OUR FAVORITE CONCERTS OF 2021
In Cincinnati several musical organizations cautiously began live performances. We were not able to catch the return of the Cincinnati Opera or that of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, both coming back to live performances in temporary outdoor venues in the summer. As the fall set in and indoor performances began, we caught these favorites:
Matinee Musicale came back
After a year long hiatus, the 108-year young Matinee Musicale opened their 2021-2022 season with WindSync, a wind quintet whose five members played authoritatively, elegantly, with adroit technique, and with great fun.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra up close and personal
In his auspicious debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Roderick Cox arrived largely unknown to a Cincinnati audience still in the midst of pandemic restrictions. Within a few moments after the start of the concert it was clear that we were in the presence of a fully matured and impressive maestro.
In the same concert Conrad Tao took on Ravel’s Piano Concerto and brought out both its lyrical and its zany aspects, conquering all of its technical hurdles in a performance that brought the audience to its feet. Tao returned for an encore: Sunday, from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George in a moving performance.
Back to School
In September Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music began its line-up of performances for 2021-2022 with a concert by the Philharmonia Orchestra, led by Mark Gibson, who paced the eighty-plus young musicians in an impassioned performance of Mahler’ First Symphony that reminded the listeners in Corbett Auditorium of what treasures this orchestra and their conductor are.
In November, at CCM, a production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro was blessed with imaginative stage direction by Robin Guarino, an elegantly chameleonic set by Tom Umfrid, pretty costumes by CCM design student Meredith Buckley, the conducting of the gifted young student Brian McCann – a last minute replacement to lead the very nice student orchestra, and in the role of Susanna, Emma Marhefka, a young soprano we will be hearing about in the very near future.
Modern Dance is back
Starting a new season in their very own space – a flexible black box in which the audience sits just a few feet from the performers, Mutual Dance Theatre – an artistic marriage of the Jefferson James Contemporary Dance Theatre and MamLuft&Co.Dance – delivered an exciting evening of dance in November.
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