Monday, July 28, 2008

Duke News: Nasher Museum's "El Greco to Velazquez" Inspires Other Cultural Events

Duke University Office of News & Communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 28, 2008

CONTACT: Wendy Hower Livingston
(919) 684-3314 (office); (919) 475-3425 (cell)


The Nasher Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibition “El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III” has inspired a celebration of the Golden Age of Spain throughout the Research Triangle region.

Cultural institutions, restaurants and tourism officials are planning ways to complement the first comprehensive exhibition of art made for this Spanish court 400 years ago. They include a new symphony piece, a new ballet, musical performances and cooking classes, among other activities.

The exhibition will be on view at the museum on the Duke University campus from Aug. 21 through Nov. 9.

The North Carolina Symphony has commissioned composer Stephen Jaffe to write a piece based on the exhibition and the music of El Greco’s time. Jaffe is the Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition at Duke and has fulfilled commissions from the National Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Fromm Foundation at Harvard University and Oregon Bach Festival. The symphony will perform Jaffe’s work in concerts in Chapel Hill and Raleigh Oct. 2-4.

“We’re excited to be a part of this tapestry of events which weaves together so many parts of our artistic community,” says North Carolina Symphony president and CEO David Chambless Worters. “Multi-faceted partnerships like this, under the Nasher Museum’s leadership, show the world how integrated the arts are into North Carolina culture.”

Robert Weiss, artistic director of Carolina Ballet, will create a new ballet, “Don Quixote,” based on the Cervantes novel of the same name, with choreography in the style of Spanish painters during the reign of Philip III.

“I see a ballet that combines the elements of these great painters with Cervantes’ wonderful story as a poetic evocation, a dreamscape and a chance to push the boundaries -– to take classical ballet in a new direction,” Weiss said.

Carolina Performing Arts will present Spaniard Jordi Savall, the world’s preeminent viola da gamba performer, and his ensemble, Barcelona-based Hesperion XXI, to complement “El Greco to Velázquez.” Savall and his ensemble are noted for scholarship in early music, especially that of 16th- and 17th-century Spain. The performance Oct. 23 at the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall will feature music inspired by Don Quixote and the Spanish Renaissance.

“It will be a colorful musical journey,” said Emil J. Kang, director of Carolina Performing Arts. “Savall conceived and meticulously researched the work to richly display the great musical treasure of the day that Cervantes preserved in his classic and enduring tale.”

Duke Performances will present “Dream Visions from the Spanish High Renaissance,” a performance by the Tallis Scholars, the acclaimed Renaissance vocal group.

The statewide public television network UNC-TV is producing a 30-minute documentary about the exhibition, with footage from Spain that will provide historical background, insights into the painting motifs and techniques of the period, and a visual introduction to the layout and scope of the exhibition. The documentary will air numerous times throughout North Carolina during the exhibition.

School groups and university professors are building curricula around “El Greco to Velazquez.” Durham County Library is planning free programs to engage readers with this period of art history. Books and other materials that complement the exhibit will be available at the library.

Local restaurants are planning tapas menus, wine tastings and cooking classes inspired by Spain, past and present. Restaurant partners include Fairview Dining Room at the Washington Duke Inn, Four Square, G-Loft, George’s Garage and Parizade in Durham; and Elaine’s on Franklin and Spice Street in Chapel Hill. A Southern Season and Weathervane Restaurant in Chapel Hill plans classes, tasting and a wine dinner, and the Wine Authorities in Durham plans two Spanish wine tasting events. Local hotels are offering special packages to out-of-town visitors: Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Durham Marriott at the Civic Center, Millennium Hotel Durham and the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center at Duke.

Among the works of two giants of Spanish art, “El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III” will introduce unknown masters of painting and sculpture. The exhibition includes 52 master paintings, including seven late works by El Greco, three early works by Velázquez and works by their contemporaries. The exhibition will be the largest-ever assemblage of international loans of Spanish art in the Southeast, includes monumental altar pieces, life-sized portraits, some of the earliest still-life paintings in Europe, full-length carved and painted wooden sculptures of Spanish saints and more than 50 pieces of period glass and ceramics. Many works are traveling to this country for the first time, some from major museums and some from the churches for which they were originally commissioned.

When “El Greco to Velázquez” opens Aug. 21, museum hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays except for two Member Monday events, on Sept. 8 and Nov. 3, when a limited number of tickets will be available to museum members at the door.

The museum’s admission price for “El Greco to Velázquez” is $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 7 to 17, $5 for students and $5 for Duke faculty, staff and students. Children 6 and under are free. Nasher Museum members receive free tickets, depending on the level of membership. Visitors may purchase an Antenna Audio guide complementing the exhibition, in English or Spanish, for $3. Visitors can purchase tickets by visiting the Nasher Museum’s information desk, visiting the Duke University Box Office, going to or calling (919) 660-1701.

For more information, go to or call 684-0700.
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Fall Events:
The Nasher Museum’s fall schedule of events includes two free admission days and two free-admission Family Day events, performing arts and music programs, a lecture series and Antenna Audio tour. All events are free and take place at the Nasher Museum unless otherwise noted. For complete listings, and the latest information, go to

-- Aug. 20, Preview Day, open to Duke students, faculty and staff and museum members only (limited free tickets available at the door only), 10 to 5 p.m.

-- Aug. 21, Opening Day, exhibition opens to the public (tickets required), valet parking available, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

-- Aug. 24, Elaine’s on Franklin, special wine dinner with local Spanish wine importer Andre Tamers, (919) 960-2770 or go to

-- Aug. 28, “Patronage and Style at the Court of Philip III,” lecture by Nasher Museum curator and exhibition organizer Sarah Schroth, reservations required, call (919) 681-2272, valet parking available, 7:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 5 and 26, Spanish Wine Tasting at Wine Authorities store, call (919) 489-2884 or go to, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

-- Sept. 8, Member Monday, limited free tickets available at the door for museum members only, noon to 7 p.m.

-- Sept. 10, Weathervane Restaurant at A Southern Season, Spanish Wine Dinner, reservations required, call (919) 929-9466.

-- Sept. 11, "Cabezón to Cabanilles: The Golden Age of Iberian Keyboard Music," concert by Robert Parkins, harpsichordist, free (tickets required), call (919) 660-1701 for tickets, 7:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 12, Free Day, limited free tickets available at the door only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- Sept. 18, “Patronage and Style at the Court of Philip III,” encore lecture by Nasher Museum curator Sarah Schroth, reservations required, call (919) 681-2272, valet parking available, 7:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 19, A Southern Season, Spanish tapas class with Sarah Schroth and Marilyn Markel, reservations required, call (877) 929-7133.

-- Sept. 21, “El Greco to Velázquez in Flowers,” at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, by international designer James L. Johnson, tickets $25 including exhibition, call (919) 684-3698 or go to, 2 to 4 p.m.

-- Sept. 23, “Art with the Experts,” discussion with exhibition curator Sarah Schroth, Durham County Library’s main branch, go to, 7 p.m.

-- Sept. 23, “El Greco to Velázquez: An Evening of Art and Wine,” at the Fairview at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Dinner features regional Spanish cuisine and fine Spanish wines. Followed by a talk from a museum docent about these works of art. Reservations required, call (919) 493-6699.

-- Sept. 25, “The Historical and Religious Context in 17th-century Spain,” conversation with contributors to the exhibition catalogue Antonio Feros and Rosemarie Mulcahy, reservations required, call (919) 681-2272, valet parking available, 7:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 27, Peter Fletcher, performance of classical Spanish and Latin music to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, at the Durham County Library’s main branch, 3:30 p.m.

-- Sept. 28, Family Day, limited free tickets available at the door only, noon to 4 p.m.

-- Oct. 1, Free Day, limited free tickets available at the door only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

-- Oct. 2, 3, 4, North Carolina Symphony: Commissioned Work by Stephen Jaffe, world premiere. Grant Llewellyn, music director; Los Angeles Guitar Quartet; Bonnie Thron, cello; Anton Jivaev, viola; program includes Rodrigo: Concierto de Andaluz, and Strauss: Don Quixote. Oct. 2, Memorial Hall, UNC Chapel Hill; Oct. 3 and 4, Meymandi Concert Hall, Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh. For tickets, go to or call (919) 733-2750; 8 p.m.

-- Oct. 6, Manning Chamber Music Series, North Carolina Symphony musicians perform El Greco-inspired chamber music, at Peace College, Raleigh, go to or call 919-733-2750, free, 7:30 p.m.

-- Oct. 9,10,11,12, “Don Quixote,” Carolina Ballet performance with all new choreography by artistic director Robert Weiss, at Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh; performances at 8 p.m. on Oct. 9, 10, 11; 2 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 12. For tickets, call (919) 719-0900 or go to

-- Oct. 10, Pub Concert Performance, North Carolina Symphony musicians perform El Greco-inspired chamber music, at G-Loft in Durham, go to or call (919) 733-2750, free, 7:30 p.m.

-- Oct. 17, “The Spanish High Renaissance,” performance by the Tallis Scholars, a choral group based in England, at Duke Memorial Chapel, presented by Duke Performances. For tickets, call (919) 684-4444 or go to, 8 p.m.

-- Oct. 18, Annual Semans Lecture: Jonathan Brown, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts at New York University and noted authority on Spanish art, reservations required, call (919) 681-2272, valet parking available, 7:30 p.m.

-- Oct. 19, “Iberian Organ Music from the Golden Age” (featuring images of paintings from the exhibition), by Robert Parkins, organist, at Duke Memorial Chapel, free, call (919) 684-2572 or go to, 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

-- Oct. 23, Carolina Performing Arts Concert: Hesperion XXI with Jordi Savall, viola da gamba and Montserrat Figueras, soprano; Barcelona-based early-music ensemble performs music and text inspired by Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,” at Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill, go to or call (919) 843-3333, 7:30 p.m.

-- Oct. 30, “Common Images and Themes in Art and Literature in the Age of Phillip III.” Conversation with contributors to the exhibition catalogue Ronni Baer and Laura Bass, reservations required, call (919) 681-2272, valet parking available, 7:30 p.m.

-- Nov. 1, Salsa Cinderella, performance by the Grey Seal Puppets, at Kirby Horton Hall, Duke Gardens, tickets $8, children 12 months and younger are free, call (919) 684-4444 or go to, 11 a.m.

-- Nov. 2, Family Day, limited free tickets available at the door only, noon-4 p.m.

-- Nov. 3, Member Monday, limited free tickets available at the door for museum members only, noon-7 p.m.

-- Nov. 6, “La Vida es Sueño,” drama by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, interpreted and directed by Alejandra Juno, presented by Duke’s Department of Romance Studies, at 209 East Duke Building, free, call (919) 660-3100, 8 p.m.

-- Nov. 7, “A Night in Golden Age Spain,” gala benefiting the Nasher Museum, go to

-- Nov. 9, Exhibition closes, last day on view, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibition Sponsors:
The exhibition is sponsored at the Nasher Museum and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, by Bank of America and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Homeland Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue are presented with the collaboration of the State Corporation for Spanish Cultural Action Abroad (SEACEX), which is supported by the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Ministry of Culture.

A list of other sponsors is available at


Source: Nasher Museum/Wendy Hower

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