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Nathan Gunn Stars in The Merry Widow at the Met
Nathan Gunn—an opera luminary and the general director of Lyric Theatre @ Illinois—ended 2014 by performing on New Year’s Eve with Renée Fleming for the opening night of The Merry Widow at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. This new production directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, a five-time Tony Award winner, features an English translation by Jeremy Sams, dynamic dancing, and stunning costumes by William Ivey Long. Gunn plays the dashing Count Danilo, who is recruited to woo Fleming’s Hanna so that the money she inherited from her wealthy husband will remain in her home country. Thanks to his “suave presence and solid voice,” Gunn was pronounced “debonair” by the New York Times. Sharing the stage was Kelli O’Hara in her Metropolitan Opera debut as Valencienne. A Broadway regular and multiple Tony Award nominee, O’Hara headlined Carousel with Gunn in a 2013 concert version of the musical with the New York Philharmonic. The Merry Widow will be simulcast through the Met’s Live in HD series this season and runs through January 31.
School of Architecture Joins Design and Health Research Consortium
The American Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Architects Foundation, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture have established the Design and Health Research Consortium to explore the effects of design on health. Robert Ivy, the chief executive officer of the American Institute of Architects, calls the scholars in this group of 11 architecture and public health schools “some of the nation’s leading thinkers about the growing connection between design and public health.” Illinois researchers will examine physiological responses to determine how elements of homes and neighborhoods can return people to a healthy state after being in stressful situations. Their goal is to develop design tools that will assist in devising houses and communities that will improve well-being. The School of Architecture team and other consortium members will collaborate over a three-year period on diverse topics connecting design with health.
Cynthia Oliver Lauded in the New Yorker for Her “Shattering” Dance
Accolades for Cynthia Oliver’s duet BOOM! have been pouring in, and a spot-on review by Andrew Boynton in the New Yorker joins them. Calling the work performed at New York Live Arts with Dance at Illinois alumna Leslie Cuyjet “riveting” and its elements “pitched perfectly,” he singles out its humor, the expertise of the performers, and the at once woman-centered and universal themes of the dance for praise. Oliver is currently a professor with Dance at Illinois and was named a University Scholar in 2011.
Urban and Regional Planning Named Number Three Graduate Program in the Country
The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs ranked Illinois third in the nation in its newly released fourth edition. The department moved up from its fifth-place spot in the 2012 publication. Planetizen is the most highly regarded web resource for planning professionals, and the extensive guide is the only one of its kind.
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