Carmel Bach Festival 2018 – “Medieval Hymn” at the Carmel Mission

“Medieval Hymn” filled the acoustically rich Carmel Mission Basilica Wednesday evening July 18. There is a continuing tradition with the Chorale of the Bach Festival, under the direction of Andrew Megill, to present a candle light program. Escorted by the red robed Bach Festival Candle Bearers, the Chorale entered while singing a traditional plainchant Jesu dulcis amor meus. Beginning with the tenor/bass sounding as herald trumpets, this was perfectly timed with tenor/bass alternating verses with soprano/alto to reach their positions backlit by the stand of twenty tall tapers. Works of Dieterich Buxtehude, Tomas Luis De Victoria, Anton Bruckner, Knut Nysted, and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach, were cleverly woven together. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Carmel Bach Festival, Choral


Aria’s “Divagain”

On June 9 and 10, Aria Women’s Choir, led by Dr. Sean Boulware, presented the second concert in their “Diva” series, “Divagain,” at the New Wharf Theatre in Monterey. The show consisted of heart-felt and entertaining renditions of songs from musicals such as Hello Dolly, Funny Girl, Into The Woods, Annie, Rent, Mame, Waitress, West Side Story, The Fantastiks, A Chorus Line, and 9 to 5 The Musical, among others. Many of the numbers were lightly choreographed, and the singers were bedecked in eye-catching sparkle and/or sequin dresses. In a contrast other choral concerts, the highly orchestrated accompaniment was canned. Throughout the concert, some of the singers used sheet music while others used iPads, though some had their music memorized. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Opera


Hartnell Community Choir at Church of the Wayfarer

On June 10, Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel was the acoustically lovely setting for the Hartnell Community Choir’s ambitious program under the direction of Robin McKee Williams. This small but mighty vocal ensemble continues to prove its vocal chops with challenging music more often programmed with larger groups. The richness of sound and blend with string instruments, piano and flute was more than evident. Four guest vocalists began the program featuring arias and art songs from a variety of composers. Gabriel Faure’s En Sourdine, featuring Kirl Havezov, baritone, set a peaceful feeling that evolved into “the nightingale” singing as the “voice of our despair.” Anna Yelizarova, mezzo-soprano, followed with a most confident, and wide vocal range, Amour from the second act of Camille Saint-Saens “Sampson and Delila.” What may appear as a love song and enticement for Sampson to go to Delila, is actually a song of vengeance with a wish for the god of love to “pour poison in his heart.” Veronica Jensen, mezzo-soprano, displayed a very flirty and strong Carmen from the moment she walked on. There was no doubt as to what was on Carmen’s mind. In Nemico della patria, from Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier”, Krassen Karagiozov, baritone, sang of being the “Enemy of the Fatherland.” Strength of conviction and emotion was consistent throughout the aria finishing with “the only truth is passion.” The piano mastery of Marina Thomas underpinning these strong soloists goes without saying. It was as if Thomas was an orchestra unto herself. Read full story

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


Rachmaninoff: Known and Unknown


A program of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s familiar and unfamiliar liturgical and concerted choral compositions provided the basis of a recital by the Slavyanka Chorus and assorted musicians, Saturday, June 9, at the First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto, Irina Shachneva, conductor. Slavyanka embodies a 40-member chorus established in 2000, the name’s having been taken from the old Russian version of Northern California’s Russian River. In 2010, Irina Shachneva founded the International Rachmaninoff Music Festival in Boston. Ms. Shachneva has since led performances of the Rachmaninoff Vespers at various venues, including Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory and St. Petersburg’s Glinka Capella. Read full story

Archived in these categories: Choral, Orchestral


Monterey Peninsula Voices –“Let’s Go the the Movies”

Monterey Peninsula Voices under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware definitely took us to to the movies for this rousing program on May 13 at the newly-renovated Monterey Conference Center. Boulware knows how to get the best from this group of 100+ singers of all ages and abilities. What could be better than music representing a wide variety of films? So much of the enjoyment of almost any film is the emotion provoking background music. While some can be older music rearranged, so much is newly and specifically created for a film. Whether warning of impending gloom and doom or the lushness of a romantic pastoral scene, music pulls at our emotions. As these enthusiastic singers demonstrated, any emotion is available and has been arranged musically. So, in the newly remodeled and sterile gray of the ballroom, the Peninsula Voices transported the audience to these movie locations in musical ways for the audience to enjoy. Read full story

Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, Piano