Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – “A Night at the Opera”

Tenor Thomas Cooley, Baritone John Brancy & Maestro Paul Goodwin

We had a lot of fun last night at the Tuesday Main Concert — “A Night at the Opera.” In the spirit of the Marx Brothers, there was some slapstick silliness, such as in scenes from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte  and Leonard Bernsten’s Trouble in Tahiti, but it was balanced by moments of more serious drama in arias from Beethoven’s Fidelio and Wagner’s Tannhaüser. Our affable host for the evening was David Gordon, whose perspective on all things vocal, choral and operatic is, as always, astonishing in its ability to enlighten and entertain us (and he had edited the super titles which made our opera experience all that more comprehensible and enjoyable). We also had an opportunity to hear the Festival Orchestra, directed by Maestro Paul Goodwin, the Festival Chorale and Chorus, and, most importantly, the vocal stars of the evening, sopranos Mhairi Lawson and Linda Lee Jones, mezzos Meg Bragle and Virginia Warnken Kelsey, baritones John Brancy, Jonathon Woody and Tim Krol. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Opera, Orchestral


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — Monday Chamber Concerts

Monday Chamber Concerts at the Bach Festival

The large orchestra and chorus concerts of the Carmel Bach Festival at Sunset Center get all the glory. Or, so I thought, until attending the chamber recitals offered on Monday, July 16. It turns out these recitals are playing to capacity audiences, people eager to hear smaller musical forces in intimate settings. Having enjoyed many daytime Bach Fest activities in the past, I decided to gorge myself with all three recitals today. All of them will be repeated again on Monday, July 23. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — Eight Seasons

On Monday, July 16, the Carmel music community enjoyed two beautiful and contrasting performances of the Four Seasons at Sunset Center in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The first half of the program was Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and the second half was Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Under the leadership of concertmaster and director Peter Hanson, members of the Festival Orchestra presented a fascinating and ultra-clear characterization of nature, elements and people. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Orchestral, Strings


Carmel Bach Festival 2018 — St. Matthew Passion

On Sunday, July 15, the Carmel music community was treated to a stunning performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Carmel’s Sunset Center. Under the direction of conductor Paul Goodwin, the performance on period instruments drew the listener into an authentic celebration of the Passion of Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 26 and 27. Bach worked closely with Christian Friedrich Henrici (Picander) in framing the biblical text with commentary and contemplative prayer. They also collaborated in an effort to restructure the biblical account. The first part of the performance ended at Christ’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the second part continued through the traditional remainder of the Passion, ending with the burial of Jesus. Since aim of the composer was to “incite the listeners to devotion” according to his contract with the Leipzig Town Council, the composition was written so as to be appropriate for a Good Friday mass, during which it was premiered in 1727. Last evening’s performance certainly proved that Bach achieved his goals with this work. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival


Opening Night — Carmel Bach Festival’s 81st Season

Bach Festival President Cyril Yansouni Welcoming the Audience

Opening night at the Carmel Bach Festival is always a special event, a festive event, and for CBF 2018 a rather unusual event, since its opening concert featured Carl Orff’s signature work, Carmina Burana. This is one of the best known 20th century compositions, that once heard can never be forgotten. Orff’s vibrant energy, unique treatment of vocal lines, effective use of a wide variety of orchestral instruments and his neo-primitive pulsing rhythms make a powerful impression on casual listeners, even those who do not grasp the significance of the thirteenth-century medieval Latin and German poems of unknown authorship upon which the work is based. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival