Stage Door — Opening Night at Santa Catalina

The Footlights Club

Last night Santa Catalina Theatre Arts presented the opening night of its winter production, Stage Door, a play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman. Magically we were transported back to the year 1936 to the Footlights Club, a boarding house for young girls aspiring to make a career in the theater. I say “magically” because the combination of an magnificently elaborate set, costumes mimicing the styles of the 1930s, and an excellent cast capturing the essence of what it was like to be naive and hopeful young actors during this period were so effectively portrayed.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century

Melancholy and Mirth: Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung in Recital

Alessio Bax & Lucille Chung

In a suave display of synchronous ensemble, duo-pianists Alessio Bax and wife Lucille Chung performed keyboard, four-hand music under the auspices of the Steinway Society, Saturday, January 11 at the Hammer Theatre, San Jose. Music by Schubert, Debussy, Stravinsky and Piazzolla provided an emotional and color diapason of melancholy and mirth, traversing a range of piano music either meant for the salon or literally conceived on an orchestral scale, vehicles for the gifted duo whose acuity and precision may have reminded older auditors of the golden era of Vronsky and Babin.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Classical Era, Piano, Romantic Era

Pianist Keiko Shichijo in Aptos

Keiko Shichijo

In the close and intimate space of The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist in Aptos, which handed out warm and delicious apple cider, a cozy afternoon audience was treated to a world-class piano performance from Keiko Shichijo. Her repertoire was far from conventional; most of the composers weren’t household names, but still carried a substantial torch among their own people. From the pianist we heard a performance of cultural exuberance: 6 Dances by Armenian composer Komitas, Feux d’artifice by French composer Claude Debussy, Charmes by Catalan composer Frederic Mompou, Meditations by Dutch composer Rosaline Hirs, and 6 Moments Musicaux by Austrian composer Franz Schubert.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Piano, Romantic Era

I Cantori di Carmel at the Mission

On Sunday, December 7 we had a dark and stormy night with the wind howling and the rain pouring a rhythm of it’s own…..oh wait….that’s another story line. Although dark and stormy, the warmth of the Carmel Mission Basilica and the sounds of I Cantori di Carmel along with Monterey County Pops Brass warmed the hearts and spirits of all who ventured to hear this wondrous program. The chorus under the direction of Cyril Deaconoff along with the brass under the direction of Carl Christensen brightened the evening with the familiar of the season along with original works by local composers.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, I Cantori

Bay Area Steinway Series — Pianist Albert Cano Smit

Albert Cano Smit

Despite the venue challenges the Bay Area Steinway Series has experienced, it continues to present many of the world’s most impressive keyboard artists as witnessed by the December 8 performance by Albert Cano Smit at the West Valley College in Saratoga. Although Swiss-born Albert Cano Smit won his first international competition at age 14 , it was his winning First Prize in the 2017 Naumburg Competition that sent up the red flag of special attention.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Romantic Era