Entertaining PBS Arts Festival begins, with local programming from KUED

By Blair Howell

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, June 23 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

The celebrated soloist Joyce DiDonato has a clear, bright, stunningly beautiful mezzo-soprano like few others, and after her triumphant appearance with PlÁcido Domingo at the Metropolitan Opera, her skills to interpret operatic roles are unparalleled. DiDonato returns to her hometown for a performance at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in this performance-documentary with the Grammy-winning symphony.

KUED’s segment features the Utah Youth Symphony Orchestra, whose conductor, Barbara Scowcroft, has mentored young musicians for 20 years. “For me it's a personal, reverent and spiritual responsibility," Scowcroft told the Desert News.

“Havana, Havana!” July 27

This music documentary features expat musicians who return to their Cuban city hometown. Raul Paz, who has a unique approach to music that ranges from salsa to jazz and electro pop, assembles Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa and David Torrens for a concert of guajira, or Cuban country music. The film captures the poignancy of their homecoming and the triumph of their concert in Havana — and it provides entertaining viewing of this spirited music.

The Utah-produced section interviews Utah radio station KRCL's Chiedu Megwalu, host of “Global Village,” a weekly program of music from around the world.

“The Barnes Collection,” Aug. 3

In an attempt of redemption following the popular “The Art of the Steel” documentary — which concludes that Philadelphia elitists literally ripped the massive art collection from the independent collector’s grave — “The Barnes Collection” showcases Albert Barnes' purchases of 69 CÉzannes, more than in all the museums in Paris, 60 Matisses, 44 Picassos and 181 Renoirs that are now housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Good paintings are more satisfying companions than the best of books, and infinitely more so than very nice people,” as the show quotes a letter from Barnes. Without addressing the hard-fought move of post-Impressionist and early Modernist works from Barnes’ own museum, the PBS program reviews the period before Barnes created his foundation in1922, as he began to amass his collection. It’s fascinating viewing, but “The Art of the Steel” remains an essential primer, which reviews broken contracts, challenged wills and the dismantling of Barnes’ legacy.

The KUED segment covers collectors who have donated works to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

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