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UAlbany's Fall Arts Calendar Features Faculty Authors, Alumni Exhibition, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Celebration of Literary Master

Mozart's Don Giovanni, first performed in 1787, remains one of the most popular operas in the world today. (Don Giovanni is confronted by the statue of the Commendatore in a painting by Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, ca 1830–35)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 24, 2011) -- From celebrated authors to classical opera, the University at Albany hosts a diverse array of arts events throughout the fall 2011 semester.

Alumni Exhibition
The University unveils its first Alumni Exhibition, After School Special: The 2011 Alumni Show, at the University Art Museum on October 14. The exhibition, curated by New York Times Art Critic Ken Johnson, '78, will occupy the entire museum space and will include all media: painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and works on paper. Based on a long-standing track record of success among its graduates in the visual arts field, the exhibition will highlight the individual accomplishments of working alumni artists. This exhibition is supported by a grant from the University at Albany Alumni Association.

Johnson returns to UAlbany on November 7 for a reading and book signing of his work, Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art (2011). The book explores the ways in which 1960s drug culture brought about a shift in the meaning and purpose of art. Johnson, who earned an M.A. in studio art from UAlbany in 1978, teaches art criticism at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Meet The Authors
UAlbany faculty and alumni authors, share their successful and influential published works at the university’s annual Fall Festival on Saturday, October 15th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as part of the homecoming weekend activities.  The books span a variety of genres including literature, history, politics, health care, ethics and world affairs.  The event is free and open to the public.

Opera Residency
The Department of Music has established a new arts residency on campus beginning fall 2011 led by the local opera and vocal company Mosaic-Arts. In October, the company will offer a complete performance of Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, and in February 2012 a recital of opera arias and songs by Vincenzo Bellini titled "Bravo Bellini."   Mosaic-Arts will be casting University at Albany vocal majors in some of the smaller roles in Don Giovanni, and will also involve the University Chamber Singers. In addition, the artists of Mosaic-Arts will provide stage and movement coaching and vocal master classes for UAlbany students, as well as an opportunity to discover how the production of an opera is realized from start to finish. Don Giovanni will be performed on October 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

Gonzalo Torrente Ballester teaching at UAlbany
UAlbany's first distinguished professor, Gonzalo Torrente Ballester teaches a class on the uptown campus in the late 1960s. (Photo courtesy Gonzalo Torrente Ballester Foundation Collection. Santiago de Compostela, Spain)

Tickets are $10 for the public or $5 for students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the PAC box office at (518) 442-3995.

Spain's Literary Master a Distinguished Professor at UAlbany
UAlbany celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) through a special public conference highlighting the work of renowned Spanish author and former UAlbany distinguished professor Gonzalo Torrente Ballester. The public conference, held at UAlbany where Gonzalo Torrente Ballester was a Distinguished Professor from 1966-1972, will highlight Albany's role in the development of his greatest novels, and the special ties of Spain and Galicia to New York State. The conference will be held on October 14 from 1:30-5 p.m. in the Standish Room of UAlbany's Science Library. It will be followed by a showing of two films celebrating Torrente Ballester's work at Page Hall at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Torrente Ballester (1910-1999) is one of Spain's most illustrious twentieth century writers, author of 24 novels, 7 plays, and a great variety of essays, reviews, newspaper and magazine articles, and film and broadcasting scripts.   Facing growing censorship at the hands of the Spanish government under Francisco Franco, Torrente Ballester left his homeland in the 1960s, before accepting a distinguished professorship of Spanish at UAlbany in 1966.

He donated his 1954-1964 diaries to UAlbany, so as to keep his political thoughts away from the dictatorship's scrutiny.  While in Albany he began to write his "fantastic trilogy," three novels that are widely viewed as his greatest works:  La saga/fuga de J.B. (1972), a sensation in the Spanish literary world;  Fragmentos de Apocalipsis (1977); and La isla de los jacintos cortados (1980).  In 1981, Torrente Ballester was honored with Spain's National Prize for Literature, followed by the Cervantes Prize in 1985. The Cervantes Prize is the most prestigious award given for Spanish-language literature.

Torrente Ballester's work will be on display in the M.E. Grenander Dept. of Special Collections and Archives at UAlbany's Science Library from October 14 through January 12, 2012. The exhibit will showcase documents, images and other objects related to Torrente Ballester that are being displayed for the first time.

New York State Writers Institute Hosts Prestigious Authors
As it has for more than 25 years, the New York State Writers Institute at UAlbany once again brings a diverse group of nationally renowned writers to campus, including Eliza Griswold, author of the New York Times nonfiction bestseller, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (2010), Ian Frazier, a leading American humorist, bestselling travel author and staff writer for the New Yorker, and Sylvia Nasar, who achieved international acclaim for A Beautiful Mind (1994), a biography of mathematician and game theorist John Forbes Nash. Nasar's book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer finalist, was made into a 2001 film that received four Oscars including Best Picture. All NYSWI events are free and open to the public.

On October 3, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, UAlbany Professor of English and founder of the Writers Institute William Kennedy will conduct a reading and seminar. Kennedy recently completed work on a new novel, Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes (October 2011). A tale of revolutionary intrigue, heroic journalism, crooked politicians, Albany race riots, and the improbable rise of Fidel Castro, the novel follows the epic adventures of Albany journalist Daniel Quinn and his exotic wife Renata, during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s. Kennedy received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 for the novel Ironweed, one of seven novels in what has become known as the "Albany Cycle" (1975-2002). Ironweed has since been named one of the 100 Greatest Novels by the Modern Library, the most recently published novel to appear on the list.

Annual Holiday Celebration
On December 5, the Music Department wraps up its season with an annual holiday concert at 4 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. The event features performances by UAlbany Chorale, Chamber Singers, Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, as well as student groups Serendipity and the Earth Tones. The event is $6 for the public or $3 for students, faculty, and staff.

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