Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

31.12.06

In Brief: New Year's Edition

LinksHere is your regular Sunday dosage of interesting items, from Blogville and beyond:

  • Jeremy Denk dissects the slow movement of Schumann's D minor piano trio, from the inside out, with his own musical example sound files. [Think Denk]
  • Jeremy writes about music on many levels, including the analytical, in which he shows a fairly thorough knowledge of music theory (as would any trained musician). For full consideration of the post linked above, see also Scott Spiegelberg's response to one of Jeremy's old posts, about what use music theory is. [Musical Perceptions]
  • Sarah Noble has hit on a neat idea: an Advent calendar, with a YouTube video of an opera singer for each day of December, "full of soprano wondrousness." [Prima la musica poi le parole]
  • I wrote about the Robert Carsen production of Bernstein's Candide earlier this week. The production was scheduled to go to La Scala, an event that Stéphane Lissner has just canceled. [Opera Chic]
  • Bloomberg's headline for this opera sneaks in at the last minute to steal the title for best unintended vulgar pun of the year: "La Scala Cancels 'Candide' Production Showing Bush on the Beach" [Bloomberg News]
  • Wait, Candide is back on, with the naughty bits removed. [Opera Chic]
  • The era of all-male bias in German and Austrian orchestras was over, right? Not so fast, meine Herren und Herren. [Musical Perceptions]
  • Do I believe my eyes? Sieglinde is back? "The New York Times review of the I Puritani by premier critic and starfucker Anthony Tommasini is full of crap." Yes, that's Sieglinde, alright. [Sieglinde's Diaries]
  • Picks for Top 10 Classical CDs of the Year: Marc Geelhoed | Alex Ross | Jessica Duchen | Steve Smith | Billboard

Ionarts Best of 2006 -- Live Performances

Top 10 lists are unavoidable at this time of year. Looking back over the archives for 2006, here are the ten most memorable performances we heard in the area this year, in chronological order. Ionarts travels, as you know, but we have limited this to local events.

1. Alfred Brendel at the Kennedy Center (February 9, 2006)

Not infallibility but the humanist touch that every note came with designated the performance as special and inescapably so even as soon as half way through the (admittedly long) Molto moderato e cantabile of the first movement (played without the repeat). Brendel, in his intimate relation with his Hamburg Steinway, created an atmosphere that would have compelled Beckmesser to drop his chalk and sit with – not amazement… but joyous awe. (Jens F. Laurson)
2. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Kennedy Center (February 15, 2006)
All in all, this was a startling and thrilling performance, with warm, cheerful Haydn playing (really good Classical style playing is not regularly heard here in Washington) and transcendent Strauss. The jangling, clamorous battle scene will remain in my ears for a long time. When the hero's melody rose up out of the orchestra, to triumph over his enemies, Jansons simply opened his arms and let himself be washed in the sound. (Jens F. Laurson)
3. Verdi, Requiem, Kirov Opera (February 25, 2006)
A Requiem is supposed to soothe and appease the heavens on behalf of the deceased: Gergiev unrepentantly raised hell. Even the searing soft moments were devilishly good, a tail of sulphur flames never far from his frock. Let him be the most overrated conductor of our times, in the hour and-a-half of the Verdi Requiem he redeemed himself from all past and future musical sins, as far as I am concerned. Bravi! (Jens F. Laurson)
4. Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center (March 12, 2006)
Following the Strauss were Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs for mezzo-soprano and Orchestra, a commission by the BSO for its 125th anniversary. Much has been written about those five lovely, poetic, enchanting songs as well as the performing mezzo, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, including her recent bout with illness. There is little to add now. Mrs. Hunt Lieberson, sure enough, is one of the very outstanding mezzos in times that are generally blessed with great mezzo-sopranos; she has impeccable musical taste, intelligence, is incapable of gratuitous phrasing or showing off – and she has a stage presence that beams with dignity. Peter Lieberson’s songs are not only set to the Chilean poet’s love songs, they also feel and sound of true love. They shall be in the repertoire – and not just of co-commissioners BSO and LAPhil – for a long time to come. (Jens F. Laurson)
5. Ian Bostridge and Belcea Quartet, Library of Congress (March 13, 2006)
This British Dream Team of musicians first gave us the delicious song cycle On Wenlock Edge (1908/09), composed for this combination by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Belcea Quartet added sounds, hues, atmosphere to the nostalgic words, like the thrashing gale in the first song, On Wenlock Edge, first in the whirring opening and later in creepy, near-the-bridge playing. Vaughan Williams divides the instruments in the third song, Is My Team Ploughing, to characterize the two characters in dialogue differently. In the same way, Bostridge used his unusual voice, often ethereal, to create the sense of conversation. This English tenor is the quintessential "intelligent singer," quite literally, given that Dr. Bostridge holds a doctorate from Oxford. His voice may not bowl one over with power, but few sing with more understanding and musical intelligence. (Charles T. Downey)
6. Angela Hewitt at Shriver Hall (May 17, 2006)
With her tall, thin frame sheathed in a soft blue gown revealing her shoulders, Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt played in her rather gestural style (lots of balletic whirling of arms), and her face often accompanied final or significant musical gestures with expressions of surprise, empathy, and even ecstasy. Far from being distracting, her mannerisms struck me as nothing more than the expression of her sincere feeling for the music she was playing. Hewitt opened with a programming choice that immediately won me over, as a musicologist obsessed with the French Baroque era. Jean-Philippe Rameau published this A minor suite in his third book of keyboard pieces, intended for the harpsichord, in 1728. Angela Hewitt will be recording this suite and two others by Rameau in June for a new recording to be released next year. That fluttering sound you hear is a musicologist's heart floating to heaven. Major concert artists are playing Rameau's music. (Charles T. Downey)
7. Turn of the Screw, Châteauville Foundation (May 25, 2006)
Britten’s Turn of the Screw is a fantastic opera – for chamber forces, three sopranos, tenor, and boy and girl soprano – but also a difficult opera and not likely to appeal to everyone. All those who attended the Châteauville Foundation production at the Terrace Theater knew what they were in for: a dense, chilling, creepy, and creeping psychological thriller set to haunting music that matches the action (or unbearable inaction) every step of the way. I cannot recall the last time I had – literally – chills from head to toe. Here I did, when Miles, the boy, musters his courage, acknowledges the evil done to him, and cries out against his tormentor, the (molesting) spirit: “Peter Quint, you devil.” (Jens F. Laurson)
8. Julia Fischer, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (May 26, 2006)
Cutting a dashing figure in a very red dress as she did, it was not enough to detract from the sternly delicate, searing Largo, where she made the otherwise middle-of-the run, broad rendition of the work sound very special; nuances well placed called attention to the music, not her. Grace and purity abounded. Under Temirkanov’s caring hands – here was something he visibly cherished doing – the BSO performed this and the cadenza-linked last movement splendidly, even with delicacy when called upon to do so. The ripping finale topped it all off in great style. This was an example of 45 minutes of music-making as it should be – and the audience sensed it: the longest standing ovation and sustained applause (did anyone at all sneak out into intermission?) I have witnessed at Meyerhoff Hall forced an encore out of her: Paganini’s Caprice No. 2 in B Minor; delicately sawed out of the musical material if perhaps not ideally prepared. Secretly, I had hoped for some of her Bach. (Jens F. Laurson)
9. Ground, Ignoti Dei Opera (July 1, 2006)
Would anyone, myself certainly included, ever think that a group of young performers, many of them graduates from Peabody and other leading early music conservatory programs, could make Baroque music cool? Yet here is Ignoti Dei creating a theater piece with a contemporary story, in a cutting-edge theater space in a renovated townhouse in downtown Baltimore, that uses the cyclical music of the 17th century. The idea, I admit, borders on the quixotic, to take virtuosic vocal chamber music, madrigals and other difficult pieces, and make people sing it while accomplishing choreography and staging. The two singers -- countertenor Brian Cummings (Him) and soprano Elizabeth Baber (Her) -- do their best, with some minor difficulties in the more complicated parts, like rolling themselves up in the same piece of cloth on the floor, but for the most part they did very well. (Charles T. Downey)
10. Louis Lortie, National Gallery of Art (October 9, 2006)
It was a gutsy move to open with a piece as technically demanding as Liszt's showy transcription of Wagner's overture to Tannhäuser. Liszt tried to capture as much of Wagner's score as he could, and with that many notes on the page, it is hardly surprising that Lortie may have missed one or two. Still, what was marked in this stunning performance of a viciously difficult work was the orchestral sound, from the booming Wagnerian brass to the chromatic voluptuousness of the Venus music. A second Liszt selection, the "Vallée d'Obermann" from the first volume of the Années de pèlerinage. The first half is not all that technically challenging, but Lortie showed his extraordinary skill at voicing the complicated harmonic twists around the theme. Lortie's virtuosity was tested again at the end of the piece, when he responded with sweeping, ecstatic gestures in the repeated chord section. This was truly mind-blowing Liszt. (Charles T. Downey)
Honorable mention:

30.12.06

Holiday at the Movies: The Queen

Helen Mirren in The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, 2006
Helen Mirren in The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, 2006
Some people in the world want to hold on to the idea of monarchy. Before viewing The Queen, there was little that could convince me of finding sympathy for a 20th-century monarch like Queen Elizabeth II. Nothing against the individuals born into that kind of wealth, but the thought of perpetuating such an exclusionary institution turns my stomach. In a way that was quite similar to the opening of the French movie Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Princess Diana's death registered on my consciousness (it happened shortly after I returned to the U.S. from a year in Paris) and was promptly forgotten. Apparently, when the car crash happened in Paris, it was a turning point for many people who were not her relatives and friends. For many of these people, the stoic reaction of the British royal family to her death, with no public show of grief, was somehow insulting. This movie attempts to understand what happened within the royal family.

Other Reviews:
Anthony Lane | Le Figaro | Manohla Dargis | Desson Thomson | Ty Burr | Others

Stephen Frears has directed several of my favorite movies, including Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), and High Fidelity (2000). Those films are more different from one another than similar, but what Frears does wondrously in each of them is to make the viewer sympathize with a not so sympathetic character. He has done it again in The Queen, leading me to understand a little better some of the worshipful veneration of the late Princess Diana and even to feel pity for a monarchical relic of ages past, Elizabeth Windsor. This is largely due to the mind-bending work of Helen Mirren, who has had memorable outings in royal roles before, including Elizabeth I, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George, and in a way even as Morgana in Excalibur.

Alex Jennings and Michael Sheen in The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, 2006
Alex Jennings and Michael Sheen in The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears, 2006
It is not, as some have said, that Mirren looks like Queen Elizabeth -- she does superficially, of course, the ultraconservative clothing and hats, the primly coiffed white hair. None of that would make Mirren look anything like Queen Elizabeth, however, without the almost frozen posture, the stiffness of facial expression, the careful gait. It is Oscar-worthy work. Mirren's personal portrait of the Queen cannot be separated from what Frears and his screenwriter, Peter Morgan, show of the royal world around her. Much of the story transpires while Elizabeth and the family are sequestered at Balmoral, the royal family's private estate in Scotland. The Queen and her consort, Prince Philip (a cantankerous James Cromwell), do their best to divert Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry (Jake Taylor Shantos and Dash Barber, wisely shown mostly from the back), with that time-honored royal pasttime, hunting.

When the Queen drives her own Royal Range Rover out to find the hunting party on the windswept slopes, Mirren is at her strongest in an encounter with the quarry, a magnificent stag. At a private picnic, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother (a boozy Sylvia Syms) urge Elizabeth not to give into public demands to fly a flag at half-staff over Windsor Castle. The only flag that flies there is the royal standard, and only when the monarch is in residence. Do these protocols really matter anymore? Here the Queen Mother and her daughter are convinced that they do, and the new Prime Minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen, in a truly uncanny bit of mimicry), does his best to prevent the royals from making themselves completely irrelevant. Happily, The Queen is not really about the specific events around the death of Princess Diana. It is about how the British monarchy does or does not connect to the people it aims to serve. Apparently, the people still want them to.

29.12.06

Opera, Spring 2007

This list is not systematic and certainly not complete. It contains productions that interest me, especially premieres and recent operas, in the next several months. I will try to provide review round-ups for as many as possible. Please use the comments section to make suggestions.

Tan Dun, The First Emperor [WORLD PREMIERE]
December 21 to January 25
Simulcast in movie theaters on January 13
Metropolitan Opera

Prokofiev, The Fiery Angel
January 2 to 28
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Janáček, The Diary of One Who Disappeared / Bartók, Duke Bluebeard's Castle
January 28 to February 16
Opéra national de Paris

Wolfgang Rihm, Das Gehege [WORLD PREMIERE]
Premiere on January 30
Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich)

Handel, Agrippina
February 5 to March 3
Directed by David McVicar
English National Opera

Luc Brewaeys, L'uomo dal fiore in bocca
Adaptation of play by Luigi Pirandello
February 9 to 14
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Kurt Weill, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
February 10 to March 4
Los Angeles Opera

Arthur Honegger, La Mort de Sainte Alméenne
February 17
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Mussorgsky, Khovanshchina
Opens on February 17
Directed by David Pountney
Welsh National Opera

Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande
February 25 to March 31
With Anne Sofie von Otter
Royal Danish Opera

Continue reading this article.
Benoît Mernier, L’Éveil du printemps (first opera)
March 9 to 24
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Scarlatti, La Vergine dei dolori
Conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini
Directed by Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski
March 3 to 31
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Strauss, Die Ägyptische Helena
March 15 to April 7
Radio Broadcast on March 31
Metropolitan Opera

Ravel, L'heure espagnole
March 30 to April 21
With Bryn Terfel
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Stravinsky, The Rake's Progress
April 2 to 28
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Handel, Flavio
April 4 to 21
New York City Opera

Glass, Satyagraha
April 5 to May 1
For the composer's 70th birthday
English National Opera

Britten, Owen Wingrave
April 23 to May 5
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Janáček, The Makropoulos Affair
April 27 to May 18
Opéra national de Paris

Philip Glass, Sound of a Voice (2003)
Mathew Rosenblum, RedDust

April 26 to 29
Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Fusion Festival

Debussy, Pelléas et Mélisande
Conducted by Simon Rattle, with Angelika Kirchschlager
May 11 to 19
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Monteverdi, Il Ritorno d'Ulisse
Abridged version with Handspring Puppet Company
May 12 to 15
Théâtre de la Monnaie / De Munt (Brussels)

Salvatore Sciarrino, Da gelo a gelo [WORLD PREMIERE]
May 23 to June 10
Opéra national de Paris

Britten, Death in Venice
May 24 to June 13
With Ian Bostridge, directed by Deborah Warner
English National Opera

David Carlson, Anna Karenina [WORLD PREMIERE]
June 3 to 21
Opera Theater of St. Louis

Massenet, Thaïs (concert performance)
June 27 and 29
Renée Fleming, conducted by Andrew Davis
Royal Opera at Covent Garden

Unsuk Chin/David Henry Whang, Alice in Wonderland [WORLD PREMIERE]
Premiere on June 30
Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich Summer Opera Festival)

Offenbach, Orpheus in the Underworld
July 7 to August 26
Glimmerglass Opera

Guo Wenjing, Poet Li Bai [WORLD PREMIERE]
July 7 to 28
Central City Opera

Gluck/Berlioz, Orphée et Eurydice
July 8 to August 28
Glimmerglass Opera

Strauss, Daphne
July 14 to August 17
Santa Fe Opera

Massenet, Cendrillon
July 14 to August 19
Central City Opera

Tan Dun, Tea: A Mirror of Soul (2002)
July 21 to August 23
Santa Fe Opera

Menotti, The Saint of Bleecker Street
July 21 to August 18
Central City Opera

Olli Kortekangas, Daddy's Girl [WORLD PREMIERE]
July 7 to 17
Savonlinna Opera Festival

Philip Glass, Orphée
July 21 to August 27
Glimmerglass Opera

Leonid Desyatnikov, The Children of Rosenthal (2005)
July 25 and 27
Savonlinna Opera Festival

Monteverdi, Orfeo
July 28 to August 25
Glimmerglass Opera

Rameau, Platée
July 28 to August 22
Santa Fe Opera

Jan Fabre, Requiem for a Metamorphosis
August 26 to 29
Salzburg Festival

Metropolitan Goes to the Movies

Go support the attempt by Peter Gelb, the new general director of the Metropolitan Opera, to popularize opera. On six Saturdays this winter and spring, the Met will be presenting a live video simulcast of some of its productions in select cinemas in the U.S. and around the world. These will take place at the same time as the regular radio broadcast, but you have to pay for a ticket to see the video. This Saturday kicks off with a shortened version of Julie Taymor's phantasmagoric Magic Flute, perfect for children (December 30), with the others as follows: I Puritani (January 6), Tan Dun's The First Emperor (January 13), Eugene Onegin (February 24), The Barber of Seville (March 24), and Il Trittico (April 28). All simulcasts begin at 1:30 pm [NB: time is Eastern time zone].

Check for a theater located near you. In the Washington area, there is only one option for viewing The Magic Flute: the Hoffman Center 22 (206 Swamp Fox Road, in Alexandria), and it is already sold out. Theaters change for every simulcast, so check the site carefully.

28.12.06

Concert Season, 2007

Here are some highlights of the upcoming winter and spring in the concert halls of Washington.

INSTRUMENTAL:

Giuliano Carmignola, violinist
Giuliano Carmignola, violinist
Of major interest is the free concert planned by the Venice Baroque Orchestra (Andrea Marcon, Director) with guest violinist Giuliano Carmignola, in a mostly Vivaldi program (February 21) at the Library of Congress. Also in the early music realm, Marc and Jérôme Hantaï (flute and fortepiano) will join violinist Alessandro Moccia and cellist Alix Verzier for a concert of German and Austrian music of the 18th century at the Library of Congress (February 23). Finally, cellist Pieter Wispelwey, another Ionarts favorite, will play a concert with the Australian Chamber Orchestra at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (April 27). The same weekend, the Academy of Ancient Music will give a free concert at the National Gallery of Art (April 29).

American cellist Alan Toda-Ambaras was only 14 years old when he qualified for the Rostropovich Cello Competition. In the final rounds in Paris, he received the Prix du meilleur espoir for best young cellist. He returns to Washington on January 13 to play a recital with violinist Daniel Austrich, at the Mansion at Strathmore. Superstar violinist Joshua Bell will play selections from his CD Voice of the Violin on January 28, with pianist Jeremy Denk, at Strathmore. The house sold out long ago, but WPAS has just started selling special seats on the stage. Act quickly.

Pianists giving solo recitals in the Washington area include Richard Goode (February 11, Strathmore), Jean-Yves Thibaudet (February 17, Kennedy Center), Alexandre Tharaud (postponed, La Maison Française), Alexander Kobrin (April 7 and 8, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington), Evgeny Kissin (April 18, Kennedy Center), and Louis Lortie playing all of the Chopin etudes (April 29, Shriver Hall). Also, cellist Miklós Perenyi and pianist András Schiff will give an all-Beethoven recital at the Library of Congress (April 18).


Jupiter String Quartet
When violist Lawrence Dutton had to have shoulder surgery, the Emerson Quartet canceled their three-night program of Shostakovich quartets last October. The Emersons will finally play those concerts at the Kennedy Center (February 5, 6, and 7). The excellent young Jupiter String Quartet will play at the Terrace Theater (March 6), in a program that includes the Bartók third quartet. (We are informed that the group has recorded some Britten and Shostakovich, which we look forward to reviewing.) Another Ionarts favorite, the Jerusalem Quartet, will play at the Library of Congress (April 11). Other string quartets of note: Minetti Quartet (Embassy Series, February 2 and 3), Cuarteto Casals (Dumbarton Oaks, February 16 to 18).

For contemporary music, Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists will play a program of music by Japanese composers at the Library of Congress (January 24). The National Gallery of Art has scheduled three Sundays in its free concert series for its Sixty-second American Music Festival (February 18 and 25, March 4), with performances by Mark Kaplan, Yael Weiss, Alan Feinberg, and the Contemporary Music Forum. Best of all, Pierre-Laurent Aimard will give a concert of contemporary chamber music at La Maison Française (May 8).

Soloists of interest appearing with the National Symphony include Renaud and Gautier Capuçon (February 15 to 17), Leonidas Kavakos playing Sibelius with guest conductor Osmo Vänskä (March 8 to 10), Julia Fischer playing Khachaturian (March 15 to 17), and Christian Tetzlaff with guest conductor Jiří Bĕlohlávek on the Janáček violin concerto The Wandering of a Little Soul (April 19 to 21).

The duel of the Chinese piano virtuosi will take place between appearances with the NSO by Lang Lang premiering a Jennifer Higdon concerto (May 17 to 19) and Yundi Li playing Liszt's first piano concerto (April 5 to 7). Incredibly, Yundi Li will play the same concerto a month prior to that with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, at the George Mason University Center for the Arts (March 3). That should make for an interesting comparison.

Deborah Voigt, soprano
Deborah Voigt, soprano
VOICE:
She may not be stripping down to a body suit, but the considerably slimmer Deborah Voigt will be singing in a concert performance of Strauss's Salome with the National Symphony (January 18, 20, and 22). Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will give a recital of French songs at the Kennedy Center (January 26). A month later, it will be another great mezzo, Joyce DiDonato, with Julius Drake (February 27), presented by Vocal Arts Society at the Terrace Theater. At the Austrian Embassy, a recital of songs from Hugo Wolf's Spanische Liederbuch, with Wolfgang Holzmair, Hermine Haselböck, Susanna Phillips, and Russell Ryan (April 11). More Lieder, this time by Schubert, when Matthias Goerne sings with the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Christoph Eschenbach, at the Kennedy Center (June 3).

Excellent choral events include the Hilliard Ensemble in a free concert at the Freer Gallery of Art (January 24) and the Tallis Scholars at Shriver Hall (April 1).


Patricia Racette, soprano
OPERA:
We look forward to Washington National Opera's continuing Ring cycle, with Die Walküre (March 24 to April 17). Even more exciting than this, however, is the production of Leoš Janáček's Jenůfa, with Patricia Racette and Catherine Malfitano, and Jiří Bĕlohlávek at the podium (May 5 to 24). Around the same time, Baltimore Opera will be mounting a welcome production of Bedřich Smetana's Prodaná nevěsta, or The Bartered Bride (March 24 to April 1).

The Kirov Opera comes back to the Kennedy Center Opera House with Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims (January 27 and 28) and Verdi's Falstaff (January 31, February 2 and 3). Finally, and most anticipated, they will give a concert performance of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (February 4).

You can see what two composers did with the same libretto, with Opera Lafayette's concert performance of Lully's Armide (February 3) and Gluck's Armide from University of Maryland Opera Studio (April 19 to 22). Both will occur at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Finally, Baroque opera is making the leap to non-specialist companies in the area: Virginia Opera will bring its production of Handel's Agrippina to the George Mason University Center for the Arts (February 9 and 11).

University opera companies should all be doing what University of Maryland Opera Studio is doing, performing less familiar works because they can. Do not miss the chance to see the group's production of Conrad Susa's opera Transformations at Clarice Smith (April 12 to 15). Grimm fairy tales, through the lens of Anne Sexton's poems, set as a two-act chamber opera. By comparison, the nth and n+1th production of Tosca -- Bulgarian State Opera (January 26, George Mason) and Baltimore Opera (May 5 to 13) -- seem like a waste. Rossini's Otello from Washington Concert Opera at Lisner is of greater interest, especially with Elizabeth Futral as Desdemona (April 29). That woman is tireless when it comes to learning new roles.

27.12.06

Monteverdi's Orfeo, 1607-2007

Claudio Monteverdi, Orfeo, premiered in 1607Claudio Monteverdi's genre-setting opera Orfeo first saw the light of day 400 years ago in 2007. The rush among international opera companies to stage this opera this season (and probably next, too), certainly not a natural favorite with mainstream audiences, indicates the growing awareness of Monteverdi's contribution to the history of opera. First -- chronologically and perhaps also in interest -- René Jacobs' Concerto Vocale will team up with Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin for a staged production at the Berliner Staatsoper (January 30 to February 5). Barrie Kosky will direct Sunhae Im (Euridice and La Musica) and Stéphane Degout (Orfeo). They will give the same production at the newly renovated Theater an der Wien in Vienna (on February 25 only). René Jacobs and Concerto Vocale, apparently without Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, will perform the opera again this summer. The Aix-en-Provence Festival will produce Orfeo, directed by Trisha Brown, in the Théâtre de l’Archevêché (July 6 to 15).

On our side of the Atlantic, Glimmerglass Opera is staging only operas that set the Orpheus legend this summer, to honor the beginning of the genre. This includes a new production of Orfeo, conducted by Antony Walker and directed by Christopher Alden. Michael Slattery (who has the smaller role of Apollo in the Berlin production) will sing Orfeo, and Megan Monaghan will sing Euridice. Other productions this summer include one at the Drottningholms Slottsteater in Sweden (July 28 to August 11) and another at the Staatstheater Hannover (June 13 to July 12).

That is not all. The New London Consort will give a concert performance of Orfeo in London's Royal Festival Hall on March 14. Operabase lists several other performances.

Other than Orfeo, there are other Monteverdi performances, including the Vespers of 1610 and Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with Concerto Vocale and René Jacobs at the Berliner Staatsoper (January 21 to February 3). Il Ritorno d'Ulisse is also popular, with a staged production at De Munt/Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels (May 12 to 15) and, even better, a concert performance conducted by Christophe Rousset at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (June 8). Also, in the Washington area, Opera Vivente will be producing this opera in Baltimore, March 9 to 17.

Holiday at the Movies: Volver

Penélope Cruz in Volver, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, 2006
Penélope Cruz in Volver, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, 2006
Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, Volver, was screened in a couple suburban locations starting last month, but it has just opened on two screens at the E Street Cinema. Fans of the legendary Spanish director will not need to read any review, no matter the tone, to want to see this film. However, those who do not know Almodóvar's work, or who have had a bad experience with it, should give this excellent movie a chance. It has all of the positive qualities of his earlier films — the humor, sometimes off color; the idolization of the eternal feminine; the mixture of fantasy and reality; the flavor of Spain — just without the drag queens and transsexual prostitutes.

The heart of the movie is in a small village of credulous provincials in La Mancha, the natal region of both Don Quixote and Pedro Almodóvar. Two sisters, Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Soledad (Lola Dueñas), travel back and forth between their new homes in Madrid and that little town, later identified as Alcanfor de Las Infantas, the town in Spain with the highest rate of insanity among its inhabitants. The village is fictional (it was actually shot in a place called Almagro, near where Almodóvar himself was born), but the region is indeed arid and windswept, and as often happens where there are sinister winds, fires and madness do abound in La Mancha. The frequent shots of wind turbines, generating electricity, again recall the ingenioso hidalgo of Cervantes, who mistook the 16th-century predecessors of these modern windmills for giants.

Carmen Maura and Pedro Almodóvar, on the set of Volver
Carmen Maura and Pedro Almodóvar, on the set of Volver
After the death of their parents in a fire, the sisters return to the village to tend the family grave and look in on their senile aunt, Tía Paula (Chus Lampreave). Never far from this superstitious world is the presence of their mother, Irene (Carmen Maura), whose spirit the villagers believe is watching over Tía Paula. It is a touching reunion for Almodóvar and Carmen Maura, who was the star of several of the director's earlier films, most notably Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988) and ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto! (1984). Along with Raimunda's daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo), we have women admired by Almodóvar over the course of three generations, and they form an excellent ensemble cast, collectively awarded the "Best Actress" award when Volver was screened at Cannes. (Almodóvar also won the award for best screenplay. Both are deserved.) The few men in the film are small in stature, mostly obstacles to be overcome.

Penélope CruzIn recent movies, Almodóvar has become obsessed with the mechanics of death and grief (the disturbing, surreal Hable con ella) and the righting of past wrongs (La Mala educación and Todo sobre mi madre). Both themes figure prominently in Volver, but in a way that is both more gentle and more powerful than any of these previous films. The movie is beautifully and lovingly shot (cinematography by José Luis Alcaine), both the beauty of the village and the squalor of Madrid. The opening scene of women cleaning sepulchers in the cemetery, including women who are tending their own graves for when they die, and a spectacular close-up of paper towels soaking up blood are memorable.

Other Reviews:

Desson Thomson, Pleasure Cruz (Washington Post, December 22)

A. O. Scott, The Darkest of Troubles in the Brightest of Colors (New York Times, November 3)

Rob Nelson, The Man Who Loved Women (The Village Voice, October 31)

Peter Bradshaw, Volver (The Guardian, August 25)

Thomas Sotinel, "Volver" : les meilleurs des mondes selon Pedro Almodovar (Le Monde, May 20)

Jean-Luc Wachthausen, Interview with Penélope Cruz: « J’ai l’ambition du bonheur » (Le Figaro, May 17)
Almodóvar is fond of allusions, and he becomes quite referential in this movie, with footage from Luchino Visconti's Bellissima (1951), starring Anna Magnani as a strong female role model for Raimunda. The title comes from the name of a tango, by Carlos Gardel, that Raimunda sings in one of the most emotional scenes in the movie (shown in still above), precisely at the point where the narrative knots of the story begin to pull apart. (The vocal part was actually sung, quite beautifully, by Estrella Morente, a flamenco star.) For some fascinating background on the shooting, see the diary about the making of Volver that Almodóvar published on the Internet.

Penélope Cruz has not impressed when acting in English, but her seductive and innocent beauty come across better when she has the added comfort of acting in her native language. After her early appearance as the sweet and guileless Luz in Belle époque (1992), the recent partnership with Almodóvar has yielded some of her best work, in Todo sobre mi madre and Carne trémula. In this lead, she shines beyond what we might have expected from previous roles. Here she is aged beyond her years especially by the use of a butt prosthesis, something she discussed in an interview with NPR. As you will surely agree, on the basis of the image shown here, this is a terrible crime against the female form. For a gay man, Almodóvar has always been obsessed with women's bodies, and this is again a prominent part of Volver. At one point, an overhead shot of Cruz, with her cleavage in full relief, provoked male sighs all around the theater. Cruz's performance is the main reason to see Volver.

26.12.06

Fun with YouTube

A young man named William Zauscher has created several entertaining videos available at YouTube. In the most memorable ones, he sings all the parts of the "B Minor Mass" (Dona nobis pacem, Sanctus, and Cum sancto spiritu) simultaneously, in split-screen, a rather impressive feat, especially the 6-part fugue in the Sanctus. The screechy soprano part in the Dona nobis pacem, eventually surpassed by a soaring violin track, can drive my cats from the room. Zauscher's facial grimaces (he sings on "noo" basically, without the syllables of the original text) and wild conducting are a stitch: the multiple versions of himself even interact with one another, which must have taken some planning. Besides Bach, he has strange takes on an excerpt from Puccini's Turandot (with a hilarious guest soloist), Death and Transfiguration, and the Chorus Mysticus from the Symphony of a Thousand. In the latter, the soundtrack is sequenced to corresponding snippets of the score and semi-orgasmic facial expressions (totally appropriate).


All videos by wzauscher at YouTube

Many thanks to Anne-Carolyn Bird for bringing this to my attention.

Monteverdi Madrigals, Book 8

Available at Amazon:
available at Amazon
Monteverdi, Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi, Libro VIII, Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini (released on October 31, 2006)
A few months ago, I reviewed two new releases of madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi, as well as two new recordings of the composer's Vespers of 1610 earlier this month. Monteverdi is becoming more popular in live performance, too. The Aix-en-Provence Festival has programmed a series of performances for this summer, stagings of Monteverdi madrigals by Willy Decker, with Kenneth Weiss conducting the Académie européenne de musique (July 1 to 18, 2007). Along with the numerous stagings of the composer's opera Orfeo next year, celebrating the 400th anniversary of its premiere in 1607, Monteverdi's star is on the ascent.

Very good news, then, that Rinaldo Alessandrini is indeed planning to make a complete set of recordings of Monteverdi's madrigals with Concerto Italiano, although not in a systematic way. This box set of the eighth book combines re-releases of the two Libro VIII discs that the group made in 1997 and 1998 with a third CD recorded in the Palazzo Farnese last December. Book 8 (of nine volumes of madrigals) is the largest collection Monteverdi published while he was alive. Much of its music is the most forward-thinking in the composer's corpus of works, although some pieces were republished from earlier collections or composed much earlier. By this point, after incorporating the basso continuo in the fifth book, Monteverdi's madrigals are mostly for solo voices, cast often as mini-operas.

Indeed, in his introduction to the madrigal cycle known as the Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, which opens this recording, Monteverdi outlines recommended stage directions if a performance is staged dramatically (based on the work's court premiere). As if to heighten the operatic quality, Alessandrini introduces many of the dramatic works with an instrumental sinfonia, in this case a string sonata by Dario Castello. The story, taken from Canto XII of Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata, uses the mortal combat of the Christian soldier and Muslim battlemaiden as a metaphor for sexual union:
Domenico Tintoretto, Tancredi battezza Clorinda, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 1586-1600
Domenico Tintoretto, Tancredi Baptizing Clorinda, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 1586-1600
Three times the knight grips the woman in his strong arms and the same number of times does she break free of those strong bonds [...] weary and panting, both must draw apart at last and draw a breath after a long labor.
Baritone Roberto Abbondanza's Testo (narrator) matches the excitement of the battle sounds from the instruments, the rapid tremulo of the stile concitato. As she lies dying, Elisa Franzetti's Clorinda begs Tancredi, her voice almost a whisper, to baptize her, which perfectly captures what Tasso writes of what Tancredi hears ("a strange appeal, a plaintive gentleness, that to his ear descends and melts all anger").

Representing another side of the combat of love is Il ballo delle Ingrate, which is the other half of the first CD. Addressed to courtly women, Pluto summons up from Hades the souls of haughty women who have refused love (the Ingrate Women of the title). Venus makes this request of Pluto, at the request of her son Cupid, in order to show "the punishment cruel beauty can expect." Bass Daniele Carnovich is in puissant and profondo voice for the deep rumbling part of Pluto. The shades of the proud women appear, to the sounds of a magnificent duet by Cupid and Venus (Francesca Russo Ermolli and Rosa Dominguez, respectively), and are forced to dance a sorrowful Entrata e Ballo with Pluto. Sent back to their punishment, a group of the Ingrate Women make an impassioned plea to the women in the audience to learn pity and not "hoard their beauty."

Monteverdi by Concerto Italiano:

available at Amazon
Book 2


available at Amazon
Book 5


available at Amazon
Book 6
The second CD contains some of the more traditional madrigals, pieces for chamber vocal ensemble. The famous Lamento della Ninfa, text by Rinuccini, receives a fine performance, with a clear-voiced Rossana Bertini as the spurned nymph who laments over a tenderly played ground bass pattern, with the chorus of sympathetic male voices. The quasi-sadistic aesthetic incarnation of a woman's tragic sadness for a male audience is as old as the hills, going back at least to the Virgin's torment in Lamentation scenes and Ovid's Heroides. Of course, it is one of the major tropes of opera, as is the struggle of war and love for supremacy in a man's heart, the two drives of existence that Freud would later identify as thanatos and eros. The opening piece ("Let others sing of love") is balanced by a later madrigal ("Let others sing of Mars"), and the metaphors of love and battle are intentionally jumbled ("a glance defeated me, a tress made me captive" or "Make yourself a warrior, my heart, and do not fear the mortal wounds of love's arrows").

The madrigals on the third CD continue to push the envelope of the genre, including another Ballo and the pastoral strophic tune Su, su, su, pastorelli vezzosi. A favorite is Mentre vaga Angioletta, a poem by Guarini, which is essentially a madrigal about a woman singing a madrigal. Monteverdi uses the text as a sort of primer on how to set the textual contrasts with effective madrigalisms. All in all, there is rarely anything less than beautiful in this set, and some tracks stand out as exceptional. As we expect of him, Alessandrini captures the Baroque vitality of this music, with life rippling in all those jaunty rhythms. He has a truly fine group of singers at his disposal, although it would take me a long time to make sense of how the membership of Concerto Italiano has changed over the past ten years (lists of performers' initials follow each track). There are a few moments of minor tuning imprecision, notably in Dolcissimo uscignolo (CD 2, track 16), which is from the 1990s, and the tenor voices are sometimes uneven, as in Non partir, ritrosetta (CD 3, track 10), but nobody's perfect.

Naïve OP 30435

25.12.06

Merry Christmas 2006

Softly a light is stealing,
Sweetly a maiden sings,
Ever wakeful, ever wistful.
Watching faithfully, thankfully, tenderly
Her King of kings:

"My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior."

Mary her song to Jesus
Softly, serenely sings:
"I will love you, I will serve you,
May my lullaby glorify, magnify
My King of kings."

-- Andrew Carter, Mary's Magnificat
Happiest Christmas wishes to all of you! If you hear the bells on Christmas Day, as in the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, reflect on how each of us can make their "old familiar carol" a reality: "peace on earth, good will to men."

24.12.06

In Brief: Christmas Eve Edition

LinksHere is your regular Sunday dosage of interesting items, from Blogville and beyond:

  • American composer Daniel Pinkham passed away on the morning of December 18, in Natick, Massachusetts. Prolific and seemingly unstoppable, Pinkham premiered his most recent opera, The Cask of Amontillado, around the time of his 80th birthday, in 2003. Carson Cooman wrote an obituary. [Sequenza 21]
  • Alex Ross marks the death of Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya, on December 22. [The Rest Is Noise]
  • Who sits down to hear a contemporary music concert? Virgil Thomson catalogues the audience of 1950, with comparative notes by Greg Sandow a half-century later. [Sandow]
  • Lisa Hirsch recaps the critical savagery that greeted the opening of Tan Dun's Last Emperor at the Met. [Iron Tongue of Midnight]
  • At first I thought that Ned Vizzini's guestblogging stint for Jessa Crispin was some sort of joke, a literary experiment masquerading as blogging. The posts became odder and odder but appear to be real. I kept reading. [Blog of a Bookslut]
  • George Loomis, I want your job when you retire. Yes, the roving critic is in St. Petersburg, checking out the new hall that Valery Gergiev built for the Mariinsky Theater. [IHT]
  • In our search for the perfect Christmas Concert, we dreamed of Les Arts Florissants performing Bach's Christmas Oratorio. William Christie's young soloists are singers to watch: Nicholas Watts, Tim Mead, Marcel Beekman, Marie Arnet, Markus Werba. [The Independent]
  • Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic was on the block. It is one of the great American paintings, so the National Gallery of Art quite reasonably made a bid. Wealthy Philadelphians prefer to keep the work in Philadelphia. Well, if Sam Walton's money was in the mix, we can be glad he got stiffed. [WP]
  • The forward-thinking chamber ensemble eighth blackbird has a blog: we thank them for linking to Ionarts. [thirteen ways]

23.12.06

Candide Goes to Paris

Candide, directed by Robert Carsen, 2006, Théâtre du Châtelet, photo by Marie-Noëlle Robert
Candide, directed by Robert Carsen, 2006, Théâtre du Châtelet, photo by Marie-Noëlle Robert
It is helpful to get some perspective on classic American works. For example, Leonard Bernstein's Broadway opera Candide (1956), based on the story by Voltaire, was just produced for the first time ever in Paris, at the Théâtre du Châtelet. The staging was directed by Robert Carsen, who admits a curious fact in the program notes, that he had never seen the work in his life before directing it. Renaud Machart wrote a review (Le sinistre "Candide" de Robert Carsen, December 14) for Le Monde (my translation):
This did not stop him from unlacing and relacing the work in his way, as if he had been thinking about the problem for 15 years. That is how Carsen confronted the rather troubled history, through numerous reworkings, of a score that remains problematic -- it has been revised, rerecorded, reorchestrated, etc. Intended for the Broadway stage without being a musical, Candide has often been heard in international opera houses without being an opera either. After having endured (unlike one part of the audience) the three hours and some of a sinister spectacle that was intended to be funny and interesting, one thinks that Carsen should have gone to see what others had done with Candide.

This work, whose words were written by several people -- Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker -- is part of the political context of its time, among other things, an acerbic criticism of McCarthyism. But was it necessary to use the food processor on a message that anyone could understand? The dialogue has been rewritten, Westphalia becomes "West Failure." The parade of anti-American clichés is a constant embarrassment visually and for the work's pacing. Believing the second act to be weak, as he put it, Carsen overburdens and stretches it out, removes all the tension and makes it flat. The scene that caricatures the five presidents of the entente cordiale, including Jacques Chirac with a bottle in his hand, has nothing funny or sarcastic about it; it is, as so often with Carsen, the stupidest way to read the passage.
Christian Merlin saw things quite differently in his review (Candide de Bernstein : Tourbillon festif, December 14) for Le Figaro (my translation):
Sacré Robert Carsen! This clever devil is just as capable of sounding the depths of the human soul by transposing Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten to the time of Freud as transporting you in a festive whirlwind worthy of Broadway. As soundly as the Châtelet, in its new popular political stance, had failed to give life to Le Chanteur de Mexico, it has succeeded brilliantly with Candide. It must be said that the vehicles could not be more different: Francis Lopez and Leonard Bernstein are like a Citroën 2 CV and a Rolls Royce. Premiered in 1956, Bernstein's operetta has waited 50 years to get its Parisian debut. We knew the music was ingenious, and now we know that the piece works on the stage. At least if you have the proper means: with his set designer Michael Levine and the tireless machinistes of the Châtelet, Carsen takes us into Hollywood cinema. The stage becomes a 1950s television screen where we find ourselves in the time of McCarthyism and the Kennedys, with each scene being a pretext for a backdrop change. It's bright, funny, breath-taking, without forgetting that the satire of the American Dream also applies to today's world. Only the second half drags a little, in spite of skillful updating.
Other Reviews:

Bertrand Dermoncourt, Candide (Théâtre du Chatelet) (L'Express, December 15)

Caroline Alexander, La joyeuse férocité de Voltaire et Bernstein (Webthea, December 19)
The complete opposite of Machart, Merlin praises almost all aspects of the performance, criticizing only the "miserable amplification, uneven and poorly managed, necessary to the Broadway performers but bad for the operatic voices and for the orchestral sound." On its Web site, the Châtelet has helpfully provided some background information on this work unknown to Parisian audiences, including some Thoughts on Candide by Lambert Wilson, who portrays Dr. Pangloss. The theater also feels that it has to explain what an American musical is, in some excerpts of an essay by Alain Perroux, What Is a Musical? (my translation):
It is, more precisely, associated with one area: Broadway. It is viscerally American, even if it is rooted partially in Europe and if, over time, other countries have started to produce them. [...] Often musicals are a series of diverting scenes with a rather thin plot that serves only to make the songs and dances stand out. [...] The musical owes a large part of its qualities to its economic situation: musicals are always created in private theaters by independent producers. They finance the performances only by tickets sold. To have a chance at lasting (and being remembered by history), a musical thus has to meet with public success and has an obligation to please. Faced with that demand, composers and librettists are rewarded for their aptitude in making an individual work while keeping in mind the commercial imperative.
I love France. Of course, because in France they spend money on good cultural programming on both television and radio, Candide will be played twice on the public airwaves: on Arte TV (January 20, 10:30 pm) and on France Musique radio (February 7, 8 pm).

22.12.06

Han-Na Chang at the Terrace Theater

available at Amazon
Prokofiev, Cello Concerto, Chang/Pappano/LSO

available at Amazon
Shostakovich, Cello Concerto No.1, Sonata, Chang/Pappano/LSO
Han-Na Chang may enjoy an illustrious career – but her star-power does not quite extend so far as to sell out the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater on a Saturday evening. Those who did find their way to her recital at the side of Sergio Tiempo (the 34-year-old Argentine is, like Ms. Chang, an EMI artist) must have been pleased to hear her surprisingly large sound, full of body, dashed with energetic abrasiveness and a healthy amount of self-satisfaction, starting with Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro, op.70. That that work was originally composed for horn, not cello (although Schumann suggested the cello as a possibility), would not have crossed the mind of any listener unfamiliar with the work.

Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata, which Ms. Chang recently recorded along with the concerto and to much acclaim, came next and was oddly situated between the lyrical and its mercilessly driving forces that hint to the Shostakovich of later years to come. That position is of course the very nature of the beast… but it is the performer’s duty to weld it all together. To get all the romantic material out in all its beauty and make the subtly troubled, repetitive phrases not stick out as alien. A lack of aggression was hardly the problem (certainly not on the cello’s part) – a more mechanically steady pulse might have bridged the cleavage between those elements in the Allegro non troppo. The clean separation of the two moods within and Scherzo assured that all the performers’ qualities emerged unadulterated. The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed final Allegro, where Mr. Tiempo proved his immense skill and musicality more than any other part of the recital, was a joy with all its extravagance, quirky humor, coarse irregularities… fiery beyond the call of duty. Quibbles or not as there may have been room for, the Shostakovich achieved two things: It made you lust for what she’d do with Prokofiev and made such an impression that it nearly eradicated the memory of the Schumann from just minutes before.

Other Reviews:

Daniel Ginsberg, Han-Na Chang: Her Technique Is Now Just One Facet to Marvel At (Washington Post, December 11)
A softer grain might have been expected in the Chopin Sonata in G-minor, op.65. But here, too, “stormy” took precedence over flowing beauty: a dragging metallic grain snuck into her tone. Not displeasing, necessarily, but like a reminder that the music had to be made; that it didn’t just flow forth from the cello. The cello sonata itself can come across as less than coherent – and might please those ears that find too many Chopin Nocturnes, Ballades, or Preludes agitatingly sweet more than full-out admirers of his piano œuvre. It might be a stretch – but the sonata reminds me, despite the more hectic mood (accentuated by Ms. Chang), of the Brahms D-minor piano concerto: A quilt of beautiful music and filler. More successful in instances than as a whole. The Scherzo – Allegro con brio for example seems to fly by, amusing along the way, but leaving no trace.

The Largo’s short, soft kiss, with a breathy (unsteady), longing, last note, is quite different: The strengths of brevity well coupled with warm expressiveness. The Finale, achingly individualistic, left one excited, perhaps, but confused as to why. A jump of 17 years back from the 1846 sonata shows a very different, 19-year-old Chopin in the Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, op.3. ‘Quaint’ might be the right word. Even if in a flashy way. But then Ms. Chang tackles all that is before her with such keen vigor and in such a strident way that little quaintness is allowed to survive. Quenching every bit from this gaily entertaining Chopin, beauty of tone took yet again a back-seat to impressiveness, size of tone, and unmasked energy. If that is a calculated trade-off and the audience’s reaction a good measure, it paid off nicely, indeed. And then, as if she had sensed the above-described lust, she gave a movement from the Prokofiev sonata as an encore. Sublime.

Christesmass with Henry VIII

Henry VIII as a young man
King Henry VIII as a young man
Since its founding in 1977, the Folger Consort has been bringing interesting programs of early music to Washington, usually in the beautiful Elizabethan theater of the Folger Shakespeare Library. The group's December concert is usually the best holiday music in the city, and this year's program was no exception. Greensleeves, a selection of Olde Tyme Englishe Musicke™, was intelligently programmed and beautifully performed. It is no surprise that a capacity audience had bought up every seat for the Wednesday performance (December 20). It may be difficult to come by a ticket at this point (tonight, December 22, at 8 pm, or tomorrow, December 23, at 2 and 5 pm), but if you can find one, you will not regret it.

Most of the program was anchored around the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547), a monarch who loved music, who composed and sang as well as being a patron. Of the three selections credited to Henry in this concert, the lovely carol Green Groweth the Holly stood out from the others. The best instrumental selections were arranged for three recorders, like the anonymous Ave rex angelorum and the arrangement of Christ Church Bells, with its opening repeated note motif meant to evoke tintinnabulation. Fa la sol, arranged for two recorders and violin, was also charming, the work of William Cornysh, one of Henry VIII's best chapel musicians. The singing -- by tenors Philip Cave and Robert Petillo, bass Bob McDonald, and countertenor Drew Minter -- was certainly good, in some cases exceptional, but not without a few slips here and there. The instrumental portions -- without the other half of the core group, lutenist Christopher Kendall (who has recently begun a new position at the University of Michigan) -- were fine on a range of instruments. In particular, guest artist Tom Zajac's contribution on the bagpipe, in dance selections from the Mulliner Book, was a hit.

