Home  Reviews  Articles  Calendar  Presenters  Add Event     
Recital
GLITTERING PIANISM IN LI'S OAKMONT RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Piano prodigies have always been a fascination for the music public, and the greatest of them (some were Mozart, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Saint Saëns, Hofmann) went on to legendary fame. George Li, who made is local debut at a Music at Oakmont recital April 11, was a remarkable recent keyboard prodigy t...
Symphony
SO CO PHIL'S SEASON CLOSER WITH EXPANSIVE PROKOFIEV 5TH IN JACKSON
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 07, 2019
Closing their 20th season with their usual programming aplomb, the Sonoma County Philharmonic played a provocative set of concerts April 6 and 7 in the Jackson Theater, the Orchestra’s new home at the Sonoma Country Day School by the Sonoma County Airport. Local composer Nolan Gasser’s Sonoma Overt...
Choral and Vocal
SISTINE CHAPEL INSPIRATION FOR THE TALLIS SCHOLARS IN WEILL HALL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, April 05, 2019
Returning to Weill Hall April 5 after a seven year absence, the ten singers of the Tallis Scholars brought the sacred choral tradition of Palestrina and his contemporaries to an audience of delighted music lovers. Under the direction of Peter Phillips, the 1973 founder of the group, the program was...
Symphony
AUTUMNAL SIBELIUS 7TH HIGHLIGHTS VSO'S SEASON CLOSING CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 31, 2019
Closing their 87th Season March 30 and 31 the Vallejo Symphony has moved from a single weekend concert to a set of two, and the late March response was two full houses in the charming downtown Vallejo Empress Theater. Conductor Marc Taddei opened the Sunday program with a rousing performance of B...
Recital
SHARED INSTRUMENTAL BEAUTY IN VIEAUX-MEYERS WEILL HALL CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Exciting timbral sound and intricate counterpoint, made possible when two artists with complementary instruments play together, were richly explored by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and guitarist Jason Vieaux March 30 in Weill Hall. Whether in close harmony, or unison, or weaving separate melodies to...
Chamber
RARE MAHLER QUARTET AT MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Abby Wasserman
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Piano quartets are relatively rare in the classical literature, and there are only about 40 compositions for the combination of piano, violin, viola and cello, mostly from the Romantic period of the mid to late 1800s. It therefore was special March 24 to hear three great works of this medium, perfor...
Symphony
AMERICAN CLASSICS SPARKLE UNDER KAHANE’S BATON
by Steve Osborn
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Jeffrey Kahane, the Santa Rosa Symphony’s former conductor, returned to the Weill Hall podium on Saturday night, and the results were expectedly wonderful. The concert of American classics was by turns playful (Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”), emotional (Barber’s violin concerto) and triumphant (...
Chamber
FLORESTAN TRIO'S MENDELSSOHN AT SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Friday, March 08, 2019
Spring Lake Village’s monthly concerts usually clock in under an hour, but the March 8 Florestan Trio’s performance was more extended as so much good music was on tap for the 125 residents attending at Santa Rosa’s premiere retirement residence facility. Four short pieces made up the first half, be...
Chamber
TILDEN TRIO'S BOHEMIAN ENERGY AT DOMINICAN CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Hard on the heels of the Trio Navarro’s late February concert in Sonoma State’s Schroeder Hall, Northern California’s other premiere resident piano trio, the Tilden, played an equally convincing program March 3 in Dominican University’s Angelico Hall. Clearly each hall’s acoustics, stage pianos and...
Recital
24 SONGS IN A MENKE-THOMPSON RECITAL ODYSSEY
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sonoma County pop and country singing enjoys continued popularity but it rare to see a professional classical vocal concert announced. Diva Ruth Ann Swenson was once a local star, but she has long departed and not much virtuoso recital singing can be found in the North Bay. But the exception to th...
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?