SUMMERMUSIK 2018

 

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Take 32 excellent musicians already accustomed to playing together under the banner of Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Add to the mix a superb conductor whom they like and the audience likes and who likes and respects both musicians and audience.

Assemble a top notch staff willing to work extra long hours during the weeks leading up to the 4-week long event that they labor for year-round.

Assemble a dedicated board of directors that support all that goes into turning a dream into reality.

Line up some up and coming soloists.

Find the right venues.

Create over a period of a few years a base of support and a loyal following.

Concentrate all performances into a period of roughly 4 weeks at a time when nothing much else is going on in Cincinnati.

Give it a catchy name.

Create sharp marketing with a casual vibe.

Do all of that and you have Summermusik, the five year old, ever-young festival that music lovers look forward to every year.

To give you just a random idea, this year’s offerings include British music on opening night with young cellist Coleman Iztkoff playing Elgar’s Cello Concerto, and the orchestra playing Haydn’s London Symphony. Later the lineup of soloists includes pianist Christopher O’Riley taking on Shostakovich Piano Concerto no. 1 and violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn tackling music by Tan Dun and John Corigliano. There’s Vivaldi’s The Seasons and there’s much cross-over stuff in the weeknight pub crawls.

The line-up of four Saturday night concerts, each followed the next day by an informal afternoon chamber concert, all interspersed with weeknights pub crawls with music that blurs the dividing lines between classical and jazz, is all of it lovingly tended to by Eckart Preu (pronounce that Proy and you’ll be pretty close to the right German pronunciation). He is a youthful forty-something, personable, tall and ruggedly handsome, German born and trained. But, what is more important than age and looks and personality and birthplace and training is that Preu is simply a very fine conductor.

Check him out on his website: http://www.orchestraconductor.org

The rank and file of the orchestra loved him when he was here for the first time to conduct the final concert of the CCO’s 2016 season. The audience loved him too. Musically speaking he scored with everyone, including me. Here’s what I wrote after his concert that September:

“Eckart Preu is an immensely talented conductor, one capable of moving with ease from the cutting edge sounds of del Águila and Bjarnason to the Americana of Aaron Copland and then on to the Gallic Romanticism of Saint-Saëns and, finally, impress with an exquisite Mozart performance. This concert concludes the 2016 season by reminding us of how fortunate it is for us to have not one but two great orchestras in our town. But, beyond that, of the two, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra has been reborn into a very fine ensemble, and that is more than cause for celebration. What lies ahead now is the choice of Music Director for this worthy member organization of the music scene in Cincinnati, one who will lead it into the next chapter of its musical life. After hearing tonight’s performance I know who my choice would be.”

Rafael de Acha

Go to http://www.ccocincinnati.org for tickets and details.

OPERA (not your grandfather’s…)

 

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Cincinnati offers a moveable feast of music during the summer months, especially Classical music, but Classical with equal doses of contemporary sensibilities.

So far this year the Cincinnati Opera delivered a top notch production of Traviata and then followed it with a well-sung Flying Dutchman. Just weeks before those, the scrappy Queen City Opera brought a thoughtfully cast Iolanta to its namesake, with a splendidly cast group of young singers that rose up to the challenge of singing Tchaikovsky’s music in Russian.

Now, just around the corner, the Cincinnati Opera will have the Pink Floyd-inspired Another Brick in the Wall (https://youtu.be/rOtpn8EPob4) on the stage of Music Hall, and will follow that with a new work based on the life experiences of film maker Kimberly Reed, Laura Kaminsky‘s one-act opera As One (https://youtu.be/aIu5GNPL5MM). Learn more at http://www.cincinnatiopera.org.

It will staged in a newly refurbished and intimate space in the same building.

Still more Opera..? Yes, but not your grandfather’…

Instead, a brainchild of CSO clarinetist Ixi Chen, concert:nova (all in lower case but with lofty goals) steps up to the operatic plate with The Bradbury Tattoos: A Rock Opera, an operatic collaboration with fusion composer Zac Greenberg, librettist and playwright Michael Burnham, and tattoo artist Steven Mast, made from tales in Ray Bradbury’s book The Illustrated Man.

