June 18, 2009

Music festival coming to McKendree University

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale brings chamber music and an opera to McKendree University in Lebanon as part of the annual Southern Illinois Music Festival.

A wind octet and piano quintet come to the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (better known as The Hett) with a chamber music concert beginning at 2 p.m. on June 28. The performance features selections from Mozart and Beethoven, and Schubert’s “Trout Quintet,” written for piano and strings. The work takes its name from the fourth movement, which is a variation on Schubert’s earlier “Die Forelle” or “The Trout.”

Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens and $5 for students and children.

A pair of Southern Illinois Music Festival traditions comes to The Hett on July 2 -- namely, Klassics for Kids and an opera presentation.

Klassics for Kids is a free performance designed specifically for the very youngest listeners -- from newborn up to about kindergarten age. The performance begins at 10 a.m. Edward M. Benyas, artistic director of the festival, and his wife, musician Kara Benyas, designed the program format to help introduce young listeners to classical and jazz music. This performance features a wind quintet.

Later that evening, the festival presents Verdi’s “La Traviata,” a three-act opera telling the tragic love story of a Parisian courtesan and a young nobleman. Their love is beset with problems, including a heartbroken separation, a misunderstanding that tears the lovers still further apart, and then a deathbed reunion. The opera is in Italian, with English supertitles. Featured singers include special guests soprano Laura Portune, tenor Jay Morrissey, and mezzo-soprano Katherine Calcamuggio and SIUC’s own David Dillard, baritone.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, $15 for senior citizens and $5 for students of all ages.

To reserve tickets, call The Hett box office at 618/537-6863.

The Southern Illinois Music Festival is a multi-venue festival bringing classical and jazz music to the greater Southern Illinois and Metro East area. For a complete schedule of all festival events and information about the artists, visit www.sifest.com.