Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Next story: The Pre-Dyngus Day East Side Bar Crawl

Kagel Nacht at UB

Mauricio Kagel

A performance event features new interpretations of works by the seminal avant-garde composer Mauricio Kagel

The next week or so features a wealth of wide-ranging classical music performances in the Buffalo area. Leading the charge, at least from the left wing, is Kagel Nacht, on Tuesday, April 25, at 7:30pm, in Slee Hall on the UB Amherst campus.

Self-taught as a composer, the Argentine-German Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008), studied singing, piano, organ, cello, conducting, and theory, as well as literature and philosophy, both of which heavily influenced his compositions. After holding several positions early in his career in Argentina, he moved to Germany in the late 1950s where he spent most of the rest of his life with an American interlude in the 1960s that included a stint at UB.

Kagel’s work has remained relatively obscure, but in the last three years a group of Brooklyn-based musicians, including East Aurora native Sam Sowryda, who is the group’s producer, conductor, and percussionist, have researched Kagel’s massive body of work, seeking out rare scores, recordings, and videos of his bizarre, often hysterically theatrical compositions. The result is the performance-event known as Kagel Nacht. With interpretations ranging from strict to fully re-contextualized, Kagel Nacht brings new life into these important and underperformed works by joining them into one, multi-stage, panoramic, evening-length event that brings a new meaning to “musical theater.”

In the very best traditions of the 1960s, the group is touring the Northeast, performing for universities as well as underground venues, art spaces, and other communities. In order to limit costs and emissions, they are traveling on a school-bus that runs on waste vegetable oil. There is no admission for the event, which promises to be one of the most original musical evenings of the season.

Wolf Lieder Recital at UB

Soprano Tony Arnold and baritone Alexander Hurd will be accompanied by pianist David Breitman in Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook in Baird Recital Hall, at 3pm on Saturday, April 23. Wolf, who ranks alongside Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms as the greatest composer of art songs in the German language, considered these songs “the most original and artistically the most perfect of all my things.”

Arnold and Hurd, both UB faculty members, have earned a well deserved reputation as being among the most sensitive interpreters of lieder in Western New York, most recently in their ground-breaking US premiere recital last year of the lost songs of concentration camp victim Marcel Tyberg. “The pleasure and challenge of singing Wolf lieder is in the delivery of the text,” Alex Hurd says, “The songs really are closer to speaking than singing; I try to keep that in mind rather than focusing on a perfect legato line as I would in singing Schubert or Schumann.”

He adds, “These songs are seriously funny, and it’s all I can do to keep a straight face while Tony is singing. She’s a great singer and a hoot!”

“I find that the real key to unlocking a Wolf song is in the detailed ‘unpacking’ of its chromaticism, which is where Wolf encodes all of his personal takes on the texts: sarcasm, irony, reverence, exasperation, adulation, despair, and hope,” Arnold says. “It is different from Schubert, for instance, in that a Wolf song wears its subtext on its sleeve.”

Tickets are $10 general admission; $5 for faculty, staff, alumni, senior citizens, and non-UB students; free to UB students. For more information, visit

Culture in Cinema Series

The new, highly successful series at the Dipson Amherst Theater has added another opera to its previously announced schedule, featuring a live simulcast on Tuesday, April 26 at 2pm, of what may well be the most popular of all operas: The Barber of Seville by Rossini. The simulcast from Italy originates in the Teatro Regio di Parma, the home of Luciano Pavarotti, and features an all-European cast, with Dmitry Korchak as Almaviva, Ketevan Kemoklidze as Rosina, and Vittorio Prato as Figaro.

On Thursday, April 28 at 7pm, the delightful comedy As You Like It is the season’s final Shakespeare in Cinema production from the Globe Theatre in London. The liveliness of the two previous productions, from the London re-construction of the original Globe Theatre, are reason enough to recommend seeing As You Like It to anyone who has ever enjoyed a performance at Shakespeare in Delaware Park. The Amherst Theatre (3500 Main Street across from UB South Campus) has been specially upgraded to accommodate the Culture in Cinema series. For more information, visit

blog comments powered by Disqus