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Clarke Bustard
The Virginia Classical Music Blog
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Richmond Symphony
soloists, Richmond Symphony Chorus
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Dec. 6, Richmond CenterStage

This year’s Richmond Symphony performance of Handel’s “Messiah” was the closest to complete – omitting only five brief numbers in Part 2 – that I can recall. It was also one of the most dramatically charged in recent memory.

Erin R. Freeman, the orchestra’s choral director and outgoing associate conductor – she takes over the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus next season – obtained highly dynamic, truly theatrical treatments of many of the oratorio’s choruses, notably the sequence at the beginning of Part 2 that frames the alto air “He was despised,” and set markedly brisk tempos for many airs and choruses.

Aside from the soprano air “Rejoice greatly” in Part 1, which sounded rushed, speedy paces added fleetness to melodies, more emphatic expression to texts and greater contrast with the slower or more lyrical adjoining numbers.

The chorus “He trusted in God” and the bass air “Why do the nations so furiously rage,” both in Part 2, came across with real fury. The chorus “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,” in Part 1, which can sound rather ceremonial, here was a joyful outburst.

The chief beneficiary of the additional numbers was the Richmond-bred tenor William Ferguson, a regular in these Christmas-season performances, who in some years has played little more than a cameo role with just two airs and a recitative.

Ferguson sang and acted to especially potent effect in “All they that see Him” and “Behold and see if there be any sorrow,” the numbers framing “He trusted in God” in Part 2.

Soprano Michelle Areyzaga was in fine voice in “Come unto Him, all ye that labor” in Part 1 and “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” opening Part 3, and got a welcome additional showcase in “If God be for us,” the air preceding the final choral sequence, “Worthy is the Lamb”-“Amen.”

Mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen’s near-contralto was heard to best effect in “He was despised.”

Bass Sumner Thompson made aural and expressive feasts of his big numbers, “Why do the nations” and “The trumpet shall sound,” the latter a fine duet with trumpeter Rolla Durham.

The Richmond Symphony Chorus, its singers mixed rather than divided into sections, sang with energy, expressiveness and generally excellent diction, but with a few lapses in ensemble, mostly in attacks.

A chamber-scale orchestral contingent – 22 strings, two oboes, plus continuo of organ, harpsichord and bassoon, with two trumpets and timpani in “Hallelujah” and the final choruses – played stylishly and in good balance with the large chorus.

The rationale the symphony has given over the years for performing “Messiah” with substantial cuts has been that listeners would find the complete oratorio too long.

The large audience attending this performance showed none of the tell-tale signs of restlessness. Chances are, the roaring ovation at the end would not have been diminished if the five missing numbers, adding about 8 minutes, were performed as well.

Maybe next year.
4 months ago | |
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Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

SCOUTING REPORT

* In the spirit of the season . . . It’s all good.


Dec. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Pro Musica Hebraica:
Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet
Erin Keefe, violin
Charles Yang, violin
Cindy Wu, viola
Nicholas Canellakis, cello
Timothy Lovelace, piano
Weinberg-Bellison: “Bobe-mayses” (“Grandmother’s Tales”)
Zeitlin: “Hasidic Dance”
Engel-Bellison: “Taksim”
Gardner: “Hebraic Fantasy”
Bellison: “In the Field”/“Song of a Jewish Shepherd”
Yedida: “World Dance” from “Three Pieces for Clarinet and Piano”
Kilenyi: “Ve-kol ma’aminim” (“And All Who Believe”)
Weinberg: “Pedotsur,” Op. 23
Zhurbin: “Zogekhts”
Zhurbin: “Freylakhs”
Tarras-Zhurbin: “Zeydns tants” (“Grandfather’s Dance”)
Tarras-Zhurbin: “Sirba” in B-flat major
$38 (waiting list)
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Chamber Ensembles
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Commonwealth Singers
VCU Women’s Choir
Rebecca Tyree directing
Choral Arts Society
Jay BeVille directing
Rautavaara: “Suite de Lorca”
Bach: “Lobet den Herrn”
Vivaldi: Gloria
$7
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/

Dec. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Young Concert Artists:
Ji-Yong, piano
Bach-Busoni: Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major, BWV 564
Brahms: Intermezzi, Op. 118, Nos. 1-2
Ligeti: Etude No. 13 (“Devil's Staircase”)
Schubert: Impromptu in B-flat major, Op. 142, No. 3
Schumann: “Kinderszenen,” Op. 15
Bach-Busoni: Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004
$35
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Kordzaia conducting
Erica Yamamoto, piano
Jenni Swegan, soprano
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 4 (2:30 & 7:30 p.m.)
American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Cantus
Peter Rothstein: “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” (musical arr. Erick Lithke & Timothy C. Takach)
$20-$40
(757) 722-2787
www.hamptonarts.net

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Vocal Arts DC:
Brandon Cedel, bass-baritone
Brian Zeger, piano
songs TBA by Brahms, Copland
$50
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Teatro alla Scala Academy Orchestra
conductor TBA
Rota: “La Strada” Suite
Puccini: Intermezzo from “Manon Lescaut”
Verdi: “Ballabili” from “Macbeth”
Rossini: “The Barber of Seville” Overture
Donizetti: “Regnava nel silenzio” from “Lucia di Lammermoor”
Donizetti: “Un furtiva legrima” from “The Elixir of Love”
Verdi: “Nabucco” Overture
Verdi: “Signor, ne principe...” from “Rigoletto”
Verdi: Act 1 Prelude, “Parigo, o cara” from “La Traviata”
Verdi: “I Vespri siciliani” Overture
$10-$29
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 5 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Mozart: “The Magic Flute” Overture
Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 4
Nurit Bar-Josef, violin
Brahms: Symphony No. 1
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Fortas Chamber Music Series:
Cantus
Peter Rothstein: “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” (musical arr. Erick Lithke & Timothy C. Takach)
$49 (waiting list)
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Michelle Arayzaga, soprano
Kendall Gladen, mezzo-soprano
William Ferguson, tenor
Sumner Thompson, bass
Richmond Symphony Chorus
$20-$45
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
www.richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Jepson Theatre, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Salzburg Marionette Theatre
Mozart: “The Magic Flute”
$22
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Jazz Orchestra II
VCU Guitar Ensemble & Community Guitar Ensemble
VCU Trumpet Ensemble
VCU Vocal Chamber Ensemble
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
VCU Percussion Ensemble
Lisa Edwards-Burrs, soprano
Holiday Gala
program TBA
$10; proceeds benefit Hospital Hospitality House
(804) 828-6776
http://arts.vcu.edu/music/