For tickets and further information go to concertnova.com

On the heels of that, soprano and CCM voice professor Amy Johnson momentarily changes hats, producing hand-in-hand with Maestro Mark Gibson  Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Johnson’s husband, baritone Vernon Hartman will tread the boards in that show in the central role of the old codger who becomes infatuated with a beauty one fourth his age.

One performance  on Sunday July 29 at 4 pm, in the Cohen space at CCM

As the other principals and chorus, a group of some fifty young hopefuls will appear in the Donizetti, after holding their own in an Offenbach double bill on Friday, July 27 at 7 pm. All of that is part of a month- long Opera Boot Camp (https://youtu.be/0DwmRlBwzXE), run by the Johnson-Gibson team at CCM.

Word to the wise: FREE ADMISSION. OPEN SEATING. Also in the Cohen space at CCM.

For further information:
Queen City Opera – queencityopera.org
Cincinnati Opera – http://www.cincinnatiopera.org
concert:nova – concertnova.com
Opera Boot Camp – Phone: 513-556-5662 Email: ccmsummer@uc.edu

IMPROVING WAGNER

 

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IMPROVING WAGANER OR HOW TO SCUTTLE A WAGNER OPERA WITH A SHIP IN IT (photographs from various European productions)

I just attended a performance of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, an early work that predates most of the rest of his output, except for Das Liebesverbot (a travesty of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure), the very good Rienzi, and the early youthful effort Die Feen, and I gave the Cincinnati Opera’s first replay of this Wagnerian opera in nearly two decades a polite review.

It was not a pan and it was not a rave. I saluted the orchestra, conductor, chorus and cast, and I politely ignored what I thought was a sorely misconceived production, yet another example of Regietheater in which the hopefully well-intentioned director attempts to “improve ” on Wagner at the risk of making a mess of things.

During the overture – one of the finest in the Wagnerian canon – there was an unrelenting projection that, I suspect, wanted to remind us that this was an opera about the ocean and its fury, among other things. But what I could not avoid watching was a series of scratches and lines and water drops, mostly in black and grey and red, on and on for the entire length of the overture.

Then the curtain rose to reveal a unit set that was meant to morph as needed by the director and designer into Daland’s ship, the Dutchman’s ship, and Senta’s workplace, to name but three of the locations specified by Wagner. Then there was the relocating of the story into what presumably was a mid- 20th century setting. And that’s where the troubles really began to pile up.

Wagner specifies in his very detailed, very specific markings: “… a seashore encircled by cliffs…the sea occupying most of the stage area…bad weather…an impending hurricane…Daland’s ship lowers the anchor near the shore…the sailors are busy trying to trim the sails… using the ropes to secure the vessel… Daland goes ashore…ascends a promontory…surveys the landscape and recognizes it as a familiar one…”

That is what Wagner envisioned and consistently achieved with 19th century theater technology. That is not what we saw on stage in the Cincinnati production, notwithstanding the hard-working chorus and principals.

After intermission we now were in what looked like Daland’s Dry Cleaning Services, where a couple of sewing machines were placed on stage to give us fair warning that there would be no Spinning Chorus. Instead we had the Sheet Chorus, in which the ladies of the chorus dutifully followed the director’s instructions to just fool around with the sheets with no apparent purpose. There was no folding, no repair work, nothing, just a number of identically-dressed sopranos and altos playing with the sheets up and down, up and down… Endlessly…

Unit sets can work wonders when put to use with skill and imagination. The Greeks were using unit sets in their tragedies two millennia ago, and they could still pull off deus ex machina feats. Lope and Cervantes worked with unit sets, Moliere did as well. And in recent times some highly skilled directors and designers have proven that imagination can fill in a great deal of detail within the limitations of a unit set, proving that often in theatre, less is more

But the set in last night’s Dutchman did nothing to propel the story forward or clarify it. A smart friend who goes to the theater all the time asked me at intermission a couple of questions that clearly evidenced that she was loving the music, but had no clue as to the what or where or when or why of what was happening on stage. And that confusion is the result of wrongheaded staging.

Fortunately the principals were savvy pros who knew their way around any stage. The Dutchman, who deserves the bone-chilling entrance he could have had down a staircase prominently situated upstage center, instead made his first appearance through a stage-right door part of the lip of the proscenium, usually used for musicians to enter the stage in a concert. It robbed that moment of badly-needed dramatic punch. The red raincoat that the singer sported was at the nadir of the production’s costume design.

In the final moments of the opera, the excellent soprano performing Senta was instructed to climb a long, two-story-high metal ladder, wearing medium heel shoes and a crinoline skirt, to then perch herself on a window sill, sing her final note, and promptly fall backwards onto a pile of mattresses meant to be out of sight, thus giving the impression that she had fallen from a height to certain death.

But, sad to tell, our last glimpse of her was one of her right foot sticking out in plain sight. What followed then was the return on stage of a mannequin dressed in identical clothing to Senta’s that was strategically surrounded by the chorus. Up above the stage, in silhouette, the ghosts of the Dutchman and Senta approached each other and struck a “The End” pose as the curtain came down, while many in the audience made a bee line for the parking lot.

Among American audiences, some do not welcome modern-dress productions of operas with which they are familiar. I am among those recalcitrant folks.  The multimillion Ring at the MET has been widely loathed by both singers who have had to deal with its now-on, now-off hydraulics and the Wagnerites who would happily see a return of the wonderful Otto Schenk production. A recent Tosca at the MET, courtesy of director Luc Bondy was universally booed by audience and critics alike and replaced by a better one, in which the Santa Maria della Valle church in Act I looks like the one Puccini specified, and the very one that many of us have wanted to see again on stage since the days of Franco Zeffirelli.

Composers who were savvy men of the theatre were always very clear as to how they wanted their operas staged. Verdi fought long and hard to have his Traviata set in the mid-century Paris of Dumas, and when he finally was able to control everything from casting to set design to stage direction he stood firm. Puccini was unbending about staging details. Wagner, likewise, became his own regisseur and producer.

It would be unthinkable to modify the orchestration that a composer specifies for his score or to tweak the melody or harmony of the composition. So why then take liberties with something as intrinsic to Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk or Verdi’s or Puccini’s works as the settings of their operas?

When an intelligent director comes along and injects new life into tired old warhorses, it is a cause for celebration, if and when he or she respects the intention of the composer and resists superimposing his or her ego on masterworks that have been alive and well for many years.

Here’s hoping.

The Flying Dutchman in Cincinnati

FLYING DUTCHMANWith the 1843 premiere of The Flying Dutchman Wagner vowed to take a new path. Just the same as with the errant mariner who must navigate the seas for all eternity until he finds the true love of a woman, Wagner was embarking on a voyage from which he could never return.

Wagner and Cossima were flat broke and on their way to possible greener pastures in London and Paris, but in neither city were the members of the musical establishment willing to embrace the short and sullen German who, with his Frau in tow, was there to shop his somber metaphysical tale of woe and redemption in one long act.

So, it was back to the drawing board: turn the opera into a three-act one, throw in a couple of rousing choral numbers, add a jolly sailor’s hornpipe, and plug in a little levity to alleviate the pitch-dark plot and then see what happens. What happened, of course, is the stuff of musical history: The Dutchman established Wagner as someone to take notice of and listen to, Tanhäusser and Lohengrin then followed in succession, Wagner and King Ludwig of Bavaria found each other, the mad sovereign built him the Bayreuth theatre, and the Wagner’s were finally financially set for life.

Wagner vowed to take a new path. Just like the errant mariner who must navigate the seas for all eternity until he finds the true love of a woman, Wagner was embarking on a voyage from which he could never return.

At the ship’s wheel in Cincinnati welcome Christof Perick who elicits a fantastic performance from the Cincinnati Opera orchestra, chorus and cast.

In the central title role, Canadian bass-baritone Nathan Berg is a menacing, towering, haunted presence, undertaking a role that has been inhabited by a long list of greats, a list to which his name must now be added. With an inky voice that comfortably surmounts the role’s unreasonable vocal demands, Berg spins out a seamless line in the duet with Senta not long after raising the rafters in his opening Die Frist ist um.

