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Chamber
KODALY DUO TRUMPS POPULAR MENDELSSOHN TRIO AT SLV CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
It’s not really a secret, but Sonoma County’s best chamber music series is one without much notoriety or publicity. The concerts at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Village programs are only for residents and a few invited guests. Impresario Robert Hayden years ago honed his producer skills as founder of ...
Recital
DEMANDING VIOLIN SONATAS CONQUERED BY BEILMAN-WEISS DUO IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Violinist Benjamin Beilman’s ravishing Mozart performance at last summer’s Weill Hall ChamberFest finale lured an enthusiastic crowd to Schroeder Hall May 14 to hear if his secure virtuosity was up to a program of demanding sonatas. He did not disappoint. With the powerful pianist Orion Weiss in t...
Symphony
SOVIETS INVADE WEILL HALL, TAKE NO PRISONERS
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 07, 2017
Bruno Ferrandis may be French, but he excels in Soviet repertoire. His Slavonic expertise was more than amply demonstrated at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s May 7 concert, where the program began joyfully with Khachaturian’s ballet suite from “Masquerade,” surged forward with Prokofiev’s second violin co...
Recital
MASTERFUL PIANISM IN GOODE'S WEILL HALL RECITAL
by Sonia Morse Tubridy
Friday, May 05, 2017
Pianist Richard Goode programmed an evening of treasures May 5 from four great composers, and is an artist of intimacy and intelligence, power and passion, able to go deep and to soar. Hearing Mr. Goode play this literature was a reminder of how music does indeed bridge worlds and time. Bach’s E m...
Recital
ELEGANT ORGAN SALUTE TO THE REFORMATION
by Paul Blanchard
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Organist Jonathan Dimmock presented an April 30 recital in homage to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, playing Schroeder Hall’s wonderful Brombaugh instrument. Mr. Dimmock is the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, principal organist for the Palace of the Legion of Honor and teaches at...
Chamber
NOTES AND BARS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE
by Nicki Bell
Saturday, April 29, 2017
The Hermitage Piano Trio brought exuberant musicality and sumptuous sound to a packed house April 29 in Occidental's Performing Arts Center for the last concert in the Redwood Arts Council’s 37th season. With a wide interpretive range--from lush to delicate to passionate--these three young Russian v...
Recital
SCHUMANN AND BARTOK HIGHLIGHT BRONFMAN RECITAL IN WEILL
by Lee Ormasa
Friday, April 21, 2017
Those people once addicted to the “Angry Birds” game application likely suffered an auditory flashback during the opening measures of the allegro from Bartok’s Suite, Op. 14, the opening work in Yefim Bronfman’s April 21 recital at Weill Hall. The repetitive opening figures of the Bartok were...
Symphony
HULKING MAHLER "TITAN" AT SO CO PHIL'S SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 08, 2017
A composer’s first symphony rarely gives a clear indication of what beautiful complexities will follow over the years. Early Mozart and Tchaikovsky are examples, and the big exceptions to this axiom are the “firsts” of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mahler. Tackling Mahler ‘s D Major Symphony (No. 1,...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY STAYS CLOSE TO HOME
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Santa Rosa Symphony concerts usually feature high-powered soloists imported from afar, but for their recent “Bring on the Strings” concert set, they stuck close to home, thrusting their principal violin, viola and cello into the limelight. The violinist (Joseph Edelberg) and the violist (Elizabeth P...
Recital
SLAM BANG SONORITY IN HAOCHEN ZHANG'S SCHROEDER RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Piano Competition winners are in ample supply, and it’s often a hit and miss proposition as to their sterling interpretative qualities. However, the quadrennial Van Cliburn Competition in Ft. Worth has continually produced top-level artists, and the 2009 winner Haochen Zhang proved a formidable per...
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.