‘Tweaking tradition’

Edison announces 2010-11 OVATIONS Series

Traditional Irish ensemble Danú performs for the Edison OVATIONS Series March 5. Photo by Colm Henry. Download hi-res version.

Classic vs. contemporary, emerging vs. established, traditional vs. cutting-edge. Every year, the Edison OVATIONS Series manages to bridge these supposed dichotomies with groundbreaking presentations by some of today’s most critically acclaimed performing artists.

For its 2010-11 season, Edison will host a range of innovative events, from Philip Glass’ modern take on Antonio Vivaldi to fresh explorations of Irish and Native American traditions to uproarious re-conceptions of works by William Shakespeare and Mary Shelley.

Click here for full schedule and artist bios

Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth present Of Bodies of Elements Oct. 1 and 2. Download hi-res version.

“The classics are not corrupted, although they are in some cases dissected and re-imagined,” says Charlie Robin, director of Edison. “The intent is not to improve upon but rather to re-interpret with a contemporary mindset that speaks to an audience affected by technological advances and shifting social mores.

“It’s about tweaking tradition,” Robin says.

The OVATIONS Series will open Oct. 1 and 2 with Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth in Of Bodies of Elements, an evening-length concert exploring the complex relationship between humanity and nature. Founded by Tangen in 2004, this up-and-coming company fuses indigenous and contemporary styles, exploring both the cultural heritage and the present-day identities of Native peoples.

The series will continue Oct. 15 with The Seasons Project, a collaboration between celebrated violinist Robert McDuffie and the Venice Baroque Orchestra. The program will feature Philip Glass’ new Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra, The American Four Seasons — which was written for McDuffie — along with its inspiration: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Next up, Chicago sensations 500 Clown will tackle a pair of literary classics with 500 Clown Macbeth (Nov. 5) and 500 Clown Frankenstein (Nov. 6). Pluck, the world’s funniest string trio, will present Musical Arson, their slapstick spoof of concert hall decorum, Nov. 19.

The spring semester will begin with a special event, as Edison joins forces with Metro Theatre Company, St. Louis’ foremost professional troupe for young people, for a new production of The Giver, Eric Coble’s celebrated adaptation of the Newbery Medal Award-winning science fiction book by Lois Lowry. Performances, recommended for ages 10 and up, run Jan. 7-23.

Universes presents Ameriville Unplugged April 15 and 16. Download hi-res version.

The OVATIONS Series will resume March 5 with a concert by Danú, one of today’s leading traditional Irish ensembles. The Trey McIntyre Project, which both challenges and expands the vocabulary of traditional ballet, will return to Edison April 1 and 2. Also returning, April 15 and 16, will be cutting-edge poetry collective Universes with Ameriville Unplugged, a passionate “State of the Union Address” set against the backdrop of post-Katrina New Orleans.

The OVATIONS season will conclude April 30 with The Aluminum Show, Ilan Azriel’s visually stunning combination of dance, puppetry, acrobatics and special effects. Like a space-age mash-up of Blue Man Group and Stomp, The Aluminum Show breathes new life into industrial materials, transforming sheet metal, tubing and glittering balloons into living creatures of astonishing complexity.

Meanwhile, the popular ovations for young people series will offer all-ages matinees with Rulan Tangen and Dancing Earth (Oct. 2) and Pluck (Nov. 20). Rounding out the series will be Doktor Kaboom! (Jan. 29), a fun, family-friendly variety show that combines theater arts with the wonders of scientific exploration.

Doktor Kaboom! concludes the ovations for young people series Jan. 29. Download hi-res version.

Tickets and information

Tickets to OVATIONS events are $35, or $30 for seniors, $25 for Washington University faculty and staff and $20 for students and children. Subscriptions are available at the basic level (three, four or five events at $30 per ticket) and at the premiere level (six or more events at $25 per ticket).

Ovations for young people events are $12; subscriptions are available at $8 per ticket. Tickets to The Giver are $16, or $12 for students, seniors and Washington University faculty and staff.

The Seasons Project and the performance by Danu will take place in Washington University’s 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection with Delmar Boulevard. All other events take place in Edison Theatre, located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information or to order tickets, call the Edison Theatre Box Office at (314) 935-6543, e-mail Edison@wustl.edu or visit edisontheatre.wustl.edu.

Edison Theatre

Founded in 1973, the Edison OVATIONS Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.

Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The OVATIONS Season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.