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Distinguished professor to offer operatic performance for inaugural lecture

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

LAWRENCE — Most distinguished professors at the University of Kansas don’t break out into song. Then again, most aren’t internationally renowned mezzo-sopranos, either.

University Distinguished Professor of Voice Joyce Castle will direct and sing in the one-act opera “Strawberry Fields” for her distinguished professor inaugural “lecture” at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre of Murphy Hall. This performance is free and open to the public.

The opera is part two of a trilogy on the subject of New York City’s Central Park. Composed by Michael Torke with libretto by A.R Gurney, “Strawberry Fields” presents the unusual behavior and reflections of a delusional woman on a park bench. Although most passers-by are confused by her actions, she makes a brief connection with a student who is as passionate about John Lennon’s music as she is about Verdi.

Since Castle’s professional debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1970, she has been in demand worldwide for both opera and concert appearances. Castle was a leading artist at the New York City Opera for 25 years and performed at the Metropolitan Opera for 14 seasons. She has appeared with every major opera company in the United States, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and Seattle Opera. She has performed in opera houses from the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Spain to NHK Hall in Japan, including appearances in Belgium, Germany, Canada, Israel, Italy, Brazil and in opera houses throughout France.

International concert engagements have included appearances at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Radio-Symphonieorchester in Vienna, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and with the London Symphony Orchestra.

She traveled to Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil for sold-out performances of “Candide” (reprising her Grammy Award-winning performance as the Old Lady on the New Worlds label), with Marin Alsop conducting the Sao Paulo Symphony. 

The mezzo-soprano celebrated her 40th anniversary as a performing artist in the 2010-2011 season with performances of a new vocal chamber work, “The Hawthorn Tree,” written for her by National Medal of Arts and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. The cycle was given its premiere with members of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Morgan Library in New York with additional performances elsewhere, including the Lied Center of Kansas with the composer present. Recorded for the Americus label, it was released in fall 2014.

Castle, who joined the KU School of Music in 2001, is a KU graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree as well as a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, where she earned a master’s of music degree. She was named a university distinguished professor at KU in 2014.

People unable to attend the event will have another opportunity to see Castle perform. KU Opera will present “Strawberry Fields” as well as “Comedy on the Bridge” by Bohuslav Martinu on Jan. 22 and Jan. 24 in Crafton-Preyer Theatre. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students and are available at the door or by calling 785-864-3436.


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Museum Events

Art Cart: Painted Fans
Saturday, January 20 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 317
1301 Mississippi St.
The Art Cart is a drop-in activity station where children and grown-ups enjoy hands-on art projects together, taking inspiration from original works of art. After traveling the world, Sallie Casey Thayer donated her collection of objects to KU to form what is now the Spencer Museum of Art. Learn about Mrs. Thayer and create a painted folding fan to start your own collection.

Slow Art Sunday: Steel Wool Peignoir
Sunday, January 21 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Kemper Family Foundations Balcony, 408
1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In January, get to know Steel Wool Peignoir by Mimi Smith.

Science on Tap: The Cambrian: More than just Trilobites
Wednesday, January 24 | 7:30 p.m.
Free State Brewing Co., 636 Massachusetts St.
The Cambrian is a time in Earth’s history when many modern animal relatives make their first appearance. It is also a time when many bizarre animals without modern relatives appear in the fossil record. At this Science on Tap, Dr. Julien Kimmig will talk about the diversity of animals during this amazing period and what it can teach us about the future of life on earth. 

Career Close-ups: Developing a Career in the Museum World
Friday, January 26 | 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Auditorium 309
1301 Mississippi St.
Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to explore how any major can lead to a career in a cultural organization. A panel of museum professionals will share their experiences, followed by a networking reception and behind-the-scenes tours of KU’s museums. This year’s panelists include: Dina Bennett (Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University), Glenn North (Black Archives of Mid-America), and Adrianne Russell (Cabinet of Curiosities). Advance registration is required at www.spencerart.ku.edu/career-closeups. Please register by January 24. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/476618689399321/
Sponsored by the Spencer Museum of Art, KU Natural History Museum, University Career Center, and the Museum Studies Program.

Final Friday: Community and Culture Closing Celebration
Friday, January 26 | 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with the Max Kade Center and the Lawrence Opera Theatre, present an evening of 19th-century German-American music and cuisine.

Discovery Day: Celebrating Kansas
Sunday, January 28 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
In honor of Kansas Day, join us for hands-on activities that are all about Kansas wildlife, plants and fossils. 

Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture: An Evening with Eve L. Ewing: Poetry in Context
Wednesday, January 31 | 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.
Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist, poet, essayist, artist, and educator whose research focuses on racism, social inequality, urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. Dr. Ewing earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is recognized as a leader and social influencer, especially in conversations involving academia, writing, black women, and the intersection of politics and popular culture. Sponsored by The Commons.

University in the Art Museum for Graduate Students
Thursday, February 1 | 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
University in the Art Museum introduces graduate students to opportunities for object-based teaching, learning, and research through collaborative partnerships with the Spencer Museum of Art. This workshop includes discussions led by graduate students in the departments of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Geography; and Atmospheric Science. Advance registration is required by Monday, January 29. Register online at https://spencerart.ku.edu/uam.

Extraordinary Animals: Awesome Adaptations
Sunday, February 4 | 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
At this new monthly animal event, parents and children are invited to learn about animals of Kansas. Museum Animal Specialist Ashley Welton will offer presentations about animal adaptations using touchable specimens from the museums collections at 1:15, 1:45 and 2:15 pm. 

FeBREWary at the Watkins
Thursday, February 15 | 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History, 1047 Massachusetts St.
The Watkins, in partnership with Lawrence Beer Co., presents an evening of beer, food, and knowledge! Enjoy beer and a fascinating talk on brewing provided by Lawrence Beer Co., plus food from local restaurants and an informal museum tour. Tickets are $15 for DCHS members, $20 for non-members. You may sign up online or contact the museum at 785-841-4109. We recommend buying in advance. Ages 21 and over only, please. More information and registration.

Winter Table: An Evening of Herpetology
Wednesday, February 28 | 6:30 p.m.
KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd.
A celebration of more than 100 years of KU herpetology research programs and the careers of Linda Trueb and Bill Duellman. Explore the Natural History Museum's reptile and amphibian collections and enjoy appetizers and drinks. Dine in the Panorama Gallery with KU herpetology scientists and students conducting reptile and amphibian research across the globe. 

6:30 pm: appetizers, drinks and science salon
7:00 pm: dinner and program
$50 per person 

Reserve your space now at the 2018 Winter Table by ordering tickets online. Tickets are $50 per person. You may also call 785-864-4450 to purchase by phone or you may purchase tickets at the museum lobby during business hours. Questions? Contact biodiversity@ku.edu or 785-864-4450.

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