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Bel Canto Chorus presents Prayers for Mankind

Oct. 11, 2012

Bel Canto Chorus will present Alexander Levine’s "Prayers for Mankind" on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM at the Basilica of St. Josaphat. Tickets are $20-$25, and are available at http://www.belcanto.org, 414-481-8801, or at the door. Senior and Student discounts available. Bel Canto Boy Choirs will also perform on this concert.

Bel Canto Chorus opens its 2012-2013 season with the live world premiere of Alexander Levine’s eloquent, unaccompanied "Prayers for Mankind," celebrating unity, humanity, wisdom, and love.

"Prayers for Mankind" celebrates the life and writings of Father Alexander Men, a Russian Orthodox Christian priest who, despite being essentially unknown outside of Russia during his lifetime, has come to be hailed as a saint and martyr by thousands around the world. Following years of religious suppression under the communist regime, Fr. Men emerged as a leading Christian and humanitarian figure in Russia through radio and TV broadcasts and his prolific written works. As well as serving in his parish, he gave more than two hundred lectures during the last year of his life. On the morning of September 9, 1990, he was struck down from behind while walking. The police hinted that the culprit was a fanatical Jew; another rumor claimed it was a fanatical Christian. As there is no evidence for either, the most common theory is that it was an act of revenge by a fanatic from the Communist Party, who was angry that Fr. Men had helped put Christianity back center stage following more than 70 years of anti-religious activity by the state. These prayers, set by Russian composer Alexander Levine, capture the beauty of humanity according to Fr. Men’s view of the world.

This season, titled “The Fine Art of Music”, Bel Canto incorporates a visual arts dimension to its performances by linking paintings, woodcuts, and sketches from The David Barnett Gallery to the musical repertoire performed at each concert. In addition, a Milwaukee artist will live paint during each concert, allowing patrons to witness a visual, as well as a musical, live performance.

The featured artwork for "Prayers for Mankind" is "Vignette Bei Einiges" by Wassily Kandinsky. A Russian painter and graphic artist, Kandinsky had a fascination with music’s emotional power. This woodcut in black and white was hand-printed in a limited edition of 300 for his 1911 "Klänge" (Sounds) series. The original will be on display courtesy of The David Barnett Gallery, and order forms for giclée reproductions will be available at the concert.

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