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Recital
BRILLIANT VIOLIN AND PIANO ARTISTRY CHARMS SCHROEDER HALL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 26, 2017
A tiny Schroeder Hall audience heard a flawless recital Feb. 26 by Yu-Chien Tseng, arguably the best recent local violin recital since Gil Shaham’s transversal of the complete Bach Suites in Weill and Frank Almond’s Oakmont recital in 2015. Muscular playing was the afternoon’s norm, and with pianis...
Chamber
THREE BEETHOVEN TRIOS BEGUILE AUDIENCE IN FEB. 19 WEILL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Chamber music concerts featuring one composer can be tricky, but the Han/Setzer/Finckel trio made a Feb. 19 Weill Hall audience of 500 hear and to a degree see the boundless creativity of Beethoven. The G Major Trio, Op. 1, No. 2, opened the afternoon’s Beethoven odyssey and one wonders why it is t...
Chamber
AUTHORITATIVE BARTOK HIGHLIGHTS TETZLAFF VIOLIN RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Christian Tetzlaff’s Feb. 18 violin recital rolled along with lively and fresh readings of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert when the specter of Bartok’s granitic Second Sonata intervened. The sonic shock to the audience of 250 in Weill was palpable. Composed in 1923 the 20-minute two-movement work i...
Symphony
WHAT SOUND DO STAR-CROSSED LOVERS MAKE?
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so the Santa Rosa Symphony feted the occasion by telling and retelling the story of Romeo and Juliet, a tale ever the more poignant during our era of stark divisions. The first telling was from Berlioz; the second from Prokofiev. In between was Brahms’ monu...
Chamber
GOOD OLD WINE IN GOOD OLD BOTTLES AT VOM CONCERT
by Jeff Chan
Saturday, February 11, 2017
February 11 was the first day of sunshine in Sonoma County after nine days of rain, but a nearly full house of music lovers chose to spend their afternoon in Schroeder Hall instead of being outside, soaking up the warm sun. There were two equally compelling reasons to attend this concert, which fea...
Symphony
FUNG TRIUMPHS IN SHOSTAKOVICH CONCERTO WITH VSO
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 29, 2017
The Vallejo Symphony Orchestra presented their season’s second concert Jan. 29 in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, devoted to early Haydn, middle Shostakovich and Beethoven’s ground-breaking “Eroica” Symphony. In remarks to the audiences of nearly 400, Conductor Marc Taddei characterized Haydn’s Sympho...
Chamber
ENSEMBLE PERFECTION IN KLR TRIO'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Longevity has its place in classical music. Composers and especially conductors live a long time, and venerable piano trios can linger for years. One can recall the great Cortot-Thibaud-Casals staying on the international scene for decades, and more recently Stern-Istomin-Rose, Oistrakh-Oborin-Knu...
Symphony
SUBLIME MOZART CLARINET CONCERTO TOPS SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Sonoma County Philharmonic’s long history of featuring soloists from the neighborhood struck gold again Jan. 28 with a ravishing Mozart Clarinet Concerto performance with soloist Roy Zajac. Before an audience of 300 the Santa Rosa High School hall the A Major Concerto (K. 626) unfolded gracefully w...
Recital
RISKY SPEED IN POTENT LUO RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Each half of pianist Wei Luo’s Schroeder Hall recital Jan. 22 contained beguiling interpretations and consummate technical command of Shostakovich and Albeniz works, but each half finished with less than exalted playing. Two of Shostakovich’s Op. 87 Preludes and Fugues opened the recital, from the ...
Recital
COLORFUL SCHUBERT AND CHOPIN WARM WEILL HALL IN AX RECITAL
by Nicki Bell
Friday, January 20, 2017
On a stormy winter evening Jan. 20 a rainbow of colorful Schubert and Chopin music came from the fingers, feet and heart of pianist Emanuel Ax.  Playing at the Weill Hall for the first time, this recital was a tribute to beauty in the arts. It conveyed the value and glory of balance, lyricism and el...
OPERA REVIEW
Cinnabar Theater / Friday, March 23, 2012
Anders Froehlich, Kelly Britt, Mark Kratz, Emma McNairy, John Minagró, Eileen Morris, William O'Neill and Eugene Walden. Mary Chun,conductor; Elly Lichenstein, stage director

Anders Froehlich (Don) and Emma McNairy (Zerlina) March 23 at Cinnabar

TERRIFIC SINGING AND COLORFUL STAGING HIGHLIGHT CINNABAR'S DON GIOVANNI

by Richard Riccardi
Friday, March 23, 2012

Question: where do dedicated North Bay opera lovers go to experience great performances when San Francisco Opera’s season ends? The quick answer is the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. Cinnabar Theater’s latest production, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, K. 527, is a splendid experience that opened a nine-show run March 23.

Don Giovanni, written in Mozart’s mature years to a Lorenzo Da Ponte libretto, stretches the resources of the most dedicated and professional opera companies. A piece both musically and dramatically challenging, Cinnabar met and conquered that task with ease, thanks to a solid cast of singers and the artistry of Musical Director Mary Chun and Stage Director Elly Lichenstein.

Performers in this production were not only strong in their respective roles, but unified as an ensemble, particularly in the larger developing sections, a style Mozart initiated in his second act finale of Le Nozze di Figaro years earlier. A lengthy piece to be sure, Cinnabar’s “Don Giovanni” had my full attention for its entire two and a half hours. Beautiful singing, great acting and fight choreography all contributed to the glory of this production. Anders Froehlich, convincing musically and dramatically as the lecherous Don Giovanni, shone as the lead but also played exceedingly well into the ensemble.

Emma McNairy as Zerlina and Kelly Britt’s Donna Anna are young singers whose pitch perfect performances make them ones to watch. Mark Andrew Kratz as Don Ottavio, John Minagro as the Commendatore, Eileen Morris as Donna Elvira and William O’Neill as Masetto, all delivered solid and delightful performances individually and collectively. Eugene Walden, a consummate Leporello as Don Giovanni’s aide and servant, made the strongest dramatic and musical impression: accurate, comical and engaging. In short, Mr. Walden led the charge for the success of this show.

Mary Chun conducted a small (limited I’m sure, by budget and space constraints) but very precise orchestra for the opera. The sound was well balanced with the stage action, but I found myself longing for a little more sonic projection from the pit. Ms. Lichenstein’s stage direction was masterful, making full use of Paul Gilger’s gorgeous and innovative set. Tracy Sigrist (Costume Designer), Lighting Designer Wayne Hovey and Scenic Artists Anita Walden, Sharlyn Klein and Ms. Lichenstein contributed to the beauty and splendor of this opera buffa masterpiece that premiered in Prague in 1787.

Don Giovanni (sung in English) continues its Cinnabar performances through April 15, and details are at www.cinnabartheater.org and in the calendar at Classical Sonoma. It’s a fabulous production with outstanding singing.