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Chamber
UNEXPECTED ARENSKY AND MENDELSSOHN BY THE NAVARRO
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 17, 2019
The 100 people entering Schroeder Hall Feb. 17 for a Trio Navarro concert were handed a program that appeared to feature two popular piano trios, Mendelssohn and Arensky. But continuing the Navarro’s tradition of repertoire exploration, the pieces were not the usual first Mendelssohn and first Aren...
Symphony
MENDELSSOHN'S SCOTTISH SAVES THE EVENING IN SRS WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Monday, February 11, 2019
The audience entering Weill Hall for Santa Rosa Symphony concerts Feb. 9-11 were presented with a program that on first glance appeared a curious patchwork – a great symphony mixed with a seldom heard concerto and two disparate overtures, and a guest conductor unknown locally. Monday night’s concer...
Recital
INTRIGUING BELL-HAYWOOD RECITAL BEFORE FULL HOUSE IN WEILL HALL
by Abby Wasserman
Friday, February 08, 2019
A big portion of the capacity audience in Weill Hall February 8th came to hear violinist Joshua Bell’s virtuosity, and were treated as well to splendid playing from Sam Haywood, Mr. Bell’s regular pianist since 2010. The duo performed three engaging sonatas, highlighted by Mr. Bell’s sterling techn...
Symphony
TRIPLE PLAY UKIAH SYMPHONY CONCERT AND TCHAIKOVSKY SERENADE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Over the years the Ukiah Symphony’s concerts have been in the Classical Sonoma Calendar sections, but rarely has this Orchestra, now in its 39th season, had a full winter season concert review. The provocative Jan. 27 program in Mendocino College’s Center Theater seemed a good reason to reacquaint ...
Symphony
JACKSON THEATER WELCOMES A NEW RESIDENT ORCHESTRA
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Moving to a permanent new performance venue can be a perilous undertaking for an orchestra, with different acoustics, the loyal audience finding the new spot and infrastructure challenges of lighting and lobby and backstage operations. In their first concert Jan. 26 in Windsor’s Jackson Theater the...
Symphony
ECLECTIC PASSIONATE PROGRAMMING AT MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, January 26, 2019
The Marin Symphony’s second Masterworks concert of the 2018-19 season featured works by John Adams, Sibelius and Brahms, a masterful assembly. In a spoken introduction before the program’s first half, conductor Alasdair Neale primed the audience for the “terra incognita” of Adams’ The Chairman Dance...
Symphony
A SLICE OF HEAVEN FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Under its vibrant new music director, Francesco Lecce-Chong, the Santa Rosa Symphony this past Sunday offered a nearly perfect afternoon of Mozart (Symphony No. 40) and Mahler (Symphony No. 4). While the two works share a common digit, the only element uniting them is genius. They made for a dazzlin...
Recital
KHOZYAINOV'S BRILLIANT PIANISM IN MILL VALLEY RECITAL
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, January 13, 2019
In its third concert of the season the Mill Valley Chamber Music Society Jan. 13 presented Russian virtuoso Nikolay Khozyainov. His intelligent and sensitive interpretations, masterful pedal work, and virtuoso technique left the near-capacity audience in Mt. Tamalpais Methodist Church astounded and ...
Chamber
A COMPLETE MUSICAL PACKAGE IN ARRON'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cellist Edward Arron has been a welcome artist at the Music at Oakmont series, and after his Jan. 10 recital it’s easy to understand his popularity. His artistry is a complete package, with potent instrumental technique wedded to integral musical conceptions. In a nearly flawless concert with pian...
Choral and Vocal
COMPELLING WEILL HALL MESSIAH ORATORIO FROM THE ABS
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Each holiday season when a Classical Sonoma reviewer is assigned to cover a concert with Handel’s seminal Oratorio The Messiah, the question arises about what new commentary can possibly apply to the often performed choral work. Well, if it’s the American Bach Soloists performing the piece, written...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Marin Symphony / Sunday, March 13, 2011
Marin Symphony
Alasdair Neale, conductor
Eisa Davis, soprano
Manoel Felciano, tenor
Marin Symphony Chorus

Composer Nathaniel Stookey

THREE CENTURIES OF OPERA AT NOVEL MARIN SYMPHONY CONCERT

by Donna S. Kline
Sunday, March 13, 2011


A rainy March 13 evening couldn’t dampen the spirits of Marin’s music lovers at the Marin Symphony fourth concert set of the season at the Civic Center Auditorium. An almost capacity audience was treated to a concert that “broke the mold” from ordinary symphony concerts, and for this creative transformation, Conductor Alasdair Neale is the key person. His imaginative programming can be credited for keeping Marin’s enthusiastic audiences attending the concerts each season.

A program of orchestral music as well as pop works and classical opera was the agenda and the audience was enchanted. Each of the three works performed at Sunday’s concert was from a different century, and all had one commonality: opera.

Leonard Bernstein’s classic Broadway opera/musical, Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, opened the program with members of the orchestra in full “swing” in the most literal sense. From the Prologue and majestic, Somewhere, to the Latin rhythms of Mambo, Cha Cha and the jazzy Rumble, the orchestra was in fine tune, even including their finger snaps! According to the program notes, Bernstein’s original score calls for a full orchestra, including a variety of 25 percussion instruments, all allowing the composer to take advantage of the panoply of available orchestral colors. March 13’s concert included five or six percussionists who covered for all the multiple instruments needed. It was a wonderful performance and enjoyable to watch.

The middle and most recent work performed was Zipperz (a soaPOPera), composed in 2008 by San Francisco native Nathaniel Stookey (b.1970). Part opera, part pop and part pulp, this work tells the familiar love-affair story from two different perspectives, all at the same time and “zipped” together. The text was written by poet Dan Harder. Mr. Stookey uses the Sprechstimme technique throughout, a speaking-voice where the tone of the voice is that of speech, but modulated as in a song. Composed in two acts, soprano Robin Coomer and Tenor Manoel Felciano spoke, sang, and even acted their parts successfully and beautifully. Zipperz (a soaPOPopera) is a creative and praiseworthy work. Mr. Stookey’s use of orchestrated sound effects (e.g. the ringing cell phone) were successful but the length of the piece is almost 50 minutes. The composer might consider some condensing. Both the composer and the lyricist were introduced after the performance and received a standing ovation.

The concert ended with the hundred-plus outstanding voices of the Marin Symphony Chorus, directed by Stephen McKersie. A group of six familiar opera choral works from the 19th century was sung, accompanied by the Symphony. Choral works, including Wagner, Borodin, Verdi and Leoncavallo were performed con Amore. It was the perfect ending to a night of standard repertoire, as well as the new and creative. What more can one ask for one evening’s concert?