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Madam Butterfly, Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream the Metropolitan Opera's production of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly at noon on Saturday, April 2, at the Harris Center Cinema.

Madam Butterfly is set in the Japanese port city of Nagasaki, one of the country’s only ports open to foreign ships. Soprano Kristine Opolais stars in the title role and has her heart broken by naval officer Pinkerton, portrayed by tenor Roberto Alagna.

Mariko Schimmel, associate professor of Japanese, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m. at Harris Center.

This will be the fourth opera of the spring season in which the Met is celebrating its 10th anniversary of “Live-in-HD” movie theater transmissions.

The two upcoming spring semester operas are:

  • Gaetano Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” at noon Saturday, April 16. Set in Westminster Palace in London between 1599 and 1601, the opera follows Queen Elizabeth I as she is compelled to sign the death warrant of the nobleman she loves, Robert Devereux. Soprano Sandra Radvanovsky plays Queen Elizabeth I, and tenor Matthew Polenzani portrays Devereux. There will be no opera talk before this broadcast.  
  • Richard Strauss’s “Elektra” on Saturday, April 30. Originally set in Greece after the Trojan War, this production is modernized to an unspecified contemporary setting. Soprano Nina Stemme, a maven of Strauss and Wagner’s heroines, stars as Elektra as she works to avenge her the murder of her father, Agamemnon. Angelo Mercado, assistant professor of classics, will present the opera talk.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Opera tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Manon Lescaut, Live in HD

Grinnell College will stream the Metropolitan Opera's production of Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut at noon on Saturday, March 5, at the Harris Center Cinema.

A scene from Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Met. Jennifer Brown, associate professor of music, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m. at Harris Center.

This will be the third opera of the spring season in which the Met is celebrating its 10th anniversary of "Live-in-HD" movie theater transmissions. 

Manon Lescaut tells the story of desperate love, starring soprano Kristine Opolais as a country girl who transforms herself into a Parisian seductress, and tenor Roberto Alagna as the student who tries to win her love. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi conducts this production, which is set in Nazi-occupied France.

The three upcoming spring semester operas are:

  • Puccini's Madam Butterfly at noon Saturday, April 2. Mariko Schimmel, associate professor of Japanese, will present the opera talk at 11:30 a.m.
  • Gaetano Donizetti's Roberto Devereux at noon Saturday, April 16. There will be no opera talk before this HD broadcast.
  • Richard Strauss's Elektra at noon Saturday, April 30. Angelo Mercado, assistant professor of classics, will present the opera talk.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Opera tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Six Appeal, World-class A Cappella

Six Appeal, an award-winning, six-member young men's vocal ensemble that performs with the energy of a rock band, but without instruments, will give a free, public concert on at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, in Herrick Chapel.

The versatile vocal band from Minnesota is one of the most popular touring a cappella groups in the nation. In fact, Six Appeal achieved the title of National Champion at the 2012 National Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival in San Rafael, California.

6 Appeal members hamming it upThe six members of the ensemble — Jordan Roll, Michael Brookens, Trey Jones, Nathan Hickey, Reuben Hushagen, and Andrew Berkowitz — met at Concordia College in Minnesota. Performing together since 2006, the group became a professional ensemble in 2010. The band has released two records, including covers, original songs, and holiday music.

The Grinnell concert will span decades of music, featuring classic oldies, current chart toppers, and catchy original tunes.

Although the March 8 concert is free and open to the public, tickets are required for admission. They will be available starting March 2 in the box office in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accessible parking is available in front of the chapel. You can request accommodations through Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convocation: Hilary Mason ’00

Hilary Mason '00The Scholars' Convocation at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, will feature Hilary Mason ’00. Mason is founder and CEO of Fast Forward Labs, a data science and machine learning firm, and the data scientist in residence at Accel Partners .

Mason's lecture, which is free and open to the public, is titled "Data, Machines, and People: Data Science, Products, and Society," and will take place in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Mason received her bachelor's degree in computer science from Grinnell and went on to study computer science at the graduate level at Brown University. When asked to describe herself, she says, "I make beautiful things with data."

Fast Forward Labs is a new kind of research company that helps recognize and develop new product and business opportunities through emerging technologies helps organizations accelerate their data science and machine intelligence capabilities. Every quarter the company profiles a different near future technology, producing a report on its development and a prototype demonstrating its application.

At Accel Partners, Mason advises Accel's portfolio companies and assists with evaluating new technologies and investment opportunities.

