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THE "HISTORY OF CABARET" COURSE FEATURES A PERFORMANCE BY LESLIE HOLMES ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 Holmes will explore the "Origins of the French Cabaret" in a lecture/recital program

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—"Cabaret is more than entertainment. It is an outpouring of the heart and soul," says cabaret artist Leslie Holmes. "It is a look at life as it really is . . . at oppression . . . at joy . . . at pain . . . at sadness. Cabaret uncovers what is beneath the surface—it is a window on the soul and it moves us."

Anita Micossi's course, "Come Hear the Music Play: The History and Sociology of Cabaret", part of the Continuing Studies Program at Bard College, features an appearance by soprano and pianist Holmes on Thursday, September 21, at 7:00 p.m. Holmes will explore, through a ninety minute lecture/demonstration, the "Origins of the French Cabaret." This performance is free and open to the public and will be held in Room 104 of the F. W. Olin Humanities Building.

Leslie Holmes will bring the French cabaret to life, tracing its origins and development, beginning in 1881 with the opening of Le Chat Noir in Paris. Artists, writers, and political activists gathered together there to exchange ideas and share their creativity. Composer Eric Satie is considered to be one of the first cabaret performers: others include Claude Debussy, Kurt Weill, Edith Piaf, Georges Brassen, Jacques Brel, and Michel Legrand. Holmes presents their music through both her own playing and singing as well as historical recordings, placing the cabaret within the context of the history, art, and literature of the time.

Soprano and pianist Leslie Holmes is a strong proponent both of cabaret and of French art song and poetry. Her radio program is entering its eleventh year on Classical Radio Boston, WCRB. She has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Opera Company of Boston, Chorus Pro Musica, MIT Choral Society, and the Wellesley Symphony, Choral Society, and College Choir, and has presented solo recitals at the Gardner Museum, Great Woods, Boston Public Library, French Library, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Wellesley College, Northeastern University, and in Europe and Cuba. Holmes has been heard on National Public Radio's A Note to You with Roland Nadeau and Music America with Ron Della Chiesa. Holmes gave her lecture/recital "The History of Cabaret" as a workshop for the National Association of Teachers of Singing; and she has presented shows on WMBR in Cambridge on "The Origins of Cabaret," "Kurt Weill: From Berlin to Broadway," and "Lotte Lenya: A Centennial Tribute."

Registration is ongoing for the CSP course, "Come Hear the Music Play: The History and Sociology of Cabaret," which meets on Thursdays, from 6:00 to 8:20 p.m. Anita Micossi will examine the historical roots of cabaret on both sides of the Atlantic—Europe and Manhattan. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the cabarets of Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Moscow, were the place where social and political dissidents as well as the artistic avant-garde gathered. In the early twentieth century the cabarets in Manhattan began to serve a different social function—as a democratizing agent, a transitional venue to transform the closeted social world of the late nineteenth century into the jazz-besotted society of the 1920s.

Anita Micossi is a member of the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs and is a cabaret artist who has performed in New York City clubs and produced several cabaret shows. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and has taught sociology and development at San Francisco State University and California State University at Hayward.

For further information about the performance by Leslie Holmes or to register for the course, call the Continuing Studies Program at 845-758-7508.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001