EMIL KHUDYEV, Seattle Symphony clarinetist, plays a recital concert at Hidden Valley on Monday evening. THE CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL continues through July 27 with concerts at Sunset Center, Carmel Mission and various church venues around the Monterey Peninsula. THE JOHN HANRAHAN QUARTET pays an homage to Wayne Shorter. “ROCKET MAN” Elton John tribute to play Santa Cruz Civic. KIM NALLEY pays respects to Aretha Franklin. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events click on our CALENDAR
MARIN ALSOP’S BALTIMORE SYMPHONY ON THE ROPES
AUDITORS find that it may no longer be a viable enterprise. Click HERE
THE CABRILLO FESTIVAL WINS A NEW CONDUCTING FELLOWSHIP
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and artistic director of Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, has gifted the Cabrillo Festival with a $30,000, three-year conducting fellowship, which will provide free tuition and travel support to top-tier Fellows of the Cabrillo Festival Conductors/Composer Workshop, itself designed to advance the careers of talented young composers and conductors. “I firmly believe we must invest in the future generation in order for our art form to thrive and inspire,” said Nézet-Séguin. “Contributing to the Cabrillo Festival is all the more meaningful because of my history with Cabrillo’s music director Cristian Măcelaru.” In his role as music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Nézet-Séguin became Măcelaru’s mentor, colleague, and friend, as Măcelaru served as the orchestra’s assistant conductor, associate conductor, and Conductor in Residence, respectively.
JONI MITCHELL’S Mingus, her vinyl LP that turns 40 this year, distills a sui generis project instigated by the jazz great, who died early in 1979 from ALS, even as neither of them was deeply immersed in each other’s music. Matthew Barton tells the unlikely story for Jazz Journal. Click HERE
WHEN JENNIE MET DIZZY
AT 14, Jennie Litvack asked Dizzy Gillespie for a trumpet lesson. It lasted more than four hours. Remembering the finest female shofar blower in the world. Click HERE
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
IF YOU GOOGLE “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” you will find links to Maya Angelou’s first autobiography. But you will have to look harder to find a link to the poem Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar, published in 1899, from which Angelou took her title. Dunbar’s tragically short life—33 years—is the subject of this new CD recording of Richard Thompson’s chamber opera The Mask in the Mirror. Thompson wrote both the libretto and the music for the two principal characters, Dunbar and the better educated Alice Ruth Moore—who would become his wife—a miscellany of friends, relatives and others, and an orchestra of 15 instruments, plus a jazz combo. Thompson, originally from Scotland, studied at the University of Edinburgh, Rutgers University and the Berklee College of Music. He is now associate professor of music at San Diego State University. His compositional skills are eclectic and masterful. What this CD reveals is a superb melding of words and music, economical yet vivid, passionate in its conflicts and unflaggingly intense. It confronts head-on the issues of racial identity and confusion, sexuality and alcoholism as they were experienced by black Americans in the first generation born to ex-slaves. The piece was brought to my attention by Monterey Peninsula native Leberta Lorál, who has two small roles in the recording—Paul’s friend Victoria and a woman in a Harlem bar. On listening to it I quickly recognized Thompson’s brilliant synthesis of story and score. Indeed, I find the opera deeply moving, even heartbreaking. Dunbar was a naturally gifted wordsmith and poet, but with profound wounds from a dysfunctional childhood. In the opera, he falls in love with Alice, but continues to womanize and drink heavily. One drunken encounter between them ends with rape. The CD notes provide this background: “Despite his success and determination, (Dunbar) was also confused about his identity as a black man in America, being ashamed of his dark complexion. Moore had similar problems with her racial identity: as a product of a casual interracial sexual relationship, she preferred to reinvent herself as a Creole from Louisiana.” In a broad brush, the notes continue, “The Dunbars wanted to promote themselves as role models for a new black middle class, comparing themselves to (well known) English writers. Sadly, Dunbar and Moore lacked the psychological strength to live up to their ideals.” Featuring tenor Cameo Humes and soprano Angela L Owens in the principal roles, and conductor Stephen Tucker, the recording was performed by the Sanaa Opera Project orchestra. SM
TO READ reviews of The Mask In the Mirror in Opera News and Fanfare Magazine, click HERE The complete libretto is available at richardthompsonpiano.com
S.A. UBER DRIVER FINDS AN OPERA CAREER
VIDEO BY PASSENGER of self-taught tenor Menzi Mngoma goes viral. Click HERE
JOAN BAEZ’ FAREWELL TOUR
REPORTED by Jeffrey Brown for the PBS News Hour.
DAVID CROSBY’S FAREWELL TOUR
HOW IS he even still alive?
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Click HERE
CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL completes its 82nd season on July 27. CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC opens on July 28 with a free open rehearsal.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor