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Symphony
CONDUCTOR PLAYOFFS BEGIN IN SANTA ROSA
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, October 08, 2017
The Santa Rosa Symphony is calling 2017-18 “a choice season” because the next few months offer the audience and the symphony’s board of directors a chance to choose a new conductor from a pool of five candidates. Each candidate will lead a three-concert weekend set this fall and winter, with a final...
Symphony
DVORAK AND TCHAIKOVSKY ORCHESTRAL COLOR AT SO CO PHIL SEASON OPENER
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, September 30, 2017
A concert with curious repertoire and splashy orchestral color launched the 19th season of the Sonoma County Philharmonic Sept. 30 in Santa Rosa High School’s Auditorium. Why curious? Conductor Norman Gamboa paired the ever-popular Dvorak and his rarely heard 1891 trilogy In Nature’s Realm, with t...
Recital
ELEGANT PIANISM IN WATER MUSIC CHARMS HOUSE RECITAL AUDIENCE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, September 03, 2017
A standard component of house concerts often involve listeners hearing the music but also smelling the lasagna and seeing the champagne in the adjacent kitchen. But it was not the case Sept. 3 at Sandra Shen’s Concerts Grand House Recital performance, as her riveting piano playing enthralled the sm...
Chamber
YOUNG MUSICIANS SHINE AT PIANO SONOMA CONCERT
by Lee Ormasa
Tuesday, August 01, 2017
The third in a series of four concerts by Piano Sonoma artists in residence, part of the Vino and Vibrato Series, was held August 1 in Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center. Entitled “The Masters,” the program included works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn. Piano Sonoma is a summer artist-in...
Chamber
THRILLING PROGRAM CLOSES VOM CHAMBER FESTIVAL AT HANNA CENTER
by Lee Ormasa
Sunday, July 30, 2017
The finale of the two-week Valley of the Moon Music Festival closed July 30 with “The Age of Bravura” concert at the Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. The musical selections held to this year’s Festival theme “Schumann’s World - His Music and the Music He Loved.“ This summer Festival features chamber mus...
Chamber
PERIOD INSTRUMENTAL SOUND AT PENULTIMATE VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, July 30, 2017
In the Valley of the Moon Chamber Music Festival’s penultimate concert July 30 the perennial issue of period and modern instruments was apparent. But only in the concluding Mendelssohn Trio, as the performances in the two first half works easily avoided instrumental comparisons. Clara Schumann’s t...
Chamber
ECLECTIC REPERTOIRE IN FETCHING VOM FESTIVAL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, July 22, 2017
One of the purposes of summer music festivals is to present unfamiliar music in an attractive and often small audience setting. The Valley of the Moon Music Festival delightfully met these requirements July 22 and 23 with two concerts in the small hall at Sonoma’s Hanna Boys Center. Classical Sono...
Recital
ADAMS' PHRYGIAN GATES HIGHLIGHTS MORKOSKI FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Attendees at the Molly Morkoski Mendocino Music Festival recital July 22 were in for a treat, both pianistically and if they happened to buy a tasty cookie during intermission. The program included Beethoven’s Op. 27 Moonlight Sonata, Adams’ Phrygian Gates, a surprise add-on of Grieg’s Holberg Suit...
Symphony
SOARING VERDI REQUIEM CLOSES 31ST MENDOCINO FESTIVAL
by Lee Ormasa
Saturday, July 22, 2017
We speak frequently about how there is nothing like the experience of a live performance. Seldom was this truer than at the July 22 closing performance of the two-week Mendocino Music Festival. The Festival Orchestra, conducted by of Allan Pollack, joined with the Festival Chorus in a moving renderi...
Recital
ORGAN REGISTRATION MASTERY HEARD IN WALHAIN'S RECITAL
by Robert Young
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
A group of 65 lucky attendees July 18 had the pleasure of hearing Etienne Walhain’s recital at the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa. Mr. Walhain is organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai, Belgium, and played to a varied program Bach, Franck, and Reger. He used the tonal resource...
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.