Mozart/Da Ponte, Le Nozze di Figaro, the debut of the Capital Opera Company, Albany

Last August, tipped off by friends of the always-remarkable Richard Giarusso, I ventured up to Cambridge, New York, to hear him conduct Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte at Hubbard Hall, a nineteenth-century “opera house,” which has seen many vicissitudes, but is now flourishing as a community arts and performance center, thanks to the enthusiasm of its local supporters. It was also the inauguration of a new institution, the Hubbard Hall Opera Company, the brainchild of Alexina Jones. The performance was a delight because of the quality of the young, solidly trained voices, the imaginative use of the hall as a three-dimensional performance space, and the lively acting of an intelligently directed cast, who wanted nothing better than to bring Da Ponte’s human comedy and Mozart’s music to life.

Mendelssohn 200: Crescendo sings rare gems from frère et soeur

t is perfectly fitting that on J. S. Bach’s birthday (March 21) a tribute should be paid to two composers who lived a century later: Felix Mendelssohn (his bicentenary year), and his gifted sister, composer Fanny Hensel. By the early nineteenth century, Bach, who was viewed as an antique keyboard pedagogue, was to await Felix Mendelssohn’s revival of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829 for posthumous acclaim. Yet, both Felix (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) and Fanny (Mendelssohn Hensel) wrote remarkable and beautiful choral works, assimilating an extraordinary palate of antiquarian musical idioms and styles. Their mastery of such Catholic and Lutheran idioms was largely owing to their common tutelage by Carl Friedrich Zelter, who imparted his love of Bach and Palestrina to this gifted musical pair.

A Tourist at the Opera, A Visitor’s Impression of the Northern Berkshires

The past week has provided one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life for a variety of reasons. My first trip to the Northern Berkshires centered specifically in North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts and began on Canada’s West Coast—on Vancouver Island, where I live . My purpose was to attend an opening of Artists without Borders at the Brill Gallery, located in the historic Eclipse Mill in North Adams.

Artists Without Borders – Brill Gallery: Rydygier, Fujinami, Gabler

The Brill Gallery is situated on the ground floor at the north end entry of the Eclipse Mill, and the mill is the first major building as one approaches the city from the east. The recently renovated, enormous, four storey red brick, former textile mill is now full of art galleries, studios and live/work studio residences. Within the Brill Gallery, with its large north facing small pane industrial windows, the artworks were displayed studio style with paintings and photographs either framed or pinned, some hung, some leaning on walls from the floor, and all numbered, titled, catalogued, and priced. Natural and track lighting showed the works well and all the artworks themselves were of great quality and variety.

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