2013 – 2014 WordStage Season

The Muslim Journeys Series

Selections  from  “The Conference of the Birds – by Farid ud-Din Attar

The Lakewood Public Library’s Main Library Auditorium.

Excerpts from the Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din AttarWritten the the latter half of the 12th Century – The Conference of the Birds is a marvelous allegorical rendering of the Muslim doctrine of Sufism.  The Birds of the World – each representing a human fault – band together to find the Simorgh, a mythical Persian Bird roughly equivalent to the Western Phoenix, their king.  After a long and terrifying journey of many sacrifices,  they come to the end only to discover vast lake  in which they see their own reflections.

By turns Witty and Profound, the Conference of the Birds  transforms deep belief into magnificent poetry. The  WordStage ensemble will perform excerpts of this magnificent,significant work of Persian literature using the poem as text accompanied by a score derived from solo violin from Islamic musical  roots.


A cycle of Songs by Franz Schubert composed to the poetry of  his friend and colleague Wilhelm Müller

The Beachwood Public Library Special Events  Room

Winter WordsThese transcendent, beautiful songs of love, loss, grief and profound emotional resonance, will be performed by CIM faculty member baritone Mark Waning, accompanied by CIM resident accompanist, pianist Adam Whiting. In between the sections of this monumental cycle, Word Stage’s founding artistic director, Timeshare, will read letters and excerpts from the diary entries Schubert wrote about this cycle, composed at the end of his all-too-brief life.

This program will be performed with an intermission during which the Friends of the Beachwood Library invite the audience to celebrate  the end of the 2013 Special Event Season.

Bloomsbury and Word War I- A Literary Drama

The Shaker Heights Historical Society  |  Presented on the Aha Series  by the Shaker Heights Arts Council-

Bloomsbury and The Great WarA New Work commissioned by the Shaker Height Arts Council takes us to Garsington, the ‘Country Cottage “ of Lady Ottoline and Philip Morrell.  It is 1914 and Word War I has begun in earnest.  Lady Ottoline discusses the ramifications for her and her artistic and literary pacifist friends with  Leonard and Virginia Woolf. They are in the process of launching their Hogarth Press which would go on to publish many of the leading pacifist writers of the day, including T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Siegfried Sassoon, Vita Sackville-West, Robert Graves and, of course, the “Woolves”  themselves..  The text will be accompanied with music composed by Rebecca Clarke – a contemporary of the Bloomsberries, whose works for solo viola, originally published under a male pseudonym, were much celebrated in their day, providing  inspiration for, among others, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Callas on Callas

The Lakewood Public Library, Main Branch Auditorium

Maria Callas: The Greatest Diva of Them AllWhen people hear the word diva, they think Maria Callas. The Greek soprano was one of the greatest stars of the 20th century, not only in the opera but in the media. If her tiffs with opera management weren’t enough, her affair with Aristotle Onassis and his subsequent dumping of her for the widow Jacqueline Kennedy kept her in the limelight until her untimely death at the age of 53.

Callas (1923-1977) is revered to this day for her dramatic intensity, versatility and technical prowess in opera. Her recordings are still in print, and are considered benchmarks of the art. After her death some Videos of live performances in Opera and Concert were released, and some 30 biographies and critical studies were published, discussing, with greater or lesser success, her voice, her life and her enduring contributions to Opera and to music in general.

In “Callas on Callas” 95 percent of the text is adapted from the diva’s interviews and 1971 Juilliard master classes, with only fleeting references to her personal life. This presentation will focus on Callas, the Artist, whose gifts revolutionized the world of Opera and influenced, and continues to influence singer, conductors and stage directors for generations after her death. The program also features several of the all-too- few examples of Callas captured in live performances projections, which help to illustrate why this woman was such a force in the development of Opera as the true musico-dramatic art form it was created to be.