Mason, who previously served as chief scientist at bitly, also co-hosts DataGotham, a conference for New York's data community. In addition, she co-founded HackNY, a nonprofit that helps engineering students find opportunities in New York's creative technical economy. She is a member of Brooklyn hacker collective NYC Resistor and the Anita Borg Institute Board of Directors. She also advises numerous companies, including Sparkfun Electronics and Collective.

Grinnell College welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Antonio Sanchez, Anat Cohen with The Gabriel Espinosa Latin Jazz Sextet

Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez — who composed the score for the 2014 film Birdman — and renowned clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen will join  The Gabriel Espinosa Latin Jazz Sextet for a free, public concert with at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in Sebring-Lewis Hall, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

Tickets, which are free, are required for admission. They will be available beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Bucksbaum Center Box Office.

A bassist from Merida, Mexico, Espinosa has been performing since he was 14. He received his bachelor's degree in music from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and went on to earn a diploma in arranging from Berklee College of Music in Boston and a master's degree in music from the University of North Texas. In his last year at Berklee, Espinosa formed the group Ashanti with his friend and classmate George Robert.

Espinosa returned to Central College to become director of jazz studies but continued to perform with Ashanti, recording three albums with the group.

He also recorded three more albums after Ashanti: From Yucatan to Rio as a solo artist, and Celebrando and Samba Little Samba with virtuoso jazz harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens of Germany.

Cohen and Sanchez played a few tracks as guest artists on all three of these albums. The concert at Grinnell primarily will feature music from the three albums.

In 2014 the Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center honored Espinosa with the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame award for his years of leadership in jazz music. 

Cohen has been honored as Clarinetist of the Year eight years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association. She also received the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher's Wall of Fame prize for composition and musicianship in 2009. She has toured worldwide with her quartet, headlining at jazz festivals and performing at top jazz clubs.

Sanchez, a five-time Grammy-winning drummer born in Mexico City, has been playing the drums since age 5. After moving to New York City, he became famous on the international jazz scene, playing drums on more than 100 albums and performing with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Chick Corea, Toots Thielemans and the late Michael Brecker. Sanchez  won the Sound Stars Award for Best Film Score at the 2014 Venice Film Festival for his work on Birdman.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Campaign Finance Symposium

Grinnell College will hold a Campaign Finance Symposium on Feb. 9-11 to investigate the role of money in politics and propose potential solutions from different perspectives, including campaign finance scholars, journalists, professors, lawyers, and activists.

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Grinnell College’s Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

“In the aftermath of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United case, the U.S. campaign finance system has changed rapidly with the rise of Super PACs and other new funding instruments,” said Sarah Purcell ’92, director of the Rosenfield Program. “Our symposium speakers will address the current finance system from many different points of view to help our community understand the current state of campaign finance to and debate the merits of several proposed reforms to the system.”

Key speakers will be Michael Malbin, professor, scholar and co-founder and executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C., and Michael Beckel, investigative reporter covering the influence of money on elections for the Center for Public Integrity.

Big Dollars, Small Dollars – What's Going On

Michael MalbinMalbin, a professor of political science at the State University of New York at Albany, will deliver the keynote address at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. He has co-authored several books, including his most recent works, Independent Spending in Congressional Primaries and Citizen Funding for Elections: What do we know? What are the effects? What are the options?

His talk, titled "Big Dollars, Small Dollars – What's Going On," will focus on the differences between Ronald Reagan’s campaign in the 1980s, when he raised nearly half of his presidential campaign money from hundreds of thousands of donors in amounts of $200 or less, and the 2016 cycle, when half of the money raised in the first six months of the campaign came from 158 families.

Super PACs, ‘Dark Money’ and the 2016 White House Race

Michael BeckelBeckel will deliver his lecture “Super PACs, ‘Dark Money’ and the 2016 White House Race” at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101. In addition to the symposium, this lecture is part of the Scholars’ Convocation series.

 As a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, Beckel has covered Super PACs, politically active nonprofits, and the influence of money on elections for the past four years. His reports have taken him inside oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court for the landmark decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. His work has been published in numerous media outlets, including the Des Moines Register, Huffington Post, Politico Magazine, Slate, and Time.

Other Symposium Events

Other symposium events include:

  • Barry Anderson“Judicial Elections and Campaign Finance: The Unhappy Marriage” lecture by Barry Anderson, associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.
  • Nicole Austin“Money in Politics: The Next Civil Rights Agenda” lecture by Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.
  • Buffet dinner with symposium speakers, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Katherine Verdery

Katherine VerderyLeading anthropology scholar Katherine Verdery, who studied her own surveillance file from Romania’s secret police force, will discuss the anthropology of the Romanian secret police during the first Scholars’ Convocation of the spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 28.

The free, public event, “Surveillance Techniques of the Romanian Secret Police” begins at 11 a.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Verdery is the Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In addition to CUNY, she has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan.

A past president of the American Association of Slavic Studies, Verdery is considered one of the world’s leading anthropologists of Eastern Europe and has been doing fieldwork in Romania since 1973. Her work, emphasizing themes of inequality, nationalism, and political economy, has earned seven book prizes, including the 2013 Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Book Prize.

Her research on the secret police began in 2008 when she obtained a copy of her own surveillance file from the Securitate, Romania’s secret police force. She read the files as if they were field notes of an anthropologist, seeking to reproduce the attitudes, worldview, and goals of the officers and informers who spied on her.

Verdery noted that the Romanian secret police always assumed she was a spy, not a scholar, because her research methods closely resembled their own tactics. She concluded that the methods of the police in tracking suspects and seeking dissidents often closely resembled the modern technique of social network analysis, since the police force was extremely interested in disrupting the social networks of potential dissidents and reincorporating them into the more politically acceptable sphere of Romanian life.

Verdery has published a book on her findings, Secrets and Truth: Ethnography in the Archives of Romania's Secret Police, and is working on a second, My Life as a Spy: Memoirs of a Cold War Anthropologist.

Turandot, Live in HD

Grinnell College will present a "Live-In-HD" broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Puccini's Turandot at noon Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.

Set in "legendary" China and featuring characters that wander from Italy to China, the opera satirizes Venetian politics. Nina Stemme stars as the Princess Turandot, who rejects every suitor until Marco Berti, as Calaf, steals her heart.

Soprano Randye Jones, a doctoral student in vocal literature at the University of Iowa and media room supervisor at Grinnell College's Burling Library, will give the opera talk at 11:30 a.m.

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.

Opera tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop, the Grinnell College Bookstore and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children and Met Opera members.

The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Visitor and accessible parking is available in the lot to the east of the Harris Center. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

The Yellow Ticket

Grinnell College will host a live, multi-media concert on Saturday, Nov. 21, featuring a screening of the silent film The Yellow Ticket with a klezmer score performed live by its composer, renowned violinist Alicia Svigals, and award-winning pianist Marilyn Lerner.

Klezmer, the spirited folk music introduced to America by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, is best known as the style of music performed in Fiddler on the Roof. Svigals composed The Yellow Ticket score, which is as fresh, vital, and contemporary as the music she has performed as a solo violinist and with the Grammy Award-winning ensemble known as The Klezmatics.

The event will start at 7 p.m. in Herrick Chapel. Tickets are required for this free public concert, and will be available starting Nov. 17 at Bucksbaum Center for the Arts Box Office.

The Yellow Ticket, a 1918 drama set in Poland and czarist Russia, portrays a woman’s struggle to overcome adversity in a story of secret identities, heroic measures and triumphant love.

Svigals, considered the world's premier klezmer fiddler, received first prize at the International Klezmer Festival in Safed, Israel. Her debut solo album, "Fidl (Traditional Crossroads)" is the world's first klezmer fiddle CD. Her work as a composer earned her the 2014 MacDowell Fellowship.

Lerner, a jazz pianist, has earned international acclaim in creative improvisation, klezmer and 20th century classical music. She also has composed for film, theater, radio and television. Her piece titled "Healing Hands" received the Montreal International Jazz Festival award for best composition in 1994.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations and Events.

Scholars' Convo: Cosmic Secrets

Asif SiddiqiFordham University Professor of History Asif Siddiqi will discuss the history of the Soviet space program during the free, public Scholars' Convocation at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

Much of Siddiqi's interests are focused on the history of science and technology, postcolonial science, and its intersections with popular culture. He is a recent winner of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, has held an endowed visiting chair at the Smithsonian Institution, and is a leading expert in the history of modern science and technology.

A prolific writer and speaker on Soviet history, Siddiqi serves on the National Research Council Committee on the Future of Human Spaceflight, and is a contributing editor of the journal Technology and Culture. He has written several books, including The Rockets' Red Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857–1957," Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge, and The Soviet Space Race with Apollo. His upcoming book from Oxford University Press is titled Soviet Science and the Gulag.

Siddiqi also has been quoted by numerous national media outlets about topics ranging from accidents in space to engineering disasters to the Russian Space Program. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in economics from Texas A&M University, as well as an M.B.A from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. in history from Carnegie Mellon University.

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.