Marcy Stonikas is a statuesque Senta, whom she portrays as a lonely, slightly neurotic girl in her early twenties who has never known anything other than life at home in a village by the sea. Her voice has equal parts of silk and steel, and she holds her own through the three-hour long performance

The other principals are flawlessly cast and deliver deeply committed performances in their various roles. Jay Hunter Morris is an earnest Erik, compelling in his jealous scene with Senta. Basso Arthur Woodley is a lyrical, fatherly and charming Daland, wonderful in his aria Mögst du, mein Kind, den fremden Mann wilkommen heissen. The fast-rising young tenor Frederick Ballentine is a sonorous Steersman. Veteran mezzo Elizabeth Bishop is a fine Mary.

Purists and traditionalists will no doubt find much to complain about in this updated take on Wagner’s 19th century Gothic tale. I, for one, found the physical production more of an obstruction, including the overuse of abstract projected imagery. On the other hand, neophytes brought to sit through their first Wagner ever will be thrilled by the show, which comes with all manner of theatrical bells and whistles, state-of-the-art projections by S. Katy Tucker and moody lighting by Thomas C. Hase.

The Flying Dutchman has sailed into Cincinnati for the first time in nearly twenty years in Tomer Zvulun’s modern dress co-production with The Atlanta Opera and Houston Grand Opera. The not so good news is that the phantom vessel was at docked at Music Hall for only a couple of performances. Anyone who loves world-class opera should at all costs catch the next operatic vessel at anchor here before that next ship sets sail from Cincinnati again. That would be Another Brick on the Wall, which opens July 20th.

Rafael de Acha

 

YALIL GUERRA: A CUBAN ICONOCLAST

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Amazing how connections happen on Facebook! Thanks to a post by another Facebook friend I came upon the name of Yalil Guerra, a Cuban-born composer now residing in California. Aside from the serendipity of making friends with this fellow Cuban musician, there’s the added reward of his music being a most interesting discovery.

This all began when another Facebook friend sent a clip of a piano trio playing a heartfelt ‘La Bella Cubana’, a 19th century Cuban song by José White in an exquisite arrangement by Guerra. Several Facebook and email messages followed in both directions, after which I sat down to listen to Yalil Guerra’s String Quartet No. 3, “In Memoriam Ludwig van Beethoven” (https://youtu.be/R9AfDfAIBck)

Yalil Guerra has the talent to straddle comfortably two musical worlds. His String Quartet No. 3 has its musical roots in 20th century atonality. It is an elegantly constructed composition that provides its players with a full workout and that clearly belongs in the realm of contemporary art music. Contemporary and filled with intricacy and the asperities that occupy stage center in the world of post Schoenberg musical composition, yet eminently accessible.

And then there’s the ‘other’ Yalil Guerra. Having grown up in a musical show biz family in his native Cuba he toured with Mon and Dad and Sister Yamila, then traversed the journey of a serious musician, with conservatory training in Havana, then Spain, then UCLA. He then branches out and rather than waiting for the next gig to come his way he creates his own recording studio and production company: RYCY Productions Inc., where he then goes on to record his own music and that of others.

Here is two highlights from his score for the documentary film A WEEKEND IN HAVANA with some red hot music from his pen: https://youtu.be/5MgjVlF-MH0 https://youtu.be/kfC5-M3g6Og

Turn that sizzling page to another Havana inspired piece: OLD HAVANA: https://youtu.be/EDiJqURDWeA and you will hear yet another facet of his musical prism: the deeply melancholy sound of another one of us islanders who can’t quite get homesickness out of his heart.

I am happy to have found Yalil Guerra, the friend and over the Havana moon to have discovered his quintessentially Cuban music.

Rafael de Acha

Tristan und Isolde und Bernstein

During a period of eleven months in 1981 Leonard Bernstein set aside time from his ever busy schedule to travel to Munich to work on a project near and dear to his heart. It took several rehearsals prior to each of the three public performances – one per act – to make this set (C Major A05005284) of three DVD’s of Richard Wagner’s music drama Tristan und Isolde with the Bavarian Radio Symphony. That happened in the very same city where 106 years earlier the story about the two lovers united in love after death was first given.

In the liner notes to this release Bernstein is quoted saying ”…this is the finest thing I’ve ever done.” I, for one, am inclined to believe him. Standing both physically in Munich’s Herkulessaal and symbolically at the very center of this recording, the 63 year old maestro gives a performance for the ages. It is the good fortune of all lovers of great music that Unitel and CMajor have joined forces to release in June of this year a 38-year old treasure. It comes in an impeccably engineered DVD set that delivers impressive sound and superb images.

