June Showcase Hosts Sister Prejean and Jake Heggie, CROT's "Mikado", the 5 Seasons Chamber, & more!

May 27, 2014

School is out for the summer with just enough time to catch up on arts events across the state on Iowa Public Radio’s Iowa Arts Showcase. Our June edition features:

  • Sister Helen Prejean, humanitarian, author, and activist, discussing the evolution of her “Dead Man Walking,”
  • Michael Gilbertson, Artistic Director of ChamberFest Dubuque, discussing the evolution of his “Juilliard in June” program into the new multiple concert series and workshop event.
  • Daniel Kleinknecht, artistic director of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, talking about the CROT’s“Mikado”  production,
  • Stephanie Wagor, festival artistic director, and Jason Weinberger, conductor and chamber music coach, sharing details about the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival
  • And composer Jake Heggie, talking about the unusual circumstances of his first opera based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book.

Sister Helen Prejean reflects on society and the circumstances behind her own personal journey as a spiritual guide to a death-row inmate. She embraces the transformation of her original book, Dead Man Walking, into an academy award-winning movie and now an opera. The opera is to be performed this summer as part of the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 42nd festival season.

Dubuque native Michael Gilbertson, Artistic Director of ChamberFest Dubuque and Juilliard graduate, reflects on the roots of Juilliard in June and its recent evolution into the ChamberFest Gala concert, now accompanied by the ChamberFest Orchestra Concert and a workshop with professional musicians. The festival brings in renowned guest artists to perform in a chamber music concert and provide free workshops to interested musicians of all ages.

Artistic Director Daniel Kleinknecht of the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre discusses the upcoming production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado by the CROT’s Young Artists. Set in Japan, the opera tells the story of Nanki-Poo, son of the Mikado of Japan, and his quest to escape marriage to Katisha, so he may marry his love Yum-Yum. The performances will take place at the historic Brucemore mansion in Cedar Rapids.

Stephanie Wagor, festival artistic director, and Jason Weinberger, conductor and chamber music coach, share details about the Five Seasons Chamber Music Festival. Now in its 12th year, the festival invites musicians of all ages to study with esteemed faculty musicians and perform in chamber ensembles, as well as in the Five Seasons Festival Orchestra.

And composer Jake Heggie marvels about the unusual circumstances leading to the creation of his first opera. He shares his background as a composer and the life-changing opportunity he received to compose his first opera based on Sister Helen Prejean’s book, Dead Man Walking.