November 24, 2021

By Stuart Michner

I’m a dark horse
Running on a dark race course…

—George Harrison (1943-2001)

According to Glyn Johns, engineer and producer of the Beatles’ famously fraught Get Back sessions, “If I was ever going to write a book about George, I would print out every lyric he ever wrote, and I guarantee you would find out exactly who he was. Beginning with ‘Don’t Bother Me,’ it’s all there, as plain as plain can be.”

In George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door (Overlook 2015), Graeme Thomson notes that “Don’t Bother Me” was “written out of sheer necessity” at a time when “the insatiable appetite of Beatlemania” was “really beginning to bite.” As someone who “would never be much inclined to float off and write about ‘newspaper taxis’ or ‘Maxwell’s silver hammer,’ “ and who was already “adept at writing about himself,” Harrison was “the first Beatle to write songs about being a Beatle.”

So there he was, at 20, the youngest member of a band dominated by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, a compositional dynamo producing hit songs with titles like “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” “Thank You Girl,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “From Me to You.” Laid up with a head cold while the Beatles were playing “a summer season in Bournemouth,” as he recounts in I Me Mine (Chronicle Books 1980, 2002), Harrison gamely sets about writing the first chapter of his own narrative, a subtext in song with a distinct point of view. While “Don’t Bother Me” is plotted around the standard she-left-me-on-my-own plotline, it comes across as a dispatch from the combat zone of Beatlemania by a singer with no interest in holding hands or making nice: “So go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me … don’t come near, just stay away.”  more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra launched the second of its online fall performances last Wednesday night with a multi-media presentation of 19th-century music. Recorded last May at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and led by NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang, this concert focused on “A Woman’s Voice” in programmatic music, performance, and poetry. Although the Orchestra presented only three works, last Wednesday night’s performance was dense with text and backstories to the music, accompanied by poetry of local writers. Joining the Orchestra was one of opera’s great legends, soprano Renée Fleming.

French composer Georges Bizet’s four-movement suite L’Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles) originated as incidental music to a failed theatrical play.  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performed the third movement “Adagietto,” scored for strings alone. Under Zhang’s direction, the strings of the Orchestra began the movement introspectively; with a smaller than usual ensemble of strings, the violins reached the heights of phrases well, with an especially lean melody from the first violins. The performance of this piece was preceded by a reading of the poem “Elizabeth, NJ” by New Jersey poet and artist Michelle Moncayo. 

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra introduced Richard Wagner’s romantic Siegfried Idyll with the poem “Convergence” by New Jersey native, poet and educator Jane Wong. Wagner, one of the towering composers of the 19th century, composed the one-movement Idyll as a “Symphonic Birthday Greeting” to his wife at the time. Zhang and the Orchestra began the piece with the same light touch heard in the Bizet work, with more strings and the addition of winds and brass. A solo line from flutist Bart Feller soared above the orchestral palette, complemented by pastoral solo playing from oboist Alexandra Knoll. Clarinetist Pascal Archer also provided expressive solo passages as the strings gracefully maneuvered repeated melodies and rhythmic patterns. A quartet of principal string players presented melodic lines well punctuated by solo horn player Christopher Komer, and conductor Zhang and concertmaster Eric Wyrick added a playful character to the music. Zhang brought the Idyll to a joyous close, aided by rich orchestration and playing of the German trumpets for which Wagner’s music is known.    more

“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”: Theatre Intime has staged a reimagined “Much Ado About Nothing,” presented November 12-21 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Directed by Katie Bushman, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is transplanted to the era of World War I. Benedick (Solomon Bergquist, center left) and Beatrice (Cassy James, center right) have a bickersome courtship, which is jeopardized by an action taken by Claudio (Harit Raghunathan, left) at his wedding to Hero (Lauren Owens, second from left). Onlookers: Leonato (Hank Ingham, second from right) and Don Pedro (Alex Conboy, right). (Photo by Elliot Lee)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare has Balthasar, a musician, sing: “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.” This world-weary comment, about the timelessness of dishonesty in relationships, would seem to offer directors latitude to reimagine the period in which this comedy is set.

Princeton University’s Theatre Intime has presented (from November 12-21) a production that takes advantage of this dramaturgical license. Director Katie Bushman transplants the play — first published in 1600 — to the end of the First World War.

This is clear as soon as the audience enters the theater. We hear popular songs of that period, including Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and, more thematically relevant, George M. Cohan’s “Over There.”

Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon (portrayed by Alex Conboy) returns home from winning a battle. With him are two of his soldiers: Claudio (Harit Raghunathan) and Benedick (Solomon Bergquist). The play is set at the home of a noble, Leonato (Hank Ingham); he invites the soldiers to stay for a month.  more

LIVE AND LIVE-STREAMED: Voices Chorale NJ performs its first in-person concert since the pandemic on December 17 at Trinity Church.

The first live and live-streamed concert of Voices Chorale NJ since December 2019 is scheduled for Friday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Featuring works based on the poetry of E.E. Cummings, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and more, this concert includes holiday music along with sounds to soothe the soul after a long time apart.

Among the works on the program is Joan Szymko’s I Dream a World, based on Langston Hughes’ poem, imagining a world “where love will bless the earth and peace its paths adorn.” Sing Gently, composed by Eric Whitacre in March 2020, was written in a spirit to bring comfort to those who need it. Where Riches is Everlastingly is Bob Chilcott’s upbeat arrangement of a 16th century carol. Little Tree, based on a poem by E.E. Cummings, reflects the childlike wonder and excitement of dressing the Christmas tree, and Eight Days of Lights, by Judith Clurman, honors the Hanukkah celebration.

The concert is designed to explore diverse music that brings people together, as individuals with different beliefs, traditions, and tastes.

Singers and audience members will wear masks, and there is a streaming option for those who cannot join in person. Tickets are $15-$25. Visit voiceschoralenj.org.

Laquita Mitchell

Soprano and Westminster Choir College alumna Laquita Mitchell performs with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra at its Holiday POPS! concert on Tuesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Matthews Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center.

Mitchell sings Giacomo Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi, Robert MacGimsey’s spiritual-inspired song “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” and an arrangement of “This Little Light of Mine.” Conducted by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the program also includes dances from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Snow Maiden and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, plus Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Blue Danube” waltz, and favorites including “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.

“I’m excited to welcome Laquita Mitchell back to Princeton and have her be a part of our holiday celebration. Her performance will bring a poignancy to this year’s program as well as a note of hope to carry us through to the new year,” says Milanov.

Mitchell earned positive reviews for her début as Bess in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera. She reprised the role with opera companies and orchestras nationwide and with Grange Park Opera in the U.K. and the Lithuanian State Symphony. She recently performed the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine with Opera Colorado, as well as The Promise of Living, a concert program she conceived. She appeared in New York Philharmonic’s Bandwagon concerts and the Kauffmann Music Center’s Musical Storefront series in spring 2021, and performed with the Columbus Symphony and Rhode Island Philharmonic. more

“LINE OF LIGHT”: This painting by Bill Jersey is part of “Sharing,” his exhibition with artists Laura Rutherford Renner, Heather Barros, and Larry Mitnick, on view at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville December 9 through January 22.

Artists Bill Jersey, Laura Rutherford Renner, Heather Barros, and Larry Mitnick  have announced the opening of their joint show, “Sharing,” on view  December 9 through January 22 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. The exhibit features  paintings by the four artists. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, December 11, from 1 to 3p.m.

“Sharing” invites viewers to pause, to see, to remember the beauty of the world that we share with you.

Residing in Hunterdon County,  Jersey says,  “I am surrounded by creeks, forests, fields, and hills — an abundance of scenes I want to capture or interpret on canvas. Over time, my paintings evolved from more realistic scenes of the natural world to more interpreted representations, using dramatic colors to evoke fresh perspectives. As a documentary filmmaker of many years, I learned to catch a moment in time and use it to tell a larger story. That is what I seek to capture in my paintings.” more

“GARDENS OLD AND NEW”: This work by Arsen Savadov and Georgii Senchenko is part of “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985–1993,” on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through March 13, 2022.

The exhibition “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985–1993” explores the inventive new art styles by Ukrainian artists responding to a trying transitional period of perestroika (restructuring) during the collapse of the Soviet Union. On view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through March 13, 2022, the exhibition highlights an explosion of styles, rediscovered histories, and newly found freedoms that blossomed against economic scarcity and ecological calamity, creating an effect of baroque excess.

Organized by guest research curator Olena Martynyuk, Ph.D. with assistance from Julia Tulovsky, Ph.D., the Zimmerli’s curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art, “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” is accompanied by a catalogue of the same title, co-published with Rutgers University Press.

An in-person exhibition reception is scheduled for February 26, 2022, with performances of Ukrainian musical pieces composed in the 1980s and early 1990s, recreating the cultural atmosphere of the time.  more

 

EXHIBIT AT TERHUNE: Local photographer Eddie Dzik will discuss his work on Sunday, November 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Terhune Orchards’ historic barn on Cold Soil Road.

The work of local photographer Eddie Dzik will be featured in an exhibition opening Sunday in Terhune Orchards historic barn on Cold Soil Road. Dzik will be available to discuss his work from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, November 28.
Dzik was raised in Lawrenceville. As a way to show his love for the outdoors and concern for environmental preservation, he began photographing both local and national parks to document their ever-changing landscapes.
Currently, he has been assisting world-renowned National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita, most recently working on the creation of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Through his photography, Dzik strives to share his vision of nature in hopes to grow awareness of the beauty of our natural resources and remind others of the importance of protecting and preserving them. View Dzik’s portfolio at: eddiedzik.myportfolio.com.

WINTER CLASSES: The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-person and virtual art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics. 

The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-person and virtual art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children beginning January 10. Select classes will be offered in a hybrid format. Classes and workshops are offered for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics. 

There are more than 60 winter adult classes including, Portrait Drawing, Watercolor Step-by-Step, The Power of Pastels, Introduction to Acrylics, Morning Oil Landscape, Watercolor Portraits of People and Animals, Evening Painting, and ceramics classes such as Beginner Wheel Throwing, and Wheel Throwing and Hand Building. New classes this winter include Intro to Oil Painting, Classical Portraiture, Drawing Like the Old Masters in Pen Ink, Introduction to Drawing, Tricolor and Colored Pencil Drawing, Introduction to Basic Sculpting Technique, Media Sampler, Art and Literature, Video Art, and The Art of Comedy. more

OH BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole dribbles past a foe in recent action. Senior star O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year this season as he helped Princeton go 7-0 in league play, saw his brilliant career come to an end as the Tigers fell 1-0 at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday. Princeton ended the fall with an overall record of 12-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton University men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 1-0 battle to St. John’s.

Last Thursday, Princeton got a rematch at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on the Red Storm.

“The last couple of games were really hard to grind out results; we had stretches during those games where I thought we played well but I think the guys were so determined to win the league and get through the league unbeaten,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow, whose team came into the NCAA game at 12-5 overall and 7-0 Ivy and riding an 8-game winning streak.

“At times it was more about competing than it was about putting the best soccer out there. At times we were able to do both. We had stretches down the stretch where I thought we were really connected, defending as group, moving the ball well and creating chances. I think there was a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Barlow knew it wouldn’t be easy to overcome St. John’s. “They are just so hard to score on, they concede so few goals,” said Barlow.

“They are big, they are athletic. It is a tough matchup. We didn’t create many chances in the first game against them and I don’t think they did either. It was a pretty competitive game with neither team able to generate many chances.”

The NCAA contest turned out to be competitive but with same result as the Red Storm won 1-0, finding the back of the net at the 43rd minute and holding off the Tigers from there. more

November 17, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

On Veterans Day 2021, I was thinking about my Uncle Bob, who was killed when his B-52 went down in a freak accident in February 1944. I was also dealing with the fact that both my uncle and my maternal grandfather were named for Robert E. Lee. On my uncle’s dog tag, which I keep close at hand, he’s identified as REL Patterson.

Although my paternal ancestors fought for the Union, a conspicuous exception is Gen. Jubal Early, called Lee’s “Bad Old Man” according to various biographers because of his “short temper, insubordination, and use of profanity.” A Potomac River ferry was named for him until June 2020 when it was renamed Historic White’s Ferry. As far as I know, there are still streets named for him in Texas, Florida, and in nine different towns in Virginia, including his birthplace Lynchburg, where there’s a Jubal Early memorial that was restored after being knocked down by “a wayward driver” in 2013.

 more

By Nancy Plum

Westminster Choir, the flagship choral ensemble of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, returned to live performance this past weekend. Led by conductor Lynnel Joy Jenkins, the 35-voice mixed chorus presented a program centered on “Returning to Joy” in Rider University’s Gill Memorial Chapel on Sunday afternoon. The program of a cappella and lightly accompanied choral works featured music both past and present and took the audience at Gill Chapel from “mourning” through “singing and new song” and “comfort” to “celebration,” capturing the myriad of feelings and atmospheres over the past 18 months. As Jenkins explained, this concert musically depicted “a tumultuous journey of returning to our beloved choral singing after a storm of life.”

Conductor and music educator Lynnel Joy Jenkins has built a successful career on cultivating community in the choral classroom while inspiring artistry. Her local connections range from a Westminster Choir College degree to conducting the Resident Choir of The American Boychoir School to her current position as artistic director of the Westrick Music Academy and conductor of the Princeton Girlchoir Ensemble and Concert Choir. From her worldwide choral clinical experiences, Jenkins has brought to choral programming a multicultural approach well evident in Sunday afternoon’s concert.

Jenkins opened the performance with three choral pieces of grief from three different time periods. The text of 16th-century composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “O Vos Omnes” was derived from the biblical book of Lamentations, and Westminster Choir sang Victoria’s a cappella Latin motet with clear harmonies and a well-focused sound. Westminster Choir has been renowned for a number of choral strengths, including solid blend, impeccable tuning, and the ability to produce an endless stream of choral sound, all of which were in evidence throughout this concert.  more

KELLI O’HARA: Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara (above) performed November 13 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, marking her debut there. For the concert, which included a selection of show tunes and standards, the Tony Award winner was accompanied by a quartet of instrumentalists. (Photo courtesy of McCarter Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara performed at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre this past Saturday night. The concert featured a selection of classic and contemporary show tunes, as well as a few stand-alone songs, that have had special significance for the Tony and Drama League Award winner.

Her stage credits include numerous musical theater roles on Broadway, as well as Metropolitan Opera performances in The Merry Widow and Cosi fan tutte. Screen credits include the web series The Accidental Wolf, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, and HBO’s upcoming The Gilded Age.

O’Hara made her McCarter debut with the November 13 concert. However, one of the musicians who accompanied her — percussionist Gene Lewin — is an alumnus of Princeton University and its Triangle Club.

Dan Lipton was the musical director and pianist. Guitarist Justin Goldner and bassist Alex Eckhardt completed the well-balanced quartet.  more

BEETHOVEN’S PREOCCUPATION: A scene from “33 Variations,” opening November 19 at Kelsey Theatre. The great composer’s obsession with one piece of music is considered one of the great riddles of classical music

Pierrot Productions will present 33 Variations November 19 through December 4 at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre, located at 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor Township.

