Whether Russian films or music by Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Ulysses Spring Festival of the Arts is about all things Russian. The culture, art and music are expressed through a number of different venues — the combined creative efforts of many Charlotte arts organizations throughout the month of March.
The theme for the very first 2012 Ulysses Festival is the majesty of Russia and the music of Tchaikovsky. This festival celebrates the first time so many arts groups have come together thematically, as well as the local debut of significant works.
Born of a collaboration between the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (a Knight arts grantee), North Carolina Dance Theatre (a Knight arts grantee) and Opera Carolina (a Knight arts grantee), as well as regional cultural partners, Ulysses is unifying and celebrating the arts community in an unprecedented fashion.
To see the full list of events offered during Ulysses — and more details about each one, visit www.charlottecultureguide.com/ulysses.
Following are just a few highlights:
• North Carolina Dance Theatre will debut its interpretation of “Sleeping Beauty,” featuring music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, March 8 through 18 at the Knight Theater. (“Sleeping Beauty’s Educational Performance” is Thursday, March 15.)
• Opera Carolina brings to life “Eugene Onegin,” a lyric opera composed in part by Tchaikovsky, based on the novel in verse of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, March 17, 22 and 25 at Belk Theater. (Student Night at the Opera: “Eugene Onegin” is Thursday, March 15.)
• The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art (a Knight arts grantee) will present two chamber works that best exemplify the composer’s contribution to late Romantic era music as part of the “Bechtler’s Music and Museum” series, which combines visual art, music and thought-provoking discussions connecting modern music and 20th-century modern art on March 18 at 5 p.m. This event is free, but registration is required.
• Charlotte Symphony Orchestra features a variety of Tchaikovsky works in concerts on March 17, 20, 23, 30 & 31 at the Belk and Knight theaters, as well as Myers Park Baptist Church. From “KnightSounds: To Tchaikovsky with Love” on Friday, March 23 to Tchaikovsky’s “Souvenir de Florence Op. 70” performed live in the acoustically beautiful Myers Park Baptist Church sanctuary on Saturday, March 17, this is the month to catch a Charlotte Symphony performance.
• The Light Factory will screen the influential films “Battleship Potemkin” (1925), “Solaris” (1972) and “My Joy” (2010). Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin” is Sunday, March 11. Tarkovsky’s “Solaris” is Sunday, March 18 and Loznitsa’s “My Joy” is Sunday, March 25. These free events happen at 2 p.m. at the UNC Charlotte Center City Building at 320 E. Ninth St.
There is much excitement throughout the Charlotte community, as well as among the presenters of this brand new arts festival. “For years we have dreamed of an annual festival that would focus the community’s attention on Charlotte’s exceptional cultural organizations, as a way of celebrating our organizations and of enriching the experience of attending events and performances,” says James Meena, general director & principal conductor of Opera Carolina and a driving force for the festival.