A MESSAGE FROM SANTA CRUZ SHAKESPEARE
A MESSAGE FROM THE WESTERN STAGE
“IT HAS BEEN a very difficult decision to reach but we will be re-scheduling the first four titles of our 2020 season. A Doll’s House, Pt. 2; Noises Off; Cry Baby; and Native Gardens will instead be presented in early 2021. We intend to produce Mr. Burns, A post-Electric Play and The Wizard of Oz this fall. The specific performance schedule is still being determined and we will keep you informed as those dates are finalized.” ~ Jon Selover, Artistic Director
ANNIE AT THE FOREST THEATER
FINGERS CROSSED, the Forest Theater Guild and DeFaria Company hope to open the popular musical on June 24. The cast includes Gracie Poletti as Ms Hannigan and Reg Huston is to be Daddy Warbucks plus 30 talented youngsters and adults. However, Walt DeFaria cautions, “If we are still staying at home on June 1, Annie is dead at least for this year.”
THIS WEEK’S SMUIN BALLET STREAM
SEE ABOVE IMAGE by Keith Sutter. This week’s release, offered for free streaming beginning Wednesday, April 15, 2020, will feature acclaimed choreographer Val Caniparoli’s Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (everything but the kitchen sink), with an introduction by former Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler who appeared in the work. The recorded performance will be available for 48 hours only, with streaming instructions announced through Smuin’s email list (sign up at smuinballet.org), or via Smuin’s Facebook (facebook.com/SmuinBallet), and Instagram (instagram.com/smuinballet). For more information visit smuinballet.org.
CABRILLO FESTIVAL ARCHIVES
FROM 2015: Violinist Rob Simonds in recital. Click HERE
EDWIN OUTWATER is its new music director. He’s a former resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and, more recently, music director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
BIRD SONG OPERA
PAPAGENO & PAPAGENA with other feathered friends. Click HERE
WISDOM FROM BIG SUR
HENRY MILLER at full tide; lessons for shut-ins. Click HERE
DOUBLE BELL HORN?
IS IT A THING? Christine Chapman intones a resounding Ja!
THE HYPERTRAGIC NOTCH
CONCERTOS FOR VIOLIN, PIANO AND ORCHESTRA. First published in 1937, Joseph Haydn’s Concerto in F, composed c. 1766, when its composer was 33 or 34. The first movement follows the budding classical sonata form of that time, but is quite silly. The meat is found in the second movement Largo (in C) and sounds like a pre-echo of Mozart, with the string orchestra bowing at the beginning, in the middle, and again at the end; otherwise they are in pizzicato mode; the movement features a cadenza for the solo violin and keyboard. The final presto is jaunty, light but with more substance than the first. Pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi should have opted for a harpsichord or fortepiano to better recreate the original sound. Conductor Theodore Kuchar and the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra then invited their flute, oboe, horn and bassoon for Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Concerto in G, Op 17, of 1805. As with the Haydn, the piano makes the first statement, answered by the solo violin. The piece overall is more substantial than the Haydn, demands more virtuosity and at 35 minutes lasts considerably longer. The Slovak National SO has a legitimate claim here since Hummel was a Bratislava native, an Austrian like Haydn given the sprawling Habsburg empire. The long opening Allegro follows the classical sonata and features an extravagant cadenza for the two solo instruments. The second movement, Theme and Variations, pinched the ‘daughter of Elysium’ phrase from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as a cadence to its principal theme. The charming finale follows rondo form and sports some surprising surges of energy. Pompa-Baldi shares the solo duties with violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv. Concertos for violin, piano and orchestra are extremely rare—the adolescent Mendelssohn wrote one, and Brahms added another for violin and cello—but Hummel shows what can be achieved even when his primary competition was Beethoven. SM
THE GIMLET EYE
HAYDN’S JEWS: Representation and Reception on the Operatic Stage. By Caryl Clark, Cambridge University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-5214-5547-3
CARYL CLARK’S monograph on the subject of possible Jewish characterizations in Haydn’s music focuses on his opera Lo Speziale (The Apothecary), composed in 1768 to a libretto by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni and first performed at the Esterhazy court for Haydn’s employer, the music-loving Prince Nikolaus I. The book’s principal contention is that the title character of this work, who is never identified as Jewish, nevertheless is an encoded representation of the typical “stage Jew” of the time, and would have been recognized as such by contemporary audiences. The argument for this reading is preceded by discussions of the Jewish communities in Haydn’s immediate environments in Vienna, Eisenstadt, and the Eszterháza estate, a discussion of stage Jews and previous characterizations of explicit Jewish characters in opera (citing my own work on Reinhard Keiser’s operas for the Hamburg stage in the early 18th century), a previous Singspiel in which Haydn seems to have portrayed a Jewish stereotype (but with no surviving music), and a discussion of a Haydn mass putatively aimed at Jews undergoing conversion to Catholicism. TO READ THE FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE
NEW CLASSICAL series, introduced by American baritone Thomas Hampson.
MOZART IS IN THE DETAILS
SEE THE BIRD SONG OPERA above. Yuval Noah Harari explains. Click HERE
RAVI SHANKAR AT 100
SITAR MASTER put Indian classical music in mainstream America, including the final performance at Monterey Pop in 1967. Click HERE
JOHN PRINE, ONE OF A KIND
COVID-19 took him last week at age 73.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor