THE MONTEREY SYMPHONY welcomes the return of pianist Josu de Solaun (above) for the rarely heard “Egyptian” Piano Concerto by Saint-Saëns in two concerts at Sunset Center. ESPRESSIVO chamber orchestra and soprano Sheila Willey perform Mahler’s ‘heavenly’ Symphony No. 4 in Santa Cruz. Soprano DANIELLE CROOK sings “Starry Night,” a recital of romantic songs in Aptos. Richard Alfieri’s SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS opens at the Cherry Center in Carmel. For links to these and other events click our CALENDAR or the ads, left.
MONTEREY COUNTY FILM SCHOLARSHIPS
NOW OPEN to Monterey County residents, applications are being accepted for the Monterey County Film Commission’s Richard Tyler Film Student Scholarship Award Program. The deadline to apply is April 18, 2018. The winner of the $2,000 award (or two $1,000 awards) will be announced by May 11. Eligibility details and application forms can be downloaded at FilmMonterey.org, or contact the film commission office at 831-646-0910.
THE SOPRANO WHO OPENED THE OLYMPICS
SUMI HWANG, 32, is a member of the ensemble at Bonn Opera. Winner of the 2014 Reine Elisabeth competition in Brussels, she is starting to make guest appearances on other European stages. Next up, she’s singing in Figaro and Turandot in Bonn.
MORE TROUBLE AT THE OREGON BACH FESTIVAL
‘POLITICALLY CORRECT’ board action prompts the abrupt resignation of its student academy’s new program director. Click HERE
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, A NATIONAL ‘MORAL PANIC’
KENNETH COUGHLIN, a reader of the New York Times has contributed the paper’s first balanced assessment of the firing of an 84-year-old director of unblemished record for making an allegedly inappropriate remark. “I was deeply disturbed by the Metropolitan Opera’s firing of John Copley, described as ‘one of the opera world’s foremost directors.’ I am not an opera fan, but I was dismayed to read that he was fired because ‘a member of the chorus reported that Mr. Copley had made him uncomfortable at a rehearsal on Friday with a sexually charged remark.’ There is no longer any doubt that our culture is in the grip of a moral panic the likes of which we haven’t seen since the daycare child abuse hysteria of the 1980s, and, before that, the congressional witch hunts to root out supposed Communists nearly 70 years ago. ‘In ordinary times, a possibly inappropriate remark at a rehearsal would have warranted, at most, advice from a superior that it not be repeated. But these are not ordinary times. As quickly as you can say ‘Harvey Weinstein,’ we have moved from an overdue cultural wake-up call about sexual predation to the frightening point where a comment or gesture, no matter how casual or innocent, can destroy a brilliant career. What matters is not the intent, but whether the recipient felt ‘uncomfortable.’ Alleged ‘crimes’ such as this have resulted in the resignations or firings of fine men like Senator Al Franken and the former WNYC radio hosts Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz. Eventually, we will return to our collective senses, but apparently not before we have added even more names to our modern-day blacklist.”
PUCCINI’S TURANDOT GONGS
MANY TURANDOT LOVERS favor Franco Corelli over all other tenors famous for singing Puccini’s final opera aria.
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
RICHARD WAGNER’S 1842 opera, which just opened in a new production at Opera San Jose, owes a major debt to Beethoven’s Fidelio (a ‘rescue’ opera) and Weber’s Der Freischütz (a supernatural opera), the very definition of 19th Century musical ‘romanticism.’ OSJ presented the Die fliegende Holländer in its first season after moving into the 2004-renovated California Theatre. (Among OSJ’s subscribers are dedicated opera lovers who trek there from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.) This spectacular new video, a Teatro Real de Madrid production of December, 2016, has just been released by Harmonia Mundi on both Blu-Ray and DVD discs in a single package. Its two-hour, 20-minute performance, with no breaks, features a stellar cast—Korean bassos Kwangchul Youn (Daland) and Samuel Youn (the Dutchman)—no apparent relation—Ingela Brimberg (Senta), Nikolai Schukoff (Erik), Benjamin Bruns (the Steersman) and Kai Rüütel (Mary)—and the Teatro Real orchestra and chorus, kept in vivid motion by conductor Pablo Heras-Casado. But Àlex Ollé’s set design challenges the suspension of disbelief; a huge ship prow dominates the scene on the left of the stage as computer-generated images (CGIs) of the raging sea give the illusion of a violent storm. It’s Daland’s boat on the way home to Norway, blown off course by heavy winds. But it prow moves even as it morphs into the Dutchman’s vessel, anchored alongside, Daland’s crew topside, with the Dutchman emerging from below, at the waterline. The Dutchman is looking for a wife to release him from the Satanic curse that keeps him wandering the open seas forever. He offers the greedy Daland treasure (including a duffel full of American greenbacks, if you please) for one night’s hospitality and, hopefully, a woman willing to die for him. (It’s Wagner favorite gambit: redemption through love.) In Act II, the same immobile hulk becomes Senta’s house, except the women spinning and weaving are now on a downstage beach of real sand. Senta sings of her obsession with saving the Flying Dutchman known only from legend, to the dismay of her lovelorn suiter, Erik. Her father, Daland, tries to persuade her to go with the ashen-faced stranger, showing off his new Rolex watch. Above the sandy beach is a series of ‘dunes,’ cushy inflated pillows as big as king size mattresses stitched together. This ‘quilt’ continually captures the viewer’s attention as the actors struggle to keep their balance while walking across it, a laughable distraction only rescued by the high quality of the solo singers, chorus and the orchestra. The Blu-Ray video with subtitles and 5.1 surround sound are impeccable. SM
THE HEALING POWERS OF MUSIC
DEMENTIA PATIENTS demonstrate remarkable results. Click HERE
JAZZ SINGER WESLA WHITFIELD, 1948-2018
WELL-KNOWN in the greater SF Bay Area, including Carmel, for both jazz and cabaret. She sings here with the Kronos Quartet in 2015.
VIOLINIST ELDAR HUDIYEV and pianist James Neiman in Carmel. Click HERE
CHOREOGRAPHER’S SHOWCASE at SpectorDance in Marina. Click HERE
FUN HOME at PacRep in Carmel. Click HERE
DECODA string quartet & clarinet play Brahms, Schubert and David Bruce in Carmel. SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS trace “An Arc of Romanticism” in Aptos. LISA FISCHER & GRAND BATON in Santa Cruz. SANTA CRUZ SYMPHONY’s “The Orchestra Rocks!” at Civic Auditorium. AN EVENING OF ONE-ACTS at UC Santa Cruz.
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Scott MacClelland, editor; Rebecca CR Brooks, associate editor