The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho discusses her opera “L’Amour de Loin” on NPR. Its premiere production at the Metropolitan Opera will air this Saturday on “Live From the Met in HD” and on Wisconsin Public Radio

December 9, 2016
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By Jacob Stockinger

This Saturday will see the “Live From The Met in HD” transmission to area cinemas of the popular 2002 opera “L’Amour de Loin” by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (below, in a photo by Maarit Kytoharju).

The show starts at 11:55 a.m. at the Point Cinema in Madison’s far west side and the Palace Cinema in Sun Prairie. The running time is three hours with an intermission. (It will also be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Radio starting at 1 p.m.) It will be sung in French with English supertitles.

kaija-saariaho-maarit-kytoharju-for-met

Based on the real-life story of the 12th-century French prince and troubadour Jaufré de Rudel, the opera will be the first one by a women composer to be done by the Metropolitan Opera in 113 years.

It must also be a landmark for Finland, since both the composer and the acclaimed conductor, Susanna Mälkki (below, in a photo by The New York Times), are Finnish. Mälkki is making her Met debut.

susanna-malkki-ny-times

And the cast sounds terrific: Bass-baritone Eric Own (below left, in a photo by Ken Howard) plays the troubadour.

eric-owens-plays-the-12th-century-french-prince-and-troubadour-jaufre-rudel-cr-ken-howard-met

Susanna Phillips (below right) plays his love Clémence, who hails from what is now Lebanon.

eric-owens-and-susanna-phillips-in-mets-%22lamour-de-loin%22-cr-ken-howard-for-met

It sounds like the production, by French-Canadian theater director Robert Lepage – who worked with the Cirque du Soleil and did the Met’s recent controversial “Ring” cycle by Richard Wagner, is appealing on several scores. (You can hear Robert Lepage and Kaija Saariaho discuss the production briefly in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

Here is a link to more information about the opera and cast at the Met’s website:

http://www.metopera.org/Season/2016-17-Season/amour-de-loin-saariaho-tickets/

The appeal has been added to by a story that Jeff Lunden did for National Public Radio or NPR.

It is good background for seeing and hearing the production.

Here is a link. You can read the summary in print, and you can hear the longer broadcast version – which The Ear recommends — with the voices of the composer and others, by clicking on the big red button on the top left:

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2016/12/03/503986298/half-of-humanity-has-something-to-say-composer-kaija-saariaho-on-her-met-debut

Do you know the opera “L’Amour de Loin”?

Have you seen or heard it already?

Whether you saw a previous Metropolitan Opera production or this one, let us know what you think of the opera as new music and a fetching love story. Will it “have legs” and survive long into the future?

The Ear wants to hear.


Classical music: Classical-rock hybrid group Red Priest plays the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and Purcell in Edgerton this Saturday night.

November 6, 2014
4 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

To be honest, The Ear is not sure this event really belongs on this blog, which is devoted to classical music.

But it is a dilemma. After all, what do you say when the program includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Henry Purcell and other Baroque composers?

So I will let readers decide.

Here is a press release from our friends at the Edgerton Performing Arts Center where at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday night, there will be a performance by the crossover group Red Priest (below top) – which was the actual nickname of Antonio Vivaldi (below bottom), who had red hair and was a Roman Catholic priest in Venice as well as a composer famous for his string music and concertos.

Red Priest in 2011 w.harpsichord

vivaldi

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

The concert will feature a double manual harpsichord that belongs to First Unitarian Society of Madison. It is a magnificent looking and sounding 18th-century style French double concert quality instrument.

Here is a link to the Edgerton Performing Arts Center’s website where can find information including directions.

http://www.edgerton.k12.wi.us/EPAC.cfm?subpage=1220658

And here is the PRESS RELEASE: “Red Priest is the only early music group in the world to have been compared by the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones, and the Cirque du Soleil. “Rock-chamber concert approach to early music.” (A sample of Red Priest’s Vivaldi can be heard in a YouTube video at the bottom.)

“Red Priest will “rock” the stage performing early music works from great composers such as Bach and Vivaldi.

“Red Priest has redefined the art of period performance, creating a virtual orchestra through their creative arrangements and performance from memory with swashbuckling virtuosity, heart-on-sleeve emotion and compelling stagecraft.

Performers are: Piers Adams on recorders; David Greenberg on the violin;
 Angela East on the cello; and
 David Wright on the harpsichord.

Red_Priest_dancing (1)

For more information, visit the Website: www.redpriest.com

“Tickets are available at the Edgerton Pharmacy, Edgerton Piggly Wiggly, in Janesville at Knapton Musik Knotes and Voigt Music Center, and by calling (608) 561-6093.  Online at iTickets.com fees apply.

“All performances funded by the William and Joyce Wartmann Endowment for the Performing Arts.”

“Here is the program for “Viva Baroque”:

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Preludio

GIOVANNI PAULO CIMA (c.1570-1622) / DARIO CASTELLO (c.1590-c.1630):  Two Sonatas in “Stile Moderno”

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH:  “Bach on A” — Arioso – Bourrée – Sarabande – Gigue

GEORGE FRIDERICK HANDEL (1685-1759):  Recorder Sonata in B Minor Largo – Vivace – Furioso – Adagio – Alla Breve

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto in F major: “L’Autunno” (Autumn, from The Four Seasons)                   Allegro (Dancing Drunkards) – Adagio molto (Sleeping Drunkards) – Allegro (Autumn Hunt)

ANTONIO VIVALDI:  Concerto in F minor: “L’Inverno” (Winter, from The Four Seasons):                 Allegro non molto (Bitter Frostbite and Winds) – Largo (Peaceful by the Fire with Rain Outside) –  Allegro (Ice Skating and Freezing Wind)

GEORGE FRIDERICK HANDEL:  Aria in D major

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH/O’CAROLAN/DOW/TRAD (arr. GREENBERG):  “Bach on G” —                   Prelude – Allegro – Poppy Leaf Hornpipe – The Princess Royal Hornpipe I & II – Miss Charters’ Reel

HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695) / MAURIZIO CAZZATI (1620-1677) / DIEGO ORTIZ (1580):  A Suite of Grounds

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH:   Toccata and Fugue in D minor


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