Dec. 6 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
UVa Chapel, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Virginia Women’s Chorus
Britten: “Ceremony of Carols”
Christmas carols TBA
$15
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Dec. 14 (8 p.m.)
University Baptist Church, 1223 W. Main St., Charlottesville
Virginia Glee Club
Frank Albinder directing
Annual Christmas Concert
program TBA
$15
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Salem Civic Center, 1001 Roanoke Boulevard
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Roanoke Symphony Chorus
Roanoke Valley Children’s Choir
Joy Lynn Matthews-Jacobs, soprano
“Holiday Pops Anniversary”
program TBA
$29-$75
(540) 343-9127
www.rso.com

Dec. 6 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 7 (2 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Virginia Opera
Mark Russell Smith conducting
Mozart: “The Magic Flute”
Kenneth Plenk (Tamino)
Nadine Sierra (Pamina)
Heather Buck (Queen of the Night)
Kenneth Kellogg (Sarastro)
David Pershall (Papageno)
Ryan Connelly (Monostatos)
Amanda Opuszinski (Papagena)
Natalie Polito (First Lady)
Courtney Miller (Second Lady)
Sarah Williams (Third Lady)
Michael Shell, stage director
in English, English captions
$44-$98
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.vaopera.org

Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 8 (3 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony Pops
Erin R. Freeman conducting
Lisa Edward-Burrs, soprano
Joy Children’s Choir of St. Paul’s Baptist Church
“Let It Snow!”
program TBA
$25-$76
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
www.richmondsymphony.com

Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 8 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Michael Slon conducting
University Singers
Family Holiday Concerts
program TBA
$10-$40
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 7 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jonathan Carney, violin & leader
Vivaldi: “The Four Seasons”
Piazzolla: “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”
$31-$94
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 8 (4 p.m.)
Landmark Theater, Main and Laurel streets, Richmond
Richmond Department of Recreation and Parks:
Menotti: “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
Diana Covington Greer, music director
Matthew Barbieri (Amahl)
Bekah Hughes Davis (The Mother)
J. David Clatterbuck (King Kaspar)
Raymond Elmore (King Balthazar)
Ben Miller (King Melchior)
Stanley Fountain (The Page)
George C. Macklin Jr., stage director
in English
free (general admission; doors open at 3:30 p.m.)
(804) 646-1031
www.richmond.gov/content/parks/index.aspx

Dec. 8 (4 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Richmond Choral Society
Markus J. Compton directing
Christopher Martin, organ
Keith Tan, piano
harpist & oboist TBA
“Christmas with the Richmond Choral Society”
program TBA
$20
(804) 353-9582
www.richmondchoralsociety.org

Dec. 8 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
“Messiah” sing-along
Anne Carr Regan conducting
Karen Floyd Savage, soprano
Ellen Broen, mezzo-soprano
Jeff Prillaman, tenor
Chase Peake, bass
scores available at door
donation requested
rehearsal at 1 p.m. Dec. 7
(804) 272-7514
www.bonairpc.org

Dec. 8 (5 & 8 p.m.)
Cannon Memorial Chapel, University of Richmond
UR Schola Cantorum & Women’s Chorale
Jeffrey Riehl & David Pedersen directing
“Festival of Lessons and Carols”
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Dec. 8 (2:30 p.m.)
American Theatre, 125 E. Mellen St., Hampton
Virginia Symphony Holiday Brass
program TBA
$25-$30
(757) 722-2787
www.virginiasymphony.org

Dec. 9 (7 p.m.)
James Center Atrium, 901 E. Cary St., Richmond
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting
Holiday pops concert
program TBA
free
(804) 673-7400
www.richmondphilharmonic.org

Dec. 10 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
“Messiah” Sing-In
Donald Loach conducting
soloists TBA
$10; proceeds benefit UVa choral ensembles
(434) 924-3376
www.music.virginia.edu

Dec. 12 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 13 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 14 (1:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Brian Stokes Mitchell, guest star
“Happy Holdays!”
program TBA
$20-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 12 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
conductor TBA
Cirque Musica
“Holiday Cirque”
program TBA
$31-$86
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 13 (7 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Dec. 15 (5 p.m.)
Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Monument Avenue at Staples Mill Road, Richmond
James River Singers
David Pedersen directing
Christopher Martin, organ
“A Festival of Carols: a Celebration of Seasonal Choral Favorites”
program TBA
$15
(804) 233-9220
www.jamesriversingers.org

Dec. 13 (7:30 p.m.)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 520 N. Boulevard, Richmond
Dec. 15 (3 p.m.)
Grace Baptist Church, 4200 Dover Road, Richmond
Dec. 22 (2 p.m.)
Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church, 201 Henry St., Ashland
Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale
David Sinden directing
Laura Candler White, organist-pianist
orchestra
harpist, soloists TBA
Saint-Saëns: “Christmas Oratorio”
works TBA by Britten, Vaughan Williams, others
$10; $15 at door
(800) 838-3006
www.cvamc.org

Dec. 13 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Vienna Choir Boys
Manolo Cagnin directing
works by Victoria, Orff, Praetorius, Johann Strauss II, others; holiday music TBA
$25-$50
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Dec. 14 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Richmond Boys Choir
Christmas program TBA
free
(804) 646-7223
www.richmondpubliclibrary.org

Dec. 14 (7 p.m.)
Chesterfield Towne Centre, Huguenot Road at Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian
Dec. 15 (3 p.m.)
Virginia Center Commons, 10101 Brook Road
(U.S. 1), Glen Allen
Central Virginia Wind Symphony
Mike Goldberg directing
“ 'Twas the Night Before Christmas”
Jeff Prillaman, narrator
holiday music TBA
free
(804) 342-8797
www.thewindsymphony.com

Dec. 14 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Dec. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
Robert Shoup conducting
Amanda Batcher, soprano
Virginia Symphony Chorus
Virginia Children’s Chorus
other performers TBA
“Holiday Pops”
program TBA
$22-$90
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Dec. 14 (2 & 4:30 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Ash Lawn Opera
Kate Tamarkin conducting
Menotti: “Amahl and the Night Visitors”
Georgia Castleman (Amahl)
Brandy Lynn Johnson (The Mother)
Benjamin Bunsold (King Kaspar)
Efrain Solis (King Melchior)
Kenneth Kellog (King Balthazar)
VaShawn McIlwain (The Page)
Andrea Dorf McGray, stage director
in English
$27-$45
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Dec. 14 (2 & 7:30 p.m.)
Dec. 15 (2 p.m.)
Dec. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (2 & 7:30 p.m.)
Dec. 22 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Washington National Opera
Kimberly Grigsby conducting
Jeanine Tesori & J.D. McClatchy: “The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me” (premiere)
Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program cast TBA
Francesca Zambello, stage director
in English
$44-$64
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 14 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 15 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Stan Engebretson conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Magdalena Wór, mezzo-soprano
Roberto Petillo, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
National Philharmonic Chorale
$28-$84
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 15 (4 p.m.)
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond
Greater Richmond Children’s Choir
Hope Armstrong Erb directing
“Festival of Holidays”
program TBA
$11
(804) 201-1894
www.grcchoir.org

Dec. 15 (4 p.m.)
Hylton Arts Center, George Mason University, Manassas
Vienna Choir Boys
Manolo Cagnin directing
works by Victoria, Orff, Praetorius, Johann Strauss II, others; holiday music TBA
$34-$50
(888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com)
www.hyltoncenter.org

Dec. 15 (5 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (1 p.m.)
Dec. 22 (7 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner directing
“A Candlelight Christmas”
program TBA
$15-$70
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 16 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (4 p.m.)
Dec. 24 (1 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Scott Tucker directing
Children’s Chorus of Washington
Joan Gregoryk directing
“An Enchanted Christmas”
program TBA
$15-$75
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 18 (8 p.m.)
Phi Beta Kappa Hall, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg
Dec. 19 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, Virginia Beach
Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
First Baptist Church, 12716 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News
Dec. 21 (8 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Symphony
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Amy Van Roekel, soprano
Abigail Nims, mezzo-soprano
David Sadlier, tenor
Lester Lynch, baritone
Virginia Symphony Chorus
$22-$105
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Dec. 19 (7 p.m.)
Dec. 20 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 21 (8 p.m.)
Dec. 22 (1 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Rossen Milanov conducting
Handel: “Messiah”
Leah Crocetto, soprano
Elizabeth DeShong, mezzo-soprano
Russell Thomas, tenor
Iain Paterson, bass-baritone
Choral Arts Society of Washington
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Dec. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
The Washington Chorus
Julian Wachner directing
Robinson Singers
Michael Horanski directing
“A Candlelight Christmas”
program TBA
$15-$62
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 21 (2:30 & 7:30 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Oratorio Society of Virginia
Michael Slon directing
Albemarle High School Patriot Singers
Jennifer Layman Morris directing
Burley Middle School Bearettes Young Women's Chorus
Craig Jennings directing
“Christmas at the Paramount”
program TBA
$25-$49
(434) 979-1333
www.theparamount.net

Dec. 21 (4 & 8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
The Irish Tenors
“Premiere Irish Holiday Celebration Tour”
program TBA
$36-$78
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 22 (4 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Washington Symphonic Brass
program TBA
$28-$50
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 23 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
“Messiah” sing-along
Barry Hemphill conducting
soloists TBA
orchestra
free; tickets required (distribution beginning at 6 p.m. in Hall of Nations)
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Dec. 29 (3 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Strauss Symphony Orchestra of America
Christian Schulz conducting
Monika Rebholz, soprano
Brian Cheney, tenor
Europaballett-St. Pölten
International Champion Ballroom Dancers
“Salute to Vienna”
program TBA
$49-$89
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Dec. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Fortas Chamber Music Series:
The Last Stand Quartet
André Braugher & Reiko Aylesworth, actors
Rob Clare, director
“An Evening of Shakespeare in Words and Music”
program TBA
$38
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org
4 months ago | |
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Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, leading the Chicago Symphony in a performance of the Ninth Symphony of Gustav Mahler – a work whose deathly quiet finale is infamously vulnerable to extramusical noises – copes with a bronchial audience by tossing cough drops from the stage, reports Lawrence A. Johnson of Chicago Classical Review:

http://chicagoclassicalreview.com/2013/11/tilson-thomas-throws-out-the-first-lozenge-for-noisy-cso-audience/

(Thanks to Bill Comita for passing this along.)
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Virginia Opera
Mark Russell Smith conducting
Nov. 22, Richmond CenterStage

Directors staging Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” should always ask themselves the WWESD question: What would Emanuel Schickaneder do?

Schickaneder, the impresario of a popular Viennese music hall, wrote the text for Mozart’s fanciful “song-play,” and created the character of Papageno, the bird-catcher and comic lead of the show. He liked his humor broad and a bit bawdy, and otherwise knew to keep his audience constantly engaged.

I think Schickaneder would have approved of Michael Shell’s stage direction of the current Virginia Opera production of “The Magic Flute.” It’s sung and spoken in the audience’s language, a vernacular American translation by Kit Hesketh-Harvey. It’s peppered with pop-culture references, from the exclamation “Dude!” to bits of Gladys Knight & The Pips choreography, but lightly enough not to distract from the story or alter its never-never-land locale. That never-landishness is helped immensely by Driscoll Otto’s lighting effects.

The show’s principals are generally well-cast. Heather Buck is a hair-raising Queen of the Night. Matthew Plenk and Nadine Sierra have the tone, looks and seeming naïveté for the romantic leads of Tamino and Pamina.

David Pearshall doesn’t come across as doltish enough for Papageno, but he brings a fine voice and high energy to the role. Kenneth Kellogg’s Sarastro is commanding, but the role sounds to lie lower than his ideal range, at least to judge from under-projected low notes in the first of two Richmond performances.

The supporting cast is unusually strong. Amanda Opuszynski is an effervescent Papagena. Natalie Polito, Courtney Miller and Sarah Williams, as the three ladies-in-waiting to the Queen, have great fun with their parts. Anna Maples, Fran Coleman and Kristen Choi, as the three spirits (traditionally boys), look to have even more fun, scooting around on skateboards, a tricycle and other kids’ conveyances. Even the villainous slavemaster Monostatos, Ryan Connelly, romps through his role.

Virginia Opera’s chorus gets into the act more than usual, although the women in their flowing cloaks get most of the animation. The men, in the priestly vestments, mostly stand around.

Conductor Mark Russell Smith, returning to town for his first performances since relinquishing music direction of the Richmond Symphony four years ago, obtains brightly sonorous and warmly lyrical playing from the pit orchestra, composed of members of the Virginia Symphony – musically crowning a charming production.

The final Richmond performance of Virginia Opera’s production of “The Magic Flute” begins at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Carpenter Theatre of Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets. Tickets: $18-$104. Details: (866) 673-7282; www.vaopera.org

The production will be staged at 8 p.m. Dec. 6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Center for the Arts, George Mason University in Fairfax. Tickets: $44-$98. Details: (888) 945-2468 (Tickets.com); www.vaopera.org
4 months ago | |
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with Peter Serkin, piano
Nov. 15, University of Richmond

The Shanghai Quartet has worked with many of the finest pianists in chamber music over the years. With a few of them, the music-making audibly has been a labor of love. To judge from his performance with the quartet at the University of Richmond, Peter Serkin sounds to be one of those few.

For most in the near-capacity crowd in the Modlin Arts Center’s Camp Concert Hall, the evening’s highlight was Dvorák’s Piano Quintet in A major, which Serkin and the Shanghai treated to an unusually expressive reading.

It was almost Dvorák-as-Schumann, with ample use of rubato, high contrast of tempos and tempers, and extra sweetness in the big lyrical tunes. The earthiness and rhythmic snap of Czech folk song and dance were effectively sublimated. The result, to my ears, was quite beautiful, at times quite exciting, but not quite Dvorák.

The pianist and quartet also reprised the “Dance Capriccio” of the Chinese-born Bright Sheng, which they premiered last year in Detroit.

Of all the Chinese composers who’ve emerged in the past generation, Sheng is perhaps the most “western” in his style, which recalls traditional folk material within the framework of Stravinskian neoclassicism, and in his instrumental voicings. His more recent music rarely asks players to impersonate traditional Chinese instruments, although they often create that effect collectively.

The “Dance Capriccio” is one of the more effective showcases of Sheng’s cultural synthesis. Almost a Chinese-accented analogue to European folk-dance settings (of, say, Dvorák or Kodály), the piece sustains its energy, atmosphere and generally good cheer over its fairly brief length, and calls for virtuosity that is neither garish nor gratuitous.

The Shanghai opened the program with the String Quartet in E minor of Giuseppe Verdi, a marginal piece of the Italian composer’s repertory that is being played a lot in this 200th anniversary year. The Verdi quartet doesn’t sound like it was dashed off in three days while he was stuck in a Naples hotel (which it was) with some refinements made later; but he didn’t waste any memorable melodies or instrumental effects on the piece.

The quartet – violinist Weigang Li and Yi-Wen Jiang, violist Honggang Li and cellist Nicholas Tzavaras – gave the Verdi an appropriately warm, romantic reading. Tzavaras’ songful cello solo in the trio section of the third movement was an added treat.
4 months ago | |
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Allan Blank, the Richmond-based composer and retired music professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, has died at 87.

After his retirement from VCU, Blank continued to compose prolifically. Many of his chamber and vocal works were given first or early performances here, most recently a Piano Quartet introduced in August by the Richmond Chamber Players.

An obituary by Ellen Robertson for the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/obituaries/featured/allan-blank-composer-and-retired-vcu-professor-dies-at/article_0b46f7df-4cac-5489-ab6c-ca43df7cffd4.html

ADDENDUM: A memorial service for Allan Blank will be held from 9-11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 at Woody Funeral Chapel, 1020 Huguenot Road.
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John Tavener, the English composer whose conversion to Russian Orthodoxy in 1977 led him to adopt a style not unlike that of East Europeans writing under the influence of old Slavic and Orthodox liturgical music, has died at 69.

An obituary by Allan Kozinn for The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/arts/music/john-tavener-dies-at-69-composer-with-eye-on-god.html?hpw&rref=obituaries
5 months ago | |
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Steven Smith conducting
with Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano
Nov. 9, Richmond CenterStage

Kate Lindsey, the most promising operatic singer to come out of Richmond in a generation, charmed a hometown crowd in a program of French opera and operetta arias that played to her strengths as a voice and personality.

The 32-year-old mezzo-soprano, born and reared in Chesterfield County, these days works on a professional circuit of major opera companies and orchestras. Lindsey is especially in demand for “trouser” roles as boys or young men, such as the composer in Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” which she performed over the summer at Britain’s Glyndebourne Opera.

In this homecoming concert with the Richmond Symphony, Lindsey applied fluid, flexible and finely nuanced tone to “Enfin, je suis ici” (“Finally, I am here”) from Massenet’s “Cendrillon” and “Death of Ophelia” from Berlioz’s “Tristia.”

The balance of her program was lighter or more folk-inflected fare – four of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne,” a sampler of arias by Offenbach, and “Shenandoah” as an encore – providing her with several opportunities for theatrics, and well as letting her caress straightfowardly lyrical melodies.

Although she was positioned under the Carpenter Theatre’s proscenium arch, the acoustical “sweet spot” of the hall’s stage, Lindsey’s voice, especially in her low register, did not project as strongly it needed to alongside the orchestra. Conductor Steven Smith kept the instrumentalists in reasonable balance with Lindsey, and several solo players – oboist Gustav Highstein, bassoonist Thomas Schneider, clarinetist Ralph Skiano, cellist Neal Cary, concertmaster Daisuke Yamamoto – shared the spotlight with the singer.

In an onstage conversation with Smith, Lindsey endeared herself to her fellow Richmonders with a homey greeting (“Hey, y’all!”), reminisced about her youth in Chesterfield, and thanked everyone from her parents and teachers to the symphony’s music librarian, Matt Gold.

Smith filled out Lindsey’s French program with three Spanish-accented orchestral staples from French composers: the Prelude to Bizet’s “Carmen,” Debussy’s “Ibéria” and Ravel’s “Alborado del gracioso.” As he has in past concerts, the conductor showed himself to be exceptionally fluent in French repertory, especially in production of orchestral tone color and well-judged dynamics.
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Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

SCOUTING REPORT

* In and around Richmond: The University of Richmond’s Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival presents five free concerts of music by 23 composers, with performances by eighth blackbird and the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Nov. 1-2 at UR’s Modlin Arts Center. . . . Virginia Commonwealth University stages its annual Flamenco Fiesta of guitar and dance, Nov. 1-3 at the Singleton Arts Center. . . . Kate Lindsey, the stellar mezzo-soprano from Richmond, comes home to join Steven Smith and the Richmond Symphony in a program of French music, Nov. 9 at Richmond CenterStage. . . . The symphony’s principal clarinetist, Ralph Skiano, plays the Copland Concerto in a program also featuring music of Ives, Kraus and Dvorák, Nov. 24 at Randolph-Macon College. . . . Former Richmond Symphony music director Mark Russell Smith returns to conduct the Virginia Opera production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (in English), with performances on Nov. 8, 10 and 12 at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House; Nov. 15 and 17 at the Sandler Arts Center in Virginia Beach; and Nov. 22 and 24 at Richmond CenterStage. (Note: No Fairfax shows for this production.) . . . VCU-based clarinetist Charles West and pianist Yin Zheng play works of Brahms, Joseph Horovitz and Dana Wilson, Nov. 14 at the Singleton Center. . . . Pianist Peter Serkin joins the Shanghai Quartet in Dvorák’s Piano Quintet in A major, on a program also featuring the rarely heard String Quartet in E minor of Verdi and a recent work by Bright Sheng, Nov. 15 at UR’s Modlin Center.

* Noteworthy elsewhere: The new Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg presents concerts by the Philip Glass Ensemble in Glass’ “Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation” on Nov. 1, the Sphinx Virtuosi on Nov. 3 and an all-Russian program by cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han on Nov. 17. (The Glass show is sold out; but it’s a big venue, and some seats may be available if you turn up.) . . . JoAnn Falletta, music director of Hampton Roads’ Virginia Symphony, leads the Irish Chamber Orchestra in concerts with flutists James and Jeanne Galway, Nov. 1 at Christopher Newport University in Newport News and Nov. 2 at George Mason University in Fairfax. . . . Multiple productions of two choral masterworks in the anniversary year of their composers: Two productions of Benjamin Britten’s “War Requiem,” by The Washington Chorus on Nov. 3 at the Kennedy Center, and by the Baltimore Symphony and Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Nov. 16 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of DC . . . And the Verdi Requiem, by the Choral Arts Society of Washington, Nov. 10 at the Kennedy Center; by the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra and UVa University Singers on Nov. 16 at the University of Virginia’s Old Cabell Hall and Nov. 17 at Monticello High School; and by the National Philharmonic and Chorale, Nov. 23 at Strathmore. . . . Older choral music on a smaller scale, as Britain’s Ensemble Plus Ultra sings music of the Spanish baroque, Nov. 12 at UVa’s Old Cabell Hall. . . . Two leading authors on music speak in lecture-concert presentations at Washington’s Library of Congress: “Wagner and Verdi at the Piano,” featuring the noted biographer of Franz Liszt, Alan Walker, on Nov. 9; and a Wagner-Mozart-Brahms program with Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, on Nov. 23. (Both are free, but tickets are required.) . . . Pianist Marc-André Hamelin surveys the contrasting romantic voices of Field, Medtner and Schubert, Nov. 25 at the Kennedy Center. . . . Chanticleer, the men’s vocal ensemble, brings its popular Christmas program back to the region, on Nov. 30 at George Mason University in Fairfax.


Nov. 1 (2:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival:
performers TBA
works by Joo Won Park, Matthew McCabe, Heather Stebbins, Devin Frenze, Jonathan Harvey, Gordon Fitzell
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival:
eighth blackbird
Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble
works by Dan Trueman, Tom Lopez, Anthony Cheung, Alexandra Gardner
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonweath University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Flamenco Fiesta:
Miguelito, guitar
program TBA
$10-$15
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Nov. 1 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Irish Chamber Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Harty: “In Ireland”
Mozart: Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 314
James Galway, flute
Hammond: “Carolan Variations”
James & Jeanne Galway, flutes
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A minor (“Scottish”)
$27-$87
(855) 337-4849
www.fergusoncenter.org

Nov. 1 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Philip Glass Ensemble
Glass: “Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation”
$40-$60 (waiting list)
(540) 231-5300
www.artscenter.vt.edu

Nov. 1 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 2 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Kristjan Järvi conducting
Enescu: “Romanian Rhapsody” No. 1
Barber: Violin Concerto
Jennifer Koh, violin
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 2 (11 a.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival:
performers TBA
works by Christopher Chandler, Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Judith Shatin, Alex Temple, Matthew Burtner
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 2 (2 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival:
performers TBA
works by Christopher DeLaurenti, Jonathan Harvey, Joo Won Park, Mark Snyder, Mark Zaki, Eli Stine
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 2 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Sigma Alpha Iota members
program TBA
free
(804) 646-7723
www.richmondpubliclibrary.org

Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival:
Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble
eighth blackbird
works by Benjamin Broening, Russell Pinkston, Kaija Saariaho, Peter Swendsen
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonweath University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Flamenco Fiesta:
Richard Marlow, guitar
program TBA
$10-$15
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Nov. 2 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Irish Chamber Orchestra
JoAnn Falletta conducting
Harty: “In Ireland”
Mozart: Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 314
James Galway, flute
Hammond: “Carolan Variations”
James & Jeanne Galway, flutes
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551 (“Jupiter”)
$37.50-$75
(888) 245-9468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Nov. 2 (8 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue N.E., Washington
Danish String Quartet
Haydn: Quartet in B flat major, Op. 76, No. 4 (“Sunrise”)
Ligeti: Quartet No. 1 (“Metamorphoses”)
Ligeti: Nocturnes
Abrahamsen: Quartet No. 1
Abrahamsen: “10 Preludes for String Quartet”
Beethoven: Quartet in F minor, Op. 95 (“Serioso”)
free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/1314-preview.html

Nov. 3 (4 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonweath University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Flamenco Fiesta:
Suenos Gitanos
Flamenco del Sur
program TBA
$10-$15
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Nov. 3 (3 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
“Ahoy, Matey!”
program TBA
$15
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 3 (3 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
Sphinx Virtuosi
works by Bach, Vivaldi, Ginastera, Pärt, Glass
$20-$30
(540) 231-5300
www.artscenter.vt.edu

Nov. 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
The Washington Chorus & orchestra
Julian Wachter directing
Britten: “War Requiem”
Jessica Muirhead, soprano
Vale Rideout, tenor
Christopher Burchett, baritone
Children’s Chorus of Washington
Joan Gregoryk directing
$15-$70
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 5 (8 p.m.)
Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St., Williamsburg
Chamber Music Society of Williamsburg:
Adaskin String Trio
Sally Pinkas, piano
Herzogenberg: Piano Quartet in A major
Roland Manuel: String Trio
Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, Op. 60
$15 (waiting list)
(757) 229-0385
www.chambermusicwilliamsburg.org

Nov. 7 (8 p.m.)
Crossroads Community Church, 7575 Richmond Road, Williamsburg
Nov. 9 (8 p.m.)
Regent University Theater, 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
Barber: “School for Scandal” Overture
Ives: “Country Band March”
Ives: “The Unanswered Question”
Barber: “Second Essay”
Bernstein: “Three Dance Episodes from ‘On the Town’ ”
Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F major
Michah McLaurin, piano
$22-$67
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 7 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 8 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 9 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
John Storgårds conducting
Britten: “Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge”
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Sol Gabetta, cello
Schumann: Symphony No. 1 (“Spring”)
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Sphinx Virtuosi
program TBA
$25
(202) 985-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Nov. 8 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 10 (2:30 p.m.)
Nov. 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Harrison Opera House, 160 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk
Virginia Opera
Mark Russell Smith conducting
Mozart: “The Magic Flute”
Kenneth Plenk (Tamino)
Nadine Sierra (Pamina)
Heather Buck (Queen of the Night)
Kenneth Kellogg (Sarastro)
David Pershall (Papageno)
Ryan Connelly (Monostatos)
Amanda Opuszinski (Papagena)
Natalie Polito (First Lady)
Courtney Miller (Second Lady)
Sarah Williams (Third Lady)
Michael Shell, stage director
in English, English captions
$46-$114
(866) 673-7282
www.vaopera.org

Nov. 8 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
I-Jen Fang, percussion
Robert Jospé, drums
Daniel Sender, violin
Abé: “Wind Across Mountains”
Ichiyanigi: “Rhythm Gradation”
Martin: “Choros”
Harper: “Dances for Outcasts”
Shatin: “Sic Transit”
Sor: “Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ ”
Corea: “La Fiesta”
$15
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 8 (8:15 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
women of Baltimore Choral Arts Society
Marin Alsop conducting & speaking
“Off the Cuff”
Holst: “The Planets”
$44-$78
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Nov. 9 (8 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Bizet: “Carmen” Prelude
Canteloube: “Songs of the Auvergne” (excerpts)
Massenet: “Enfin, ju sisi ici” from “Cendrillon”
Berlioz: “La mort d’Ophelie”
Chabrier: “Je suis Lazuli”
Offenbach: Overture & arias from “The Grand Duchess of Gérolstein”
Kate Lindsey, mezzo-soprano
Debussy: “Ibéria”
Ravel: “Alborada del gracioso”
$10-$76
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
www.richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 9 (2 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue N.E., Washington
Alan Walker, speaker
Valerie Tyron, piano
“Wagner and Verdi at the Piano”
Verdi-Liszt: “Rigoletto” Paraphrase
Verdi-Liszt: “Miserere du Trovatore”
Wagner-Liszt: Ballade and “Spinning Song” from “The Flying Dutchman”
Mozart-Liszt: Confutatis and Lacrymosa from Requiem
Allegri-Mozart-Liszt: Miserere and Miserere from “Ave verum corpus”
Wagner-Liszt: “Isolde’s Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde”
free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/1314-preview.html

Nov. 9 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting
Janice Hamer & Mary Azrael: “Lost Childhood, a Concert Opera”
Michael Hendrick (Judah)
Christopher Trakas (Manfred)
in English
$28-$84
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Nov. 10 (4 p.m.)
St. Matthias’ Episcopal Church, 11300 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Drew Seigla, tenor
Ben Miller, piano
works by Handel, Schubert, Verdi, Britten; musical theater songs
donation requested
(804) 272-8588
www.stmatmidlo.com

Nov. 10 (4 p.m.)
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W. Huguenot Road, Richmond
Second Sunday South of the James:
Barbara Gregory & Deborah Seidel, flutes
Karmalita Bawar, piano
works by Frederick Werle, Jean Rivier, Geoff Warren, Ian Clarke, Vivian Fine, Allan Blank
donation requested
(804) 272-7514
www.bonairpc.org

