Pittsburgh Ballet Opens ‘Storytelling in Motion’; Quantum Opens ‘Idaspe’; ‘Into the Woods’ Opens at Lincoln Park (Fri., 10/7/22)

STORYTELLING IN MOTION Mixed repertoire program. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. October 7 – 9.

Two Pittsburgh Ballet dancers performing a scene from 'Duende.'

Two Pittsburgh Ballet dancers performing a scene from ‘Duende.’

1) Opening the season at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is Storytelling in Motion, at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. And oh what beautiful motion it will be with a mixed program of world renowned contemporary pieces, including Nacho Duato’s Duende, Helen Pickett’s The Exiled and the world premiere of a new work by PBT’s own principal dancer Yoshiaki Nakano. Duato’s process usually begins with being inspired by a piece of music, in this case, French classical composer Claude Debussy’s “Duende.” In composing “Duende” Debussy was inspired by the sounds of nature. In creating the piece, Duato sought to fuse the choreography with the music. In Pickett’s The Exiled three strangers are doomed to spend eternity together in a single room with the action being narrated by two Proprietors. And capping the repertoire off is Nakano’s premier piece. 7:30 p.m. 980 Liberty Ave., Cultural District. (R.H.)

IDASPE (opera) by Riccardo Broschi, adapted by Claire van Kampen and Chatham Baroque. October 7 – 15. Quantum Theatre. 

2) Once again, Quantum Theatre is collaborating with the music ensemble Chatham Baroque to present an opera—one likely to be a rare treat even for non-opera fans. In 2015 the two companies joined with Pittsburgh’s Attack Theatre to produce an absolutely stunning (and often hilarious) opera adapted from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. If you saw it, prepare to have your mind blown further. This year’s show is a modern adaptation of the beautiful but long-neglected Idaspe, by the Italian composer Riccardo Broschi. The original was staged in Venice in 1730. Arias from Idaspe have been performed since then but the entire opera went basically un-revived until now. Quantum has recruited an international group of stars to adapt and sing Idaspe, all under the direction of London-based theater artist Claire van Kampen. Whereas the plot of Broschi’s original involved princes and princesses, the Idaspe you’ll see in Pittsburgh revolves around a gang war between competing clans in Naples. And whereas Broschi’s original provided a lead role for his brother, a famous castrato, these days we don’t castrate young men to keep their voices high. The high-register male singers are countertenors John Holiday and Wei En Chan. Quantum’s Idapse—produced with support from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust—is sung in Italian with English translations projected. This promises to be a very interesting production. 7:30 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 6th St., Cultural District. (M.V.)

INTO THE WOODS (musical) by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. October 7 – 16.

3) The Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical Into the Woods has been a subject of aesthetic controversy since its 1987 Broadway debut. This dark mashup of already-dark fairy tales has been called a masterpiece by some and brilliant but flawed by others. To complicate things, many people know Into the Woods only from the 2014 movie version (see clip above), which has brilliances and flaws of its own. The musical deserves a viewing live on stage, and you can see and hear it done that way at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. Located in Midland, along the Ohio River, the Lincoln Park nonprofit enterprise is known by many for its Performing Arts Charter School, which draws students from all around the Greater Pittsburgh area. But the building complex includes a state-of-the-art mainstage theater where shows with professional actors (as well as some students) are produced. See Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Cinderella, and the rest of the Into the Woods gang at 1 Lincoln Park, Midland. 7:30 p.m. (M.V.)

4) Zack Keim is best known on the Pittsburgh music scene as the lead singer and guitarist for the popular garage band The Nox Boys. He’s also been working on a solo career the last several years and touring under his own banner. His first solo album, First Step, was released in 2017. Keim released a new single, “Canyon” in July and has now just released another new recording, “Alice.” String Machine’s Laurel Wain is featured on the song and shares vocals with him to a pleasing harmonic effect. “Alice” is somewhat reminiscent of the sound of a mid-1960’s song with some modern flourishes. “Alice” is based upon his rejected love for a girl in middle school that he played in a duo with. Keim is working on a forthcoming second album titled Battery Lane, based on the street he lived on while living in the Washington, D.C., area. Jake Hanner is the producer. Battery Lane will be released in 2023. “Alice can be heard on all major streaming platforms. You can also hear “Alice” and other Keim songs for yourself as his tour brings him to brillobox this evening. Keim’s band features Chad Monticue, Joshua Sickels, and special Guest André Costello. Animal Scream and Ames Harding are also on the bill. 9 p.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield.

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Rick Handler

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