Pittsburgh Opera presents one of the world’s most beloved operas, LA BOHÈME


photo by David Bachman.

Pittsburgh, PA… Pittsburgh Opera continues its 75th anniversary season with one of the world’s most beloved operas, Puccini’s LA BOHÈME. On stage at the Benedum Center March 29 – April 6, this story of Bohemian friends struggling through poverty and illness in 1830s Paris is cherished for its romantic, yet tragic story, and soaring music that includes many familiar melodies. A roster of outstanding singers leads the production, anchored by a marvelous set designed by Tony Award-winner Michael Yeargan (for Light in the Piazza, 2005).

LA BOHÈME brings the role and company debut of Leah Crocetto as Mimí; the 2010 Metropolitan National Council Auditions Grand Finals winner, she has been effusively praised for her “voice of size, beauty, and agility” (Chicago Tribune) and “gorgeous, well-supported sound” (San Francisco Chronicle). Due to scheduling issues, the role of Rodolfo will be shared by David Lomelí (Lucia di Lammermoor, 2011) and Eric Barry, in a company debut. (Mr. Lomelí appears March 29, April 1 and 4; Mr. Barry appears in the April 3 Student Matinee and April 6.) Pittsburgh Opera also welcomes Troy Cook, in his company debut as Marcello; Pittsburgher Sari Gruber (Don Giovanni, 2012) returns as Musetta, bringing “comedic grace and vulnerability to the role, as well as glorious vocal talent” (Austin Chronicle). Pittsburghers in the cast also include Kevin Glavin (The Barber of Seville, 2010) in a reprise of his hilarious dual role of Benoit/Alcindoro, and Dimitrie Lazich, who debuts as Schaunard. Resident Artist Phillip Gay appears as Colline.

Music Director Antony Walker returns to conduct the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Tomer Zvulun (debut) and Helena Binder (Fidelio, 2005) are co-directors on LA BOHÈME. Resident Artist George Cederquist is assistant director.

Pittsburgh Opera’s LA BOHÈME also brings the annual Student Matinee on Thursday, April 3 at the Benedum Center. In this performance, Resident Artists take lead roles and perform with Maestro Walker and the orchestra for about 2800 school children from around the region. Jasmine Muhammad appears as Mimí and Meredith Lustig appears as Musetta, alongside Eric Barry (Rodolfo), Kevin Glavin (Benoit/Alcindoro), Phillip Gay (Colline) and Dimitrie Lazich (Schaunard) from the mainstage cast. Resident Artist George Cederquist is stage director for the Student Matinee.

Tickets to LA BOHÈME start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information, videos, photos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of LA BOHÈME, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

Facts about the opera

LA BOHÈME was conducted at its premiere by a young Arturo Toscanini; he also conducted it 50 years later in a recording with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. It is the only recording of a Puccini opera by the original conductor.

In 1957, a missing act for LA BOHÈME was found among librettist Luigi Illica’s belongings. Between the second and third acts, Musetta’s patron Alcindoro has cut her off and moved her furnishings into the courtyard to be sold. The Bohemians throw a party in the courtyard, and Musetta introduces Mimí to a viscount there. Rodolfo
becomes jealous when Mimì dances with the man, explaining Rodolfo’s Act 3 remarks about Mimì’s flirtatiousness, and Mimì’s dismay at Rodolfo’s jealousness.

Modern interpretations of LA BOHÈME include Baz Luhrmann’s 1990 Tony Award-winning Broadway show, set in 1957; Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Broadway smash hit RENT, in which the characters deal with AIDS; and Robin Norton-Hale’s 2009 production, set in modern-day London and taking place in the very pub where the performances were given, using audience members as extras for the Café scene.

The story, in brief
In their Latin Quarter garret in Paris, the near-destitute painter Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm on Christmas Eve by burning pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. Their roommates Colline, a philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician, bring food, fuel, and money. When the landlord Benoit comes to collect the rent, they ply him with wine, then throw him out. As his friends leave for the Café Momus, Rodolfo remains behind to write. A pretty neighbor, Mimì, knocks at the door: her candle has gone out on the stairway. Rodolfo relights it, but Mimì then realizes she has lost her key. In the confusion, both candles are blown out. As they search for the key in the dark, their hands meet. They instantly fall in love.  Expressing their joy in finding each other, Mimì and Rodolfo embrace and join Rodolfo’s friends at the Café.