Written by Moisés Kaufman, 33 Variations is inspired by one of classical music’s most enduring riddles: Why did Beethoven, during his final years, write 33 different variations of a seemingly insignificant waltz by a minor composer?

Kaufman’s play, which made its Broadway debut in 2009, toggles between contemporary times in New York and early 19th century Vienna. The story begins when modern-day music scholar, Katherine Brandt, is driven to explore the rationale behind Beethoven’s preoccupation with creating nearly three dozen variations of a humble waltz by a composer named Anton Diabelli. Beethoven’s obsession fuels Brandt’s obsession as their two worlds coexist on stage. Both characters face afflictions and are running out of time. Brandt suffers with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and a broken mother-daughter relationship, while Beethoven, entering the final years of his life, struggles with severe hearing loss.  more

Jazz vocalist and Princeton University faculty member Trineice Robinson will perform as part of Jazz Trenton’s Jazz Masters Series on Saturday, November 27, 3:30-7:30 p.m., at Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic Street, Trenton.

Joining her will be pianist Aaron Graves, bassist Lee Smith, and drummer Webb Thomas. The cover charge is $20 with a $10 drink minimum, dinner included. For information visit jazztrenton.com.

Robinson released All or Nothing, her debut album, last August via 4RM Productions. The album combines influences from jazz, R&B, gospel, and classical music with an all-star band featuring Don Braden, Cyrus Chestnut, Kenny Davis, and Vince Ector.

With the release of the album, Robinson crosses off a major item on her bucket list, finally releasing her debut album at the age of 40. more

“NEW BEGINNINGS: A RE-EMERGENCE”: Art from 13 members of the Plainsboro Artists’ Group is on view at the Plainsboro Public Library Gallery through November 27. The exhibit includes drawing, painting, mixed media, assemblage, and sculpture.

An exhibition by members of the Plainsboro Artists’ Group is now on view in the Plainsboro Public Library Gallery. “New Beginnings: A Re-emergence,” which includes work in a variety of media, runs through November 27.

Exhibiting artists include Leena S. Bagawde, Mousumi Banerjee, Nikita Choksi, Terrance Cummings, Stephanie Ding, Sruthi Goswamy, Nelly Kouzmina, Art Lee, Sweety Mehta, Sandhya Modi, Anandi Ramanathan, Elaine Rosenberg, and Chanika Svetvilas.

The Plainsboro Public Library is the host of the Plainsboro Art Group made up of artists who meet on the first Tuesdays of every month at 6:30 p.m. (currently via Zoom) to connect and share their work, ideas, share resources, and seek advice from each other. The group has remained an
active and important part of Plainsboro and surrounding community with exhibitions and events that unite the community. The group welcomes all artists of varying levels and mediums to its meetings and events to foster a safe space for sharing.

“Our art covers many ranges,” said Paula Ridley, the Artists’ Group member who coordinated the show. “We have mixed media artists, sculptors, painters, muralists, potters, graphic designers, sketch artists, textile artists, sketchbook journalers, abstract artists, book artists, and more.”

The Plainsboro Public Library is located at 9 Van Doren Street in Plainsboro. For more information, visit plainsborolibrary.org, or call Sharon Mitchell at (609) 275-2897.

“YEAR OF THE LOCUST 2021”: This work by Jamie Greenfield is featured in “Double Vision,” her dual exhibition with Madelaine Shellaby, on view at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor through December 9. An opening reception and conversation with the artists will be held on November 17 at 7 p.m.

The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) now presents “Double Vision,” featuring the works of Jamie Greenfield and Madelaine Shellaby. The exhibition runs through December 9 with an opening reception and “Conversation with the Artists” Q&A session on November 17 at 7 p.m. at the West Windsor Campus Gallery. Gallery Director Alice K. Thompson is curator for the exhibition.

“Double Vision” is a collaborative project between artists Greenfield of Lawrenceville and Shellaby of Washington Crossing, Pa.

The two artists discovered they had both been working in a stream of consciousness way. As Greenfield described, “We are looking inward to memory, and outward to the immediate environment for subject matter. The resulting drawings and digital montages reflect a common vision of fields of energy and awareness: what may be seen, felt, and known.”  more

“TULIPS AND FOXGLOVE”: This painting by Doris Ettlinger is part of the Garden State Watercolor Society’s Pop-Up Art Sale, coming to 19 Hulfish Street for three consecutive weekends starting November 18.

Garden State Watercolor Society (GSWS) returns to Princeton after a three-year hiatus for their Pop-Up Art Sale at 19 Hulfish Street in Palmer Square. Over 40 individual artists will re-emerge from the pandemic’s creative hibernation. On display will be a large assortment of original artwork in various media to satisfy anyone’s taste or style. 

The sale will run for three consecutive weekends beginning Thursday, November 18. and continue on a Thursday-to-Sunday schedule ending on December 5. The Pop-Up Art Sale hours are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

As a way of giving back to the community, GSWS will donate 20 percent of the art sale proceeds to Mercer Street Friends and Send Hunger Packing. Mercer Street Friends is a local nonprofit whose mission is to build alliances and provide integrated services for children, and their families. The Send Hunger Packing program provides supplemental meals on the weekend for children K-sixth grade so that they are ready to learn on Monday.

For more information, visit the GSWS website at gswcs.org/art-sale.html.

“PEONY”: This oil painting by Constance Bassett of Moorland Studios is part of this year’s Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour, to be held November 26, 27, and 28. Visit  coveredbridgeartisans.com for a map and more information.

Held this year on November 26, 27, and 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour is a self-guided tour located in the Delaware River Valley of lower Hunterdon and Bucks counties. The 27th studio tour will take place in seven professional artists’ studios in the Lambertville, Stockton, New Hope, and Sergeantsville areas with 14 additional artists at the Sergeantsville Firehouse Events Center. 

Visitors to the tour can experience active studios as well as the gathering of many professional artists at the event center. This provides a wonderful opportunity to visit the studio, buy finished work, see work in progress, and talk with the artist. This year the tour features a variety of artisans working in glass, jewelry, ceramics, cast bronze, painting, weaving, bookbinding, woodworking, quilting, and more.

This year the Covered Bridge Artisans is teaming up with Fisherman’s Mark, a nonprofit social services organization in Lambertville that has been on the front lines of the Hurricane Ida relief effort. The devastation caused by the hurricane has left many residents housing insecure. Fisherman’s Mark is assisting those in need through their Hurricane Ida Relief Grant. Covered Bridge Artisans is giving its loyal customers the opportunity to make a donation to Fisherman’s Mark at the 2021 tour. 

For more information, and a map connected to GPS links, visit www.coveredbridgeartisans.com.

November 10, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

What passion cannot music raise and quell!

—John Dryden (1631-1700)

Driving toward the lake listening to Bob Dylan sing “Mother of Muses” (“sing your hearts out, all you women of the chorus / Sing of honor and fame and of glory be”), I’m brainstorming a column on the upcoming Friends of the Library Book Sale that would feature John Dryden, whose “Song for St. Cecilia’s Day” (1687) closes with a Grand Chorus that moves the Spheres:

“So when the last and dreadful hour / This crumbling pageant shall devour, / The trumpet shall be heard on high, / The dead shall live, the living die, / And music shall untune the sky.”

Dryden and Dylan? A rhyming made in heaven? Stranger things have happened. The Dylan of last year’s album Rough and Rowdy Ways would relate to the idea of music powerful enough to raise the dead, bring down the living, and untune the sky. His mother of muses isn’t all sweetness and light. “Unleash your wrath!” he tells her. “Things I can’t see, they’re blocking my path.”

