Pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Linda May Han Oh. PHOTO COURTESY OF OPERA HOUSE ARTS

Shakespeare in Stonington, jazz festival go virtual Aug. 14



STONINGTON — In celebration of the 20th consecutive summer of two cornerstone programs, Shakespeare in Stonington and the Deer Isle Jazz Festival, Opera House Arts will launch new, livestreamed productions of these audience favorites on Aug. 14 and 20.

“In respect for our communities, we couldn’t let these milestones pass unnoticed despite the challenges posed by the pandemic,” said Linda Nelson, founding executive director and member of Opera House Arts’ Transition Task Force. “OHA is fortunate to have many highly talented artists loyal to the institution with whom to innovate new programming channels like these. With their support, we can extend in new directions our community mission of bringing us together in joy and conversation.”

At 7 pm, Friday, Aug. 14, there will be a livestream reading of one of Shakespeare’s best loved romantic comedies, “Twelfth Night, or What You Will.” Directed by Shakespeare in Stonington co-founder Julia Whitworth, this delightful romp of mistaken identities transports the audience to shipwrecks and the exotic kingdom of Illyria through a skilled comedic cast and original music. Setting the Bard’s lyrics to original composition has been a hallmark of the series since its inception.

The reading will feature audience favorites from many past Shakespeare in Stonington productions, including Melody Bates, Jeffrey Frace, Rebecca Hart, Maria Jung, Jonathan Mastro, Rachel Murdy, Tommy Piper, Arisael Rivera and Bari Robinson.

Tickets are available by donation at the Opera House website or Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shakespeare-in-stonington-twelfth-night-tickets-116257504325. Registrants will receive a link to the virtual performance. The artists will be live on Friday, Aug. 14; the recorded performance will be available to ticket holders for another four days after the performance, until Tuesday, Aug. 18, at midnight.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, OHA will feature a livestream mini-concert and conversation between national cultural and jazz critic Larry Blumenfeld, co-founder of the Deer Isle Jazz Festival, and the musician couple pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Linda May Han Oh from their home in New York City.

These two artists, like all those featured in the 20-year history of the Deer Isle Jazz Festival, exemplify the art of improvisation and how that craft might affect all aspects of our lives. Almazan was born and raised in Cuba, Oh in Malaysia and raised in Australia. They are composers and bandleaders as well as high-profile band members (Almazan with Terence Blanchard; Oh with Pat Metheny, among others). Almazan’s label, Biophilia Records, has a deep and functional commitment to environmentalism.

“Fabian Almazan and Linda May Han Oh are forceful musicians and composers of distinction who help shape the changing contours of jazz and creative music,” said Blumenfeld. “Together, as a married couple, in duo, they have a special musical rapport. And at Biophilia Records, all the artists collaborate with and do hands-on work in conservation, sustainability and outreach initiatives.”

This event is free and open to the public. Registration and links will be available at www.operahousearts.org.

Questions can be addressed by calling the Opera House box office at 367-2788.

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