Weekly Magazine

THIS WEEK

PIANIST YEKWON SUNWOO, who made a vivid impact for the Carmel Music Society early this season, returns to join the Brentano Quartet (See above) for a program of Beethoven and Dvořák. SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL opens its 46th season, “Roots of Bach,” with lutenist John Schneiderman. BARITONE TOM LEHMKUHL sings Mahler in Carmel and Santa Cruz. POLITICAL COMEDIAN BILL MAHER returns to Santa Cruz Civic. (Good luck getting a ticket.) MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSN OF CALIFORNIA gathers for the weekend at UC Santa Cruz Music Recital Hall on Friday at 2pm. For links to these and dozens of other live performance events, click our CALENDAR

NEWS SHOCK

SANFORD SYLVAN, locally celebrated Bach and Cabrillo Festival baritone, has died at age 65. He was found lifeless last Tuesday at his home in Manhattan, said to have been struggling with a respiratory condition. Sylvan sang for many seasons of the Bach under then-conductor Bruno Weil and, in 1991, the Cabrillo Festival when composer John Adams served as interim music director between the departing Dennis Russell Davies and incoming Marin Alsop. (Adams once called Sylvan his muse.) At Cabrillo he sang Adams’ The Wound Dresser, Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. At the Bach Festival he left an indelible impression; an artist of his sensitivity and imagination comes along only once in two or three generations. For Sylvan’s obit in the New York Times, click HERE   

 

CARMEL MUSIC SOCIETY CREATES ANNE THORP FUND

THE CO-PRESIDENT of the board, who died on January 22, is being remembered through a new memorial fund in her name. Friends and area music lovers are invited to make contributions to it at CMS, Box 22783, Carmel 93922. Anne was a rare power player in her role with the Society and, generally, in the community’s classical music scene. Her husband, Peter, as co-president will carry on her important work.

PERFORMING ARTS PEOPLE

By Susan Meister

LEBERTA LORÁL is a tall woman whose magisterial presence easily dominates a concert stage, yet her affect bespeaks gentility, even formality. She has a deeper speaking voice than one would associate with a soprano, which indeed she is, and while she exudes confidence, there is no hint of overweening ambition.  She has the voice to justify nearly any aspiration she might conjure, yet she steers away from outlining a detailed strategic plan that might lead her to fame and fortune. She has goals, but they are modest ones for now (“to keep my voice healthy and to sing full time”). The latter might be accomplished in short order: she has just engaged her first agent.  To read the rest of her story, click HERE  

2019 CARMEL BACH FESTIVAL

MUSIC DIRECTOR Paul Goodwin lays it out in detail.

 

THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH

THIS NEW CD from Bridge contains 21 songs written between 1877—Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord”—and 1939—Sigmund Romberg’s “When I Grow Too Old to Dream”—sung by Brian Mulligan, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2003 while still a student at Juilliard. Fifty years ago anyone drawn to Mulligan’s choice of material would have considered it nostalgic, perhaps quaint, and certainly of their mom and dad’s generation. But now, young people might just be surprised to discover a body of old music that is totally new to their ears. Mulligan is gifted with a commanding baritone that has opened doors across the US and Europe. His 2018-19 operatic season began with the role of Mandryka in Strauss’ Arabella last fall in San Francisco, and includes productions of Puccini’s Le Villi for Opera Rara, The Pearl Fishers in Zürich, Madama Butterfly and Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in Amsterdam. His concert season is nearly as busy. On Mulligan’s new CD you’ll hear such old saws as On the Road to Mandalay, Sylvia, Bluebird of Happiness, Trees, There is no Death, Roses of Picardy, Without a Song, I’ll See You Again and Goin’ Home for which William Arms Fisher fitted words to the gospel-flavored melody from Dvořák’s New World Symphony. The pianist is the estimable Craig Rutenberg. One last notice: the very cheeky The Green Eyed Dragon from 1926 with music by Wolseley Charles and words by Greatrex Newman. SM   

BUDDING STAR IN AN ANCIENT CHINESE OPERA

FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD TAN WEI TIAN is reviving an ancient classical Chinese opera. Click HERE

ORIGINS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

AS AN EXHIBITION IN LONDON brings together treasures from Anglo-Saxon England, Cameron Laux traces a history of the language through ten objects and manuscripts, including a burial urn, a buckle with bling (see above the Sutton Hoo buckle from an early 7th Century burial mound in Suffolk) and the first letter in English. Click HERE   

WILD IS THE WIND

WINTER HAS ROARED IN with downed trees, blocked roads and highways, freezer-thawing power outages and even water main breaks. (Smuin Ballet went home early on Saturday because Sunset Center was dark.)

 

FRESH REVIEW

BACH FESTIVAL BARITONE Dashon Burton’s solo recital in San Francisco. Click HERE

NEXT WEEK

THE TEMPEST TRIO performs Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio for the Distinguished Artists. ENSEMBLE SAN FRANCISCO appears with the Santa Cruz Chamber Players in Aptos. OLIVER TREE coming to the Rio. FOUR OLD BROADS opens at MCT. 

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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor