Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 3:42 am | Fair 39º


Gerald Carpenter: ‘Opera Scenes,’ Brass ‘Tuesdays’ Open Week at Music Academy

This year’s annual three-week acting and movement workshop for Music Academy of the West Voice Program Fellows will culminate in two performances of the popular “Opera Scenes” concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, both in Hahn Hall. Tickets are $39.

Composer Dmitri Shostakovich thought he was ill-suited for the role of hero of the resistance.

Music Academy Voice and Vocal Piano Fellows, supervised by stage director Gregory Fortner, with Academy faculty artists John Churchwell and Jonathan Kelly, will perform best-loved scenes from seven well-known operas. Fortner will be stage director, Kelly and Churchwell the music directors. The singers will be in full costume, and the props and sets will be sketchy to non-existent.

This year’s program includes scenes from Gioachino Rossini’s La cenerentola (Cinderella), Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore, Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, Giuseppi Verdi’s Il trovatore and Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Saint of Bleeker Street.

This is an almost perfect program. (Were it not for the academy’s unaccountable fondness for his compositions, I would think that the Britten was thrown in for contrast.) But what a treat to hear some of the Menotti!

The next faculty artist chamber music concert, “Tuesdays at Eight,” will go forward at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Hahn Hall. Tickets are $40.

The program and performers will consist of the following: Johannes Brahms’ Trio No. 3 in C-Minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Opus 60 (1875) (Erin Keefe on violin, Alan Stepansky on cello and Jonathan Feldman on piano) and his Five Songs, Opus 20, No. 2; Opus 28, Nos. 3-4; Opus 75, Nos. 3-4, arranged for horn, trombone and piano by Verne Reynolds (Julie Landsman on horn, Mark Lawrence on trombone and Carrie-Ann Matheson on piano); plus Felix Mendelssohn’s Concert Piece in F-Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon, and Piano, Opus 113 (1833) (Richie Hawley on clarinet, Benjamin Kamins on bassoon and Margaret McDonald on piano); and Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 in C-Minor, Opus 110, arranged for brass quartet by Verne Reynolds (Paul Merkelo on trumpet, Julie Landsman on horn, Mark Lawrence on trombone and Joseph Alvarez on tuba).

For a Jewish grocer in Bernard Malamud’s novel The Assistant, the world’s population was divided into three groups: “Jews, a twilight fringe of good goyim, and Nazis.” For most Jewish music lovers, Shostakovich has long been secure in the inner ring of that fringe and, on the strength of several of his works (his Symphony No. 13 in B-Flat-Minor, Opus 113 “Babi-Yar”, the Piano Trio No. 2 in E-Minor, Opus 67, the String Quartet No. 8 in C-Minor, Opus 110 and others), the composer has become almost revered in the state of Israel as Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler.

Poor Dmitri! He’s had a hell of a time having his music heard simply as music. For years, he was pushed into the forefront of the musical resistance, first to Joseph Stalin then to the Soviet governments. Then, since his death, and particularly since the demise of the Soviet Union, he has been elevated to the post of premier musical poet of the Holocaust. Yet, heard outside these frames, he is still one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. You don’t have to know what this quartet is allegedly “about” to be moved — even shattered — by it; indeed, the “program” and Dedication can restrict our appreciation of the music. Translated into brass terms, it should prove riveting.

While most of his symphonies contain gorgeous choral passages for the brass section, the only the only piece I know of containing a significant solos for a brass instrument is the Concerto in C-Minor for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra, Opus 35, where the trumpet passages are very effective, but mainly ironic. This quartet is not ironic.

If there are seats left by showtime — and the “Opera Scenes” is one of the most popular events of the Festival — tickets can be purchased at the door. Reserved seats to either of these events can be purchased by phone at 805.969.8787 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >