Religion and Music Appreciation
Cantor Paul Offenkrantz began his professional singing career on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera at the
age of nine. Over the course of five years, Paul appeared at the Met in more than twenty different productions, sharing the stage with such stars as Richard Tucker,
Robert Merrill, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo and singing under the baton of such legendary conductors as Leonard Bernstein and James Levine. As a child soloist, Paul was heard as
the offstage voice of the shepherd in Puccini’s "Tosca" and as Fyodor in Mussorgsky’s "Boris Godunov." At the age of 12, Paul was the subject of a feature
article in the Arts and Leisure section of the Sunday New York Times which led to an invitation by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine to sing the leading
role in an opera by Maurice Ravel presented by the New York City Ballet. Soon thereafter, Paul accepted the honor of participating in a memorial service for Richard Tucker at the personal request of
Tucker’s family and appeared on the popular TV game show “To Tell the Truth” as the “youngest Metropolitan Opera star.”
The Golden Age of Cantors
Chazzanuth — the instantly recognizable and unique style of synagogue chant that began in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, came to the shores of America beginning with the first waves of immigration in the late 1800s, as Jews fled from the pogroms of Russia and flourished through the 1950s. Cantors such as Gershon Sirota, Mordechai Hirshman, Berele Chagy; Leib Glanz, David Roitman and Yossele Rosenblatt (who makes an appearance in the first “talking” motion picture, "The Jazz Singer" with Al Jolson) achieved fame and popularity well beyond the Jewish community. Through rare audio and video excerpts, this class will explore both the style of the cantorial art and the remarkable vocal gifts of the great cantors.
The Great Conductors
From Arturo Toscanini to Daniel Barenboim
What makes a great conductor? Why does the same piece of music sound so different depending on who is wielding the baton? Why do some conductors jump up and down, while others barely move? How does a conductor get a group of 100+ instrumentalists to implement his vision of the music? All these questions and more will be answered in this course, which will examine the world’s most famous conductors, including Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer, Fritz Reiner, George Szell, Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein and many more.
The Great Baritones
Generously Sponsored by Gail and Bill Boyan
Following the enthusiastic response to last season’s lecture series on “The Great Tenors,” Cantor Offenkrantz continues his exploration of the greatest operatic voices of the last century. Using historical video footage and audio recordings, this course will survey the great baritones including Lawrence Tibbet, Leonard Warren, Ettore Bastianini, Tito Gobbi, and Robert Merrill — just to name a few!