Classical Music Buzz > Interchanging Idioms
Interchanging Idioms
Chip Michael
Discussions about Classical Music, Concerts, Festivals, Operas, Recordings, Films and the people who work in the industry.
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The celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes gives his first U.S. performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck on November 25 and 27, followed soon after by a performance of the work with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Roger Norrington (Nov 30 and Dec 1). Early in 2012 he plays it again with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Zinman (Jan 12–14, 17), before turning to the Third Concerto, which he performs with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Herbert Blomstedt (Jan 19-21). Beethoven’s music figures prominently throughout Andsnes’s 2011-12 season and beyond, with numerous concerto performances and recitals across Europe, North America, and Japan, along with his debut recording for Sony Classical.

“Preparing myself for my first performance of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto this past summer, when I performed it with La Scala Philharmonic and Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, I came to understand why the legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter called it his favorite concerto. It’s an astonishing piece – quite long at 36 minutes, and demonstrating all the breadth and vision we associate with Beethoven’s music. The First Concerto is the last of the composer’s five piano concertos that I’ve come to play, and I’m thrilled to be playing it this season with such wonderful conductors and orchestras. - Leif Ove Andsnes

Last month, Andsnes played Beethoven’s Third Concerto with Jirí Belohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London and on tour in Spain, and the First Concerto with Andris Nelsons and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein. Throughout the season, he performs concertos – conducting from the piano – with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Mahler Chamber Orchestra. His May 2012 tour with the latter ensemble includes performances of the First and Third Concertos on tour in Italy, Dresden, Prague and Bergen. The Prague concerts will be recorded live by Sony Classical; they represent the first part of a multi-year project entitled “Beethoven – A Journey,” which will present Andsnes playing and recording all five of Beethoven’s piano concertos

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The soprano fulfills a lifelong dream of recording songs from not only Spain but also Cuba, Brazil and France


After two recitals on Deutsche Grammophon featuring works by Mozart, Haydn, Handel and their contemporaries, French soprano Patricia Petibon turns her attention to Spain and then other countries for songs and arias. This unique and personal collection of works all revolve around the idea of melancholy. According to Petibon, “at the center [of the idea] is the character of Salud in Falla’s La vida breve. She embodies the melancholy of the title, the loss of hope. Melancholy is a balance in life, a sadness that binds us to death. Salud represents the darkest side of melancholy that tends toward tragedy. But this sort of melancholy can also depict the radiance of childhood, of joy and laughter. What I wanted to explore through this disc was the journey between these two poles.”

Throughout her life Petibon has been attracted to Spain and its music. Early on she added Spanish songs to her recitals and later traveled to Madrid to perform. It was during performances in Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda in Vienna with Plácido Domingo that she found herself surrounded by many performers from all types of Spanish-language backgrounds. Working with them gave Petibon new insight: “Spanish artists have a physical sense of the music: for them, it draws its strength from the body, and there I can’t resist making a connection with Baroque music, with dance, of course, and extreme characters – think of Médée or Armide. It also shares the same kind of quality of roughness, of rawness, and voices are used to express emotions, not just to make a lovely sound.”

“But there are endless subtleties in Ms. Petibon’s thrilling voice, a vehicle for myriad shades of rage, pain and yearning … her voice rich in both its powerful top range and its mellower lower notes. She takes abundant liberties without sacrificing good taste.” – The New York Times review of Rosso

For repertoire choices Petibon has included a variety of works. The famous Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos is joined by works of Granados, Montsalvatge, Turina and others. In addition, Petibon includes the world-premiere of a new song cycle written especially for her by French composer Nicolas Bacri: Melodías de la melancholia. With a text by the Paris-based Colombian writer Álvaro Escobar Molina, the cycle allows Petibon to “complete a melancholy journey with a contemporary work, an opening to the future, and a blend of our two cultures.” This cross-cultural conversation and sense of a journey permeates the selections and the overall structure of the recital.

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Join Colorado Symphony December 16-17 for Marin Alsop conducting the ever popular Too Hot to Handel

This R&B, jazz, and gospel reworking of Handel’s “Messiah” has audiences rocking in the aisles. Join Marin Alsop, the Colorado Symphony, the Colorado Symphony Chorus and special guest vocalists for the 14th annual jazzy retelling of Handel’s great classic.

Too Hot To Handel
FRI 12/16 - 7:30 p.m.
SAT 12/17 - 7:30 p.m.
Boettcher Concert Hall

Marin Alsop, conductor laureate
Colorado Symphony Chorus
Mary Louise Burke, associate director

Cynthia Renee Saffron, soprano
Vaneese Thomas,
Lawrence Clayton, tenor
Clifford Carter, piano
Dana Landry, organ
Clint de Ganon, drums

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Opera Colorado will be holding auditions for chorus members on Sunday, December 11 from 12 pm to 3 pm at the Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education in the Historic Tramway Building. The Opera Colorado chorus is currently seeking tenors, baritones & basses for the 2012 Season productions of The Marriage of Figaro (Italian), Florencia en el Amazonas (Spanish), and Il Trovatore (Italian). In addition, we have limited audition slots available for sopranos and mezzo-sopranos. Singers who have auditioned for the chorus in the past two years do not need to re-audition at this time. Applicants who are being considered will be contacted and given an audition time.

The Opera Colorado Chorus is a largely volunteer group. Participants are paid a stipend for each production to cover parking and transportation costs. To request an audition slot, interested singers should send - VIA E-MAIL - their résumé, or a simple list of previous experience to Brad Trexell at Please include your name, e-mail address and telephone number. Singers will be asked to sing one operatic aria or classical art song of their choice. An accompanist will be provided.

DATE: Sunday, December 11
TIME: 12 pm - 3 pm
WHERE: Robert and Judi Newman Center for Theatre Education in the Historic Tramway Building at 1101 13th Street, Denver
(Purple Studio on 2nd Floor)

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Directed by Arin Arbus in Her Opera Debut
“The most gifted new director to emerge this year.” – The New York Times [2009]

Houston Grand Opera’s new production of Benjamin Britten’s intimate but intensely gripping chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia takes place on February 3–11, 2012 and features the young American theatre director Arin Arbus in her operatic debut. Arbus is the associate artistic director of Theatre for a New Audience, a classical off-Broadway company. She has made headlines in past seasons with her compelling direction of three Shakespeare productions, including her 2009 Othello, which received six Lortel nominations. In early 2010 she was featured in the New York Times, which spotlighted her work leading a theatre company of inmates at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in upstate New York; according to Arbus, it was her work there that re-ignited her passion for directing and storytelling. Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, last heard at HGO as Venus in Tannhäuser, sings the title role in HGO’s new Lucretia, which is led by Scottish conductor Rory Macdonald in his company debut.

In her notes for the production, Arbus observes: “Lucretia was first performed in 1946 - after WWII, after the Blitz, after over 300,000 Britons had died. As his homeland was reeling from this devastation, Britten was working on Lucretia – which attempts to harness song to human tragedy. Undoubtedly, as he wrote this opera about personal sacrifice and grief which gives way to political development, Britten was thinking of England’s own attempts to grapple with those very issues.” She continues, “On one level, the opera is deeply political. Lucretia’s rape and subsequent death are widely known as the events that provoked the Romans to revolt against the occupying Etruscan forces, which ultimately led to the establishment of the Roman Republic. The story is both mythic and intimate. I hope to preserve these inherent ambiguities. We will set the action in Rome in the historical period, but we won’t be literal or historical in the design.”

HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers describes the Britten work: “It is an incredibly searing piece; hard to watch, cathartic, and very beautiful. The opera is about unmotivated acts of violence and the power play of men over women. It was written in the 1940s, when the world had witnessed the most extraordinarily violent event in history (WWII), so it is very much a product of those years.” He adds, “Arin Arbus is emerging from a new, very young generation of American directors who work with real rigor and seriousness on Broadway. She has had extraordinary success directing Shakespeare, exploring the relationships between people, finding the ambiguity of the characters who behave in a certain way.”

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"Charismatic and compulsively watchable.” –New York Observer on Pisaroni's Leporello

In the first of several high-profile appearances this season, Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni earned universal acclaim for his star turn as Leporello in the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, which ran from October 13-November 11. The New York Observer deemed Pisaroni "charismatic and compulsively watchable," while the New York Times enthused: "The bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni was a dynamic Leporello, singing with a muscular voice, rich colorings and agility." He sang alongside such talents as Peter Mattei and Mariusz Kwiecien (as Don Giovanni), Barbara Frittoli (Donna Elvira) and Ramón Vargas (Don Ottavio), led by Met principal conductor Fabio Luisi. The Financial Times singled out his Leporello for special praise, saying, "Pisaroni ignored buffo clichés as Leporello, making the servant eminently serious, eminently sonorous and essentially clever." The Daily News went further, stating: "The evening really belonged to bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, as Don G's put-upon servant, Leporello. His performance packed sexiness and full-blooded zest."

