DPAA announces innovations in 2015-2016 arts season

First event slated for new Music Center in Huber Heights

A tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein at the new Huber Heights music venue and a Summer in the City festival are just two of the innovative programs planned for the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s 2015-2016 season.

DPAA President and CEO Paul Helfrich labels it a season of new initiatives.

An announcement of the full season’s Ascend offerings will be made at the DPAA’s New Year’s Eve “Classical Destinations” celebration Wednesday night. Tickets for the festive evening are still available.

The new season will include everything from classic rock and a visit with Kenny G to a world premiere opera and educational musical afternoons followed by ice cream treats.

“As we look at arts organizations around the country, it’s clear that you can’t just keep doing the same things you’ve always done and expect to have ongoing success,” Helfrich said. “To stay vital, the arts have to change, grow and respond to their communities. That’s just what we will do in our new season.”

Rob Schommer, city manager of Huber Heights, said the exciting collaboration between the DPAA and the new Music Center at The Heights has been in the works for a year. The Dayton arts organization will be moving its traditional opening event from September to May in order to help kick off the new venue.

“It’s a perfect match and we’re so happy to bring another element of arts and culture for the residents of our region to enjoy,” Schommer said. The new outdoor facility, which will open in the spring, will seat 4,500 and be fully undercover.

Signature events to continue

The DPAA will continue its recently initiated series of Signature Events that blend opera, dance and music and will also feature new compositions by Composer-in-residence Stella Sung, A highlight is the world premiere of a one-act opera written by Sung entitled “The Book Collector.”

The mystical murder intrigue will premiere in May 2016 on a program that will also include “Carmina Burana” performed by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Opera Chorus, DPO Chorus, and the full Dayton Ballet company.

“The unique and interesting aspect of working with the DPAA is that my task as composer is to create works that involve two or more of the artistic units,” says Sung. “Very rarely does a composer have a chance to write music for three professional artistic groups that reside within one unified organization. In many ways, it’s a composer’s dream-come-true!”

Dayton Ballet will present “Romeo and Juliet” in February 2016. For the first time the Dayton Philharmonic will accompany the dancers, and the ballet will also be part of the Philharmonic’s Superpops Season.

Neal Gittleman, artistic director and conductor for the Dayton Philharmonic, said ever since the DPAA was formed he’s been looking forward to being able to present one of the big story ballets with a great orchestral score and that “Romeo and Juliet” is one of those pieces.

Other highlights:

  • An evening dubbed “American Mosaic” in September will kick-off the traditional arts season and include seven art forms this year. In addition to the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Philharmonic, the DPAA will be joined by the Bach Society of Dayton, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, The Human Race Theatre Company and Muse Machine.

The special event will celebrate 50 years of support from the Miriam Rosenthal Foundation for the Arts.

“Like most parents (and admittedly I’m not one), you love all of your children and each is your favorite,” says Tom Bankston, artistic director of the Dayton Opera who said he is excited about all of the upcoming productions. “But ‘American Mosaic,’is a favorite for me this year because it is one of the best examples of the ever-growing success of the merger of the Ballet, Opera and Philharmonic and of the great collaborative projects that continue to come out of the DPAA.”

  • Dayton Opera will also present two opera classics: Verdi’s “Otello,” based on Shakespeare’s tragic play, and Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly,” the heartbreaking story of a devoted wife willing to do whatever it takes in the name of love.
  • The Dayton Ballet will bring “Cinderella” back and will also present two world-premiere ballets, one choreographed by artistic director Burke and one choreographed by Melissa Barak, who spent nine years with New York City Ballet.
  • The launch of “Summer in the City” is an attempt to reach new audiences and will be the arts organization’s first foray into summer programming in a decade. The first-ever July festival will be held at the Schuster Center and will celebrate rock and pop music and will be backed by the full Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

The music of Elvis and ABBA will be among the featured attractions.

  • The Ohio premiere of Jake Runestad’s “Dreams of the Fallen” is a musical setting of poetry by an Iraq war veteran. The Dayton Philharmonic was one of the commissioning orchestras for the piece which will be presented as part of the Classical series in November 2015.
  • There will be an in-depth two-evening Brahms Festival in May.

“As many DPO fans know, Brahms is my favorite composer,” says Gittleman.” So any time there’s an all-Brahms weekend, I’m all-in!”

  • The Kettering Health Network SuperPops Series will present a wide range of performances, including a collaboration with The Human Race Theatre Company. Audiences can also look forward to a holiday visit from the Celtic Tenors, a celebration of the animation and music from a dozen Pixar films including “Toy Story” and two performances that pay homage to two outstanding eras of music — Iconic Folk rock of the 70s and Music from the Mad Men era. In April, saxophonist and jazz great Kenny G. will visit.
  • The Rockin’ Orchestra Series pays tribute this season to the Bee Gees, The Who and Motown. In April, the DPO is joined classic rock legends John Elefante from Kansas, and Mickey Thomas from Starship.
  • The Philharmonic continues its new Sunday Chamber Series, featuring DPO Concertmaster Jessica Hung, the DPO Principal Quartet, Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence and the DPO Woodwind section. All concerts will be performed at the Dayton Art Institute Renaissance Auditorium.
  • DPAA’s Classical Connections series will also continue on Sunday afternoons. Each of these Connections concerts comes complete with a Q&A with Maestro Gittleman and a free scoop of Graeter’s ice cream following the performance.
  • Popular seasonal events remain a staple on the DPAA calendar, including the DP&L Foundation Family Series’ PhilharMonster and Dayton Ballet’s The Nutcracker, as well as the Christmastime performance of Handel’s Messiah at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Concludes Gittleman: “As with any performance season, it’s ALL very exciting, especially to see ideas that have been percolating for some time finally appear in the season brochure — and ultimately on the stage.”

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