Fiddler on the Roof at Santa Catalina

Bailey Belleci Brewer as Tevye

A large audience turned out Friday evening for the opening night of Santa Catalina’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, which will be running for four performances during the next two weeks. The stagecraft for this production was ingenious in the way it used modular units on stage (the back of each unit representing parts of a different scene), which could be joined and then moved easily, quickly and silently in between scenes. It worked brilliantly. Stage lighting and sound management were likewise effectively managed and enhanced each scene. Director Lara Wheeler Devlin deserves a lot of credit for making all the complicated elements of this production work so well together. Musician Chris West also deserves kudos for the way she kept the nine musicians in the pit totally coordinated with the action on stage.

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Archived in these categories: Dance, Vocal, Vocal ensemble

The Chagrins of Love — Ian Bostridge in Recital

Ian Bostridge

A small but highly appreciative audience attended the Wednesday, October 16 recital by tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist-composer Brad Mehldau at Stanford’s Bing Hall. The program rubric, “The Folly of Desire,” featured music by two composers, Mehldau and Robert Schumann. For the eleven songs by Mehldau, the self-immolating and often debased aspects of desire became subject matter for a series of jazzy treatments, more rhythmic and harmonic than conspicuously melodic. The poems Mehldau selects, from his “post MeToo” sensibility, derive from such diverse talents as Auden, Cummings, Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake, Brecht, and Goethe. Their content affirms, denies, mocks, and even salaciously depicts the more carnal implications of love – or rather, lust – in its attempt to achieve the spiritual resolution it might offer as agape. For Robert Schumann, whose music commanded the second half of the concert, his four independent songs and the 1840 cycle Dichterliebe, Op. 48, seek to reconcile love with Nature’s ineluctable tendency to make ephemeral our most exalted moments. 

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Piano, Vocal

David Gordon — A Stroll Down Memory Lane

It was a full house yesterday afternoon in the Recital Hall at MPC — 250 loyal fans, none of whom would miss an opportunity to hear David Gordon at his best. He fills all the roles of entertainer, raconteur, “dramaturge” (if he didn’t invent that term, he certainly owns it) and knock-em-dead singer in every style and genre known to man. Simply stated, he is a great and natural all-around musician, plus, incidentally, his guitar playing ain’t bad, either.

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Archived in these categories: Guitar, Vocal

Carmel Bach Festival 2019 — Opening Night at Sunset Center

Dashon Burton, Mhairi Lawson, Paul Goodwin & Thomas Cooley

The weather outside was cool and foggy, but the ambient feeling of heightened anticipation was considerably warmer as those arriving to attend the opening night of Carmel Bach Festival 2019 were offered complimentary wine, treated to a free pre-concert lecture by Karen Hiles and invited to mingle in the courtyard and terraces of Sunset Center to enjoy the traditional “Tower Music” that has been a much-enjoyed and festive pre-concert event for so many years.

Although the Carmel Bach Festival may have teased us with three pre-festival events earlier in the week: two vocal master class open sessions at First Presbyterian Church, a chamber concert at St. Dunstan’s and an annual gala dinner at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the Carmel Bach Festival 2019 officially opened Saturday night at Sunset Center with a performance of Haydn’s great masterpiece, “The Creation.”

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Orchestral, Vocal

35th Annual Virginia Best Adams Masterclass

Nola Richardson & David Newman

With only a few days away from opening night at the 2019 Carmel Bach Festival, we had an opportunity yesterday afternoon at First Presbyterian Church in Carmel to observe the first in the series of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclasses. As in previous years, it was a moving experience to hear four exciting young singers in the early stages of their careers. Presiding master class teacher David Newman, addressing the singers seated in the first row, informed them, “A few decades ago I was siting where you are now as a young Virginia Best Adams Fellow.”

During the twenty years that Franz Liszt was resident in Weimar, he remarked to a friend that as he walked the cobbled streets of Weimar he often felt the presence of Johann Sebastian Bach. Today, as spectators to the latest round of Virginia Best Adams Fellows, we felt the presence of David Gordon, whose absence this year invokes many memories of his guiding spirit over three decades that helped elevate the Adams Masterclasses to the status they enjoy today.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Master class, Vocal