Nov. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
UR Wind Ensemble
David Niethamer directing
program TBA
free
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 10 (4 p.m.)
St. Francis Catholic Church, 125 N. Augusta St., Staunton
Staunton Music Festival:
Carsten Schmidt, harpsichord
Bach: “English Suites” in F major, E minor, A minor
Bach: fantasias in C minor, A minor, D minor
$20
(800) 838-3006
www.stauntonmusicfestival.com

Nov. 10 (3 p.m.)
Nov. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Ave., Roanoke
Roanoke Symphony
David Stewart Wiley conducting
Weber: “Der Freischütz” Overture
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1
Vijay Vinkatesh, piano
Sibelius: Symphony No. 2
$29-$52
(540) 343-9127
www.rso.com

Nov. 10 (7 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Jeffrey Siegel, piano
“Keyboard Conversations: The Glory of Beethoven”
Beethoven: Sonata in F major, Op. 10, No. 2
Beethoven: Sonata in F minor, Op. 57 (“Appassionata”)
Beethoven: Sonata in A flat major, Op. 110
$19-$38
(888) 245-9468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Nov. 10 (4 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Choral Arts Society of Washington & orchestra
Scott Tucker directing
Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, visual producer
“Legacy and Life”
Steven Stucky: “Take Him, Earth”
Verdi: Requiem
soloists TBA
$15-$75
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area Jewish Synagogues Combined Choirs
Juanita College Concert Choir
Jason Love directing
“Voices of the Holocaust: Kristallnacht Commemoration 2013”
program TBA
$36-$54
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Nov. 12 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Tuesday Evening Concerts:
Ensemble Plus Ultra
vocal works by Victoria, Morales, Francisco Guerrero, Bernardino de Ribera
$12-$33
(434) 924-3376 (UVa box office)
www.tecs.org

Nov. 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Enso String Quartet
Richard Strauss: Quartet in A major, Op. 2
Puccini: “Chrysanthemums”
Puccini: 3 minuets
Verdi: Quartet in E minor
$32
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 13 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonweath University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
VCU Symphonic Wind Ensemble
VCU University Band
Charles West directing
works by Henry Fillmore, Dan Welcher, Richard Strauss, Percy Grainger
$7
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Nov. 14 (7 p.m.)
Vlahcevic Concert Hall, Singleton Arts Center, Virginia Commonweath University, Park Avenue at Harrison Street, Richmond
Charles West, clarinet
Yin Zheng, piano
Brahms: Sonata in F minor, Op. 120, No. 1
Joseph Horovitz: Sonatina
Dana Wilson: “Liquid Ebony”
$7
(804) 828-6776
www.vcumusic.org

Nov. 14 (7 p.m.)
Nov. 15 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 16 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi conducting
Kodály: “Hary Janos” Suite
Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2
Alice Sara Ott, piano
Prokofiev: “Romeo and Juliet” (excerpts)
$10-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Michael Fabiano, tenor
Danielle Orlando, piano
works by Donizetti, Puccini, Massenet, Verdi, Richard Strauss, others
$50
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Arts Center, University of Richmond
Shanghai Quartet
Verdi: Quartet in E minor
Bright Sheng: “Dance Capriccio” (2011)
Dvorák: Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81
Peter Serkin, piano
$36
(804) 289-8980
www.modlin.richmond.edu

Nov. 15 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 17 (2:30 p.m.)
Sandler Arts Center, 201 S. Market St., Virginia Beach
Virginia Opera
Mark Russell Smith conducting
Mozart: “The Magic Flute”
Kenneth Plenk (Tamino)
Nadine Sierra (Pamina)
Heather Buck (Queen of the Night)
Kenneth Kellogg (Sarastro)
David Pershall (Papageno)
Ryan Connelly (Monostatos)
Amanda Opuszinski (Papagena)
Natalie Polito (First Lady)
Courtney Miller (Second Lady)
Sarah Williams (Third Lady)
Michael Shell, stage director
in English, English captions
$24-$110
(866) 673-7282
www.vaopera.org

Nov. 15 (8 p.m.)
Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kathleen Battle, soprano
Cyrus Chestnut, piano
“Something to Sing About”
works by Joplin, Gershwin, Ellington, others
$29-$65
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 16 (8 p.m.)
Chrysler Hall, 215 St. Paul’s Boulevard, Norfolk
Nov. 23 (8 p.m.)
Ferguson Arts Center, Christopher Newport University, Newport News
Virginia Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
Stravinsky: “Apollon Musagete”
Bach: Concerto for oboe d’amore
Sherrie Aguirre, oboe d’amore
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
$22-$105
(757) 892-6366
www.virginiasymphony.org

Nov. 16 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Nov. 17 (3:30 p.m.)
Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville
Charlottesville & University Symphony Orchestra
Michael Slon conducting
Verdi: Requiem
Christina Pier, soprano
Lucille Beer, mezzo-soprano
Scott Six, tenor
Mark Owen Davis, baritone
UVa University Singers
$10-$40
(434) 924-3376
www.cvillesymphony.org

Nov. 16 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Christopher Zimmerman conducting
Grieg: “Peer Gynt” Suite No. 1
Larry Alan Smith: Concerto for soprano saxophone and strings
Carrie Koffman, saxophone
Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances
$25-$60
(888) 245-9468 (Tickets.com)
www.fairfaxsymphony.org

Nov. 16 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kit Armstrong, piano
Liszt: “Fantasy and Fugue on the theme B.A.C.H.”
Liszt: Elegies
Liszt: “Mephisto Waltz”
Bach-Armstrong: chorale preludes TBA
Armstrong: “Fantasy on B.A.C.H.”
Bach-Liszt: Fantasy and Fugue in G minor, BWV 542
$40
(202) 985-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Nov. 16 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Britten: “War Requiem”
Tamara Wilson, soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Ryan McKinny, baritone
University of Maryland Concert Choir
Peabody Children’s Chorus
$36-$99
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)
www.strathmore.org

Nov. 17 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg
David Finckel, cello
Wu Han, piano
Prokofiev: Cello Sonata in C major, Op. 119
Shostakovich: Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40
Scriabin: “Five Preludes” for solo piano
Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19
$20-$30
(540) 231-5300
www.artscenter.vt.edu

Nov. 17 (4 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Washington Symphonic Brass
“From Bach to Classic Rock”
program TBA
$22-$44
(888) 245-9468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu

Nov. 22 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 24 (2:30 p.m.)
Carpenter Theatre, Richmond CenterStage, Sixth and Grace streets
Virginia Opera
Mark Russell Smith conducting
Mozart: “The Magic Flute”
Kenneth Plenk (Tamino)
Nadine Sierra (Pamina)
Heather Buck (Queen of the Night)
Kenneth Kellogg (Sarastro)
David Pershall (Papageno)
Ryan Connelly (Monostatos)
Amanda Opuszinski (Papagena)
Natalie Polito (First Lady)
Courtney Miller (Second Lady)
Sarah Williams (Third Lady)
Michael Shell, stage director
in English, English captions
$18-$104
(866) 673-7282
www.vaopera.org

Nov. 22 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Chamber Singers
Michael Slon directing
program TBA
free
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 23 (2 p.m.)
Gellman Room, Richmond Public Library, First and Franklin streets
Barbara Banyasz & Nancy van Auken, piano four-hands
Liszt: “Weinachtsbaum” (“Christmas Tree”)
free
(804) 646-7223
www.richmondpubliclibrary.org
 
Nov. 23 (2 p.m.)
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, First Street at Independence Avenue N.E., Washington
Alex Ross, speaker
Margaret Lattimore, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Hobbs, piano
Wagner: “Wesendonck Lieder”
Mozart: “Ch’io mi scordi di te?”
Brahms: 4 Lieder
free; tickets required
(703) 573-7328 (Ticketmaster)
http://www.loc.gov/rr/perform/concert/1314-preview.html

Nov. 23 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting
Verdi: Requiem
Ariana Zukerman, soprano
Maragaret Mezzacappa, mezzo-soprano
William Davenport, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass
National Philharmonic Chorale
$28-$84
(301) 581-5100
www.strathmore.org

Nov. 24 (3 p.m.)
Blackwell Auditorium, Randolph-Macon College, 205 Henry St., Ashland
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Kraus: Symphony in E minor
Copland: Clarinet Concerto
Ralph Skiano, clarinet
Ives: Symphony No. 3 (“The Camp Meeting”)
Dvorák: “Czech Suite”
$20
(800) 514-3849 (ETIX)
www.richmondsymphony.com

Nov. 24 (3:30 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Wind Ensemble
William Pease & Andrew Koch directing
program TBA
$10
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 25 (8 p.m.)
Old Cabell Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
UVa Baroque Orchestra
David Sariti, violin & leader
program TBA
free
(434) 924-3376
http://music.virginia.edu/events

Nov. 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
John Field: “Andante inédit” in E flat major
Medtner: Sonata in E minor, Op. 25, No. 2 (“Night Wind”)
Schubert: 4 impromptus, D. 935
$60
(202) 985-9727 (Washington Performing Arts Society)
www.wpas.org

Nov. 29 (8 p.m.)
Nov. 30 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra Pops
Steven Reineke conducting
Matthew Morrison, guest star
$20-$85
(800) 444-1324
www.kennedy-center.org

Nov. 30 (8 p.m.)
Center for the Arts, George Mason University, Fairfax
Chanticleer
“A Chanticleer Christmas”
$25-$50
(888) 245-9468 (Tickets.com)
www.cfa.gmu.edu
5 months ago | |
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Oct. 26, Richmond Public Library

The Aeolus Quartet – violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce and cellist Alan Richardson – opened the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia’s 2013-14 season, “Aspects of Time,” in performances over the weekend at the Ellen Glasgow House and in the Gellman Room of the Richmond Public Library.

I was unable to attend the Oct. 25 Glasgow House gala because it conflicted with the eighth blackbird-Agua Dulce Dance Theatre evening of premieres at the University of Richmond (scroll down for review); but did make it to a sampler of string quartet history that the Aeolus staged before a full house at the library.

The sampler included movements of the three works played the night before – Haydn’s Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5; Beethoven’s Quartet in F major, Op. 59, No. 1 (first of the “Razumovsky” set); and Christopher Theofanidis’ “Ariel Ascending” – as well as bits of Beethoven’s Quartet in B flat major, Op. 18, No. 6, and Sibelius’ “Voces intimae” (“Intimate Voices”) Quartet and “Black Bend,” a miniature tone poem by Dan Visconti.

The ensemble, which performed for the Chamber Music Society two years ago, nicely balances warm, robust tone with sharp focus and high energy. Its members also are audience-friendly musical guides in their spoken introductions. Adding to their local appeal, cellist Richardson is Richmond-bred.

The Haydn and Beethoven selections gave sound evidence that the Aeolus’ musicians, like many young string players, have absorbed the technical and interpretive lessons of the historically informed performance (HIP) movement, without going full tilt into its more provocative or pedantic practices.

In the slow movement of the Sibelius, a wrenching memento of the composer’s battle with throat cancer, the group reverted to a more traditionally romantic string style. And the foursome proved expert in the more virtuosic, color-centric and effects-laden techniques of contemporary music in the Theofanidis and Visconti pieces.

The finale of “Ariel Ascending” showcased the Aeolus’ technique as the players negotiated its jittery figures and generally frenetic energy (Ariel’s ascent doesn’t quite break the speed of sound, but comes close). Violinists Tavani and Shapiro audibly relished the nature and train-whistle effects in “Black Bend,” Visconti’s evocation of a famous train wreck on a river bend in northern Ohio.

“Black Bend,” which appears to exist in string quartet, quintet and orchestra versions, is a bluesy delight clearly indebted to country-bluegrass fiddling – the whistle effects recall Lester Flatt’s in the Flatt & Scruggs rendition of “The Wreck of the Old 97.”

Visconti’s 7-minute piece is one of the finest examples of folksy classicism this side of Peter Schickele. You can see and hear the Aelous perform a bit of it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLL6wwMsAn0
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