Seicento presents music and dance of the French Baroque NOW CANCELED

This performance has now been canceled

By Peter Alexander March 11 at 12 noon

Would you want to see West Side Story without the dancing?

Amanda Balestrieri, director of the Seicento Baroque Ensemble in Boulder, says that’s the effect of hearing French Baroque music without dance. “If you have the music without the dance, it’s not complete,” she says. “It would be like going to see musical theater without the dance and chorus numbers.”

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Seicento Baroque Ensemble

To illustrate that point, Seicento has brought in a French Baroque singer/dancer, Elena Mullins, for their next concert. “Airs and Graces” will be performed in Denver Friday and in Longmont Sunday (March 13 and 15). The program will include numbers for Mullins as well as solo vocal pieces and full choral numbers with orchestra.

Several local singers will perform as soloists. Tenor Alex King and bass Allen Adair will take roles in scenes from French opera and a cantata. Soprano Kendall Baldwin, a senior at Fairview High School in Boulder, will perform alongside 5th-grade students from Escuale Bilingüe Pioneer in Lafayette.

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Costume design for King Louis XIV as the Sun

Dance and music were closely related throughout the Baroque era, but especially so in France. Entertainment at the French court, including opera, featured extensive dance as well as singing, performed by professionals as well as members of the court, including the king. The dances were highly refined, with many moves and gestures that conveyed coded meanings to the audiences, and eventually led to the development of classical ballet.

Today Baroque music from Germany and Italy has eclipsed French music of the period, which has become more and more of a specialized field. Even less well known than French Baroque music is the dance that went with it.. “This is an esoteric corner of an esoteric art,” Balestrieri says.

As far as Balestrieri knows, this will be first time in the Boulder area that French Baroque music has been performed together with authentic dances. She wanted to showcase the two together, for both Seicento members and the audience. “I wanted this to be an encompassing concert,” she says.

“I wanted the choir to have the experience of the music. I wanted the dancer to give that element for people to understand the visual side, and also the fact that it was combined with singing and music.”

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Elena Mullins

Like performers at the French court, Mullins is both a singer and a dancer. She will appear in the first piece on the program, singing La Musique (the allegorical character of music) in an excerpt from Les arts flourissants (The flourishing arts), a chamber opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier.

She will then appear as a dancer, performing a series of standardized Baroque dances, in Les caractères de la dance by Jean-Féry Rebel. “‘The Characters of the dance’ was a famous piece from the time that was supposed to show you all the different dance styles,” Balestrieri says. It includes a courante, menuet, bourrée, sarabande and gavotte, among other courtly dances that also found their way into the instrumental music of the period.

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Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Lully by Paul Mignard

The rest of the program will feature examples of French Baroque music, performed without choreography. There will be several excerpts from the opera Bellérophon by Jean-Baptiste Lully, who was composer and music director to the court of King Louis XIV, as we’ll as a dancer. One particularly entertaining scene features a trio of sorcerers with a chorus of sorcerers and sorceresses. “It’s really clever, very hard for the chorus,” Balestrieri says.

To open the second half of the program, Balestrieri will sing two airs de cours (courtly airs) about the pain and pleasure of love. Baldwin and the 5th-grade students will sing Plaisir d’amour by Jean-Paul Égide Martini, a song that has been popular for more than two centuries, and that became the basis of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t help falling in love with you.”

“The other piece I’m excited about is the cantata by Montéclair called The Triumph of Love,” Balestrieri says. The cantata features three singers—a narrator with Bacchus and Cupid, the gods of wine and of love.

“The scene is a hillside where Bacchus commands his grape pickers,” Balestrieri explains. “He’s in control, and then Cupid flies in and interferes by making everybody fall in love and languish. He has a fight with Bacchus, [until] Bacchus falls in love and accepts love in his court. They agree to cooperate, and then we sing, ‘Just grab a bottle of wine and rekindle the fires of love.’ I love it—it’s so fantastically French!”

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Amanda Balestrieri

Balestrieri wanted to include the children in the performance as a way of spreading knowledge of the French Baroque as well as enriching their education. “The kids who do this don’t yet know how fabulous this is,” she says. “But when they come in and they see this dancer in costume and they hear this music, they will never, ever forget it. And that is important, because you never know who is going to be smitten with this art.”

But the combination of music and dance is not an easy thing pull off. It requires not only specialists in the French Baroque style, it requires dedicated performers who can learn complex music, and it requires a specialist in both the singing and the dance of the French court. Even in major cities, opportunities to see and hear an authentic music and dance performance of this repertoire are rare.

“We have something that will not appear here again anytime soon,” Balestrieri says. “If people want to see it, now’s the time to come!”

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Airs and Graces: Song & Dance in the French Baroque
Seicento Baroque Ensemble, Amanda Balestrieri conductor
With guest artists Elena Mullins, Baroque dancer and soprano; Alex King, tenor; Allen Adair, bass; Kendall Baldwin, soprano; students from Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer; and instrumental ensemble

7:30 p.m. Friday, March 13, Claver Recital Hall, Regis University, Denver
3 p.m. Sunday, March 15, Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum, Longmont

Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Excerpts from Les arts florissants
Jean-Féry Rebel: Lex caractères de la danse: Fantasie
Jean-Baptiste Lully: Excerpts from Bellérophon
Jean-Paul Égide Martini: Plaisir d’amous
Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: Le triomphe de l’Amour

Tickets

Boulder Phil announces 2020–21 Season

High drama from Hollywood to Peter Schaefer’s Amadeus to Wagner’s Ring Cycle

By Peter Alexander March 9 at  3 p.m.

The Boulder Philharmonic’s recently announced 2020–21 season will feature a full production of Peter Schaeffer’s Tony-winning play Amadeus, with live actors and orchestra; the return to Boulder of popular soloists Rachel Barton Pine (violin) and Jake Shimabukuro (ukulele); and two new works that were co-commissioned by the Boulder Phil.

Boulder Philharmonic in Macky

Boulder Philharmonic

Other highlights of the season will include concert music by Hollywood composers, an orchestral compilation of the most popular music from Richard Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelungen, and a quirky 10-minute mashup of all nine Beethoven symphonies by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.

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Charlie Chaplin in “Modern Times”

The orchestra’s 63rd season opens Oct. 3 with “From Vienna to Hollywood,” a concert featuring music by Charlie Chaplin, written for the film Modern Times; a violin concerto by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a transplanted Austrian composer of film and concert music who lived in United States in the 1930, ‘40s and ‘50s, performed by violinist Philippe Quint; and Brahms’s First Symphony.

The remainder of the season comprises five further main season concerts, including the live performance of Amadeus Jan. 23, 2021, plus the annual performances of Nutcracker with Boulder Ballet Nov. 27 and 29, and “Jake Shimabukuro & the Boulder Phil” Feb. 6. (See the full listing of concerts and dates, below.)

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Rachel Barton Pine

The first of the two co-commissions will be performed Feb. 3, as part of a program titled “Ravishing Rachmaninoff.” Rachel Barton Pine, who was last in Boulder in 2014, will play the new Violin Concerto written for her by jazz pianist/arranger Billy Childs, which was commissioned by a number of orchestras around the country. The concerto is one of several projects Pine has undertaken to amplify African-American voices in classical music.

The season’s other new piece, Drew Hemenger’s Ozymandias, was initiated by the Boulder Phil and commissioned together with the Rogue Valley Symphony of Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass, Ore. A musical response to climate change, Ozymandias will feature tenor Matthew Plenk, faculty member at the University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Festival Chorus.

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Scenic design from the 1876 first performance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle

Ozymandias will be part of a program titled “Epic Tales,” although it might as well have been titled “Downfalls.” In addition to Hemenger’s score about climate change, the concert will include two other works that illustrate tales about bad choices that lead to bad results: Richard Strauss’ epic tone poem Don Juan, whose protagonist ends up in hell; and a 45-minute compilation of orchestral highlights from Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which ends with Brunnhilde’s fiery immolation and the collapse of Valhalla.