Other Reviews:

Cecelia Porter, Folger Consort (Washington Post, December 19)
One of the best things about a Folger Consort program is the chance to discover something completely new, which is especially appreciated in the context of a Christmas concert, when much of the music presented year after year is so disappointingly the same. Ah, My Deare Son, by the other major composer patronized by Henry VIII, Robert Fayrfax, is a fascinating dialogue between Mary and Jesus ("Kiss thy mother, Jesu, with a laughing cheer"), imagined at the moment of Christ's birth and at the moment of the Crucifixion (although not all of it was performed). The anonymous Alone, alone, alone is another dialogue between mother and son, beautifully performed. Walter Lambe's Stella caeli, addressed to Mary, the star of heaven who can stop the plague, is the musical counterpart of the painted altarpieces invoked for their power against the plague. In a similar way, Richard Pygott's Quid petis, o fili is the musical counterpart to painted depictions of the Holy Family, with its child-like babbling of Jesus to his mommy and daddy. Cornysh's Ave Maria, which was announced from the stage as replacing a piece by Walter Lambe, was another happy find, its text not that of the standard prayer but one of the countless variations on it. A drink of Folger Wassail, sadly non-alcoholic, at intermission went nicely with the arrangement of The Somerset Wassail that concluded the concert.

The next concert by the Folger Consort, The Elizabethan Muse: Shakespeare, Byrd, and Dowland, will take place on January 5 and 6 at Washington National Cathedral. It should be a musically superlative way to celebrate the New Year.

21.12.06

Classical Month in Washington (February)

Last month | Next month

Classical Month in Washington is a monthly feature that appears on the first of the month. If there are concerts you would like to see included on our schedule, send your suggestions by e-mail (ionarts at gmail dot com). Happy listening!

February 1, 2007 (Thu)
2 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Diamond, Britten, Tchaikovsky
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)
Review -- Tim Smith (Baltimore Sun, February 3)

February 1, 2007 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Chee-Yun
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 2)

February 1, 2007 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Frédéric Yonnet, harmonica
Mansion at Strathmore

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
1:30 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Chee-Yun
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Verdi, Falstaff
Kirov Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 4)

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Britten, The Rape of Lucretia
Peabody Chamber Opera
Baltimore Theater Project
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 4)

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Minetti Quarttet
Embassy Series
Embassy of Austria
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 6)

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
King's Singers
Music Center at Strathmore

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
St. Lawrence String Quartet
With soprano Heidi Grant Murphy
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 2, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Chamber Music Series: Osman Kivrak and Friends
Katzen Arts Center, American University

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
11 am
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Casual Concert)
Music by Britten, Tchaikovsky
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
3 pm
Lully, Armide
Opera Lafayette
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 7)

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
5 pm
21st Century Consort: Error of the Moon
Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Verdi, Falstaff
Kirov Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Minetti Quarttet
Embassy Series
Embassy of Austria

February 3, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Chee-Yun
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
2 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Family Concert: Bring on the Brass
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
2 pm
Art Song Discovery Series
Vocal Arts Society
Glenview Mansion (Rockville, Md.)

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
St. Olaf Choir
With violist Charles Gray
Music Center at Strathmore

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Britten, The Rape of Lucretia
Peabody Chamber Opera
Baltimore Theater Project

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (concert performance)
Kirov Opera, with Valery Gergiev
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 8)

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Orpheus Singers: “With its Sweet Air” [FREE]
Phillips Collection

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Viviane Hagner (violin) and Tatiana Goncharova (piano)
Foundation for the Advancement of Education in the Sciences
Congregation Beth-El (8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Md.)

February 4, 2007 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Roger Chase (viola) and Michiko Otaki (piano) [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

February 5, 2007 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Shostakovich String Quartets
Emerson Quartet
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 6)

February 6, 2007 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Washington Bach Consort: Noontime Cantata Series [FREE]
Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 537 (Eric Plutz, organ)
Komm, du süße Todesstunde (BWV 161)
Church of the Epiphany (13th and G Streets NW)

February 6, 2007 (Tue)
7 pm
Appreciating Chamber Music through Performance: Beethoven's Archduke Trio
Members of Garth Newel Piano Quartet
Corcoran Gallery of Art

February 6, 2007 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Shostakovich String Quartets
Emerson Quartet
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 10)

February 7, 2007 (Wed)
7 pm
Jose Franch-Ballester, clarinet
Embassy Series and Young Concert Artists
Residence of the Spanish Ambassador (2300 Foxhall Road NW)

February 7, 2007 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Shostakovich String Quartets (and one piano quartet)
Emerson Quartet with pianist Joseph Kalichstein
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 10)

February 7, 2007 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Arianna Zukerman (soprano) with Eugenia Zukerman (flute) [FREE]
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Review -- Ronni Reich (Washington Post, February 9)

February 7, 2007 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Washington Concert Opera
Kreeger Museum

February 8, 2007 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Iván Fischer, conductor (all-Mendelssohn program)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 9)

February 8, 2007 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano) and Stephan Loges (baritone)
With pianist Roger Vignoles (Shakespeare in Washington)
Vocal Arts Society
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Daniel Ginsberg (Washington Post, February 10)

February 8, 2007 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Mardi Gras with Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Music Center at Strathmore

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Iván Fischer, conductor (all-Mendelssohn program)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Einar Røttingen, piano
Embassy Series
Residence of the Norwegian Ambassador (3401 Massachusetts Avenue NW)

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Mozart, Così fan tutte
Washington National Opera, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists
Generation O Special Event
Washington National Opera Studio (6925 Willow Street NW)
Review -- Michael Lodico (Ionarts, February 11)

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Alexander String Quartet
Music by Mozart, Peterson, and Beethoven
Corcoran Gallery of Art

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm (lecture at 7 pm)
A New Songbook (music by Ades, Del Tredici, Golijov, and others)
Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano), Leah Inger, Bonnie Lander, Andrea Moore (sopranos), Ryan Scott Ebright (baritone)
Evolution Contemporary Music Series
An die Musik LIVE (Baltimore, Md.)

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Mardi Gras
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Handel, Agrippina
Virginia Opera
George Mason University Center for the Arts (Fairfax, Va.)
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 11)

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Paris Piano Trio
With violist Bruno Pasquier
The Barns at Wolf Trap

February 9, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Music of Daniel Bernard Roumain [FREE]
Library of Congress
Review -- Grace Jean (Washington Post, February 12)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Woodley Ensemble (music by Richefort and modern French composers)
St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Capitol Hill)
Review -- Sarah Hoover (Washington Post, February 12)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Happy Birthday, Mozart
University of Maryland School of Music
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Left Bank Concert Society: Divas, Tempestuous and Divine
With Linda Mabbs (soprano) and Dolores Ziegler (mezzo-soprano)
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Cecelia Porter (Washington Post, February 12)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
7:30 pm
From Shakespeare to the Sephardim
Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano and Howard Bass, lutenist
Presented by Bach Sinfonia
Woodside United Methodist Church (Silver Spring, Md.)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Orlando Consort: Food, Wine, and Song
Music by Compere and Robert Morton
Dumbarton Concerts
Dumbarton Church

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Iván Fischer, conductor (all-Mendelssohn program)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Mardi Gras
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
National Philharmonic
With pianist Carter Brey
Music by Adams, Elgar, Stravinsky
Music Center at Strathmore

February 10, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Axelrod Quartet
Renwick Gallery

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
2 pm
Handel, Agrippina
Virginia Opera
George Mason University Center for the Arts (Fairfax, Va.)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
2 pm
Mozart, Così fan tutte
Washington National Opera, Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists
Washington National Opera Studio (6925 Willow Street NW)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
2 and 4 pm
National Symphony Orchestra Children's Concert
With Iván Fischer, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Tim Page (Washington Post, February 12)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Love You Madly! (music by Duke Ellington and others)
Washington Musica Viva
Atlas Performing Arts Center

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Mardi Gras
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Happy Birthday, Mozart
University of Maryland School of Music
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic
With Elisabeth Adkins (Beethoven, Violin Concerto)
Bishop Ireton High School (201 Cambridge Road, Alexandria, Va.)
Review -- Mark J. Estren (Washington Post, February 13)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Shape Note Singing
Led by John W. del Re
Mansion at Strathmore

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Accordia (dir. Philip Cave), “Orpheus and his Lute” [FREE]
Phillips Collection

