Yes, the Nazi party members liked Carl Orff’s choral work, “Carmina burana.” But the association with the Nazis mostly had to do with the facts that Orff was German, and composed the piece in the mid-1930s, as Nazi Germany began turning its vile philosophy into reality. The fact is, virtually everyone connects with the rhythmically engaging “Carmina burana.” The music – composed by Orff as a setting for a collection of medieval secular poems – has been used on TV commercials, by Ozzy Osbourne and Michael Jackson, and in a handful of films, including two by Oliver Stone. The piece was even performed in the Roaring Fork Valley already this year, as part of Symphony in the Valley’s Mother’s Day concerts. Now, it is being used as the big farewell to the 2007 Aspen Music Festival. The Aspen Festival Orchestra and conductor David Zinman – along with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Colorado Children’s Chorale – perform “Carmina burana” in the season’s final concert, Sunday, Aug. 19. Opening the program is Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms.
“Moonlight and Magnolias,” Ron Hutchinson’s back story of the making of “Gone With the Wind,” is a one-room – and essentially one-joke – farce. Producer David O. Selznick locks himself and his two colleagues, director Victor Fleming and screenwriter Ben Hecht, in his office for a week to get the troubled project off the ground. The plot is mostly true; it’s also silly to the verge of pointlessness. Theatre Aspen’s production is worthwhile almost entirely for the energy of its actors. Steven Cole Hughes, as the somber Hecht (whose big shtick is that he has not read the novel, “Gone With the Wind,” on which he is to base his script), adds the only element of weight. David Ledingham, as Fleming, earns his laughs by acting out the romantic entanglements for Hecht. And Anthony Freeman pulls off a manic portrayal of the tormented, striving, pushing Selznick. “Moonlight and Magnolias” has its final dates at Theatre Aspen this week, playing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 21, 23 and 25.
The way Basalt is booming, the smallness and quaint vibe of Basalt River Days will one day be just a memory. In the near future, Basaltines will look back with fondness on a time when their annual summer bash had to scramble to round up entertainment, not to mention attendees. So for now, people going to River Days should relish the fact that events like the softball tournament, Kiss the Trout, and the parade through downtown are mellow and uncrowded. The entertainment lineup is filed with local acts: the Heart of the Rockies band, magician Doc Eason, the Earthbeat Choir children’s chorus, and more. But a hint of things to come can be witnessed in the final act – R&B singer/keyboardist Kelley Hunt, who is a monster musician and a sizzling live performer. River Days takes place all day on Saturday, Aug. 18, in downtown Basalt.
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