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Choral and Vocal
A DEFINITIVE ST. MATTHEW AT ABS BELVEDERE CONCERT
by Joanna Bramel Young
Friday, February 27, 2015
The American Bach Soloists performed Bach’s timeless St. Matthew Passion Feb. 27 to a sold-out audience at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere. In the account of Christ’s last hours as set forth by evangelist Matthew, the Passion stands supreme, beside the Mass in B Minor, as Bach’s finest creation. ...
Symphony
HEALDSBURG PHILHARMONIA PLAYS THE RAVEN
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Les Pfutzenreuter is a conductor that gets around, moving from his Ukiah base at Mendocino College and the Ukiah Symphony to festival and concert appearances with many orchestras. February 22 found him with the Healdsburg Philharmonia in that City’s Raven Theater with works of Copland and Tcha...
Symphony
CHAMPAGNE ORGY OF SWISS ORCHESTRA'S SOUND IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Orchestras on tour usually perform hefty display works to showoff their virtuosity and power. And so it was with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR) Feb. 14 in Weill Hall. Big works, weighty display. And in a surprise the compositions by Stravinsky and Ravel in the second half did the rare th...
Symphony
LENGTH? HEAVENLY LENGTH AT SO CO PHIL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, February 14, 2015
A Bruckner Symphony performance can be a demanding task for both the orchestra and audience, as each of the nine are long and musically wandering. But not all that wander are lost, as the Sonoma County Philharmonic proved in their Feb. 15 concert in the Santa Rosa High School Performing Arts Center...
Symphony
BOLD OPERATIC AND SYMPHONIC CONTRASTS IN SF SYMPHONY CONCERT
by Nicki Bell
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Pianist Peter Serkin and San Francisco Symphony Laureate conductor Herbert Blomstedt pulled musical extremes together on Feb. 12 in Weill Hall Symphony concert where artistic experience was a defining factor. From the warmth and humor of Mozart’s F Major Piano Concerto, K. 459, to the turmoil, drama...
Symphony
A BANDONEONIST WALKS INTO A BAR ...
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, February 08, 2015
Seeing a bandoneón player in front of a symphony orchestra reminds one of the old joke about a kangaroo walking into a high-priced bar. The bartender says, "We don't get many kangaroos in here," to which the kangaroo replies, "With these prices, I can see why." Likewise, if a bandoneónist were to wa...
Chamber
INTENSE STRING PLAYING IN HEALDSBURG'S ALL-POLISH COMPOSER PROGRAM
by Nicki Bell
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
A surprise program change greeted a full house in Healdsburg’s SHED Grange Room Feb. 4 when the Szymanowski Quartet from Warsaw played an all-Polish composer concert. Judging by audience comments at intermission the displacement of an arrangement of a Mussorgsky work by Penderecki’s Third Quartet w...
Chamber
KNOTTY CELLO MUSIC THAT WAS (MOSTLY) EASY TO LOVE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, February 01, 2015
Notable cello concerts have recently graced Sonoma County with Edward Arron’s Oakmont recital and Yo Yo Ma’s sterling solo outing in Weill. So it was not surprising that Sæunn Thorsteindóttir walked onto the Schroeder Hall stage Feb. 1 with pianist Elizabeth Roe and found a packed house of non-Supe...
Symphony
ZOOLOGICAL THEME RESOUNDS IN SPLENDID VSO HOGAN CONCERT
by Elizabeth Warnimont
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A pair of virtuosic young pianists wowed the crowd Jan. 25 at the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra concert in Vallejo’s Hogan Auditorium, and part of the proceeds from the mostly animal-themed music benefited the Humane Society of the North Bay. Symphony conductor David Ramadanoff warmed up the afternoon...
Chamber
SNAZZY CLARINET-PIANO WORKS IN MILL VALLEY CHAMBER CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Often international-level instrumental duos are pickup couplings, one virtuoso’s schedule meeting another’s with the resulting desultory concerts. An exception would be the violinist Anne Sophie Mutter with her long-time partner Lambert Orkis, and the Nakamatsu-Manesse Duo. The latter played a pro...
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.