Director’s Chair: Vilar Performing Arts Center looks ahead to winter season |

Director’s Chair: Vilar Performing Arts Center looks ahead to winter season

Kris Sabel
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Dario Acosta

Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.

With summer coming to a close, I want to extend my congratulations to the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival, Vail Jazz Foundation and Vail International Dance Festival for a terrific summer of festival programming, as well as a thanks to all who came out to the Vilar Performing Arts Center this summer for a concert series full of highlights and firsts.

We are truly fortunate to have so many opportunities to experience live performing arts in our community, and the great news is you don’t have to wait until next summer to see more great artists, as tickets are now on sale for the VPAC’s Classical, Dance and Broadway programs for the coming winter season. We will be announcing our popular music concerts, comedy and family programming in late October, with tickets going on sale in early November. But please go to our website, http://www.vilar, to check out the great performances that are already on sale. I am proud of our diverse lineup, which includes contemporary ballet, jazz and modern dance, as well as several orchestras performing a variety of the best in classical music. And of course we are so pleased to be able to present fully staged opera and Broadway national touring companies.

Something that truly sets us apart is the inclusion of two of the most sought after performers in the world today. International stars Jonas Kaufmann, (Jan. 13) and Anna Netrebko (March 25) will make their only North American concert appearances of the season at the VPAC. Both artists are appearing at the Metropolitan Opera, and both have agreed to come and share their time and talent with our community while they are in the U.S.

Born in Munich, Kaufmann, a tenor, is internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of our day and has received the highest acclaim in the world’s greatest opera houses, on the concert platform and in recital.

To give you an idea of how special this event is, last October, Kaufmann sang a solo concert at the Metropolitan Opera. There has only been one other solo concert ever at the Met, performed in 1994 by none other than Luciano Pavarotti. Pavarotti’s solo performance came 20 years after he first performed in New York; Kaufmann’s came five years after his Met debut, and the performance was so well-received that he had to sing five encores. An exceptionally versatile vocal artist, Kaufmann joins Placido Domingo as one of the only tenors with the range to sing both Siegmund and Faust at the Met; he performed both roles to critical acclaim last year.

While Kaufmann is dominating the scene as the most sought after tenor, Netrebko has been named “the reigning new diva of the 21st Century” by the Associated Press. Due to illness, Netrebko had to cancel her performance here two seasons ago, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to bring her back on March 25. Netrebko is an international opera sensation having appeared with nearly all of the world’s great opera companies. She has been captivating audiences in concerts and recitals in revered concert halls such as London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, and now at the VPAC. Her appearance here at the VPAC is significant and one that we welcome with honor and excitement.

I encourage you to attend these performances, even if you think opera isn’t for you, as this is a rare opportunity to see two of the world’s greatest voices in our intimate 535-seat theatre, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Talk to anyone who saw Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel last year, and I feel confident they will encourage you to mark your calendar as they were captivated by his performance and talent and can’t imagine missing either of these artists this year.

So often we hear that young people don’t care and won’t attend classical music and dance programs, but I have been impressed by how engaged and moved students are when they experience the wonder of live performing arts. We look for every opportunity to make sure kids get a chance to become fans and with that in mind, we have set a goal to raise more donations enabling us to lower ticket pricing for a select number of these performances. We are so fortunate to have donors who want to support this. We kick off the season with the Alvin Ailey II dance company for a two-day residency of classes and free student performances on Nov. 8 and 9. A special public performance will follow on the evening of Nov. 9 with tickets priced at $15 for students and $30 for adults. This is a world-class company and a great way to introduce everyone to the joys of dance performance. We follow that up with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Chorus presenting Handel’s Messiah on Dec. 15. With student’s tickets at just $15, we are presenting a special holiday memory your whole family can enjoy together. Please consider sharing the joy of these programs with the young people in your life. As you review the entire lineup, you will see similar pricing for several other programs.

Look for more from me about these and other programs in the coming months, but in the meantime visit I hope to see you at the theater.

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