For those who couldn't catch the Met's Don Giovanni, Pisaroni turned heads as Leporello in a lauded 2010 Glyndebourne production of the opera that was documented on an EMI Classics DVD, released this spring. BBC Music magazine extolled the DVD as one to have listeners "shivering with the best of them," adding that "Gerald Finley as the Don and Luca Pisaroni's nimble Leporello play a thought-provoking double act."

Next up for Pisaroni are his performances as Caliban – alongside Plácido Domingo and Joyce DiDonato – in The Enchanted Island, the Met's freshly conceived Shakespearean tableau of music by Handel, Vivaldi, and Rameau, conducted by William Christie (December 31-January 30). He makes his Chicago Lyric Opera debut in February 2012, reprising his acclaimed portrayal of Argante for a new production of Handel's Rinaldo (February 29-March 24). Of his performances in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne last summer, Opera Today wrote: "Argante can be a relatively small part, but Luca Pisaroni made it central, by the sheer force of personality in his singing." After playing a signature role – Mozart's Figaro – in Munich and Vienna in the spring, Pisaroni returns to the U.S. next summer to sing the title role in the Rossini rarity Maometto II at Santa Fe Opera, a world premiere of the score's new critical edition.

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Goldman’s decade of accomplishments includes Centennial season celebration, completion of Second Century campaign, Keeping Score multimedia project, 10-year Gustav Mahler recording project and expansion of education programs

ohn D. Goldman, President of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) since 2001, has announced he will step down in October 2012, completing eleven years of distinguished accomplishments central to raising the artistic profile, expanding education programs, and strengthening the use of media and technology at the 100-year-old arts institution. Sakurako Fisher has been named President-Elect and will be officially elected to the office of President at the Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting on October 27, 2012. Upon the end of his term, John Goldman will remain a member of the SFS Board of Governors.

John D. Goldman’s many accomplishments in 10 years to date as Board President include the launch and completion of the Symphony’s Second Century campaign to support the Orchestra’s artistic, education, and community programs. The funds raised will strengthen the organization’s commitment to artistic and musical excellence, help develop new audiences, fund artist and composer residencies and commissioned works, and help assure the organization’s financial stability. Goldman was at the helm during the planning and the ongoing celebration of the Orchestra’s Centennial season in 2011-12, highlighted by the return of the groundbreaking American Mavericks Festival, the visits of six leading American orchestras for two-concert residencies, and the expansion of education and community programs. Also, during his tenure the Orchestra launched and successfully completed the globally-acclaimed, decade-long Gustav Mahler recording project on SFS Media, which encompassed the recordings of all of the composer’s symphonies and works for voice, chorus and orchestra, a cycle that won seven Grammy Awards.

With Goldman as President, the SFS conceived and created the $25 million Keeping Score project, producing a national television and radio series and websites designed to make classical music more widely accessible for all. Keeping Score, an unprecedented media endeavor in the Orchestra world, encompasses eight hour-long composer documentaries, eight live concert films, a Peabody Award-winning radio series, and a highly-praised educational music website with interactive segments on the composers. The Symphony’s media and technology endeavors significantly expanded during Goldman’s leadership as President, further establishing the SFS as an innovator in reaching audiences far beyond the concert experience at Davies Symphony Hall.

A member of the SFS’s Board of Governors since 1996, John D. Goldman succeeded Nancy Bechtle as President of the San Francisco Symphony in 2001. He was formerly the Chairman of Willis Bay Area, Inc., and the Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Insurance Services. He is the son of the late Richard N. Goldman and the late Rhoda Haas Goldman, influential leaders in the community and international affairs. Active in the community and philanthropic activities, Goldman was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2010.

Prior to joining Goldman Insurance in 1986, he served in the Office of the Legislative Analyst for the State of California from 1975 to 1978, and as Assistant Secretary of Transportation for the State of California from 1978 to 1981. He served as President of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma Counties , and the Peninsula . Goldman also chaired the Stanford University Athletic Board and was a member of the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College. He currently serves on the board of I Have A Dream (IHAD) Foundation – East Palo Alto , is a board member of FACE AIDS, and is a trustee of several family foundations.

Sakurako Fisher has been a member of the San Francisco Symphony’s Board of Governors since 1992 and is currently the Vice President of the Board of Governors and Chair of the Development Steering Committee. Active in several arts-related and educational institutions, she serves on the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution as its vice chair and chairs its development committee. She also sits on the U.S. advisory boards for the Union Centrale des Arts et Decoratifs and the Centre Pompidou. She is a Stanford graduate in international relations and has worked for Cargill and Citibank. Sakurako Fisher is an advisory board member of the Department of Humanities and Sciences and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford and also serves as trustee and former vice chair of development of the Thacher School in Ojai , California . Twice chair of the board of ODC/Dance, Fisher has also served on the boards of Stern Grove and the Asian Art Museum Foundation and has recently completed a term as vice chair of the board of The Exploratorium. She has also served on the boards of the American Hospital of Paris, the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, and Alliance Française, and was awarded Le Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the government of France. Fisher Is a passionate music lover who studied koto and flute growing up and continues to immerse herself in music of all kinds, whether exploring the worlds of Beethoven and Mahler or discovering her family's favorite bands. She is married to William Fisher, with whom she has three children.

“It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as President of the San Francisco Symphony,” said Goldman. “To lead this organization through a time of incredible growth and artistic success, working alongside the always-inspiring Michael Tilson Thomas and our exceptional Executive Director, Brent Assink, as well as the many committed donors, board and staff members who contribute their heart, vision, and soul to this organization. I am confident that Sako Fisher is clearly ready, willing, and able to lead the San Francisco Symphony into its next century, and I welcome the opportunity to work with her through this transition year and into the future.”

“John Goldman has been a superb leader of the San Francisco Symphony for the past decade,” said SFS Executive Director Brent Assink. His energy, wisdom, dedication, and good humor have inspired us all. He has encouraged us to take risks, to grow in our service to the community, and to find new ways to connect with diverse audiences. His generosity of spirit is boundless; his impact on the Symphony has been equally broad. On a personal note, I will miss our constant interaction but know that he will remain an active participant in the life of the Symphony for years to come.”

“John has been a close creative partner and friend for more than a decade and his love of music and passion for the orchestra is inspiring,” said SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. “His vision and commitment for this Orchestra and for sustaining its future, both on stage and far beyond the walls of Davies Symphony Hall, has guided all of us. While he may be resigning as President, I’m sure his presence and his contributions will be felt and appreciated by all of us for a long time.”

“I’m deeply honored by the support of the San Francisco Symphony and my colleagues on the board, and am excited to serve as the next President of this incredible, vibrant, and forward-thinking institution,” said Sakurako Fisher. “I’ve long admired John’s leadership and vision for not just championing the musicians’ incredible level of artistry but continuing to grow and broaden the reach and impact of their music. I am excited to work with everyone at the Symphony to reach even greater heights.”

The newly-elected members of the Symphony’s Board of Governors are: Derek L. Dean, a partner at Exetor Group and board member, San Francisco Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Robert G. O’Donnell, former senior vice president at Capital Research & Management Company and Director, Sequoia Hospital Foundation and Summit Public Schools; Trine Sorensen, formerly of Accenture Northern California and a board member at Music at Menlo; David R. Strand, chief executive officer of LifeNexus and board member of American Public Media, Minnesota Public Radio, and Southern California Public Radio; Ge Wang, assistant professor, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University and co-founder, chief technology officer, and chief creative officer at Smule; and Sanford I. Weill, chairman of Carnegie Hall and chairman emeritus and chief executive officer of Citigroup.

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The breathtaking "Messiah by Candlelight" returns to the intimate setting of
Montview BoulevardPresbyterian Church

Messiah by Candlelight – the Colorado Symphony's breathtaking production of Handel's Messiah – will return to the intimate setting of Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church this holiday season for three inspirational performances on Tuesday, December 13, Wednesday, December 14 and a sold out performance on Sunday, December 18. Presented for the first time in 2010, the Colorado Symphony's Messiah by Candlelight is one of the most memorable and poignant performances of the holiday season. For 2011, the Colorado Symphony, led by resident conductor Scott O’Neil, is joined by the Colorado Symphony Chorus and celebrated guest soloists including soprano Suzanne Ramo, mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala, tenor Steven Sanders and baritone Robert Gardner. Concertgoers will cherish the opportunity to experience this inspirational choral favorite in a traditional setting that highlights its brilliantly moving lyrical work and rich vocal arrangements. Messiah by Candlelight will undoubtedly bring audiences to their feet once again in 2011! Tickets are on sale now and start at $25.

Please note: The December 18 performance is sold out.

A traditional December event around the world, Handel’s Messiah is synonymous with Christmas music. The most famous oratorio ever written, Messiah was composed in 1741 in less than three weeks. It became Handel’s most beloved masterwork. Written as a meditation on the idea of a Messiah, rather than a narrative drama about the life of Christ, Handel's Messiah represents, for many, a deeply loved annual tradition to share with friends and family. From the thrills of the "Hallelujah Chorus" to the dazzling "But who may abide the day of His coming" and the exquisiteness of the soprano aria "I know that my Redeemer liveth," Messiah is replete with joyful sincerity.

Tickets: General Admission tickets are $25, $51 and $87, and are on sale now at, the Colorado Symphony Box Office: (303) 623-7876 or (877) 292-7979 or in-person in the lobby of Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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Chorus Rehearsing at Lambert Monday, November 20 to help ease holiday travel stress

Thanksgiving is the busiest, and perhaps most trying travel time of the year. The St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON® Chorus hopes to alleviate some of that transportation stress through the power of music.

On Monday, November 21, conductor Kevin McBeth and the entire IN UNISON Chorus will take their rehearsal on the road, performing for airline passengers at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The group, comprised of 125 singers from churches across the St. Louis region, will rehearse its upcoming A Gospel Christmas concert at the airport’s new Meet and Greet area, located by the baggage claim carousels.

It’s hoped the rehearsal will help get Lambert travelers in the holiday spirit as they head out for Thanksgiving. The group will begin its rehearsal at 7pm; it’s expected to last about an hour.

Special programs are planned at Powell Hall throughout the month of December and include:

· Thursday, December 8: A Gospel Christmas featuring vocalist Larnelle Harris and the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, conducted by Kevin McBeth.

· December 9-10: Michael W. Smith’s Christmas pairs the contemporary Christian singer with the St. Louis Symphony for two amazing evenings of holiday music.

· December 16-18: The St. Louis Symphony Holiday Celebration is a favorite annual tradition. Come and enjoy fantastic music from the St. Louis Symphony, your favorite carols and even a special surprise or two from Santa. The fun is presented by Macy’s.

· December 29-30: The Movie Music of John Williams will delight movie fans of all ages. Enjoy iconic movie scores performed live by the St. Louis Symphony from favorites such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars

· December 31: New Year’s Eve Celebration: Join Music Director David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony for a magical evening designed to ring in 2012 in style! The concert is presented by M&I Wealth Management.

Tickets for all of the St. Louis Symphony’s holiday concerts may be purchased on-line at or by phone at 314-534-1700.

In addition, the St. Louis Symphony is offering “gift packages” for Mom, Dad and families. These special ticket deals offer some of the season’s most popular concerts at great prices and are perfect for holiday gift-giving. For more information on the ticket gift packages, visit

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On November 22, Trinity Wall Street presents “Odes”, a concert celebrating St. Cecilia’s Day to be given by Tenet, one of New York’s preeminent vocal ensembles (Trinity Church: Broadway at Wall Street). Led by artistic director Jolle Greenleaf, Tenet welcomes violinist and conductor Scott Metcalfe as guest music director for the program. Metcalfe will conduct a stellar ensemble that includes sopranos Jolle Greenleaf and Molly Quinn, countertenors Geoffrey Williams and Ryland Angel, tenors Sumner Thompson and Scott Mello, and basses Jesse Blumberg and Mischa Bouvier. Their program features music by celebrated English composer Henry Purcell, alongside music for Baroque trumpet performed by Kris Kwapis. A preview performance of “Odes” will be given the preceding day, on Monday, November 21, in Trinity Wall Street’s St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway at Fulton Street).

The program, an invigorating mix of odes, arias, and trumpet-based instrumental works, showcases the range of Henry Purcell’s work, produced in a brilliant career cut short at the age of 36. The earliest recorded musical celebrations of St. Cecilia’s Day took place in London on November 22, 1683, but the tradition may be older still. The English celebrations were established by a band of musicians called the Musical Society, whose revels included a specially commissioned “Ode to St. Cecilia” by Purcell that was performed by the combined choirs of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Chapel Royal. That ode, “Hail! Bright Cecilia,” will be performed on November 22, as will other of the composer’s Cecilian odes: “Raise, raise the voice” and “Welcome to all the pleasures.”

A prolific composer of odes and welcome songs, Purcell also wrote a variety of music for the London stage, including interludes, incidental pieces, and operas, masques, and semi-operas: works with lavish staging, spoken dialogue, and elaborate musical set-pieces. The “Odes” program at Trinity Wall Street offers selected examples of these, among them the Sonata for trumpet and strings, music from The Fairy-Queen, and the overture from the masque in Timon of Athens. It is songs, however, that form the evening’s centerpiece, sung one voice to a part by Tenet’s distinguished soloists and supported by its seven instrumentalists. Purcell’s first welcome song for King James II, celebrating his return from summer vacation and titled “Why are all the muses mute?”, is notable for its unconventional opening, fine arias, and moving closing chorus.

Trinity Wall Street presents Tenet
Tuesday, November 22 at 7pm
Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street)

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