The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on June 25, 2009 · Page 22
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 22

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Page 22
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THE ENQUIRER tour COMING FRIDAY IN WEEKENDLIFE Texan Steve Earle pays tribute to his home-state buddy, the late singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, in his latest album, "Townes." He'll sing from the "Pancho and Lefty" author's repertoire Saturday in Memorial Hall. Editor: Michael Perry, 513-768-8414 Gyro guy stepping up to pressure of Panegyri i i ! . ' M o Aj ft ? 7 ii l.7 ' ' w 7 ProvidedPhilip Groshong Bass-baritone James Morris (left) portrays King Philip II and baritone Marco Caria (kneeling) is Rodrigo in "Don Carlo." G of the BARITONES James Morris wears Philip IPs crown in 'Don Carlo' By Janelle Gelfand jgelfand&enquirer. com Before opera star James Morris became known as one of the greatest bass-baritones of our time, he cut his teeth at Cincinnati Summer Opera at the Zoo. "They were all small roles then: An-gelotti in Tosca,' the Bonze in 'Butterfly,' Ferrando in Trovatore,' Zuniga in 'Carmen,' Lodovico in 'Otello,' " he recalls, with a deep laugh. "I remember my father came out once from Baltimore, and he had a little tape recorder in his lap to record the Trovatore' performance. On the tape, you couldn't hear anything off the stage. All you could hear were birds and animals." Morris, 62, was reminiscing in the opera offices last week before an evening rehearsal for Verdi's "Don Carlo." He stars as Philip II, King of Spain in the opera, opening tonight in Music Hall. Those early roles - plus Dr. Grenvil in "La Traviata" - were all from his first summer of 1970, Cincinnati Opera's 50th. Next summer, hell return for the company's 90th anniversary as Hans Sachs in Wagner's "Die Meistersinger." (Morris' other local tie is a daughter, Heather Morris, who lives in Fort Thomas.) One of his fondest memories was the title role in "Don Giovanni" in 1977, when "I swung on a chandelier from one side of the stage to the other. Oh wow, I felt like (swashbuckling actor) Errol Flynn," says the 6-foot 4-inch singer. Morris' last role for Cincinnati Opera was the title in Wagner's "The Flying If you go What: Verdi's "Don Carlo," Richard Buckley, conductor; Sandra Bernhard, director When: 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday Where: Music Hall Tickets: $26-$152; 513-241-2742, Dutchman" in 1996. "I enjoyed that. Except on opening night, as I was making my first entrance down the gangplank onstage, I twisted my ankle," he laughs, "I had to play the whole show basically on one foot." Now the world's reigning Wotan, ruler of the gods in Wagner's "Ring," Morris performed three complete "Ring" Cycles this season at the Met, where his impressive career has spanned 38 years. But he's always been anxious about being typecast. He flew to Cincinnati from Paris, where he just sang the role of the police chief Scarpia in Puccini's "Tosca." "For a while, if someone wanted me to do a 'Ring' Cycle, I would say OK, if you guarantee me a Mozart or a Verdi role, because I wanted to keep flexible," says Morris, who loves singing Mozart's lusty rake, Don Giovanni. Lately he is branching out to include Berg's "Lulu," which he is studying in his downtime for next season at the Met. Morris sang his first King Philip in al, 1 Morris the 1970s in Santiago, Chile. "He imposes his will strongly, but he is under the thumb of the church. He can put anybody to death at a single glance. He's a very strong figure, as he was historically," he says. Verdi wrote his grand opera, based on Friedrich Schiller's dramatic poem, in five immense acts for the Paris Oper- a. It pits church against state, fea tures an intimate love mangle and is famous for its sprawling operatic spectacle. Cincinnati Opera is mounting Verdi's four-act 1884 revision in Italian. . Morris' favorite scene is the opening of Act III, one of the greatest bass arias in all of Verdi opera. What follows is a powerhouse confrontation between Philip and the Grand Inquisitor, who encourages the king to punish his son, a Flemish sympathizer, by death. "It reminds me of what (musical comedienne) Anna Russell said about the last act of 'Siegfried': 'Anything you can sing, I can sing louder,' " Morris says. "It's kind of a battle of the titans." When it comes to roles such as King Philip and next year's Hans Sachs, age matters, says Morris, who l lives in New Jersey with his wife, -mezzo-soprano Susan Quittmeyer, and their 12-year-old twins. "I'm someone who's playing my own age. And you can't sing Sachs until you grow your own gray beard," he says, fingering his own. "It's just a question of having lived life." By Lori Kurtzman Here's the thing about opening your mouth and offering a suggestion: Every so often, someone's going to challenge you to step up and give your way a try. Learn from Nick Georgiton. The former restaurant owner will be co-chair-ing the gyro booth at this year's 35th annual Panegyri Greek Festival at Holy Trinity-St Nicho las ureeK urtnoaox cnurui m Finneytown. The guy who got out of the food business because it was "brutal," will spend the weekend amid thousands of pounds of meat and more than . ".-"" " 10U gallons oi izatzuu saui.e. nc u J be responsible for the more than 10.000 sandwiches gobbled up by some 30,000 festival goers who will not accept a mediocre Greek staple. All because he opened his mouth. "I started making suggestions when I saw things happening at food booths," said Georgiton, 45, a financial planner from the Hyde Park area. "Someone said, 'Hey why don't you do this?' " 1 H If you go When: 5-11 p.m. Friday; 3-11 p.m. Saturday; 1-8 p.m. Sunday. Where: Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 7000 Winton Road, Finneytown Cost: $2; free for children 5 and younger. NOTE: Canned goods no longer accepted for admission. Information: 513-591-003; In truth, it's proba bly a good move, putting Georgiton in charge. He knows food. His aunt and uncle ran the gyro booth decades ago, . and his family started Greek restaurant Papa Dino's in University Heights. Georgiton was helping in the kitchen before he got to kindergarten. He earned a finance degree from Miami University in 1985 but, failing to find a good job in financial services, he turned to a familiar endeavor. For nearly 15 years, he ran Zara-cos, a family restaurant in Harrison. "It's probably the most brutal business in the world - physically and mentally taxing," Georgiton said. "Now I have plenty of gray hair. I look beat up now." But those bruises will be a boon for anyone who has waited in a long line at the Panegyri festival. Georgiton's plans include doubling the number of meat-cutting machines and slicing all of it in the traditional way, from 30-pound meat cones. His goal is to have four full-time volunteers "doing nothing but slicing meat." He's expecting to cut down lines drastically. He knows some people question his plans. He knows there's pressure to do well. He knows how crucial a gyro booth is to a Greek festival. "It's a monster," festival chairman Eugene Nicholas said. "Everybody knows gyros in town." But Georgiton - who delegated the tedious stuff, like volunteering, to his co-chairwoman, Chris Maniates - knows how to make a food operation flow: anticipate problems, manage crises and forget about sleeping . "No. Absolutely not," Georgiton said about whether hell get a chance to rest this weekend. "But we're going to have fun." 4 V Enquirer file KIDS' CORNER f V s Llbby Wadds, Grade 2, Hilltop Elementary School Submit your crayon, marker or watercolor visions of Family, Pets, School, Sports and Weather to Kids' Corner, Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. Please use white 8Vi-by-ll inch paper, draw the picture horizontally and include your name, grade, school and a daytime phone number where we can reach you. COMING UP On Sunday night, adults of all ages (singles and couples) will gather at the Mayerson JCC (8485 Ridge Road, Amberley Village) for Dancin' at the J, a fun evening with food, friends and live music. The 4 Hubcaps will perform hits from the '50s, '60s and 70s in the spacious Amberley Room. Paid reservations (by phone or mail) are due to the JCC by Friday. Cost is $15, $10 for JCC members. Reservations and more information at 513-722-7226 or fHAG ADMIRES COLLEGE HILL College Hill has been named the "Best Old-House Neighborhood" in Ohio by This Old House magazine in its JulyAugust edition. Founded in 1813 and named after the Farmer's College and Ohio Female College, it features a "leafy campus character," diverse residents, many locally owned businesses and affordable old homes. The article is online at www.thisold-house.combest-places. ARTIST PAINTS WHAT SHE SEES AT HISTORIC CONDO Artist Constance McClure, a resident at the Verona at Eden Park condominiums in Walnut Hills, has painted pictures of the contractors restoring the early 20th-century building. Her collection will be on exhibit from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Verona, Suite No. 20, 2356 Park Ave. .' t ft Provided Among Constance McClure's collection is "Chris."

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