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Symphony
BRANDENBURGS A SPIRITUAL GIFT IN FINAL CHAMBERFEST CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, June 28, 2015
“Well, you should have been there.” A trite saying used too often by concertgoers? Sure. But surely it was the appropriate adage for the final Chamberfest concert June 28 in Sonoma State’s Weill Hall. Capping a nine-event series mostly in Schroeder Hall, Jeffrey Kahane led ensembles of up to 20 ...
Recital
TWO EXEMPLARY ORGAN RECITALS HIGHLIGHT CHAMBERFEST
by James Harrod
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Baroque music aficionados and organists were glued to their seats at Chamberfest’s June 27 and 28 when Malcolm Matthews performed two amazingly perfect recitals of Baroque organ music from North Europe of the 16th and 17th centuries. The two prodigious concerts included no less than 17 selections,...
Chamber
INTREPID VIRTUOSITY IN PAREMSKI'S BRAHMS VARIATIONS
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 26, 2015
Sonoma County organist James Harrod contributed the organ work analysis in this review. Pianist Natasha Paremski had the stellar role June 26 in the third Chamberfest program in Schroeder Hall, beginning with Beethoven’s A Flat Sonata, Op. 110. Classical Sonoma was unable to review the Sonat...
Chamber
STERLING BHAHMS AND BEETHOVEN WITH AN ADDITIONAL B IN JUNE 26 SCHROEDER CONCERT
by Nicki Bell and Sonia Tubridy
Friday, June 26, 2015
Chamberfest’s June 26 evening concert began not with music but with informative and insightful remarks by Festival Artistic Director Jeffrey Kahane. He spoke of Busoni, one of the handful of greatest pianists of the 20th Century, a teacher and composer whose name was linked with Bach through salien...
Chamber
INSPIRATIONAL BEETHOVEN AND BRAHMS HIGHLIGHT SECOND CHAMBERFEST CONCERT
by Sonia Tubridy
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Chamberfest’s second program in Schroeder Hall June 25, extravagantly organized by Jeffrey Kahane, once again gave the audience extraordinary programming and performances, uniting Bach, Beethoven and Brahms in meaningful and thought provoking juxtapositions. In a continuation of choices from Prog...
Chamber
BRAWNY BRAHMS HIGHLIGHTS OPENING CHAMBERFEST PROGRAM IN SCHROEDER
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Jeffrey Kahane has done it again. After multiple Sonoma County appearances since leaving the Santa Rosa Symphony in 2006, the pianist and conductor has designed a scintillating summer concert series at Sonoma State’s Green Music Center – Chamberfest. The first of nine concerts in a short five-day ...
Opera
SIR JOHN'S VISUAL FEAST IN CINNABAR THEATER FALSTAFF PRODUCTION
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Verdi’s operas tend to have a visceral impact on listeners, the connection forged by emphasizing starkly realistic human emotions and glorious tunes for singers and richly hued orchestra writing. But not in his last opera written in 1893: Falstaff. In only the Italian master's second comedy, Fals...
Symphony
REFRESHMENT FOR OUR SPIRITS
by Sonia Tubridy
Friday, May 08, 2015
On Friday, May 8, Jeffrey Kahane delivered a tour-de-force piano recital at Weill Hall. The program consisted two great sets of variations for piano, Bach's brilliant Goldberg Variations and Beethoven's Opus 109 Sonata, whose third movement offers transcendent variations on a simple theme. Kahane o...
Symphony
SANTA ROSA SYMPHONY MASTERS MAHLER'S THIRD
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 03, 2015
Among Romantic symphonists, Mahler is the king of climaxes; he surges from one to the next orgiastically. His third symphony is a perfect example: It begins strong, fades to quietude, resurges to maximum amplitude, and repeats the process. For listeners willing to ride these waves, the experience ca...
Choral and Vocal
ABS CLOSES 26TH SEASON WITH POTENT BACH AND VIVALDI WORKS
by Terry McNeill
Friday, May 01, 2015
In a May 1 program that balanced vocal and instrumental virtuosity the American Bach Soloists closed their 26th season in grand style in Belvedere’s austere St. Stephen’s Church. Led by the indomitable conductor Jeffrey Thomas the first half of the program featured a rarely heard cello concerto, a ...
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.