Opera, Dance, Jazz & More: The 2016-17 Conservatory Artist Series

The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance is thrilled to partner with the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Folly Theater to present our ensembles in these beautiful spaces once again. This year’s dazzling performances include opera, dance, jazz, and special guest violinist Frank Almond, whose stolen and recovered violin made national news and makes for an altogether dramatic story. The 2016–17 Conservatory Artist Series is comprised of eight performances, three in Helzberg Hall, one in the Folly Theater, and the rest in White Recital Hall.


Oct. 20–23
Fall Opera, Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
Puccini’s one-act operas, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, depict divergent paths to heaven and hell. Suor Angelica tells the sad story of a nun who was sent to a convent as punishment for having an illegitimate child. Gianni Schicchi is a farcical tale based on an episode from Dante’s The Divine Comedy about a greedy family trying to impersonate a dead relative and worm its way into the will. It features one of the most popular arias of all time, “O mio babbino caro.”
Oct. 20–22, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 23, 2:30 p.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

Nov. 4
Crescendo: Dream Within Reach
The Conservatory’s annual fundraising event for scholarships, with music and dance performed by Conservatory students and faculty, features an exciting prism concert with performances in various locations around Helzberg Hall. It’s a “not to be missed” performance.
6 p.m. patron party/cocktails. Patron dinner in Brandmeyer Hall follows performance.
7 p.m., concert, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Helzberg Hall.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Conservatory of Music and Dance.


Feb. 2
Frank Almond, violin
Mr. Almond is the concertmaster for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He usually plays on a violin by Antonio Stradivari from 1715, the “ex-Lipinski.” On Jan. 27, 2014, the “ex-Lipinski” Stradivari was stolen from Mr. Almond in an armed robbery after a concert. The violin was recovered nine days later, and the story continues to make headlines around the world, most recently with NPR’s All Things Considered, the BBC World Service, and a major investigative feature in Vanity Fair.
7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

March 17
Conservatory Wind Symphony
The always-dynamic Conservatory Wind Symphony performs at the College Band Directors National Association Conference, directed by Steven D. Davis, featuring Conservatory choirs and dancers.
7 p.m., Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Helzberg Hall.

March 23–26
Spring Opera, Handel’s Rodelinda
In one of Handel’s best dramas, we find our heroine Rodelinda — who believes her husband to be dead — having to marry a despicable character or see him murder her son. How will this story end? Fenlon Lamb directs the opera with coaching by artist in residence Estelí Gomez and faculty Allison DeSimone, and featuring collaborations with Conservatory dance faculty and students.
March 23–25, 7:30 p.m., March 26, 2:30 p.m., White Recital Hall, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

April 13
Conservatory Jazz Bands
Join the Conservatory jazz bands in a hoppin’ collage concert featuring a variety of ensembles that represent the entirety of jazz studies at the Conservatory, directed by Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas.
7:30 p.m., Folly Theater.

April 24
Conservatory Orchestra
The Conservatory Orchestra directed by Robert Olson will perform with the Chancellor’s Concerto Competition winner. Other repertoire will be announced at a later date.
7 p.m., Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Helzberg Hall.

April 27–29
Finale: Spring Dance
Experience the athleticism, precision, and passion of the Conservatory’s dance ensemble. The extraordinary creativity of the dance faculty’s choreography is combined with our dance students and collaborations with Conservatory musicians.
7:30 p.m., White Recital Hall.

No single ticket is more than $30! For tickets, please call the Central Ticket Office, 816-235-6222 or umkc.edu/cto. Fees apply.

Dana Self

Dana Self is an arts writer who was a contemporary art curator for more than 13 years in Kansas, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Tennessee museums, including the Kemper Museum. She has organized about 100 exhibitions of emerging and mid career artists.

She is currently marketing director for UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance.

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