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Thursday, July 19, 2018
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 Recent Reviews
SYMPHONY
!PURA VIDA! A SONIC TRIUMPH FOR SO CO PHIL IN THRILLING COSTA RICA TOUR CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Long anticipated events, such as a great sporting game, gourmet feast, holiday trip or a concert, occasionally fall way short of expectations. The results don’t measure to expectations. With the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Costa Rica concert June 19, the performance exceeded any heated or tenuou...
SYMPHONY
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
CHAMBER
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
RECITAL
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious building that is one of Sonoma County’s loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.  Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
CHAMBER
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hall’s residen...
SYMPHONY
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLER’S FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the university’s stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the university’s Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
SYMPHONY
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
SYMPHONY
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. Saëns’ majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec l’...
RECITAL
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago “Golden Era” of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didn’t play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuber’s work to the public’s attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
SYMPHONY
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the season’s final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Local Concerts  
OPERA REVIEW
Mendocino Music Festival / Friday, July 13, 2018
Festival Orchestra, Luçik Aprahämian, conductor. Singers include Shawnette Sulker, Tonia D'Amelia, Sylvie Jensen, Michael Desnoyers, Bojan Knezevic and Ben Brady. Erin Neff, stage director

Cast In The July 13 Cimarosa Opera Production (Nicholas Wilson Photo)

SPARKLING CIMAROSA OPERA HIGHLIGHTS MENDOCINO MUSIC FESTIVAL

by Kathryn Stewart
Friday, July 13, 2018

The Classical music era was a time of extraordinary innovation. Dominated by composers from the German-speaking countries, the period witnessed the handiwork of masterpieces by two classical giants, Haydn and Mozart. Both composers put forth a tremendous catalog of masterful works and perhaps to our modern ears hold the status of creative giants.

The downside of giants is that they cast shadows, certainly over the centuries. Such is the case for Domenico Cimarosa. Despite having written over 80 operas in his lifetime, and enjoying more success than his contemporary Mozart saw in his lifetime, his works are oft-neglected and undervalued in today’s halls, both large and small.

What a shame, because the 1792 opera Il Matrimonio Segreto is a delightful romp of an operatic romantic comedy that aptly depicts the anxieties and difficulties of two young and unhappy lovers who live surrounded by gossip and selfishness. And the Mendocino Music Festival Orchestra and an adept cast of Festival singers brought Italian composer’s charming score to effervescent life July 13.

The opera was scheduled as part of the 32nd season of the Festival. A crisp, coastal evening proved no challenge for the large white tent, which filled slowly but steadily with opera fans, old and young, despite the performance taking place during a month surely filled with travel and vacations. Ushers seemed decked out for the festive occasion, a few donning top hats. Unticketed music lovers wandered by, listening to the music from afar and enjoying a late sunset over the bluffs.

The set and lighting were impressive, given the limitations of creating a makeshift stage under the massive tent. With orchestra and guest conductor Luçik Aprahämian hidden behind a curtain (surely helping to provide the semblance of a house set but doing nothing for the enjoyment of watching the conductor-orchestra relationship) the overture got the opera buffa in two acts off to a swift start. Her tempi throughout were lively and fitting of the style, which translated into an amusing moment onstage, with the young lovers central to the opera’s plot engaging in private moments in the shadows of the stage curtain.

If the orchestra took a few minutes to find their cohesive sound, the singers did also. Tenor Michael Desnoyers displayed terrific range as Apolino, both vocally and dramatically, but one had a sense with the first duet that he had not quite yet presented his full talents. Shawnette Sulker was sprightly of voice and character as Carolina, with a lovely sound that opened up especially when singing above the staff. Despite the opening duet slowly finding its way in the drama, the music and nerves soon came together, with other cast members joining the stage, giving a sense of ease and playfulness to director Erin Neff’s staging.

Tonia D’Amelia was charmingly clever in vocalism, with a good sense of comedic timing as the overlooked sister Elisetta. Sylvie Jensen’s “Real Housewives” style aunt Fidalma was campy in all the right ways, with a beautiful and rich mezzo quality which perhaps was lost a bit with the tent’s acoustic challenges. The tent also caused much of the Italian language to be absorbed before hitting the audience. Only the two bass singers seemed to display enough “oomph” in their diction to project past the first few rows. Young bass Ben Brady sang with a deep legato that matched the role of the sly and dodgy Count. Bass Bojan Knezevic was a standout in the cast, with the perfect amount of vocal character, over the top facial expressions, and grumpiness of spirit to play into the fatherly stereotype.

The end of the opera was met with robust applause and standing ovations. Indeed, a fun and delightful evening of opera under the white tent.

Events Calendar

CHAMBER
Mendocino Music Festival
Friday, July 20, 2018
4:00 PM - Mendocino
String Players TBA
Emerging Artists Chamber Music. TBA...
Details

SYMPHONY
Mendocino Music Festival
Saturday, July 21, 2018
7:30 PM - Mendocino
Festival Orchestra and Chorus, Allan Pollack, conductor. Amy Bouchard, soprano
Vaughan William: Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis; Elgar: Enigma Variations; Rutter: Magnificat...
Details

CHAMBER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Saturday, July 21, 2018
4:00 PM - Sonoma
Kyle Stegall, tenor; Nikki Einfield, soprano; Elizabeth Blumenstock, Sarah Bleile and Anna Presler,
Mozart: Violin Sonata in F Major, K. 547; Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 2; Songs of Brahms and Wolf (TBA) Preconcert Lecture ar 3 p.m. by Prof. Thomas W. Laqueur...
Details

CHAMBER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Sunday, July 22, 2018
4:00 PM - Sonoma
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Eric Zivian and Jeffrey LaDeur, piano; apprenti
Haydn: Piano Trio (TBA); Schubert: Lebensstürme for four hands; Schumann: Piano Quartet in E Flat, Op. 47...
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CHAMBER
Piano Sonoma
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
5:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Doori Na, violin; Tristan Teo, Angie Zhang and Peter Dugan, piano
Beethoven: A Minor Sonata, Op. 47 (Kreutzer); Bernstein: For Stephen Sondheim (from Thirteen Anniversaries); Balcom: Dead Moth Tango; Holst: "Jupiter" (from The Planets, arr. P. Dugan); Emi Ferguson: ...
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OTHER
Piano Sonoma
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
3:00 PM - Rohnert Park
Brian S. Wilson and Thomas Cabaniss, lecturers
Conversation on Cabaniss' Composition "Double Rainbow" Admission is free...
Details

CHAMBER
Piano Sonoma
Thursday, July 26, 2018
5:30 PM - Rohnert Park
Michael Dahlberg, cello; Emi Ferguson, flute; Peter Dugan, Angie Zhang, Jessica Shinn, Michael Shinn
Debussy: Cello Sonata, and L'isle Joyeuse; Copland: Duo for Flute and Piano; Thomas Cabaniss: Double Rainbow for Chamber Ensemble (world premiere) $15 admission, $12 for a guest...
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CHAMBER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Saturday, July 28, 2018
4:00 PM - Sonoma
Monica Huggett and Rachell Wong, violin; Marc Schachman, oboe; Sadie Glass, horn; Andrew Gonzalez, v
Beethoven: Violin Sonata In F Major, Op. 24 ("Spring") and Quintet for Piano and Winds; Hummel: Quartet for Clarinet and Strings in E-Flat Major Pre Concert: Mozart String Quartet (TBA) performed by ...
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CHAMBER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Sunday, July 29, 2018
11:00 AM - Sonoma
Monica Huggett, violin; Liana Bérubé, viola; Tanya Tomkins, cello; Kate Van Orden, bassoon; Anthony
Schubert: Octet and Sonatina for Violin and Piano Coffee and pastries provided gratis...
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OTHER
Valley of the Moon Music Festival
Sunday, July 29, 2018
2:30 PM - Sonoma
Kate Van Orden, lecturer
"The Paradox of Progress" ...
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