Dryden knew about blocked paths. England’s first poet laureate “attained his celebrity at the cost of gossip and scandal and, in the last decade of his life (after the Glorious Revolution and his removal from the laureateship), of suspicion and scorn.” According to the introduction to the Penguin edition of Selected Poems, “He wrote about politics and religion, about trade and empire; he wrote for the theatre and for public occasion; he composed songs, fables, odes and panegyrics, brilliant satire and savage polemic; he translated from many languages and formulated an idiomatic, familiar and fluent prose style,” virtually inventing “the commercial literary career.” And having created a commercial career in music, Dylan might identify with Dryden’s “difficult public life, fashioned from his own unlikely personality — from his privacy, self-doubts, even verbal hesitation (qualities mocked by his enemies)” on his way to becoming “a public figure of literary distinction.”

While you may not immediately associate Dylan with “verbal hesitation” or “self-doubts,” the winner of the 2016 Nobel prize can definitely claim “literary distinction.” In “False Prophet,” he “opened his heart and the world came in,” and surely there’s room for Dryden’s rising, quelling music in there along with Walt Whitman’s “multitudes” and Stephen Crane’s Black Riders (“Black rider, black rider, you’ve been living too hard”). Like Dryden, Dylan’s “a man of contradictions, a man of many moods.” In “Key West,” the most haunting song on Rough and Rowdy Ways, he says “If you lost your mind you’ll find it there / Key West is on the horizon line.”

Last week my subject was Crane, who died at 28 in 1900, and now it’s Dryden, who died at 68 in 1700, both on the  horizon line of  new centuries. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presented the second of its live fall 2021 concerts this past Thursday night. Under the direction of Music Director Rossen Milanov, the Symphony performed a program centered on two Viennese masters at McCarter Theatre Center’s Matthews Theatre. Joined by guest piano soloist Shai Wosner, the ensemble performed music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert, as well as a 21st-century piece by American composer Evan Williams.

PSO opened Thursday night’s concert with Williams’ one-movement The Dream Deferred for string orchestra and harp. Williams’ 2017 piece draws attention to the school-to-prison pipeline of individuals whose dreams are deferred by a derailed education and subsequent prison experience. With melodies written by New York area youth incorporated into the music, The Dream Deferred was inspired by the poetry of American author Langston Hughes. 

The symphony began the work with a dark unison from the strings and sharp accented jabs against a dissonant palette. Principal violist Stephanie Griffin played agitated viola passages depicting conflict and harpist André Tarantiles added to the intensity with precision and a percussive effect. The overall musical impression was one of tragic lost lives, contrasted by a melodic duet between the two violin sections. Conductor Milanov led the orchestra well through this accessible piece, effectively conveying the musical question of a provocative social issue in today’s world. 

Israel-born pianist Shai Wosner has been known for pairing classical masterpieces with contemporary works, so it was no surprise to hear Williams’ piece followed by a standard from Mozart’s piano concerto repertory. Mozart composed his 1784 Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major in a concertante style, with wind solos complementing the solo keyboard playing. The wind sections of PSO spoke well in the McCarter acoustic, with principal oboist Roni Gal-Ed elegantly carrying a great deal of the secondary melodic material of the first movement. Wosner displayed a light touch on the piano from the outset, with crisp unisons in tandem with the orchestra. Wosner kept the ornamental figures clean (especially an extended trill and playful cadenza) and played in a detached style to match the resonance of the hall. more

“HOW TO RAISE A FREEMAN”: McCarter Theatre and Bard at the Gate are presenting a prerecorded video of Zakiyyah Alexander’s “How to Raise a Freeman.” Directed by Reginald L. Douglas, the video is available via McCarter’s website. Above: Keith (Malcolm Barrett, top), Dean (Jamie Lincoln Smith, middle left) and Greg (Francois Battiste, middle right) teach Marcus (Aric Floyd, bottom) some lessons he will not learn in school. (Digital image courtesy of ViDCo)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is presenting How to Raise a Freeman online as of November 3. The theater’s website describes Zakiyyah Alexander’s play as a “dark comedy that asks how a middle-class, African American family can keep their son alive in a world where every 28 hours a Black man is killed by law enforcement.”

The pre-filmed production is a collaboration between McCarter and Bard at the Gate. Founded by Paula Vogel, Bard at the Gate is “designed to become a widely accessible platform for powerful, overlooked plays by BIPOC, women, LGBTQ, and disabled artists,” according to the series’ website.

How to Raise a Freeman opens Bard at the Gate’s second season. The curators are Vogel; McCarter’s Associate Artistic Director Nicole A. Watson; and the Bard at the Gate Advisory Council. Princeton Public Library is hosting a Bard at the Gate Watch Party Series, the first installment of which took place on November 4.

Alexander is an award-winning writer whose other works include the plays 10 Things to Do Before I Die, The Etymology of Bird, and the musical Girl Shakes Loose. Her television credits include 24: Legacy, Grey’s Anatomy, and Hunters. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Alexander is co-founder of the Killroys, an organization that focuses on parity in American theater. more

DANCE FESTIVAL IS BACK: Choreographer Omari Wiles (center foreground) with Princeton University students in rehearsal for his new work to be featured in the 2021 Princeton Dance Festival. (Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University presents the 2021 Princeton Dance Festival November 19-21 at McCarter Theatre Center’s Berlind Theatre.

Princeton students in the program will perform new works by faculty members Tina Fehlandt, whose work is inspired by Mark Morris’ choreography on the 40th anniversary of the founding of his famed dance company, and Rebecca Lazier. Additionally, students will perform new works by guest choreographers Kyle Marshall, Larissa Velez-Jackson, and Omari Wiles. Repertory works in the festival will include Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, staged by Michael Breeden; and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Germaine Acogny’s Woman’s Resistance, staged by Samantha Speis.  more

RAISE THE CURTAIN: Kitty Getlik, artistic director of Kelsey Theatre, shows off the new seating installed during the pandemic. Kelsey Theatre will kick off the 2021-2022 season with a live musical revue, “All Together Now – A Global Event,” on Friday, November 12. (Photo by Marcya Roberts)

With COVID-19 restrictions finally eased, the lights will be back up November 12 at Kelsey Theatre on the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) campus in West Windsor.

“It is our 49th season here at Kelsey, and I couldn’t be any happier right now,” said Kitty Getlik, artistic director. “The theater has been virtually dark since March 12, 2020 and I was only able to move a few special events indoors at the last minute this summer, but a full season of live indoor theater opens on November 12 and it can’t come fast enough.”

Upgrades during the time the theater was closed include new seats, new bathroom facilities, interior and exterior paint, new signage, and more. more

“THE WEIGHT OF ABSENCE”: Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artist Series event on November 18 at 7 p.m. at Prallsville Mills in Stockton will feature artist Jane Adriance discussing “Contract, Contradiction, and Clarity.”

At the age of 10, Jane Adriance dreamed of being an artist; more than eight decades later she continues to make that dream come true. She will present her work in watercolor, oils and mixed media as Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artist on Thursday, November 18, at 7 p.m. at Prallsville Mills, 33 Risler Street in Stockton. The presentation is entitled “Jane Adriance: Contrast, Contradiction, and Clarity.”

“The lens of my presentation will focus on dynamic compositions from different points of view,” said Adriance. “By painting contrasts, and sometimes contradictory expressions, my work becomes richer, deeper and clearer. Color is my language.”

Adriance received associate and bachelor’s degrees in fine and applied arts, but her education did not stop there. She studied art appreciation for four years at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa., and traveled near and far to attend workshops. From Deer Isle in Maine to Paris, Morocco, and Turkey, Adriance traveled to different landscapes, and other cultures colored her artistic perception. She has exhibited widely in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City, winning awards for her work. more