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August 2, 2009updated Feb 08, 2013

Ringling International Arts Festival Details

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Left: The Baryshnikov Arts Center  Right: The John and Mable Ringling Museum of ArtNew York’s Baryshnikov Arts Center and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, are pleased to announce the programming of performances and exhibitions for the inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival. The new biennial festival will be presented at the Ringling Museum of Art on the Florida State University cultural campus in Sarasota, FL, October 7-11, 2009.

The Ringling International Arts Festival will kick-off the Florida Gulf Coast 2009-10 cultural season with nine distinct performances in music, theater, and dance, as well as two major art exhibitions. The Festival is the result of a unique partnership between the Baryshnikov Arts Center and the Ringling Museum of Art. The Festival reflects the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s commitment to presenting both emerging and established artists at the forefront of their fields, and envisions The Ringling’s exceptional facilities as a home for this new, vibrant cultural gathering place for artists and audiences alike.

A rich diversity of ideas and forms, the five-day Festival will feature artists from Australia, Canada, England, France, Israel, Scotland, Spain, and the United States, presented in the Historic Asolo Theater, Mertz Theatre, and Cook Theatre. The Festival will take place throughout the Ringling’s 66-acre waterfront cultural estate on Sarasota Bay, and will augment the core programming with outdoor performances and events, as well as lectures, workshops, and artist discussions.

“The vast potential of the Ringling Museum’s extraordinary cultural facilities will be fully realized at the inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival,” said Dr. John Wetenhall, Executive Director of the Ringling Museum. “With the Art Museum, Ca d’Zan mansion and the Circus Museums as well as three, fully-equipped theaters, the Ringling Museum of Art/FSU Center for the Performing Arts can through this festival, claim a place among the important art centers in the world.”

The Festival opens on October 7 with a one-night only concert by the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by celebrated Atlanta Symphony music director Robert Spano and featuring New York-based pianist Pedja Muzijevic, in a program of Liszt and Beethoven.

Two programs of chamber concerts showcase masterworks from Debussy, Mendelssohn and Dvořák alongside the world premiere of a work by American composer Mason Bates. The concerts will feature an ensemble of internationally renowned musicians, including pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Edward Arron, and horn player Eric Ruske.

Post-modern cabaret diva Meow Meow descends on the Festival with Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe Tour. Accompanied by pianist Lance Horne, Meow Meow embarks on a wild journey of obsessive love songs, karaoke splendor, and gorgeous cabaret ditties.

Acclaimed experimental theater company Elevator Repair Service (ERS) will present a world premiere commissioned by the Festival – a continuation of their compelling experiments in literary adaptation. Tapping sources from film to novels to television, and combining slapstick comedy, hi-tech and lo-tech design, and its own style of choreography, ERS delves into a new, multilayered narrative work.

Legendary director Peter Brook will present the U.S. premiere of his new production Love is my sin. Bringing Shakespeare’s sonnets to life, Love is my sin reveals Shakespeare’s intimate diaries: a key to his passions and jealousies, and his private questions about time, aging, and death. Love is my sin features long-time collaborators Bruce Myers and Natasha Parry.

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Following highly praised performances of her debut play at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ella Hickson brings this award-winning work, Eight, to the Festival. Eight delivers a rich portrait of modern Britain through a collection of incisive monologues from characters ranging from a single working mother to a young Iraq war veteran.

One of Spain’s leading flamenco virtuosos, María Pagés will present her latest work Flamenco y Poesía. Performed by her company of nine dancers and musicians, Flamenco y Poesía translates the cadences of poetry into dance, revealing a shared language between the words of José Saramago and Federico Garcia de Lorca and the rhythms of the human body.

Choreographer Deganit Shemy has captured attention in her native Israel and also in New York, where she founded Deganit Shemy & Company in 2005. Shemy brings her new work Arena, which plays with space and calculated time, creating an emotionally-charged world that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. The evening-length version of Arena is a festival commission and world premiere.

Aszure Barton & Artists and OtherShore share a program of contemporary dance. Drawing from classical ballet and contemporary dance vocabularies, Aszure Barton (Resident Choreographer of Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal) plumbs the human psyche to craft a new commissioned work that explores the visual architecture of movement, color and sound. OtherShore will present The Snow Falls in the Winter. Created by Annie-B Parson and co-directed by Paul Lazar of Big Dance Theater, this dance-theater piece borrows from Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson and explores notions of training and teaching.

The Ringling Museum will present two exhibitions in its newly renovated galleries that encourage fresh understandings of art across time: Louise Fishman Among the Old Masters juxtaposes this contemporary artist’s monumental, abstract paintings with those in the museum’s permanent Old Master collection, highlighting unexpected connections via color and the textured application of paint; and Venice in the Age of Canaletto explores the tension between Canaletto’s austere cityscapes and the exuberant fantasies and dramas his contemporaries. With approximately 40 loans from across the United States, the exhibition sheds light upon the context in which Canaletto evolved.
“The Baryshnikov Arts Center is thrilled and honored to be a part of this collaborative artistic enterprise,” said Stanford Makishi, Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Executive Director. “The potential impact of the Ringling Festival on the artists themselves, on arts lovers, and on the city of Sarasota is immeasurable, and the festival could not come at a better time, when the world needs great art more than ever. What excites us most of all, of course, is the opportunity to experience firsthand the extraordinary concentration of talent from four continents that the festival represents. We are extremely grateful to all those who made our participation possible, and to the artists who will convene for those five magical days in October.”

For its inaugural season, the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Ringling International Arts Festival are pleased to commission the work of four Festival artists: composer Mason Bates, choreographers Aszure Barton and Deganit Shemy, and theater company Elevator Repair Service.

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