Haydn, and the Lullaby of George Gershwin, which he wrote in 1919.

Saturday, March 6-Sunday, March 7: String Quartet in D minor, K. 421, of Mozart, the First String Quartet of Argentinian master Alberto Ginastera, and Crisantemi, a rare instrumental miniature by operatic titan Giacomo Puccini.

Saturday, April 10-Sunday, April 11: String Quartet No. 2 (in A) by the short-lived Basque composer Juan Arriaga, and the popular String Quartet No. 1 (in D, Op. 11) by Tchaikovsky.

This season, the Delray released its first recording, an all-Dvorak disc featuring the American String Quartet (No. 12 in F, Op. 96) and the Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81, with Lin doing the keyboard honors. The group also gave the world premiere of the String Quartet No. 3 of the University of Miami teacher and composer Thomas Sleeper. -- G. Stepanich

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