Category: Feature

Greensboro Symphony Orchestra: Season of the Seven; Leslie Dunner, conductor, Gina Perregrino, mezzo-soprano

Leslie Dunner, the third conductor seeking the music director position for the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, led a concert that careened wildly between styles Saturday night. All four compositions were written in the 20th century by composers of different countries: the United States, Germany, Latvia, and Italy.

Maestro Dunner is currently conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy as well as interim artistic director of the South Shore Opera Company (Chicago). He is also the first American prize-winner of the Toscanini International Conducting Competition. The soloist for the evening, mezzo-soprano Gina Perregrino, is primarily known for her opera performances with the opera companies of Atlanta, Minnesota, St. Louis, Santa Fe, and more.

The evening opened with “Three Dance Episodes” from On the Town (1944) by Leonard Bernstein (US, 1918-90). The work began as a Jerome Robbins ballet (Fancy Free), reworked to become the Broadway musical, and eventually became a motion picture in 1949. The “Three Dance Episodes” is derived from the musical.

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Triangle Theatre and Dance 2023: The Best of What We Saw

Since end-of-year wrap-ups inevitably use a lot of figures, let’s start with the most improbable one of all: 338, for the number of theater and dance productions staged in North Carolina’s Triangle region during 2023. For those counting, it was an all-time high in terms of yearly output for the area, a remarkable comeback for the two art forms that had been most threatened during the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No, we couldn’t see them all. The curated lists here of superlatives come from the one-hundred shows we did view from the region’s major companies and selected up-and-comers through the year.

The only way a region produces 338 different shows is with a large pool of artists and an even more extensive community of support. Those whose job it is to fret over even good news wondered at year’s-end how sustainable such a level of output could be. We’ll get an answer to that question in the coming year.

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