You May mark your calendar, starting with tonight

You May mark your calendar, starting with tonight

Nathan and Julie Gunn have performed together at Carnegie Hall.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?


Or you could just go to the Krannert Center tonight.

So this pick for May is an easy one. The remarkable duo performs with good friends mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and violinist Stefan Milenkovich at 7:30 p.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall.

Leonard is opera's "It Girl." Elsewhere this month, she is doing Doraballa in "Cosi fan tutte" at the Metropolitan Opera.

Milenkovich has been a professor at Juilliard and is now at the University of Illinois. He started playing the violin at 3, and by age 10 was performing at the White House. He is also known for his humanitarian work.

Last week, Nathan and Julie Gunn met up in her studio to run through tonight's concert. She played piano and sang her parts and Leonard's.

Dressed in blue jeans, Nathan strolled around the room, his voice filling it up to the high ceiling.

They talked and made adjustments, often about tempo, and spoke in bursts, starting to finish each other's sentences.

In Hugo Wolf's "Verschwiegene Liebe," Julie Gunn said, "It's coming off a little slowly." Later in the song, her husband said, more to himself than anyone else, "I don't like that."

Nathan said tonight's show is about gypsy music — among the hits, Bizet's "Carmen" — or about artists as minstrels, friends traveling together to make music.

He sang the bullfighter Escamillo's "Toreador" aria with relish.

"It's supposed to be funny," he said of the torero's conquests, both in the bullring and bedroom.

Singers need to be versatile as they cross linguistic boundaries, more so than other musicians, Nathan Gunn said.

"When I'm singing in Spanish, I'm suddenly Spanish," Julie added.

There's also the modern, including Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" and Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd."

"Johanna," which Nathan sang at the composer's 80th birthday at Avery Fisher Hall, brings back memories.

"I talked to (Sondheim) at the celebration, and my daughter Madelyn had just done 'Sweeney Todd,' so she really enjoyed it," he said.

In his wife's studio, he moved on to Mr. Wolf in "Into The Woods." With a comic bravado, he sings to Red Riding Hood:

There's no possible way

To describe what you feel

When you're talking to your meal.

"Sondheim's rhymes, his repetition of words, and the use of the same words with a reverse meaning, it's delightful," he said, "and challenging."

Also in May, where the calendar gets pretty thin toward the end of the month:

May 3-4

"The Sleeping Beauty"

Champaign Urbana Ballet presents "The Sleeping Beauty" (above) with magnificent dancing and costumes, the story of Princess Aurora, "felled by a curse, saved by a fairy, awakened by true love's kiss," as CU Ballet describes it.

The ballet is at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m.

Sunday at The Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., C.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $19 for seniors, $12 for student/youth.

"The Sleeping Beauty" is Tchaikovsky's grand ballet, known for its scale and opulence.

The princess is felled by a needle prick, and hundreds of needles were also used by volunteer costumers to give the production an 18th-century impressive look.

The ballet's artistic director, Deanna Doty, and ballet mistress, Tobey Martinez, have cast 140 roles, so you'll probably know someone in the production.

May 3-4

"Les Miserables"

Looking for some light opera about heavy misery?

Danville Musical Theatre and DACC Theater Company presents "Les Miserables" at Danville High School, Dick Van Dyke Auditorium, 202 E. Fairchild St.

Set during the French Revolution, this grand epic tale spans 20 years, telling the story of Jean Valjean's life. Upon his release from a long and unjust imprisonment for a minor crime, Valjean finds life on an ex-convict's ticket-of-leave rife with mistrust and continual mistreatment, a press release notes.

Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

For more information or to order tickets online, visit

May 17

Building Fair

The Orpheum's 22nd annual Building Fair (left) gives children an entertaining, educational introduction to the building trades and coincides with Historic Preservation Week. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 346 N. Neil St., C.

More information is at

May 20-23

Art showing

Indi Go Artist Co-op presents the art of Christopher Troutman, "Dividing Time."

The opening reception is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and the gallery is open 6 to 8 p.m. at 9 E. University Ave., C.

The artist earned his fine arts degree at Bradley University in 2003. He then moved to Japan, where he and his wife opened a conversational English School in Kagoshima City. Troutman has taught studio courses in drawing and painting at Eastern Kentucky University, Vincennes University and Eastern Illinois University.

To illustrate the passage of time, Troutman also uses multi-part drawings and juxtaposes aspects of the places he has lived in the past decade.

More information is at

Topics (3):Art, Music, Theater