Scene & Heard


Scene & Heard


Date: March 21, 2012
by: Heidi Kurpiela | A&E Editor



+ Greenfield Prize draws art stars to Sarasota
Can life get any better for Vijay Iyer?

The New York-based composer/pianist has a degree in physics and mathematics from Yale University, a Ph.D. in technology and the arts from the University of California, Berkeley, a 2010 Grammy nomination and a $30,000 prize from the Hermitage Artist Retreat, which he’ll retrieve at a dinner next month in Sarasota.
On top of fawning over Iyer, who will use the award to produce new material set to premiere during La Musica’s 2014 festival, the Hermitage’s annual Greenfield Prize Weekend will feature a talk by last year’s gifted winner, artist Sanford Biggers, as well as a panel discussion with Joe Melillo from the Brooklyn Academy of Music; designer Anne Patterson; and Robert Spano, conductor of the Atlanta Symphony and artistic director of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Both events are free.

The festivities begin Friday, March 30, in the Ringling College Auditorium and culminate Sunday, April 1, with the Greenfield Prize Dinner at Michael’s On East. Tickets to the dinner are $150. For a complete list of events, call 475-2098 or visit


+ Sarasota Opera announces its 2012-2013 season
A beloved Verdi, a rare Verdi, a Steinbeck classic, a comic strip fantasy …

Sarasota Opera announced its repertoire for next season, and it’s a mixed bag, for sure.

The season begins in October with Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” about a hunchbacked jester and his lovesick daughter, and continues into November with the world premiere of the Sarasota Youth Opera’s “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” a high-tech flight of fancy that will use special digital scenery projections to bring a little boy’s nighttime dreams to life.

The 2013 winter opera festival kicks off with Puccini’s final opera, “Turandot,” followed by Georges Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” and the world premiere of a new version of the obscure Verdi comedy, “A King for a Day.”

The opera season will close in March with a production Carlisle Floyd’s adaptation of “Of Mice and Men,” the third installment in its American Classics Series.

+ Autographed slippers inspire Diversions cover girl
This tidbit was too adorable to pass up.

During my interview this week with iconcept designer Stephanie Peters, I noticed a pair of autographed ballet slippers hanging in Peters’ daughter’s bedroom.

When I asked 14-year-old Raven Peters who had signed the pointe shoes, she replied, “a ballerina in Sarasota.”

As she said this, her mother whispered, “Her favorite ballerina in Sarasota — Kate Honea.”

Honea is a principal dancer with the Sarasota Ballet, and whether she knows it, a role model for young girls in bubble wrap tutus. 

+ SFF partners with NYU; Langella to work the red carpet
There’s been much ado this month about teen screen queens Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens and the film they shot in Sarasota. (“Spring Breakers” has moved production to St. Pete. Phew.)

However, little has been said about this exciting film industry news: The Sarasota Film Festival has partnered with the NYU Tisch School of Arts, the alma mater of … oh, just about every fabulous actor, actress, director and producer working in Hollywood.

Dubbed NYU@SFF, the partnership will serve as a platform for NYU Tisch filmmakers to showcase their work, help curate a festival and interact with the community.

The inaugural program has 12 films scheduled to screen in Sarasota, including the festival’s opening- and closing-night films (“Robot & Frank”) and (“Under African Skies”) and its centerpiece film (“Dark Horse”).

Speaking of “Robot & Frank,” the film will bring Frank Langella to Sarasota. Langella stars as an aging ex-jewel thief who bonds with his caretaker robot.

I wonder if Chic Silber, the Broadway special-effects guru I interviewed last month, knows Langella will be in town.

Silber built the bats for Langella’s 1977 production of “Dracula.” He still has the webbed critters hanging in his Sarasota home. How cool would it be to reunite the actor with his fanged friends on the red carpet?

Jazz Club of Sarasota presents Bucky Pizzarelli, Nate Najar and Graham Dechter: Pizzarelli, Najar and Dechter will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. Drummer Chuck Redd and vocalist Nicki Parrott will accompany the trio. We all know the 86-year-old Pizzarelli is a god on the jazz guitar, but keep your eye on Dechter. At 23, the Los Angeles native is the youngest guy in the group and a rising star in the jazz world. For tickets, call 366-1552 or visit



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