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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...
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...
Opera
PURCELL'S DIDO IN YOUTHFUL SSU OPERA
by Abby Wasserman
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A doomed royal love affair, the theme of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, was brought to lovely life at Sonoma State University Dec. 5 in the school’s Schroeder Hall. Conducted by faculty member Zachary Gordin, who also played continuo, the performance was only the second opera production presented by the...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY HERALDS THE HOLIDAYS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Antlers are typical headgear during the holiday season, but the ushers and one bassist at the Santa Rosa Symphony concert on Dec. 2 sported apples atop their heads. The red fruits were festive but perplexing until the orchestra began Rossini’s “William Tell” overture, at which point even the dull-wi...
Symphony
A HERO'S ODYSSEY IN SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Art Hofmann
Sunday, November 18, 2018
The audience at the Sonoma County Philharmonic’s Nov. 18 concert was warned at the outset that the old Santa Rosa High School auditorium boiler was turned off, and there was a steady eminently audible tone in the hall. Conductor Norman Gamboa said the tone was an A, a high one. But there it was, a...
Recital
MTA BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURES FAURE, DVORAK, JANACEK AND BARBER WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, November 11, 2018
In a splendid concert Nov. 11 the Music Teachers Association of California, Sonoma County Chapter, presented their sixth annual benefit concert before 40 avid listeners in the Santa Rosa home of Helen Howard and Robert Yeats. Highlights of the performances, involving eight musicians in various perf...
Recital
SERKIN'S SINGULAR MOZART AND BACH PLAYING IN WEILL RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Friday, November 09, 2018
Returning to Weill Hall following a fire-related recital cancellation in 2017, pianist Peter Serkin programmed just three works in his Nov. 7 concert, three masterworks that challenged both artist and audience alike. It needs to be said at the outset that Mr. Serkin takes a decidedly non-standard a...
Chamber
LUMINOUS FAURE TOPS LINCOLN TRIO'S SPRING LAKE VILLAGE CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Familiarity in chamber music often evokes warm appreciation, and it was thus Nov. 7 when the Chicago-based Lincoln Piano Trio made one of their many Sonoma County appearances, this time on the Spring Lake Village Classical Music Series. Regularly presented by local impresario Robert Hayden, the Lin...
Symphony
PEACE AND LOVE FROM THE SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Before the Santa Rosa Symphony’s Nov. 4 performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story,” Symphony CEO Alan Silow took a moment to acknowledge the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack and to observe that music offers a more peaceful and loving view of the world. Mr. ...
OPERA REVIEW

Rossini Opera Cast Curtain Call July 19 at Festival

ROSSINI'S FROTHY FARCE AN AUDIENCE HIT AT MENDO FESTIVAL

by Terry McNeill
Monday, July 22, 2013

Mendocino Music Festival’s Alan Pollack usually has some musical surprises up his conductor’s sleeve, and at the July 19 Festival opera production he produced a unique coupling of lecture and music, set against the framework of a rarely-mounted 1813 opera.

As a way of extending Rossini’s frothy farce “Il Signor Bruschino” (the accidental son) Mr. Pollack preceded the one-act opera by speaking about enjoying opera to the audience from the stage, spotlighting Rossini and the composer’s famous quips and gourmet triumphs, and finally speculating why the Rossini didn’t compose much in his final 30 years. It was an enlightening speech but almost totally unrelated to the opera, which came after a short intermission.

Well, this opera and its inane plot really didn’t need much description. The common operatic switching of personages and people hiding behind the sofa prevailed, though unique moments were enjoyed when a motorized golf cart made several appearances on stage, driving in and out of a black curtain separating the singers and minimal sets from the small orchestra at the rear of the tent. I heard Erin Neff’s voice amplified at times, but the rest of eight-person cast was “au natural” and the orchestra’s volume and balances were excellent in the tent. Singing was in Italian and supertitles were projected on a drape above the stage. Recitatives (in English) were stylishly accompanied by an electric harpsichord

Baritone Eugene Brancoveanu and bass baritone Paul Thompson both sang convoluted parts with conviction, as did tenor Sergio R. Gonzalez and soprano Kelly Britt in the roles of young lovers Florville and Sofia. Michael Jankosky sang briefly as the long incarcerated Bruschino Jr., and doubled as a comic gendarme in short pants who tries to unravel the several impersonations. There was local interest as the setting was announced as the nearby Little River Inn. Locals were pleased.

Most of the Festival’s 27 seasons have featured an opera, though last year was dark, and the bantamweight Bruschino’s warm reception from the audience of 500 invites a stage work of more dramatic heft and musical interest in 2014.