Marcello’s former sweetheart Musetta makes a noisy entrance at the café on the arm of the elderly but wealthy Alcindoro. Trying to regain Marcello’s attention, she sings about her popularity. Sending Alcindoro off on an errand, she falls into Marcello’s arms and tells the waiter to charge everything to Alcindoro.

At dawn by a tavern on the snowy outskirts of Paris, Mimì searches for the place where Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she tells him of her distress over Rodolfo’s incessant jealousy, and says she believes it’s best that they part. When Rodolfo appears, Mimì hides, though Marcello thinks she has gone. The poet tells Marcello that he wants to separate from Mimì, citing her fickleness. Pressed for the real reason, he breaks down, saying that her illness will only grow worse in the poverty they share; he’s desperately afraid she will die. Overcome with tears, Mimì comes forward to bid her lover farewell. While Mimì and Rodolfo recall past happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello, who has caught her flirting. The painter and his mistress part, hurling insults at each other, but Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring.

Later, both of them separated from their sweethearts, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness. Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. To lighten their spirits, the four stage a dance, when suddenly Musetta bursts in to tell them that Mimì is outside, too weak to come in. Rodolfo carries her in, while Musetta asks Marcello to sell her earrings for medicine and Colline goes off to pawn his overcoat. Left alone, Mimì and Rodolfo recall their first meeting and their happy days, but she is seized with violent coughing. The others return and Mimì drifts into unconsciousness. When Rodolfo at last realizes that she is dead, he throws himself despairingly on her body, calling her name.

Tickets to LA BOHÈME start at $12, with all performances at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information, videos, photos, musical samples, cast biographies, and the full story of LA BOHÈME, visit www.pittsburghopera.org. To purchase tickets, call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

The 2013-14 Pittsburgh Opera season is generously supported by PNC.
Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the production sponsor.

American Eagle Outfitters is the Friday Night Sponsor.
Larrimor’s is our 75th anniversary partner during LA BOHÈME.


Cast and Artistic Team (abbreviated list; cast is listed in order of vocal appearance)

Marcello                                                    Troy Cook +

Rodolfo                                                     David Lomelì (3/29; 4/1, 4/4)

Eric Barry (4/3, 4/6)

Colline                                                       Phillip Gay *

Schaunard                                                Dimitrie Lazich +

Benoit                                                       Kevin Glavin **

Parpignol                                                  Christopher Toeller

Alcindoro                                                  Kevin Glavin **

Musetta                                                     Sari Gruber

Conductor                                                 Antony Walker

Co-Directors                                             Tomer Zvulun +
Helena Binder

Set Designer                                             Michael Yeargan

Costume Designer                                   Martin Pakledinaz #

Lighting Designer                                      Andrew Ostrowski

Asst. Conductor                                        Glenn Lewis

Chorus Master                                          Mark Trawka

Associate Coach/Pianist                          James Lesniak

Hair & Makeup Designer                          James Geier


LA BOHÈME set is owned by Pittsburgh Opera; costumes from Seattle Opera.

+    Pittsburgh Opera debut

*     Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist

**   Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
#    Deceased


Tickets and Group Discounts

Tickets for all performances of LA BOHÈME start at $12. Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (412) 456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213.

Related Events

Opera Up Close: LA BOHÈME

Sunday, March 16 – 2:00 p.m.

George R. White Opera Studio, Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters (2425 Liberty Ave.)

Opera Up Close: LA BOHÈME includes an in-depth musical analysis of the opera, with Maestro Walker and other directors and artists from the production. Admission is $5; free to members of FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera. For more information, call (412) 281-0912 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Thursday, March 20 – 5:30 p.m.
Larrimor’s Downtown, One PNC Plaza, 249 Fifth Ave.

Pittsburgh Opera and Larrimor’s celebrate their 75th anniversaries together in this fun and fashionable event. Highlights include French-inspired cocktails and foods; palm readers, fortune-tellers, can-can dancers reminiscent of Moulin Rouge, and music from La bohème by Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists. Admission is free but RSVP is required: call Katie Gaines at 412-281-0912, ext. 225 or e-mail kgaines@pittsburghopera.org. For more information, visit www.pittsburghopera.org.


LA BOHÈME Previews on WQED-FM 89.3 and WQED.ORG

Saturday, March 22 – 12:30 p.m.; Friday, March 28 – 7:00 p.m.

Hosted by WQED’s Stephen Baum and Anna Singer, and broadcast over the airwaves as well as the WQED website, the LA BOHÈME preview gives listeners an engaging introduction to the singers, music and story of the opera. For more information, visit www.pittsburghopera.org.


FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera South Hills Chapter event
Sunday, March 23 – 4:00 p.m.

Private Home in the South Hills

Join FRIENDS of Pittsburgh Opera for a talk entitled “From the Floor to the Flyrail: Secrets of Scenery” given by Pittsburgh Opera Head Carpenter Sean West, at the home of South Hills Chapter members. Admission is free; a donation of hors d’oeuvres or wine is welcome. RSVP by March 21 at 412-563-3808. Directions to the home will be given at RSVP. For more information, call Marilyn Egan at (412) 281-0912, ext. 242 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org.

Pre-Opera Talks

Benedum Center Main Floor

Ticketholders are invited to attend a Pre-Opera Talk on LA BOHÈME one hour before each performance’s curtain in the Orchestra Section (Main Floor) of the Benedum Center. Learn about the composer and the story of the opera. Free to all ticketholders.


Audio Description: LA BOHÈME
Tuesday, April 1

Benedum Center Main Floor

Ticketholders with visual impairments are invited to use Pittsburgh Opera’s Audio Commentary service at our Tuesday performances. Trained volunteers describe the scenery, costumes, and stage action via headphones. Those wishing to use Audio Description should reserve seats to the Tuesday, April 1 performance: contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, ext. 213 or groups@pittsburghopera.org. Braille and large-print opera programs are also available in the Benedum Grand Lobby.


Meet the Artists of LA BOHÈME

Tuesday, April 1

Immediately following the opera, in the Benedum Lower Lobby

Ticketholders for the Tuesday, April 1 performance of LA BOHÈME are invited to gather in the Benedum Lower Lobby immediately following the performance for interviews with General Director Christopher Hahn and the stars of the opera. This event is free to all Tuesday performance ticketholders.

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (3/13 – 3/16)

podcast logoMike Buzzelli

Every week we find the Top Five Fun Things to do in Pittsburgh. Things are going to get a little green for St. Patrick’s Day. Here is the list for March 13 – March 16.

God Hates Jags

Get your laugh on the track when local Comedian Davon Magwood records his comedy, live in front of a studio audience at the Rex Theater on Friday, March 14.  Susie Meister, Stoph Orlok Edison, Lana Aurora Roskin and Mitch Beardczykowski will also be performing. Magwood is best known in and around Pittsburgh as the creator of the “God Hates Jags” T-shirt, created when Magwood had a Twitter feud with the Westboro Baptist Church.

For more information, go to http://www.showclix.com/event/s20140314dmag


Belly up

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the family at the Student/Teacher Hafla. The Hafla mixes Arabic and Celtic music, with a little Spanish, Indian and fusion flavors thrown in to add some extra spice. The event features live music (Tom Moran, Amun Raqs, Rich Ermlick and the Irish Players), a DJ (DJ Pandemic) and belly-dancers and bagpipers. The event will be Emceed by WQED’s Kweilin Nassar.

The doors open at 7:30 with a show at 8:00 on Saturday, March 15 at the Wilkins School Community Center, 7604 Charleston Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218. For more information visit www.jemeenabellydance.com .


Once More with Feeling

An Irish musician meets a Czech immigrant and they make beautiful music together in “Once.”  See “Once” at least once this weekend. The Tony Award winning show (it won 8 Tony Awards, including best musical in 2012) is at the Benedum Center downtown.

Put on your green shirt and go down to The Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. Call 412-456-6666 or click here: http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/37640/once


Angels in Outfield

The story of America’s first black airmen is a powerful important story in our history. “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” tells the tale of some of WWII’s most courageous heroes, fighting Nazis abroad and prejudice within the United States.

Fly over to the Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh. For more  information, go to: http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/38917/black-angels-over-tuskegee


An Important Comedy

The Prime Stage Theater group is producing Oscar Wilde’s famous and funny “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the New Hazlett. It’s a trivial comedy for serious people.

Come to the city, pretend you’re someone else and catch  “The Importance of Being Earnest,” at the New Hazlett Theater, Allegheny Square East, Pittsburgh.

Call 724-773-0700 or go to http://newhazletttheater.org
Bonus item:

Hello Judy!

Pittsburgh native Judy Knaiz discusses her Hollywood career at a live on-stage interview with Brian Edward from ‘Burgh Vivant (the website you’re currently in). Knaiz played Gussie Granger (AKA Ernestina Simple) in the 1969 film musical “Hello Dolly,” with Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau.  The interview is followed by a screening of the aforementioned film, “Hello Dolly.”

Say “Hello, Judy!” and see “Hello Dolly” at the George R. White Theater at Point Park University, 414 Wood Street, Pittsburgh, PA.

This ‘Burgh Vivant sponsored event is free and open to the public, but reservations are encouraged. RSVP to its@burghvivant.org



Phipps to come alive with the sounds of music for Spring Flower Show

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Pittsburgh’s premier public garden brings melodies into bloom for beloved seasonal showcase.

Pittsburgh, Pa.Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens invites visitors to take a toe-tapping journey through a musical world where melodies bloom like flowers at Spring Flower Show. Opening on March 22, 2014, this colorful new display combines music and garden design for a sensational seasonal showcase filled with sights, sounds and scents that are sure to have guests of all ages singing.

From one room to the next, musical genres from swing and big band to blues and rock ´n roll will be represented through whimsical sculptures made out of up-cycled instruments; surprising planters like an upright piano; and carefully orchestrated plantings designed to mimic the rise and fall of musical notes. Popular songs will also be piped through some of the rooms, adding to the multi-sensory experience.

The stars of the show, of course, will be the thousands of vibrant tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other favorites, in addition to some beautiful varieties of snapdragons, primula and pansies. Arranged in spectacular groupings according to color and theme, plants will be carefully placed to add scope to and enliven each scene, from blue and purple flowers representing the blues genre to rainbow-hued blooms.

Spring Flower Show, designed by Hays Landscape Architecture Studio and sponsored by PNC, runs through April 20. Hours are 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children (2 – 18). Members and kids under 2 enter free.

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. is a green leader among public gardens with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more: phipps.conservatory.org.

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli: Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (3/6 – 3/9)

podcast logoMike Buzzelli

Here are the Top Five Fun Things to do in Pittsburgh this weekend, March 6 through the 9.

Main Street Poetry

The Carnegie Carnegie in Carnegie (that’s a lot of Carnegie’s in one sentence) will host “In This Valley” a poetry reading by Bernadette Kazmarski. Kazmarski will read poetry inspired by her everyday experiences and encounters in Carnegie (I sincerely hope there are poems titled “Dog with the pink mohawk,” “Ode to the G2,” or “That guy they threw out of Riley’s”). Thursday, March 6th you can find out for yourself at a reception that will include her visual art as well.

“In This Valley” is at the 2nd Floor Reception Hall of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA. For more information go to www.carnegiecarnegie.org.


Make an Unplanned Plan

Unplanned Comedy returns to the Union Pig and Chicken with two shows Saturday March 8.

8PM – Improv teams go head-to-head-to head as ALMOST INFAMOUS and RUCKUS compete against DEATH IN OXFORD for a comedy championship. Is there a prize? I’m sure they’ll mime a sash and tiara (it’s all about the space work).

And at 9:30PM…

MONDO! Mondo speaks, they make a scene. Inspired by one audience suggestion, Mondo, WTAE Anchor, Michelle Wright, tells of personal views, opinions, and remembrances as fodder for the cast’s high-octane, off-the-cuff, improvised scenes.

Plan your weekend around “Unplanned Comedy.”  It’s at the Union Pig and Chicken, 220 N. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.  For more information, hit them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1462317480652767/?fref=ts.


Get him to the Greek

Homer takes over at the Pittsburgh Public Theater. The Poet, Teagle F. Bougere, tells the story of gods, monsters and the thrilling tales of the Trojan War in “An Iliad.”

One actor plays the Greek classic’s famous characters Achilles, Hector, Agammemnon, and the beautiful Helen of Troy.

Set sail for “An Iliad” opening March 6 at the O’ O’Reilly Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater. Call 412-316-1600 or click http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/36123/an-iliad


Finding Utopia

The Pittsburgh Savoyards are singing about Capitalism in “Utopia Limited” the story about princess from a far-off land.  It was Gilbert and Sullivan’s second-to-last collaborative effort, and it’s the second-to-last pick of the week.

Jump on the HMS Pinafore and head over to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie for “Utopia Limited.”

For more information, check out the Pittsburgh Savoyards at http://www.pittsburghsavoyards.org/wordpress/


Jazz Hands

Start spreading the news, Conductor Jack Everly will swing his baton in front of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra when they perform “All That Jazz: A Symphonic Celebration of Kander & Ebb.”

John Kander and lyricist Frank Ebb are responsible for writing some well-known show tunes, including “New York, New York,” “All That Jazz,” and “Cabaret.”

Maybe this time, you’ll go to Heinz Hall to see the symphonic celebration. Please do tell mama, because she may want to join you for “All That Jazz: A Symphonic Celebration of Kander & Ebb” at Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.

For more information, go to http://culturaldistrict.org/production/36212/all-that-jazz-a-symphonic-celebration-of-kander-and-ebb

CLO Ambassadors to Hold 17th Annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction

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Preview party at Nine on Nine kicks off upcoming fundraiser

Pittsburgh (February 27, 2014) – The Pittsburgh CLO Ambassadors hosted a Wine Tasting and Silent Auction preview party for sponsors and members of the press on February 24, at Nine on Nine in Pittsburgh.  The preview party was held to raise awareness for the Ambassadors’ 17th Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, which will take place Friday, March 7, 2014, at the Duquesne Club, and will feature wines from Capital Wine & Spirits.

Event guests will have the opportunity to sample premier wines as well as bid on unique silent auction packages.  This year’s packages include a walk-on role in a Pittsburgh CLO production, tickets to local cultural and sporting events, autographed memorabilia, fabulous getaways and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“Since its inception, the Wine Tasting and Silent Auction has raised more than $900,000 to benefit programs including the Pittsburgh CLO Academy, the New Horizons Program, Creative Vision and the Gene Kelly Awards,” said Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Co-Chair, Lisa Woods of Burns White, LLC.  “The CLO Ambassadors are pleased to have this opportunity to support quality arts education for young people in our communities.”

“Lisa and I would like to invite and encourage everyone who recognizes the critical role the arts play in children’s lives to attend this wonderful event on March 7.  Pittsburgh CLO Education programs reach more than 50,000 students in the region every year,” added Co-Chair Stephen Bloomburg of Post & Schell.

This annual event sells out quickly.  Tickets for the Wine Tasting and Silent Auction are available at two price levels and can be purchased online at pittsburghCLO.org or by phone at 412-281-3973 ext. 234.

Individual Ticket 




Connoisseur Ticket



·         One ticket to the event

·         Commemorative wine glass



·         One ticket to the event

·         Three raffle tickets

·         Listing in the event program

·         Commemorative wine glass

Raffle tickets are also being sold in conjunction with the event. The winner of the Grand Prize will receive a trip for two to Paris which includes a Luxury hotel stay of two nights with breakfast in a Luxury Apartment courtesy of La Réserve Trocadéro Paris, roundtrip airfare on Delta Air Lines and travel planning services courtesy of Travel Leaders/Travel in Luxury. Second Prize is a $1,000 gift certificate courtesy of Henne Jewelers and Third Prize is dinner for two courtesy of Six Penn Kitchen and two tickets to Monty Python’s Spamalot courtesy of Pittsburgh CLO.

Raffle tickets are available for $20 each or 5 for $50 and can be purchased in advance or at the event.  The winner need not be present.

This year’s Connoisseur Sponsors are PNC Financial Services, RR Donnelley and Capital Wine & Spirits.  The Chateau Sponsors are Burns White, Federated Investors, First National Bank, K&L Gates, Mine Safety Appliances Company, Reed Smith, LLP and UPMC. The Corporate Sponsors are Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Dollar Bank, Post & Schell and Schneider Downs & Co. The Supporting Sponsors are Jim & Kristin Brennan, Dawood Engineering, Nick & Anne Liparulo, Peace Dental, and Swank Construction Company LLC.

Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Richard E. Rauh Conservatory announces IN THE HEIGHTS


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This spring, Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Richard E. Rauh Conservatory will present the award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS.

IN THE HEIGHTS tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. IN THE HEIGHTS is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.  This student production will bring out all hopes and dreams of this amazing story. This is one you don’t want to miss!


Tickets begin at just $10 individual performance tickets are available by calling (412) 539-0900 X232.  More information is available by visiting www.pittsburghmusicals.com <http://www.pittsburghmusicals.com>.

About Pittsburgh Musical Theater

Pittsburgh Musical Theater (PMT) was founded in 1990 with the vision of creating a regional musical theater company committed to quality productions of the best of Pittsburgh’s own professional talent at a price affordable to all residents, especially children and families.  As a non-profit 501(c)(3) performing arts organization, the mission expanded to include a strong commitment to education, training, and outreach programs through its Richard E. Rauh Conservatory for Musical Theater.  General music education and appreciation programs are offered for student’s ages 4-18.  The Pre-College Program, a highly structured, accredited program, is designed for high school students with serious aspirations for careers in the performing arts.

WATCH/LISTEN:  ‘Burgh Vivant’s interview with Pittsburgh Musical Theater General Manager and Conservatory Director, Colleen Petrucci.

CARNEVALE comes to Lidia’s Italy Pittsburgh

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Lidia’s Italy, located at 1400 Smallman Street in the Strip District, will host a special dinner on Tuesday, March 11 at 6pm to celebrate the traditional Italian “Carnevale” festival.

Also known as Mardi Gras, the festival is celebrated in Italy and elsewhere around the world before Easter, as a final party prior to Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. In Italy, the celebration features parades, masquerade balls, music and parties. Festivities can last for several weeks before the official Carnevale date. The amount of grandeur and splendor of the festivities depended on a good harvest, famine or plague.

Masks are also an important part of the Carnevale tradition in Italy, especially in Venice. At Lidia’s, attendees will be given masks to celebrate the dinner in authentic style. Carnevale is a farewell celebration, a time to get it out of your system, so to speak, hiding behind the masks that have become a symbol of the Venetian Carnevale. It is always a time to indulge in culinary delights.

WATCH/LISTEN: ‘Burgh Vivant’s interview with chef, restauranteur, and author Lidia Bastianich.

In Venice and throughout Italy little soft fired pastries are served. In Venice these are called bugie or little lies, that are consumed behind the masks of anonymity. These sweet treats have different names throughout Italy, called chiacchiere in Milan, crostoli in Friuli or cenci in Tuscany.

For the Carnevale dinner, executive chef Jeremy Voytish will prepare a special 5-course menu including:

Antipasti:  Pasta sfoglia con salsicce e pancetta (Ricotta and flour pastry stuffed with house-made sausage, pancetta and Montasio cheese) & Carpaccio con rucola e Grana Padano (Beef carpaccio with wild arugula and shaved Grana Padano)

Primi: Scampetti con polenta (Stone ground white corn polenta, sweet shrimps, EVOO)

Pasta:  Bucatini all’Amatriciana (Bucatini pasta with a crushed tomatoes, garlic, and house cured pancetta)

Secondo: Vitello Saltimbocca (Veal cutlet, prosciutto, sage, brown butter)

Dolci:  Frittelle di mele alla vaniglia (Crispy apple fritters with vanilla)

WATCH/LISTEN: ‘Burgh Vivant’s interview with Executive Chef of Lidia’s Italy Pittsburgh, Jeremy Voytish.

Seats for the dinner are $60 per person, with an option of wine pairing for an additional $25 dollars. For more information or to reserve a ticket please contact 412-552-0150 or visit www.lidias-pittsburgh.com

Ben Opie composes for Jazz orchestra at the New Hazlett

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For the past 30 years, local jazz musician and music educator Ben Opie has composed and performed original music in Pittsburgh. Now, see the completion of his largest, most ambitious creative effort to date—Concerto for Orkestra, a full concert-length symphonic composition for jazz orchestra.

“Duke Ellington composed many suites for his orchestra, and Charles Mingus composed what is perhaps the most ambitious of all jazz works, Epitaph,” Opie said. “However, I can think of no regional composers that have taken on a project quite like this one.”

Scored for 15 musicians and featuring ten movements, Concerto for Orkestra will be given its world premiere on May 2, 2014 at the New Hazlett Theater in Pittsburgh, performed by OPEK under the baton of conductor Nizan Liebovich.

“Early in the process of composing the work,” said Opie. “I recalled an odd compliment a friend had paid me once. He told me my playing had been so great, it was no longer music, it was transportation.”

Opie kept this comment in mind during the composition of Concerto for Orkestra, naming all but the opening and closing movements for modes of transportation such as “Fiat,” “Bumper Car,” “Dirigible,” and “Incline.”

The completion of Concerto for Orkestra was made possible by an Investing in Professional Artists: Creative Development Grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation. It premiers at the New Hazlett Theater this May. For information on tickets visit www.newhazletttheater.org.

Prime Stage Theatre Brings a “Trivial Comedy” to the Stage

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The Importance of being Earnest hits the Stage at The New Hazlett Theater                                                                     

PITTSBURGH – Prime Stage Theatre enjoys continuing its 2013-2014 season with The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

Directed by Rich Keitel, Earnest is “a trivial comedy for serious people” filled with actors who have successfully entertained audiences on many Pittsburgh stages. Two young men, played by Tom Driscoll and Andrew Swackhammer, in order to impress their two young ladies, played by Hayley Nielsen and Magan Dee Yanko, pretend that their names are “Ernest.” But who is Earnest? Will the secret that has been hidden for years finally be revealed? Will Lady Bracknell, played by Susan McGregor-Laine, keep order amidst this confusion?

The elaborate set designs and period costumes are sure to dazzle and the dialogue and antics of the characters will keep the audience laughing from start to finish.

The performance runs from Saturday, March 8 through Sunday, March 16 at The New Hazlett Theater, with a preview performance on Friday, March 7.

Join us on March 8 for opening night’s “Go Wild with Wilde” event.  Dress up in your best Oscar Wilde inspired outfit, wear a carnation in your lapel, or simply wear a fun hat.  Refreshments will be served.

Tickets are on sale now.

For more information on the season or to buy tickets, visit www.primestage.com.

The “Buzz” from Buzzelli – Pittsburgh’s Top To-Do’s THIS WEEKEND (2/27 – 3/2)

podcast logoMike Buzzelli

Every week we pick the Top Five things to do in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Here are the picks for Thursday Feb 27 through March 2.


Getting on Paul’s Case

Snooty leaves sooty. A young man flees Pittsburgh for New York City in “Paul’s Case.” Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt. But this journey is set to music. Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case” is now an opera. Tenor Daniel Curran plays Paul, a boy with champagne wishes on a beer budget.

“Paul’s Case” is at the Pittsburgh Opera, 2425 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh.  Call 412-456-6666 or www.pittsburghopera.org


It’s Summer time!

Oh. I wish it was summer time! But you can hear the song, “Summer time” in the Broadway play that popularized the tune. “Porgy and Bess” returns to Pittsburgh.  African-American life in Charleston, South Carolina is hard, but everyone is making beautiful music as they lament their troubles.

I love a Gershwin tune, How about you? “Porgy and Bess” is playing at the Benedum Center, 719 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh. For details, go to http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/production/37630/porgy-and-bess


The Beginning of Ending

Amanda has the talent to become a great composer, but her life gets sidetracked by the demands of an almost-famous fiancé, divorcing parents & a rent-paying job writing commercial jingles. “A Feminine Ending” has been called a gentle, bittersweet.  “A Feminine Ending” is at Off the Wall Theater, 25 W. Main Street, Carnegie.

Call 724-873-3576 or click www.insideoffthewall.com.



Just in time for the Oscars, you can go to Hello, Donny and sing along to your favorite soundtracks. There’s something for everyone in at the feel good sing-a-long, from “Titanic” to “Space Jam.”

You can sing “Hello Donny” at the Backstage Bar at Theater Square. Here’s the kicker, folks: the event is free (but it’s 21 and over).

Sing! Shout! Get down to the Backstage Bar, 655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh on Wednesday, February 26 at 9:30 pm. For more information click here: http://trustarts.culturaldistrict.org/event/3941/hello-donny-a-showtunes-sing-along

And then, head down to There Ultra Lounge, 931 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh for the After Party.


Truth and Beauty

True Story is back at the East End Book Exchange on Thursday, February 27 at 7:00 pm. Come see true stories told live without notes. This month’s theme is “arrested development,” and I’m sure there will be more than one banana stand joke.

Come out and see Andy Picarro, Brian Gray, Brian Broome, Kelly Dee, Todd Shaffer, Tim Sommers, Catherine Conley and Derek Minto. The event will be hosted by Mike Buzzelli (if that name sounds familiar I’d like to refer you to the large bulbous head at the top of this page).

The event is free but they accept donations and/or book purchases.

The East End Book Exchange is located at 4754 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh. For more about the East End Book Exchange, click here: http://www.eastendbookexchange.com/shop/eastend/splash.html

– MB.