With Wagnerian music dramas one must first and foremost single out the orchestra, here the superb Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein’s favorite European ensemble. The orchestra, at one with Bernstein’s idea of how the score should be played is on view here engaged, ever attentive, always ready to give its conductor their very best. The strings produce when needed a massive sound that easily is scaled down to subtle dynamics in order for the voices to predominate. Equally effective the orchestra’s brass section is just maybe now and then the finest of any orchestra in Europe. The woodwinds could not be better, with the cor anglais player shining in several instances and most movingly in act III.

The luxury cast of this recording astonishes, starting with the 37 year old Czech tenor Peter Hoffman – vocally and physically ideal for one of the most demanding roles in the Wagnerian canon. In each of the three separate performances, each recorded as a staged concert in front of a live audience, Hoffman conquers the perils of the role. He sings with romantic sweep the love duet in act II and surmounts the rigors of the mad scene and subsequent death scene of act III. Both these are mine fields where many tenors come to grief and others barely survive to tell. Hoffman sails victorious through these turbulent waters.

Each act is long, running in the vicinity of an hour and a half, and each demands extraordinary endurance from its lead soprano. In the role of the Irish princess, the late Hildegarde Behrens reminds one that in her prime she was the legitimate heiress to the Wagnerian Hochdramatische soprano repertory once dominated by the legendary Birgit Nilsson. The extraordinary Behrens husbands her resources at every turn, singing with seamless legato and mezzo-piano dynamics in the tricky middle voice range in which Wagner sets much of Isolde’s music. When she opens up for the big outbursts, such as the Act I curse, she does so without applying the pedal to the metal approach of many other singers of this role.

The rest of the cast is magnificent. Yvonne Minton’s regales the recording with a gorgeously sung and honestly acted Brangaene. The vocally rock-solid Bernd Weikl portrays a nobly acted Kurwenal. The sonorous and imposing Hans Sotin as King Marke is heartbreaking in his remonstration to Tristan in act II. Raimund Grumbach provides a lovely lyric sound for the role of the Steersman. The great character tenor Heinz Zednick makes his mark in the role of the Shepherd in act III. Thomas Moser as a Young Sailor and Heribert Steinbach as Melot perfectly fulfill their short yet important assignments.

The release of this important historical recording is cause to celebrate as we already celebrate the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth.

Rafael de Acha

OPERA BOOTCAMP

 

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So…what happens if you are an underage Opera hopeful and it is summer and there’s nothing happening on this side of the ocean and school is out for the summer and your voice teacher or your conducting coach is out of town? Or……….what if you are just an Opera fan and you need an additional shot of Mozart or Donizetti or Offenbach or Milhaud? For free!

Then CCM Opera Bootcamp is just what you need. For further information on enrollment stay tuned for further announcements ON THIS BLOG.

An intense and dynamic program led by Mark Gibson and Amy Johnson designed to develop career skills for conductors, singers and aspiring opera coaches. During the three-week program, students will mount a fully staged production of Don Pasquale, with Metropolitan Opera veteran and faculty mentor Vernon Hartman in the title role, as well as fully-staged with orchestra double bill of Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot and Offenbach’s L’lle de Tulipatan, plus one program of fully-staged with orchestra scenes & arias, all with orchestra, all in original languages. All in three weeks!
Performance Schedule:
7:00 p.m. Thursday, July 26
MOZART SCENES AND ARIAS at the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Free and open to the public
7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 28
Darius Milhaud’s Le pauvre Matelot and Jacques Offenbach’s L’Ile de Tulipatan at the Cohen Family Studio Theater. Free and open to the public.
4 p.m. Sunday, July 29
Gaettano Donizetti’s DON PASQUALE in Corbett Auditorium. Free and open to the public

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The Maiden from Guatemala

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A family member sent me this little poem by our Cuban national poet and patriot José Martí. I had not heard or read these words in more than fifty years, but still they did not fail to move me and bring back many memories of Cuban poet and patriot José Martí and one of his most famous poems: The Maiden from Guatemala

This is a sort of homage and elegy to young María García Granados, daughter of Guatemalan president Miguel García Granados who fell in love with Martí while he was a professor at the school that she attended. The schoolgirl’s crush was unrequited, however, and Martí went away to México, to be with Carmen Zayas Bazán, a woman closer to him in age, whom he later married.

On May 10, 1878 Martí returned to Guatemala to attend the funeral of his friend’s daughter, who had died mysteriously. Her well known and unrequited love for Martí branded her as “the one who died of grief, brokenhearted.”

Following her death, Martí returned to Cuba where he later respectfully penned this poem, which I now offer in my own English translation.

Upon a wing I will let
A story of one who departed
Be told. One of a maiden I met.
She died of grief, brokenhearted

There were lilies in her casket,
There was jasmine still in bloom
Close by in a small basket,
On that dreaded day of gloom.

She gave him a gift to carry,
A sachet, when he departed.
He was going off to marry.
She died of grief, brokenhearted.

Marching in the procession,
Bringing flowers, with respect
Clergy and ambassadors followed
Solemn and circumspect.

She went to a promontory
To meet the dear one departed
He was married. He was sorry.
She died of grief, brokenhearted.

A brightly shining bronze flame
Lit her face, the day he left her.
He swore on his mother’s name
That he would never bereft her.

In a river, late one night
She was found floating, disheartened
Some said: “a chill…or a fright…”
She died of grief, brokenhearted.

Inside of the icy place
He kissed her delicate fingers,
The bier sat upon a dais,
He kissed both her silken slippers

Evening shadows descended
As one more time he departed
He’d left her weeping, abandoned.
She died of grief, brokenhearted.

 

 

 

2017-2018: THE SEASON IN REVIEW and the SUMMER IN PREVIEW

2017-2018: THE SEASON IN REVIEW and the SUMMER IN PREVIEW

 

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When June 1 comes around the thermometer normally lets us know that it’s summer, and with its onset the end of the fall-to-spring music season and the start of musical offerings in the hot days ahead. Both nasty daytime heat and hopefully cooler evenings can be expected in Cincinnati this year along with some great music-making. Here’s a quick look back and an ever quicker look ahead.

FIVE 2017-2018 HIGHLIGHTS

Cincinnati’s 140-year old Music Hall re-opened in October after an extensive renovation that spruced up the grand old venue, providing better acoustics than ever before.  Maestro Louis Langrée led a memorable concert that closed with Bernstein’s Candide Overture, with the maestro reminiscing about the show’s “Make Our Garden Grow” anthem and its implications about the future or music in Cincinnati.

Later on the refurbished Memorial Hall hosted Metropolitan Opera star Jamie Barton, who gave Matinee Musicale Cincinnati’s 105th Season (www.matineemusicalecincinnati.org) a sell-out concert in January, reminding us of what a gem this group is and what musical treasures it provides.

Sam Martin’s Cincinnati Song Initiative (www.cincinnatisonginitiative.org) then in its third season gave proof that the all-about-song group is here to stay.

Multi-tasker par excellence Ixi Chen had her concert:nova achieve its eleventh season (www.concertnova.com) as it brought us all a half-dozen cutting edge concerts, now augmented by an additional late-night series, both of which broke barriers and erased preconceptions about what concert music should be.

Jill Jantzen‘s Salon 21 (www.salon21.org) hit the ground running as Cincinnati’s newest kid on the musical block with its petite salon concerts of mostly piano music mixing classics and a hip 21st century attitude in rep.

The Dayton Opera put on the best-ever in my memory The Consul, a Gian Carlo Menotti opera tailor-made for our tempestuous times, with Karah Shay Thompson, Cindy Sadler, Tyler Alessi and Ken Shaw flawlessly cast in key roles, under the superlative direction of Gary Briggle and Patrick Reynolds perfectly pacing the Dayton Philharmonic in the pit.

And then my all-time favorite Broadway songstress, Audra McDonald flew in for a smashing concert backed up by the Cincinnati Pops.

