New CU Graduate Quartet in Residence will play free concert
By Peter Alexander Nov. 7 at 11:40 a.m.
The Ivalas Quartet only recently arrived in Colorado, but if you follow classical music you will be hearing about them soon.
That’s because they are the new graduate string quartet-in-residence at the University of Colorado College of Music, studying with the Takács Quartet. And they are very good — but don’t take my word for it. They will play their first full concert program in Boulder at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. The performance is free and open to the public.
Their program fits the standard format for student recitals — or, for that matter, most professional string quartet concerts: A classical period quartet (in this case, Haydn’s Quartet in D major, op. 71 no. 2); a 19th century quartet (Beethoven’s String Quartet in E minor, op. 59 no. 2, the “Second Razumovksy” Quartet); and one work that is more recent or less known (the First String Quartet by 20th century American composer George Walker).
Read more in Boulder Weekly.
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Reuben Kebede and Anita Dumar, violin; Aimée McAnulty, viola; Pedro Sánchez, cello
7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 2425 Colorado Ave., Boulder
Haydn: String Quartet in D major, op. 71 no. 2
George Walker: String Quartet No. 1
Beethoven: String Quartet in E minor, op. 59 no. 2
Free and open to the public
Each day I write a log entry about the day, and here is what I wrote about “It’s a Wonderful Life”:
“The opera turned out fine. Frankly, it was more a musical than an opera in my mind, though Carol, my wife, disagreed. What seemed to be were several opportunities to write a real aria rather than just the through-singing that was used. There were word phrases that could have been solidified and repeated with nice melodies but the composer didn’t do that. He and the librettist were both there and came on stage at the end. All the singers were very good and had strong voices but this might be because they were miked. On nasty thing I noticed, there was one African-American singer, who played the hero and the protagonist’s brother, that didn’t get as strong an audience applause as he should have in my opinion. And once again the super title projections were messed up quite regularly. Why this has to happen is beyond me. Anyway, it was good performance, interestingly staged, well sung and directed but, like most new ‘operas’ I never heard a melody that now rings in my memory. ”
I’m curious if I’m off base about the “Is it an opera or is it a musical”.
I think you meant this as a comment on the next story, on the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I would not say that you are off base about the opera-v-musical question, but I would say it’s a question without a definitive answer. This same question has been asked about a lot of works, including “Porgy & Bess” and Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” among others. Historically, the distinction between opera and Singspiel in Germany, of Grand opera and Opéra Comique in France, and similar categories has been the use of spoken dialog. In this case, the only real spoken dialog comes when Clara shows George the world in which he had not been born—all the music, i.e., life, is taken out of it. That does not define the genre at all, in my opinion. Otherwise, it is all sung, And indeed, your statement about “through-singing” would seem to mark it as an opera. Since the late Verdi at least, separate arias have been less and less of a defining characteristic of opera.
There are other genres on the o=border of what we could consider musicals—opéra bouffe in France (Offenbach), operetta in Vienna and in the U.S. (Lehar, Johan Strauss, Sigmund Romberg, etc.), zarzuela in Spain, etc.
There were bits of popular music and dancing, in the dance scene and elsewhere, that might suggest a more popular idiom, and thus musical. But that comes directly out of the story. So I would say that your question is not off base, and raises interesting ideas, but to me it’s not really relevant. This is musical theater, whatever that means, and whether one wishes to call it opera or something else does not change the piece one way or another. I thought it was very effective.