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Terrence Wilson, piano [FREE]
National Academy of Sciences (2100 C Street NW)
Review -- Grace Jean (Washington Post, February 13)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
4:30 pm
Contemporary Music Forum, with Robert Baker (tenor)
Corcoran Gallery of Art

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
5 pm
Chamber Concert
Members of Capital City Symphony
Bethesda Presbyterian Church (Bethesda, Md.)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Till Fellner (piano) [FREE]
Music by J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Kurtág, and Schubert
National Gallery of Art
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 13)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
7 pm
Richard Goode, piano
WPAS
Music Center at Strathmore
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 17)

February 11, 2007 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Axelrod Quartet
Renwick Gallery

February 13, 2007 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Atlantic String Quartet
Music Center at Strathmore
Review -- Michael Lodico (Ionarts February 15)

February 15, 2007 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Renaud and Gautier Capuçon
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 16)

February 15, 2007 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Wagner in Switzerland: Genius in Residence
Lecture by Prof. Donald Crosby
Wagner Society of Washington, D.C.
George Washington University, Funger Hall (2201 G Street NW)

February 15, 2007 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Orli Shaham, piano (Messiaen, Oiseaux exotiques)
Music by Wagner, Debussy, Berlioz
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)
Review -- Ronni Reich (Washington Post, February 17)

February 15, 2007 (Thu)
8 pm
Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf [FREE]
Library of Congress
Review -- Robert Battey (Washington Post, February 17)

February 16, 2007 (Fri)
12 noon
Friday Morning Music Club Orchestra
Sumner School
Review -- Cecelia Porter (Washington Post, February 19)

February 16, 2007 (Fri)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Renaud and Gautier Capuçon
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 16, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Cuarteto Casals
Friends of Music Series
Dumbarton Oaks
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 19)

February 16, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Orli Shaham, piano (Messiaen, Oiseaux exotiques)
Music by Wagner, Debussy, Berlioz
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 16, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Robert Mann and Geoff Nutall (violins), Nicholas Mann (viola), and Bonnie Hampton (cello) [FREE]
Music by Mann, Mozart, and Bartók (6th quartet)
Library of Congress
Review -- Joan Reinthaler (Washington Post, February 19)

February 17, 2007 (Sat)
4 pm
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Music by Chopin, Liszt, Messiaen
WPAS
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 19)

February 17, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Washington Bach Consort
Solo soprano cantatas, with Elizabeth Futral
Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center

February 17, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Renaud and Gautier Capuçon
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 17, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Cuarteto Casals
Friends of Music Series
Dumbarton Oaks

February 17, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
University of Maryland Symphony and Choirs
Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms; works by Brahms
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
United States Air Force Band
With pianist Abbey Simon and Conductor Emeritus Col (Ret) Arnald D. Gabriel
DAR Constitution Hall

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Silver-Garburg Duo (piano, four hands) [FREE]
Phillips Collection

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Marina Piccinini (flute) and Emanuele Segre (guitar)
Foundation for the Advancement of Education in the Sciences
Congregation Beth-El (8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Md.)

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
5 pm
Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic
With Elisabeth Adkins (Beethoven, Violin Concerto)
Church of the Epiphany (1317 G Street NW)

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Mark Kaplan (violin) and Yael Weiss (piano) [FREE]
Music by Carter, Feigin, and Sessions
Sixty-second American Music Festival
National Gallery of Art
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 20)

February 18, 2007 (Sun)
7 pm
Cuarteto Casals
Friends of Music Series
Dumbarton Oaks

February 20, 2007 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Amedeo Modigliani Quartet
WPAS
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Robert Battey (Washington Post, February 22)

February 21, 2007 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Prokofiev, Cinderella
Bolshoi Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 22)

February 21, 2007 (Wed)
8 pm
Venice Baroque Orchestra (Andrea Marcon, director) [FREE]
With violinist Giuliano Carmignola
Music by Vivaldi (plus one piece by Tartini)
Library of Congress

February 21, 2007 (Wed)
8 pm
Dale Underwood, saxophone [FREE]
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 22, 2007 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Janine Jansen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 23)

February 22, 2007 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Prokofiev, Cinderella
Bolshoi Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 22, 2007 (Thu)
8 pm
University of Maryland Dance Department
Waylon Anderson choreography set to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 22, 2007 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with Marin Alsop)
Music by Philip Glass, with film by Frans Lanting
Music Center at Strathmore
Review -- Charles T. Downey (Ionarts, February 23)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
1:30 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Janine Jansen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
7 pm
Rebecca Webber (soprano) and Douglas A. Beck (piano) [FREE]
Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, Va.)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Prokofiev, Cinderella
Bolshoi Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Marc Hantaï (flute), Alessandro Moccia (violin), Alix Verzier (cello), and Jérôme Hantaï (fortepiano) [FREE]
Music by J. C. Bach, Haydn, Mozart
Library of Congress
Review -- Michael Lodico (Ionarts, February 26)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with Marin Alsop)
Music by Philip Glass, with film by Frans Lanting
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
University of Maryland Dance Department
Waylon Anderson choreography set to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Andreas Haefliger, piano
Swiss Ambassador's Residence
Review -- Jens F. Laurson (Ionarts, February 27)

February 23, 2007 (Fri)
8 pm
Vivaldi, Four Seasons
Tafelmusik, with Chinese pipa, Indian serenghi, blah, blah, blah
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)
Review -- Robert Battey (Washington Post, February 26)

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
1 pm
Metropolitan Opera Council
Middle Atlantic Region auditions
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
1:30 and 7:30 pm
Minkus, Don Quixote
Bolshoi Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
6 pm
Emerson String Quartet
Quartets by Haydn, Ives, Mendelssohn
National Museum of Natural History

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Music from Japan [FREE]
Junko Tahara, biwa (lute); Kohei Nishikawa, flutes; Akikuni Takahashi, percussion
Freer Gallery of Art

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with Marin Alsop)
Music by Philip Glass, with film by Frans Lanting
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With violinist Janine Jansen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Berlin Piano Quartet
Music by Fauré, Schumann, Mendelssohn
Dumbarton Concerts
Dumbarton Church
Review -- Michael Lodico (Ionarts, February 27)

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
James Stern, violin [FREE]
Solo repertory for violin
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 24, 2007 (Sat)
8 pm
Sound the Trumpets: Music for a Royal Occasion
Katzen Arts Center, American University

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
1:30 and 7:30 pm
Minkus, Don Quixote
Bolshoi Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with Marin Alsop)
Music by Philip Glass, with film by Frans Lanting
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
Sound the Trumpets: Music for a Royal Occasion
Katzen Arts Center, American University

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
3 pm
United States Air Force Band
With the Empire Brass
DAR Constitution Hall

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
4 pm
Stephen Beus (piano) [FREE]
Phillips Collection

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Alan Feinberg (piano) [FREE]
Music by Beiderbecke, Cage, Feldman, Ives, and Nancarrow
Sixty-second American Music Festival
National Gallery of Art (East Building Auditorium)
Review -- Andrew Lindemann Malone (Washington Post, February 27)

February 25, 2007 (Sun)
8 pm
Franklin Cox, cello [FREE]
New music
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 26, 2007 (Mon)
12:10 pm
Salem Academy Glee Club [FREE]
National Museum of Women in the Arts

February 26, 2007 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Choral Arts Society of Washington (French chansons) [FREE]
La Maison Française

February 26, 2007 (Mon)
8 pm
Elisabeth Adkins (violin) and Edward Newman (piano) [FREE]
Music by Debussy, Strauss, and Rozsa
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)

February 27, 2007 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano) and Julius Drake (piano)
Vocal Arts Society
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Review -- Stephen Brookes (Washington Post, March 1)

February 27, 2007 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Washington Musica Viva
Music by Smetana, Martinů, Nelhybel, and Brahms
Embassy of the Czech Republic

February 28, 2007 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Balanchine, Midsummer Night's Dream
New York City Ballet
Kennedy Center Opera House

February 28, 2007 (Wed)
8 pm
Artis-Quartett Wien [FREE]
Music by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, French
Library of Congress

February 28, 2007 (Wed)
8 pm
Chris Gekker, trumpet [FREE]
Classical and jazz program
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, Md.)