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AT HOME AND LISTENING

At home but not alone I enjoyed listening and reviewing and in several instances being stunned by several great releases, two out of dozens linger in my memory. First,  the protean Rumanian pianist Matei Varga‘s CD, EARLY DEPARTED on the SONO LUMINUS label, featuring music by two of his Rumanian fellow countrymen: pianist-composers, Tudor Dumitrescu and Dinu Lipatti, augmented by Leoš Janáček‘s In the Mists.

We said goodbye to the great Russian baritone Dimitri Hvorostovsky listening to him still in top form in the title role of Rigoletto, in a Delos release, his last recording ever.

SUMMER OF 2018

It used to be the Cincinnati Zoo Opera. It’s now out of the zoo and finally back in Music Hall, with a line-up that includes Verdi’s La Traviata, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and a couple of contemporary operas: Another Brick on the Wall and As One. (www.CincinnatiOpera.org).

And finally the indispensable Summermusik, a nickname for the wonderfully hyperactive Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (www.ccocincinnati.org) that this summer will again surprise and stimulate us with its assortment of pub crawls, Sunday afternoon mini-concerts and several main events, led by the energetic maestro Eckart Preu.

Music is an ephemeral art. No sooner the last note is sounded, the composition is gone. So we hold on to all thee musical memories just waiting for the next one to come and help keep us alive.

Rafael de Acha

Celebrating Five Years

 

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We celebrate our just concluded fifth season and look back with pride at the names of the more than thirty artists who shared their talent with a capacity audience of over four hundred at four of our concerts:
Shareese Arnold, Aubrey Berg, Melisa Bonetti, Kayleigh Decker, Emily Fink, Amy Gillingham, Luke Flood, Aaron Jacobs, Sam Krausz, Christina Lalog-Seal, Chloe LeGrand , Jesse Leong, James Meade, Allan Palacios Chan, Kim Pensyl, Alan Rafferty, Kenneth Shaw, Rick VanMatre, Eben Wagenstroom, Daniel Weeks, Christopher Wilke, Gabe Wrobel and The Young Artists Cello Ensemble
These artists – vocalists, violinists, cellists, actors, pianists – performed traditional vocal and instrumental American music, show music, opera highlights, show tunes and spoken texts and poetry, by

Leonard Bernstein, Georges Bizet, Ignacio Cervantes, Ruperto Chapí, Enrique Granados, Franz Liszt, Pablo Luna, Astor Piazzolla, Henry Purcell, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Camille Saint-Saëns, Manuel Saumell, Alessandro Scarlatti, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Francisco Tárrega, Joaquín Turina, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Richard Wagner.

Guitarist James Meade played for us Spanish guitar music in a couple of our concerts: https://youtu.be/5RPzrOEOecg
Mezzo-soprano Melisa Bonetti sang arias from Spanish zarzuelas, Bizet’s Carmen and Camille Saint-Saëns Samson and Dalila in our April concert: https://youtu.be/vc3m-rfg_y8
South African Pianist Eben Wagenstroom returned to play in two of our concerts: https://youtu.be/aJjJDc_UDmg
Soprano Shareese Arnold sang Wagner arias, Rachmaninoff songs and Spirituals in two of our concerts: https://youtu.be/oH7juk-7eFw

In December, our Silent Auction, raised thousands of dollars, as patrons bid on gifts, goods and services by
Anna VanMatre, Artist …Cincinnati Art Museum …Cincinnati Ballet…Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra…Cincinnati Nature Center…Cincinnati Opera…Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park…Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra…concert:nova…Ensemble Theatre…James Meade, Classical Guitarist…Jim Slouffman, Artist…Johannes Bjorner, Artist…Karen Tully, Contributor…Kathy Doane, Contributor…Kim Pensyl, Jazz Musician…Linda Ellis, Jewelry Designer…National Exemplar Restaurant…Rick Van Matre, Jazz Musician…Taft Museum…Tri Health Pavilion Spa…Trio Bistro… UC – College-Conservatory of Music…Nancy Stetler, Designer…Virginia Cox, Photographer

The total income of over $10,000 generated by the auction and ticket sales during this past year, went for scholarships at CCM, the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati.

We thank the management and board of the Peterloon Foundation, our wonderful webmaster and graphic designer Kate Hursh, and all of you, artists, audience members, donors and friends for your hard work, your generosity and your support!

Rafael and Kimberly de Acha