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Arts & Culture

Corona Radio Theater: A.C.T. & A Christmas Carol - Three Decembers @ Opera San Jose - Hershey Felder

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Kevin Berne - A.C.T.
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This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts in Times of Corona, we raise the virtual curtain of our Corona Radio Theater for an exclusive preview excerpt of A.C.T.’s production of A Christmas Carol, which, for the first time in its 44-year history will be presented as a radio play. Also, host David Latulippe talks to composer Jake Heggie, mezzo soprano Susan Graham, and singers Maya Kherani and Efraín Solís from Opera San Jose about the chamber opera Three Decembers; and with actor, writer and pianist Hershey Felder about his two upcoming Holiday shows.

For more than four decades, the Bay Area holiday season has not been complete without the American Conservatory Theater’s (A.C.T.) celebrated production of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol (pictured: the 2019 production, with The Ghost of Jacob Marley (Ken Ruta) visiting Ebenezer Scrooge (Anthony Fusco)). The show goes on this year, but the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition now comes to life as A Christmas Carol: On Air, a riveting radio play for the whole family.

Directed and adapted by Peter J. Kuo (who will join Open Air for a chat), using the original Dickens text and adaptation by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff, this timeless story of optimism and redemption features the delightful music, deliciously spooky ghosts, and cast of characters that have made A.C.T.’s Christmas Carol a beloved Bay Area holiday classic. Also joining the conversation is sound engineer Jake Rodriguez.

A Christmas Carol: On Air  will be available to stream online from December 4 - 31. 

From Opera San Jose’s (OSJ) upcoming production of the chamber opera Three Decembers, we talk with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, and to composer and friend of Open Air Jake Heggie, as well as OSJ’s resident artists soprano Maya Kherani and baritone Efraín Solís.

Three Decembers  is based on the unpublished play Some Christmas Letters  by Tony Award-winning playwright Terrance McNally. The chamber opera follows the captivating story of a famous actress, Madeline Mitchell, and her two adult children, Beatrice and Charlie over three decades (1986, 1996, and 2006), showing a family struggling to connect, as long-held secrets come to light.

Pianist and OSJ Head of Music Staff Veronika Agranov-Dafoe and pianist Sunny Yoon play an intimate, dual-piano arrangement that has been specifically created by and conducted for this production by OSJ resident artist conductor Christopher James Ray.

The 90-minute, fully staged production, captured at OSJ’s new Fred Heiman Digital Media Studio and directed by Tara Branham, will be offered via on-demand streaming beginning December 3.

Plus, we talk with actor, writer and pianist Hershey Felder about his two upcoming Holiday shows, to be live streamed from Europe on November 22 and December 20. Originally created for the stage and seen in sold-out productions across the US, Felder has reshaped his work with new material for the screen, which he presents in a filmic setting.

In A Paris Love Story,  Felder gives an intimate portrait of composer Claude Debussy when he takes the audience on a very personal journey through the city of Paris along with compositions such as Clair de lunePrélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, and La Mer.

In Tchaikovsky,  based on the original Our Great Tchaikovsky, Felder gives an extended focus on The Nutcracker ballet (in honor of Christmas) as well as Tchaikovsky's life in Italy. The production will be streamed live from Florence where the composer actually lived and worked.

Tickets and information can be found here.

Open Air with host David Latulippe; heard live on Thursday, November 19 at 1pm. Archived thereafter at this location. Listen now or anytime…