MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

A New Figaro at Seattle Opera

Ryan McKinny (Figaro) and Soraya Mafi (Susanna)

I reviewed the Figaro production that just opened at Seattle Opera for Bachtrack:

There’s a moment in Seattle Opera’s end-of-season production, as the threads are being steadily pulled ever tighter in the final act, when Figaro reaches out from his hiding place behind a tree, trying to make contact with Susanna…

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Filed under: Mozart, review, Seattle Opera

Mozart’s Messiah

Lee Mills with Seattle Symphony

I’m looking forward to this program with Seattle Symphony — and to the next chance to hear associate conductor Lee Mills in action, having been deeply impressed by his last-minute stand-in performance for an incredibly challenging program in November, which featured a world premiere by Hannah Lash and a rarity from Amy Beach.

Regarding Mozart’s take on Handel, Lindsay Kemp offers a helpful summary here of the profound effect that Baron van Swieten’s collection of Baroque music had on the composer. Van Swieten held private concerts in Vienna to explore choral music from the past and “invited Mozart to prepare new performing editions of a group of Handel oratorios…Doubtless Mozart was glad of the money, but, far from being workaday, the job he carried out on the scores is careful and considered, clearly born out of respect for Handel’s skill and creative personality.”

Kemp writes: “His main objective was to recast Handel’s music — whose original Baroque orchestral line-up of strings, oboes and bassoon and occasional brass and timpani would have seemed a little thin to Classical ears — for an up-to-date ensemble which added flutes, clarinets and horns. He thus brings a warm Viennese glow to the music, but in places Mozart also added his own gloss to events, as for instance in Messiah when he adds a contrapuntal shadow to the stark unison accompaniment of ‘The people that walked in darkness’…..”

A performance of Mozart’s complete version:

Filed under: Handel, Mozart, Seattle Symphony

Mozart and the Genius of Love

Next up from Byron Schenkman & Friends: on Sunday 14 November 2021at 7:00 PM, Pacific Time, Byron is joined by violinist Rachell Ellen Wong and violist Susan Gulkis Assadi for an all-Mozart program. You can watch the performance free on YouTube (you can donate here).

To get in the mood, tonight, Friday 5 November, Sean MacLean hosts all three musicians in a live studio performance on Classical KING FM 98.1at 8:00 PM. They will play Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio in E-flat major from the upcoming concert and other musical gems Byron wants to share.

Program for 14 November Concert


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Sonata in G Major, K. 301, for violin and piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Sonata in C Major, K. 330 (300h), for piano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Adagio in C Major, K. 356 (617a), for glass harmonica (or piano)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Trio in E-flat Major “Kegelstatt” K. 498 for violin, viola, and pian

Filed under: Byron Schenkman, Mozart, music news

Hélène Grimaud and Nicholas McGegan in an all-Mozart concert with the DSO

Today at 8:00PM CET/1:00PM CST: Hélène Grimaud with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan in a digital concert that was recorded live in performances from January 14-16, 2021.

The program includes Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor, K. 466, which is featured on Grimaud’s latest release, The Messenger. McGegan also leads Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550. This is part of the DSO’s Next Stage Digital Concert Series presented jointly with Deutsche Grammophon.

Filed under: Mozart, Nicholas McGegan, pianists

Mozart Birthday Toast

Raise a toast to Mozart with Byron Schenkman & Friends: tonight at 7.30pm PST on the  Town Hall Seattle site (free to $10-15; up to age 22 free)

The livestreamed program includes the E minor Violin Sonata, K. 304 (300c); Six Variations on Au bord d’une Fontaine, K. 360 (374b); and the Piano Quartet in G minor, K. 478. Byron Schenkman is joined by violinist Ingrid Matthews, one of today’s most respected baroque violinists; violist Susan Gulkis Assadi, principal viola at the Seattle Symphony; and cellist Nathan Chan, the assistant principal cello at Seattle Symphony.

Filed under: Byron Schenkman, Mozart

Covid fan tutte

Very much enjoying this “update” from Finnish Opera of Mozart’s ingenious opera buffa, which has just opened the company’s season. With Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting and staging by Jussi Nikkilä, this abridged version of the original features a libretto by Minna Lindgren rewritten for today and referencing the coronavirus pandemic and reality shows.

Cast: FIORDILIGI Miina-Liisa Värelä, DORABELLA Johanna Rusanen, FERRANDO Tuomas Katajala, GUGLIELMO Waltteri Torikka, DESPINA Karita Mattila, DON ALFONSO Tommi Hakala, INTERFACE MANAGER Sanna-Kaisa Palo, MOUZART Ylermi Rajamaa, COVID VIRUS Natasha Lommi

Meanwhile, here’s a recent tribute to the amazing Karita Mattila, who plays Despina in this production.

Filed under: COVID-19 Era, directors, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mozart

Don Giovanni at Finnish National Opera

Here’s a new production staged by Finnish actor-director Jussi Nikkilä for Finnish National Opera, with Patrick Fournillier conducting.

Cast
Don Giovanni: Tuomas Pursio
Donna Anna: Hanna Rantala
The Commandant: Koit Soasepp
Donna Elvira: Tamuna Gochashvili
Don Ottavio: Tuomas Katajala
Leporello: Markus Suihkonen
Masetto: Henri Uusitalo
Zerlina: Olga Heikkilä

Filed under: directors, Mozart

Mozart’s Sex and Mind Games at Juilliard

cosi-fan-tutte-production_2400x1350

Sara Jean Tosetti’s costume sketches for Ferrando, Dorabella, Fiordiligi, and Guglielmo

For the Juilliard Journal, I spoke to stage director David Paul and music director Nimrod David Pfeffer about their production of the final Mozart-Da Ponte collaboration, which Juilliard Opera performs later this month.

Così fan tutte is subtitled “The School for Lovers” — but this third and last of Mozart’s collaborations with his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte also provides an excellent education for emerging opera artists. The two couples at the center of the narrative “are young people who are at a juncture of having to figure out who they are and what they want out of love and life,” according to David Paul, who will direct Juilliard Opera’s new production. “They have to make consequential decisions for the first time in their lives, which makes Così remarkably appropriate for what these students are living through.”

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Filed under: directors, Juilliard, Mozart

Festival Season, Opera Style

The wonderfully provocative new production of Tannhäuser directed by Tobias Kratzer (responsible for a first-rate Der Zwerg this spring) was streamed live and is currently available from BR-Klassik (configure your VPN as needed); the audio is at the moment available here.

Elsewhere in Bavaria, Barrie Kosky has applied his stage genius to Handel’s Agrippina, with Ivor Bolton conducting. You can watch it on Bayerische Staatsoper TV here (available 29 July-12 August).

There’s lots of information about Salzburg Festival’s new Idomeneo here, including interviews with director Peter Sellars and music director Teodor Currentzis.

Here’s another piece on the season-opening production from ORF’s Kultur Heute program.

At 19:00 EST on 28 July 2019, the concert performance of the complete Die Walküre with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, led by Andris Nelsons and taped over two days, will be broadcast via WMNR Radio. Marc Mandel’s program notes here.

For more Mozart, Glyndebourne Festival’s new Barbe & Doucet production of The Magic Flute will be streamed live on Sunday 4 August and remain available for seven days.

Filed under: Bayreuth Festival, Mozart, Salzburg Festival, Wagner

Late-Night Liszt

I’d never heard Till Fellner live before but am now a convert. He played this as an encore after his rainwater-clear account of Mozart’s K. 503 C major Concerto on the first half of the finale concert of the 2019 Easter Festival in Lucerne on Palm Sunday.

Filed under: Franz Liszt, Lucerne Festival, Mozart, pianists

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