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Michael Butterman

The selection includes the most popular excerpts from Wagner’s four-opera cycle, presented in order: “The Entry of the Gods into Valhalla,” “The Ride of the Valkyries,” “Magic Fire Music,” “Forest Murmurs,” “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey” and “Brunnhilde’s Immolation Scene.” “It runs about 45 minutes, so we’ve cut out about 14 hours,” writes Boulder Phil music director Michael Butterman by email.

“Come to think of it, “ he adds, “We’re doing a lot of distilling this season: Mozart’s life in one evening, all of The Ring Cycle in 45 minutes; and Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies in 10 minutes.”

The “Season Finale” will take place May 2, 2021, with Andriessen’s 10-minute mashup of all nine Beethoven symphonies, The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven; Beethoven’s full, unexpurgated Third Symphony, the “Eroica”; and new Takacs Quartet member Richard O’Neill playing William Walton’s Viola Concerto.

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Violist Richard O’Neill

“Our goal is to create programs and experiences that resonate with the artistic and intellectual pulse of our audience,” Butterman writes. “A work about our changing planet, a hybrid concert-play, a quirky condensation of Beethoven’s symphonies in 10 minutes—these are experiences that I believe Boulderites will enjoy.”

Additional events in the 2020-2021 season include concerts at Boulder Public Library, “Events of Note” featuring guest artists in intimate venues, pre-concert talks with Butterman, the #nophilter Happy Hour series with a string quartet of Boulder Phil musicians playing pop, rock, and metal, and the continuation of the “Nature & Music” guided hikes with Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks naturalist Dave Sutherland.

Subscription packages are now available,. For more information, call 303-449-1343 or click here. Single tickets will go on sale June 1.

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Boulder Philharmonic: 2020–21 Season
(All performances in Macky Auditorium unless otherwise indicated)

B.Phil

“From Vienna to Hollywood”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3
2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, Pinnacle PAC
Michael Butterman, conductor
Philippe Quint, violin

Charlie Chaplin: “Smile” from the film Modern Times
Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, pp. 68

“Royal Fireworks!”
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, Pinnacle PAC
7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8 (note early start time)
Michael Butterman, conductor

Francis Poulenc: Suite française
Kurt Weill: Suite from The Threepenny Opera
Gounod: Petite Symphonie
Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks

Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker
With Boulder Ballet
Gary Lewis, conductor
2 & 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27
2 p. m Sunday, Nov. 29

Amadeus by Peter Schafer
With CU Department of Theater and Dance, Boulder Chamber Chorale
Michael Butterman, conductor
Bud Coleman, Director
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23

Jake Shimabukuro & the Boulder Phil
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6
Program TBA

“Ravishing Rachmaninoff”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13
Michael Butterman, conductor
Rachel Barton Pine, violin

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Vocalise
Billy Childs: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, op. 27

“Epic Tales: Music to Honor the Earth”
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20
Michael Butterman, conductor
Matthew Plenk, tenor, and the CU Festival Chorus

Richard Strauss: Don Juan
Drew Hemenger: Ozymandias: To Sell a Planet
Richard Wagner: The Symphonic Ring

“Season Finale: Eroica”
7 p.m. Sunday, May 2 (note early start time)
Michael Butterman, conductor
Richard O’Neill, viola

Louis Andriessen: The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven
William Walton: Viola Concerto
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (“Eroica”)

Longmont Chorale cancels spring performances

COVID-19 Coronavirus cancelations have come to Boulder County

By Peter Alexander March 7 at 10 a.m.

The Longmont Chorale has cancelled the remained of their scheduled performances of the 2019–20 season, including concerts planned for March, April and May.

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Longmont Chorale

Bob Balsman, president of Longmont Chorale, Inc., released the following statement:

Dear Longmont Chorale audience members,

Due to new CDC guidelines regarding those in vulnerable age groups and/or having underlying health issues being urged to avoid large public gatherings, we have made the difficult decision to end our season, effective immediately. This includes the Viva Voce concert in April.

Please read the update posted on Thursday, 3/06/2020 on the CDC website here.

As much as we all love singing together and for our audience, we need to follow the recommendation to avoid large gatherings to protect everyone’s health.

Please watch our website, social media, and your email for more information.

We hope you will follow the practices listed by health authorities like the CDC and WHO. Stay well, and we’ll be in touch again soon.

At this time, the Longmont Chorale is the first musical organization in this areas whose cancellations has come to my attention. At least one other organization is trying to arrange live streaming for a planned performance, so that at-risk persons can enjoy the music without going out, but nothing has been announced at this time.

I will try to  watch for any further announcements or cancellations from groups in this area in response to the spreading Coronavirus outbreak.

CU Macky Auditorium Statement Regarding COVID-19

By Peter Alexander March 6 at 9:15 p.m.

The University of Colorado, Boulder, posted the following information on Tuesday, March 3, for visitors and potential visitors to Macky Auditorium. It is important to note that to date no Macky events have been cancelled or postponed. However, it is worth noting that CU Presents, the Boulder Philharmonic and other organizations are thinking ahead to the possibility that events may have to be changed in the future, depending on the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

At this time there have been two announced cases of COVID-19 in the State of Colorado.

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COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR MACKY VISITORS

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Macky Auditorium is committed to the health, safety and well-being of everyone at our events. We are actively monitoring the global coronavirus or COVID-19 situation, and would like to point you to updates and resources from the University of Colorado Boulder and Boulder County Health.

To promote the safest possible conditions on campus, CU Boulder is providing enhanced cleaning throughout campus with increased attention to commonly touched surfaces in addition to hand sanitizer stations in key places throughout the venue during events. You can support these efforts by:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick, especially if they are exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Staying home if you are sick. Avoid contact with others except when seeking medical care.
  • Contacting your medical provider if you have any questions or health concerns.

Events at Macky Auditorium are currently happening as scheduled. If circumstances change, we will prioritize the health of our audience, performers and staff by implementing and communicating appropriate changes. In the event of a cancellation, we’ll notify all ticketholders by email and/or phone as soon as possible and notices will be posted in our outgoing voicemail, website and social media.

We highly encourage those who feel unwell to stay home. Given the different presenters that bring events at Macky, each one with its own ticketing policy, please reach out to the appropriate contact if you have questions about your tickets:

  • CU Presents: You may call the box office at 303-492-8008 if you need to exchange tickets for an upcoming performance.
  • Boulder Philharmonic: You may call the Ticket Office at 303-449-1343 if you need to exchange tickets for an upcoming performance.
  • Other events: Please call 303-492-8423 for more information.
  • If the event you are attending is not ticketed, please check our website, our Facebook page or Twitter handle (@mackyauditorium) for updated information.

Boulder Philharmonic Statement on COVID-19

By Peter Alexander March 6 at 9 p.m.

The Boulder Philharmonic released the following statement from Executive Director Katherine Lehman at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon:

The Boulder Philharmonic is committed to the health and safety of everyone who attends our events. We are closely monitoring the global coronavirus situation and are in daily contact with our local, state, and federal partners. With cases now appearing in Colorado we will respond with all due caution to any potential health threat in our community. We are working with our partners at Macky Auditorium to take all appropriate safety precautions.
Currently there have been no scheduling changes to our events. We will update all patrons if any changes occur. Please be aware that we will not hesitate to postpone or cancel events if the situation warrants.
We know our patrons are thinking carefully about purchasing tickets for upcoming performances. To offer increased planning flexibility during this time, we are waiving all single ticket exchange fees for performances through April 30, 2020.
We also highly encourage those who feel unwell or who may be at increased risk to stay home, and we are happy to exchange any existing tickets for future events. You may call the Ticket Office at 303-449-1343 if you need to exchange tickets.
Again, all concerts are currently happening as scheduled. If we receive the recommendation to cancel events, we will prioritize the health of our audience, musicians and staff by implementing and communicating appropriate changes that ensure a safe environment. In the event of a cancellation, we will notify all ticketholders by email, phone and/or text at least 2-3 hours before the concert.
Sincerely,
Katherine Lehman
Executive Director
B.Phil

 

‘Subversive, seditious, bawdy, proto-feminist’ opera NOW CANCELED

Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro at CU has been canceled 

By Peter Alexander March 5 at 5 p.m.

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CU Production of Marriage of Figaro. Photo by Glenn Asakawa.

Conductor Nick Carthy says that Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is “the first great proto-feminist opera, and on top of that it’s subversive, it’s seditious, it’s bawdy, and Mozart wrote it!”

Widely considered one of the greatest operas ever written, The Marriage of Figaro will be presented by the University of Colorado Eklund Opera Program March 13-15. Carthy will conduct the student orchestra and cast, and Eklund Opera Program director Leigh Holman will be stage director.

Figaro, servant to the Count Almaviva, is about to marry Susanna, servant to the Countess. The Count, however, desires Susanna and wants to re-instate an old feudal right for masters to sleep with servants when they marry. The Countess and Susanna, and to a lesser extent Figaro, plot together to embarrass the Count and force him to abandon his plans.

There are many other twists involving minor characters, but those revolve around, and reinforce the main themes of, the plot: Not only do the servants thwart their master — a common basis for comedy in the 18th century — but the women foil the men. That is especially powerful, and is one of the things — with Mozart’s music — that elevates Figaro above other operas of its time.

Read more in Boulder Weekly.

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The Marriage of Figaro
By Mozart and Lorenzo DaPonte
CU Eklund Opera Program

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14
2 p.m. Sunday, March 15
Macky Auditorium

Tickets

 

LSO at Stewart Auditorium: Lesser known Beethoven and Schubert

Longmont Symphony extends its Beethoven symphony cycle, Feb. 29 & March 1

By Peter Alexander Feb. 25 at  11 p.m.

The Longmont Symphony and conductor Elliot Moore continue their ongoing cycle of Beethoven symphonies with concerts at the Longmont Museum Stewart Auditorium Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 29 and March 1; details below).

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Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra in Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

The program features one of Beethoven’s least-performed symphonies, No. 4 in B-flat major, as well as Schubert’s Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major. “It’s Beethoven’s Fourth and of course, it’s known,” Moore says. “But these are pieces that are not the meat and potatoes of either composer.

“The Ninth Symphony of Schubert is performed much more often than the Fifth symphony. Schubert’s Eighth Symphony is performed much more often than the Fifth. For a Beethoven symphony, the Fourth is pretty rarely performed. So it’s a concert that is great repertoire, but that is a little bit underperformed.”

It is specifically repertoire that Moore has wanted to bring to the Longmont Symphony from the day he arrived. For both the players and the audiences, it is important to know these earlier symphonies, he says.

Elliot Moore - credit - Photography Maestro

Elliot Moore. Photo by Photography Maestro.

“Early Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn: these are composers that in the history of the Longmont Symphony are generally underrepresented. In fact, I think that this is the Longmont premiere of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.

“It’s important for a musical organization to have these pieces in their repertoire, and also know the style. This style can lead to how we interpret Schumann, to how we interpret Brahms. It’s important that we not have holes in our collective education of where does the symphony come from. It’s important that we do all of these symphonies, and I wanted to begin right at the beginning of my tenure as music director.”

Both symphonies were written in the early years of the 19th century—Beethoven in 1808, Schubert in 1816—and early in each composer’s symphonic careers. But both are also works that look back to the 18th century, rather than forward to the Romantic era that was just getting started in music.

“The thing that is interesting to me is that Beethoven had just composed his Third Symphony, and when he wrote his Fourth, he looked much further back rather than forward into what the symphony would become,” Moore says. “He went back more toward Haydn.

“In Schubert’s case, instead of looking at Beethoven and what Beethoven had written, he was more inspired by Mozart in this symphony. So both symphonies have a very classical sense to them.”

Both are works that Moore is looking forward to conducting. “Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony is one of the most energetic and spirited symphonies,” he says. “It will be a lot of fun to bring this light-hearted work to our audience. That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to with Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.

“With Schubert’s Fifth, it’s how to me it sounds like an extension of Mozart. It’s as if we’ve got Mozart’s 42nd Symphony, and that’s something that I am really looking forward to bringing to life.”

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Longmont Museum Stewart Auditorium. Photo by Peter Alexander.

Beethoven Cycle: Beethoven and Schubert
Longmont Symphony Chamber Orchestra
Elliot Moore, conductor

Schubert: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major

7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29
4 p.m. Sunday, March 1 [sold out]
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

Tickets