Saturday, August 27, 2016
press release: Montclair, NJ – A new orchestra has been established in the New York City suburb of Montclair, New Jersey. The Montclair Orchestra will be a semi-professional full orchestra, with players to include local area professional musicians, conservatory level students, as well as highly trained amateurs. An inaugural 2017-2018 season is in the planning, with full orchestral concert repertoire ranging from traditional classical works from Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms to modern pieces and film scores of twentieth century and contemporary composers. The Montclair Orchestra is the concept of Montclair resident Andre Weker, a classically trained pianist and former orchestral musician. “When our family recently relocated to Montclair, one of the things that drew us to the area was the incredible amount of culture and support for the arts we saw in town,” says Weker. “It was clear that an orchestra would be an ideal complement to the other diverse cultural offerings in Montclair, and people in town have been extremely enthusiastic in the support of the project.” The original “Montclair Orchestra” was established in 1922, with its first concert being held at the Montclair Art Museum. That ensemble merged with other groups in the region, eventually moving to Newark and becoming what is today the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Since then, there are many musical performances and concert series taking place regularly in venues throughout Montclair, but a permanent orchestra has never been re-established, until now. In addition to Weker, others involved in the startup include Robert Cart, the Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, and Rose Cali, a patron of the arts who also has ties to the Montclair Art Museum and Montclair Film Festival. “One of the goals of The Montclair Orchestra is to become a permanent fixture within the community,” says Cart. “Our goal is to build ties with the residents of the town, in addition to collaborating with the other local institutions such as the Art Museum and the Film Festival. The Montclair Orchestra will also help MSU strengthen its ties to the community at large, with our students becoming more acquainted with residents and venues in town, and in response residents attending concerts at the University’s venues.” A search for a Music Director has begun, and auditions for musicians will be held in the spring of 2017. Apply here. No rush yet.
In his latest work, Incantesimi, Julian Anderson draws on Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony and writes with the Berlin Phil players in mind. Ahead of its UK premiere, he explains how his vision came to life“What inspired you to write this piece?” It is the question most creative people dread. If you’re composing music, you must somehow be in a trance, in some sort of mystical, transported condition suspending all rational thought processes. It comes as a severe jolt to many that creative activity is generally done like any other job, with hard work, craft, intelligence and a dose of cunning.In my experience, a composer most often gets creative energy from working with performers. That gives you the buzz to write music, especially for performers you know. You imagine them playing every phrase, characterising it, pulling the music about, making it their own. It spurs you on. When the performers are Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, the temptation is to just go berserk – like stout Cortez upon a peak in Darien. But there were challenges ahead: I’d not worked with Rattle nor the orchestra before, and I’d never been inside the Berlin Philharmonie concert hall where they were to give the premiere. There were a lot of unknowns. Continue reading...
Festival theatre, Edinburgh Transplanted to 1930s Eritrea, Christopher Honoré’s version skims off the froth and stirs in the darker themes of power play, violence and abuseIt’s the dregs of a war. Guglielmo and Ferrando are Italian fascist soldiers stationed in Asmara, bored and unsupervised, and their pent-up machismo turns sexually abusive. Dorabella and Fiordiligi are colonial daughters whose relationship to local men pivots between disgust and desire – which adds to the fun when their boyfriends play a trick on them by blacking up as Dubat mercenaries. Ha ha. After this production opened in Aix-en-Provence, letters were sent out to everyone who had bought tickets to see it in Edinburgh, warning of explicit adult themes. French film director Christophe Honoré transplants Mozart’s opera to 1930s Eritrea and the curtain raises on a black girl dancing to calypso then being raped by a fascist soldier. And so it goes on, though none of the violence is particularly explicit, not compared with a 15-certificate movie. Continue reading...
“Choreographers have tended to avoid Mozart’s music when making dances, for fear their steps will look trivial in comparison. … There is a lingering sense that dance, which involves physical bodies subject to the laws of gravity and propelled by muscle, will somehow drag down the music’s graceful architecture. … Ridiculous! says Mr. Morris.”
The view from the main stage Orchestra Pit at the Royal Opera House © ROH/Sim Canetty-Clarke, 2014 Eight Royal Opera productions will be broadcast over the coming months on BBC Radio 3 . Each broadcast will be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast. Details are as follows: Il barbiere di Siviglia LIVE - 17 September 2016 (6.30pm BST) Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Royal Opera © ROH / Mike Hoban 2011 Rossini ’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) has a score that fizzes with musical brilliance, from Figaro’s famous entrance aria ‘Largo al factotum’ to the frenzy of the Act I finale, when the five principal voices all pile on top of each other. Werther - 15 October 2016 (6.30pm BST) Joyce DiDonato as Charlotte and Vittorio Grigòlo as Werther in Werther, Royal Opera House © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Bill Cooper Werther's excellent libretto, written by Edouard Blau and Paul Milliet , distills Goethe ’s Romantic masterpiece and intensifies Goethe’s depiction of two passionate people, each intent on hurting the other. The score displays Massenet ’s gift for melody, with the ‘Clair de lune’, ‘Lied d’Ossian’ and Charlotte’s ‘Prière’ now some of the composer's most loved music. This broadcast offers another chance to hear two of the finest performances at Covent Garden last Season from Joyce DiDonato and Vittorio Grigòlo . Il trovatore - 22 October 2016 (6.30pm BST) Željko Lučić as Count di Luna in Il trovatore, The Royal Opera © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Clive Barda Verdi ’s Il trovatore is probably best known for its ‘gypsy’ music: the Anvil Chorus , Azucena’s ‘Stride la vampa’ and Manrico’s heroic ‘Di quella pira’ are key examples. But Verdi wrote wonderful music for all four of his leads and the score boasts a host of thrilling ensembles and chorus numbers including the Count's aristocratic aria ‘Il balen del suo sorriso’ and Leonora’s prayer. Norma - 5 November 2016 (6.30pm GMT) Norma. The Royal Opera 2016/17 Season Bellini ’s bel canto masterpiece Norma is perhaps most acclaimed as a vehicle for the lead soprano – key arias include ‘Casta diva’, Norma’s Act I hymn to the chaste moon; and Act II’s ‘Dormono entrambi’, as she contemplates the unthinkable act of killing her children. But the opera’s dramatic potency rests in its breathtaking ensembles, most strikingly in Norma’s duets with Pollione and Adalgisa, the Act I trio ‘Vanne, sì: mi lascia, indegno’ and the blistering Act II finale. Così fan tutte - 12 November 2016 (6.30pm GMT) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, posthumous portrait by Barbara Kraft, 1819 Mozart ’s final collaboration with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte followed Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni and exemplifies the heights opera can reach when the skills of composer and librettist are perfectly matched. But Così’s reception has always been more complex than that of the other Mozart/Da Ponte operas, with the opera variously considered immoral, unfinished, cruel or simply odd since its 1790 premiere. Now finally accepted as one of Mozart’s masterpieces, it is celebrated as much for its nuanced depiction of love as for its glorious music. Der Rosenkavalier LIVE - 14 January 2017 (5.45pm GMT) Richard Strauss conducts at the Royal Albert Hall, 1947 © Philharmonia Orchestra Der Rosenkavalier was Richard Strauss ’s first original collaboration with the playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal , following quickly on the heels of Strauss’s adaption of Hofmannsthal’s play Elektra . It marked the start of one of 20th century opera’s most important artistic partnerships. Renée Fleming takes on the role of Marschallin in this new production, one of the great soprano roles in the repertory. The Nose and Les Contes d'Hoffmann will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the coming months. Details of these broadcasts will be released shortly. The Royal Opera House and the BBC are partners . Please note broadcast schedules are subject to change.
Fred Plotkin: “How could she sing in such a wide range of styles, from Mozart to bel canto (she sang Norma, Maria Stuarda and rare Rossini) to Verdi, Puccini and the verismo composers? She liked to say, ‘you sing using technique and your brain and the voice responds.'”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 - 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Mozart composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. The circumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons. Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, of whom Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."
Great composers of classical music