Scene & Heard by Heidi Kurpiela

Scene & Heard 07.15.10

Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:00 am

by Heidi Kurpiela

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+ Ballet grad competes for international fame
Congratulations to Ashley Baszto, the 17-year-old daughter of Sarasota resident Ted and the late Maryjoy Baszto, who competed last month in the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition, in Jackson, Miss.

Sarasota audiences might remember Baszto in the role of Clara in Robert de Warren’s 2006 “Nutcracker.”
Baszto began training with the Sarasota Ballet Academy when she was 3 years old. For 10 years she performed on stage with the ballet’s professional company in an assortment of productions.

Baszto, who trains at The Rock School for Dance Education, in Philadelphia, said the competition stage in Jackson was the best stage on which she’d ever danced. She intends to return in four years to compete again.

The dancer is currently in New York City and dancing with the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center, where every summer she participates in a five-week intensive program.


+ Sarasota Opera singer goes from rags to riches
Talk about a role-reversal. Sarasota Opera recently announced that mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson — last seen donning patchwork trousers as Hansel in last season’s “Hansel and Gretel” — will play the female lead in “La Cenerentola,” or “Cinderella.”

Johnson, who also played Beppe in the 2009 production of “L’amico,” has never worn a dress on stage in Sarasota. Charming audiences as Cinderella sounds like a pretty good place to start.

Fans of Rossini’s comic fairytale opera might be surprised to hear that the production hasn’t been staged in Sarasota since 1969.

The show kicks off the company’s fall opera season Oct. 29.


+ ‘Avatar’ art opens to rave reviews at G.WIZ
In keeping with Hollywood’s recent wave of 3D animation, Sarasota artist Jeff Hazelton opened his first solo exhibit July 2, at G.WIZ The Science Museum.

Like the title of the show suggests, “Avatar to Art: 3D Work by Jeff Hazelton,” comes with requisite 3D glasses.

The work, which fills G.WIZ’s entire upstairs gallery space, features geometric patterns, microscopic anatomy and unbridled imagery pulled from sketchbooks Hazelton kept while attempting to sail around the world in the early 1990s.

The artist’s largest piece, “Disruption,” is a reaction to the BP oil spill and measures 20 feet wide by 7-and-a-half feet high.

Hazelton, who works out of his downtown studio –– the aptly titled Some Guy’s Studio at 1369 Main St. –– is also a medical animator whose work has appeared in television ads, including commercials for Symbicort, an asthma medication.

Up now through Aug. 1, “Avatar to Art,” is one trippy ride and its only known side effect is double vision.


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