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News and notes from the world of classical music.

Wharton Center’s 2018-19 Season brings Renee Fleming and more to MI

Andrew Eccles
Soprano Renee Fleming

Earlier this week, the Wharton Center announced their 2018-19 season. Our fine arts expert, Jamie Paisley sat down with Wharton Center executive director Mike Brand, and communications director Diane Willcox to talk about their year of classical music and a few plays coming to East Lansing.

Jamie Paisley: For the Wharton Center, the classical music events are getting off with a really nice one-two punch in October, starting with somebody that made headlineswhen she said she was stepping down from her singing roles with the Metropolitan Opera and finishing out with Der Rosenkavalier: Renee Fleming is coming.

Mike Brand: That's right, and just that announcement kind of inspired us. Maybe we should present Renee Fleming. It's also been a number of years since she's been here and Ms. Fleming is going to open the season.

[Excerpt of Renee Fleming singing R.Strauss' "Morgen"]

And then next we have one of my favorite orchestras, the Czech Philharmonic, which I just heard in Prague, which is an extraordinary orchestra. It's really involved in doing a lot of CDs, a Tchaikovsky project and they're bringing their chief conductor, [cellist Alisa] Weilerstein here to do a concert of Dvorak's music.

[Excerpt of Dvorak's Cello Concerto with Alisa Weilerstein and the Czech Philharmonic]

Jamie Paisley: The final concert for the classical series though, is kind of a make-up event from somebody that was scheduled to perform at the Wharton Center but had to bow out at the last minute. Certainly glad to have him rescheduled.

Mike Brand: Yeah, so are all of us. He's probably one of my favorite concert pianists: Yefim Bronfman. I've heard him play in so many American orchestras these past couple of years and we're really glad to have him wrap up the year.

[Excerpt from Mussorgsky's "Great Gate of Kiev" with Yefim Bronfman]

Jamie Paisley: We pivot now from Wharton Center’s executive director, Mike Brand to Diane Willcox, director of Marketing and Communications, because while we leave the classical music realm of the Wharton Center’s 2018-19 season and go to the theatrical, there is still a classical music element that shows up.

Diane Willcox: This year in our Illuminate series, which really focuses on the spoken word, we will be featuring "The Other Mozart," which is this amazing one-woman piece. It's about Nannerl Mozart, who is Amadeus' sister and she very clearly had virtually the same genius level, if not greater, than her brother. However, upon entering adulthood, her father said 'You are now done and you need to become a wife and a mother.' And this really is the story of Nannerl and Amadeus and their father through their letters. We also have Theater of Warwill be bringing us "Promethea in Prison" which is actually a reading, and we do not know yet who will be performing because Theater of War works with some very high level actors and performers. It's notably 'Promethea,' not 'Prometheus,' and it really deals with issues of after Promethea is ensnared, as it were, and jailed and what that is like in dealing with women in prison today. Those are the issues and there'll be a wonderful panel discussion as part of the performances.

[Excerpt of Mozart's K. 448 Sonata for Two Pianos]

For more information about the complete schedule of the Wharton Center’s just announced 2018-19 performances, featuring Renee Fleming, Alisa Weilerstein, Yefim Bronfman, and the Illuminate series of plays including The Other Mozart, and more, visit WhartonCenter.com


Renée Fleming: October 16, 2018

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra: October 30, 2018
-Seymon Bychkov, Music Director and Chief Conductor
- Alisa Weilerstein, cello

National Symphony of Romania: January 13, 2019

Yefim Bronfman: April 2, 2019


Theatre of War – Promethea in Prison: February 27, 2019

I and You (A Wharton Center Production): March 22 & March 24, 2019

The Other Mozart: March 27, 2019

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