Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

HIDDEN VALLEY MASTERS’ FESTIVAL presents jazz flutist ALI RYERSON (above) hosts her Jazz Flute Club Night and an oboe recital by ELAINE DOUVAS, principal oboe of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. MERMAID MADONNA: TALES OF A CRISIS opens at Center Stage in Santa Cruz to tell the story of the Syrian refugee crisis. SOFYA GULYAK performs for Aptos Keyboard Series. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR

SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT AT PACREP

ACTOR VINCENT SERRANO, who appeared in recent productions of the musicals Mamma Mia and Billy Elliot, last week e-blasted everyone connected with Pacific Repertory in recent years with accusations of explicit sexual harassment by actors and producers of both sexes, with graphic descriptions. PacRep spokesperson Julie Hughett told us by phone the matter has been referred to their attorney. We offered Serrano the benefit of the doubt by email, even suggesting that he may have overreacted, and got this reply, “You have your opinions and I have my experiences as they are one to go through. But thank you for reassuring your judgment. I’m not the only one dealing with these sort of grooming tactics at the Golden Bough theatre and Forest theater. I’ve witness multiple inappropriate gestures and comments made to other cast members who are under the age and this type of abuse will not stop even if people choose to think otherwise.” 

DANCING TO THE MUSE OF EARTHQUAKES

MOON RIBAS dances to the beat of the Earth. A self-described cyborg artist in Barcelona. Click HERE

DANCING IN SYRIA COULD BE DEADLY FOR MEN

AHMAD JOUDEH was born in a refugee camp in Syria. At the tender age of 8, he discovered the magic of dance. Click HERE   

WHY IS PUBLIC FUNDING OF THE ARTS SO PROBLEMATIC?

FRANÇOIS MATAROSSO ruminates on “the tinnitus of my professional life.” Click HERE  

WHY ARTISTS ARE SO EASILY EXPLOITED, PART 2

GEMMA TIPTON investigates for The Irish Times. Click HERE

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

DER FREISCHÜTZ is a German language Singspiel—a play with spoken dialog and singing—that emerged in the 18th century at the behest of Joseph II, the Emperor of Austria, to encourage composers to bring their own vernacular to the opera stage. His National Singspiel functioned from 1778 to 1783, the year after it had produced Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). Despite its brief five-year existence, the precedent was set. Mozart would return to the style with Die Zauberflöte in 1791. Beethoven’s Fidelio followed in 1805, Weber’s Der Freischütz in 1821, and numerous reiterations through the 19th and 20th centuries. But Weber couldn’t have known the impact Der Freischütz would have, especially on Richard Wagner who recognized a dimension of romanticism, especially the supernatural, that he would make his own. (Even Beethoven was surprised and impressed by “the little mannequin.”) This new DVD video release was recorded from two performances in 2017 at La Scala in Milan, which is not only the premiere house of Italian opera but only rarely where Singspiel would reasonably be expected. All the principal roles are taken here by German-speakers from north of the Alps. The veteran opera conductor Myung-Whun Chung took charge on the podium, with stage direction by Matthias Hartmann, set designs by Raimund Orfeo Voigt, video direction by Jean Pierre Loisil. This opera (Singspiel) has comedic bits, like The Magic Flute, and a faltering betrothal when Max (tenor Michael König) suddenly loses his gift as a sharpshooter—which is what Freischütz means—and gets help with magic bullets that cannot fail to find their target offered from Kaspar (Günther Groissböck), arias for the two women, the lovesick Agathe (Julia Kleiter) and the busybody Annchen (Eva Liebau) and ends with all parties and chorus agreeing praises for ‘doing the right thing’ and punishing evil, like the finale to Mozart’s Don Giovanni. But the theatrical high point is the ‘Wolf Glen at midnight’ scene in which Kaspar casts the bullets and calls for the satanic blessing of Samiel (Frank van Hove), which in live stagings like this one, and recordings is usually amplified for effect. If you like the supernatural, the romantic and a touch of comedy in your operatic experience then this is a good place to start. SM

iTUNES IS DEAD, R.I.P.

FROM LAST WEEK, Brian Barrett reporting for Gear. Click HERE  

BYE BYE BLACKBIRD

 

THE MAN WHO MADE THE OJAI FESTIVAL ‘COOL’

THE VISIONARY Thomas W Morris, who branded an indelible mark on the Southern California music festival in tiny Ojai, is stepping down. Click HERE  

HEATWAVE

 

NEXT WEEK

SMASH MOUTH on the beach in Santa Cruz. CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT & SULLIVAN FORTNER at Kuumbwa. BEYONCE’S all-female band reunion, and SEPTETO ACAREY at the Fox in Salinas. JOHN MAYALL at the Rio. LITTLE WOMEN, THE MUSICAL at The Western Stage.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor

 

Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

INTERNATIONAL FLUTIST KEITH UNDERWOOD will be joined by pianist Barbara Lee at Hidden Valley. SAXOPHONIST/COMPOSER REMY LE BOEUF and vocalist JAZZMEIA HORN coming to Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz. NIGEL ARMSTRONG makes Fiddle Music Magic. SINGER/SONGWRITER RUFUS WAINWRIGHT plays the Rio Theatre. GRUPO FOLKLORICO LOS MEJICAS (above) brings the dance of Mexico to UC Santa Cruz.For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click on the display ads, left, or on our CALENDAR

LIGHT FALLS

LAST WEEK’S PBS SPECIAL, taped before a live audience in New York, is a new play by and starring (pun intended) Columbia University physicist Brian Greene that examines Albert Einstein’s discoveries and obsessions. Several of Einstein’s colleagues and rivals are portrayed by stage and film actor Francesca Faridany (right) who will narrate Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Carmel Bach Festival in July. Click HERE  & HERE

 

THE S.T.A.R. FOUNDATION of Monterey County (Support The Arts Regionally) Scholarship program has existed to help graduating Monterey County high school seniors pursue their interest in the performing arts beyond the secondary school setting. Scholarship awards are available for students having an interest in acting, musical theater, vocal and/or instrumental music, related technical skills, playwriting, performing arts management in a college or in an extracurricular program while enrolled in college.

CONGRATULATIONS to this year’s recipients: Cesar Avila: Salinas, Anzar High School; Isaiah Boulware: Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove High School; Gabrielle Flanders: Seaside, Ocean Grove Charter School/MPC; Ryan Hebert: Salinas, Trinity Christian High School; Luke Herzog: Pacific Grove, Pacific Grove High School; Pablo Mendoza-Contreras: Soledad, Gonzales High School; Mercedes Soto: Gonzales, Gonzales High School; Christian Vela: King City, Marina High School. To learn more, click HERE  

WHY ARE ARTISTS SO EASILY EXPLOITED?

KQED ARTS report by Nastia Voynovskaya unpacks the causes. Click HERE  

MONTEREY SYMPHONY’S CONDUCTOR SEARCH

THE SEARCH for a new music director for the Monterey Symphony offers a rare opportunity to review the search process from top to bottom and to revise it as needed on a variety of levels. During a recent phone chat with Nicola Reilly (left), the Symphony’s executive director, she told us that in order to accomplish that task a search committee was formed early this year pursuant to choosing candidates to conduct the orchestra in the first four concert pairs of the 2020-21 season. “Most likely we’ll have four candidates and two guest conductors,” Reilly said. “We hope to announce our choice after the March concert in 2021.” To read more about the process, click HERE

ROBERT FREEMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

NOW RETIRED, Freeman was director of the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory and University of Texas Austin. His blog entry, “Saving American orchestras from themselves,” sheds valuable light. Click HERE 

MUSIC BOX FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

INSPIRED by computer-generated virtual Animusic, made real by the Marble Conveyer Belt team.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THIS OUTSTANDING NEW LSO video serves up both Blu-ray and DVD discs together at the same price. Yet the title is a bit misleading. For sure it includes Debussy’s virtually unknown Première Suite d’Orchestre, completed in 1884 when the composer was 22—which I had never heard or even heard of before—but constitutes only one portion of an otherwise French program. (The odd-man out is Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture, which may seem a strange choice but gets an exciting reading directed by the stickless conductor François-Xavier Roth.) The Debussy consists of four movements and while not revealing his mature fingerprints nonetheless paints an accurate portrait of what’s to come: bright, bracing and luminous. Its companion, the ballet suite from Jules Massenet’s opera Le Cid, based on the romantic tale of the 12th century Christian hero Don Rodrigo Diaz and his beloved Ximena—as portrayed in the 1961 Anthony Mann movie El Cid that starred Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren—serves up six of the most vivacious dances from the same number of Spanish regions ever composed, though rarely performed. (The program note also calls attention to Debussy’s unfinished opera Rodrigue et Chimène, another revelation to me.) The program is filled out with Eduard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor in a blazing tour de force performance by Edgar Moreau, then 23, filmed at the Barbicon in January, 2018. SM

BJÖRK MORPHS LIKE PROTEUS  

 

LOVE OR HATE THE RECORDER? BLAME CARL ORFF

COMPOSER of Carmina Burana created an applied music education system now used worldwide, the Orff Schulwerk. Click HERE 

IMMORTAL RAY CHARLES, FIFTEEN YEARS GONE

 

FRESH REVIEWS

HIDDEN VALLEY STRINGS reviewed by Dana Abbott. Click HERE

PIRATES OF PENZANCE reviewed by Jocelyn McMahon, and THE MIRACLE WORKER reviewed by Philip Pearce Click HERE

SMUIN DANCE SERIES 02. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

ALI RYERSON’S Jazz Flute Club Night at Hidden Valley. PIANIST SOFYA GULYAK performs for Aptos Keyboard Series. BANDS ON THE BEACH in Santa Cruz begins its summer season.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @PerfArtsMtyBay

Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor