Santa Fe Opera announces 2023 summer festival season

Summer 2024 will include company’s 19th world premiere

By Peter Alexander June 22 at 3:45 p.m.

Robert K. Meya. Screen shot 10.25.2020

Robert K. Meya, general director of the Santa Fe Opera, has announced the repertoire, cast and creative artists for the company’s 2023 summer season. 

Opening the opera’s 66th Festival Season will be Puccini’s Tosca and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, followed by Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Dvořák’s Rusalka and Monteverdi’s Orfeo with a new orchestration by American composer Nico Muhly. Meya also announced the commission of a new opera by composer Gregory Spears and librettist Tracy K. Smith, The Righteous, to be premiered in 2024.

The Righteous  will be the company’s 19th world premiere.

The 66th Festival Season will feature a total of 38 performances, including two special Sunday evenings presentring the opera’s singing and technical apprentices in staged scenes, August 13 and 20. Tickets for the 2023 season are now on sale at the Santa Fe Opera’s Web page.

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Santa Fe Opera
2023 66th Festival Season

Santa Fe Opera. Photo by Kate Russell.

Giacomo Puccini: Tosca
John Fiore, conductor
Keith Warner, stage director
Cast includes Angel Blue, Leah Hawkins, Joshua Guerrero, Freddie De Tommaso and Reginald Smith, Jr.
Santa Fe Opera new production
Sung in Italian with English and Spanish titles
June 30; July 5, 8, 14, 21; August 1, 7, 12, 19, 23 & 26, 2023

Richard Wagner: The Flying Dutchman
Thomas Guggeis and Alden Gatt, conductors
David Alden, stage director
Cast includes Nicholas Brownlee, Elza van den Heever and Morris Robinson
Santa Fe Opera new production
Sung in German with English and Spanish titles
July 1, 7, 12, 31; August 5, 10, 15, 25, 2023

Claude Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande
Harry Bicket, conductor
Netia Jones, stage director
Cast includes Huw Montague Rendall, Samantha Hankey and Gihoon Kim
Santa Fe Opera new production
Sung in French with English and Spanish titles
July 15, 19, 28; August 3, 9, & 18, 2023

Antonín Dvořák: Rusalka
Lidiya Yankovskaya, conductor
Sir David Pountney, stage director
Cast includes Ailyn Pérez, Robert Watson, James Creswell and Michaela Martens
Santa Fe Opera premiere and new production
Sung in Czech with English and Spanish titles
July 22, 26; August 4, 8, 17 & 22, 2023

Claudio Monteverdi, orchestration by Nico Muhly: Orfeo
Harry Bicket, conductor
Yuval Sharon, stage director
Cast includes Rolando Villazón, Lauren Snouffer, James Creswell and Blake Denson
World premiere of new orchestration; Santa Fe Opera premiere and new production
Sung in Italian with English and Spanish titles
July 29; August 2, 11, 16 & 24, 2023

Read the complete news release from the Santa Fe Opera, with full cast and credits, here.

Statement from Central City Opera Board co-chairs

Comments on the resignation of artistic director Pelham (Pat) Pearce

By Peter Alexander June 18 at 10:05 a.m.

Pelham (Pat) Pearce, the longtime artistic director of Central City Opera, announced his resignation from the company yesterday (June 17). His departure, after more than 26 years with Central City Opera, appears to have been unexpected, as it was first announced by Pearce early in the morning on his personal Facebook page.

Today (June 18) the co-chairs of the company released the following statement:

We wanted share the news that Pelham “Pat” Pearce has decided to step down from his role as Artistic Director of Central City Opera. Pat’s 26+ years have been essential to who Central City Opera is and the fact we are celebrating our 90th Anniversary this year. He has been a visionary and will be missed.

Pat has done an excellent job of preparing for this year’s Summer Festival and has a terrific team in place. We have confidence that our directors, artists and technicians have the expertise to put Pat’s vision on stage and look forward to seeing their wonderful work come to fruition.

We celebrate and thank Pat for his tremendous work and the important legacy he has left on Central City Opera and the whole industry.

–Anne McGonagle and Roopesh Aggarwal
Co-Chairs of the Central City Opera Board of Directors

The announcement comes only two weeks before the opening of the company’s 2022 summer season. There has been no announcement if or when Pearce would be replaced in his role as artistic director. The company hired Pamela Pantos as president and chief executive officer of the company in February.

Further information and tickets for the summer season are available on the CCO Web page.

Pelham (Pat) Pearce resigns from Central City Opera

Surprise announcement made this morning (June 17)

By Peter Alexander June 17 at 3:15 p.m.

Pelham (Pat) Pearce, the general/artistic director of Central City Opera who has been with the company since 1996, today announced his resignation from the company.

Pelham (Pat) Pearce

The announcement was made by Pearce on his facebook page early this morning. The company has not yet responded to Pearce’s sudden announcement, which in its entirety was: “Dear Friends: I have resigned as Artistic Director of the Central City Opera. Please use my personal email, cell or social media to contact me. I look forward to new possibilities.”

The announcement comes only two weeks before the opening of Central City Opera’s 2002 season on Saturday, July. 2. The season, marking their return to Central City after two years that were affected by the COVID pandemic, features the musical Light in the Piazza by Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel (opening July 2) and Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, Jr.  (opening July 9).

For more information on the summer season, visit the Central City Opera Web page.

More information will be posted as it become available.

Longmont Symphony announces 2022–23 season

Season includes Beethoven cycle, Handel’s Messiah, world premieres

By Peter Alexander June 8 at 1:54 p.m.

The Longmont Symphony recently announced their 2022–23 season of concerts. The season features six mainstage concerts, three chamber orchestra concerts, and a Messiah singalong during the Holiday season (Dec. 18; see full season listings below).

The Beethoven symphony cycle will continue with Symphony No. 8 (Oct. 22 and 23), and other familiar orchestral repertoire will be represented by works of Dvořák and Sibelius. There will also be works by less familiar composers, including two world premieres, adding up to a season with intriguing discoveries to be made on most programs.

Composer John Heineken

The first of the two world premieres is Symphony for the Great Return by American composer John Hennecken on the opening night of the new season, Oct. 8. With it on the same program are Dvořák’s familiar Cello Concerto, played by Naumburg Competition winner Clancy Newman, Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, and George Walker’s elegiac Lyric for Strings.

The next installment of the LSO’s Beethoven cycle will feature the Eighth Symphony, possibly the least familiar of the canonical nine symphonies (Oct. 22 and 23 in Stewart Auditorium). Sharing the same chamber orchestral program is a symphony by Anton Reicha, a contemporary and friend of Beethoven. An adventurous and experimental composer for his times, Reicha is little known today, but his work serves to fill in the context in which Beethoven worked.

Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate

The major work on the November mainstage concert (Nov. 19) will be Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, a cheerful and upbeat piece that was written shortly before the composer’s 1892–93 visit to the United States. It will be preceded by three works that reflect the native American experience: Overture to the choral-orchestral Song of Hiawatha by the black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; American composer Michael Daugherty’s Trail of Tears for flute, strings and harp, inspired by the forced removal of Cherokees from their homeland; and Chokfi’ (Rabbit) for strings and percussion by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, a composer who is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma. Flute soloist for Trail of Tears will be Brice Smith.

The LSO will celebrate the Holidays with a complete performance of Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 17), followed by an audience-participation truncated Messiah “singalong.”

Silvestre Revueltas

The new year begins with a family concert (“Painting the Orchestra,” Jan. 21, 2023), followed by an all-Sibelius program (Feb. 18, 2023). Sibelius is generally under-represented in orchestra repertoire now, so it’s good to have a complete concert of his music, even if the program sticks to his more familiar works—Finlandia, the Violin Concerto with soloist Judith Ingolfsson, and the Symphony No. 2 in D major.

March 18 and 19 will see the second concert of the “Made in America” series, opening with Alcancías (Penny banks) for chamber orchestra by the 20th-century Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Jason Shafer, principal clarinet with the Colorado Symphony and a previous soloist with the LSO, returns to play Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Completing the program are Gershwin’s Lullaby and Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, written for piano as a tribute to the Baroque composer François Couperin and later transcribed for orchestra.

Tyler Harrison

The season’s second world premiere will be the Symphony No. 3 by pianist/composer and CU, Boulder, alumnus Tyler Harrison. It will be paired with Tchaikovsky’s brooding Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique,” in a program titled “Darkness and Light” (April 15).

The 2022–23 concert season wraps up May 6 with a lighter program, “LSO Goes to the Movies,” featuring music by John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer. Subscriptions are available through the LSO Web page. Tickets to individual concerts will go on sale Friday, July 29.

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2022–23 Concert Season
Longmont Symphony Orhestra

Longmont Symphony and conductor Elliot Moore

“The Great Return”
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Clancy Newman, cello

  • Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
  • George Walker: Lyric For Strings
  • John Hennecken: Symphony for the Great Return (World premiere)
  • Dvořák: Cello Concerto

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8
Vance brand Civic Auditorium

Beethoven Symphony Cycle
Elliot Moore, conductor

  • Anton Reicha: Symphony in G
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 8

7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

“Made in America,” Part 1
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Brice Smith, flute

  • Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Overture to Song of Hiawatha
  • Michael Daugherty: Trail of Tears
  • Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate: Chokfi’
  • Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

Candlelight Concert
Elliot Moore, conductor

  • Handel: Messiah

4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17
Westview Presbyterian Church

Messiah Singalong
Elliot Moore, conductor

  • Handel: Messiah (selections)

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18
Westview Presbyterian Church

”Painting the Orchestra!” Family Concert
Elliot Moore, conductor
Program includes:

  • Prokofiev: March from The Love for Three Oranges
  • John Williams: Nimbus 2000
  • Prokofiev: Cinderella Ballet Suite (selections)

4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

“Sibelius: A Portrait”
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Judith Ingolfsson, violin

  • Sibelius: Finlandia
  • —Violin Concerto
  • —Symphony No. 2 in D major

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

“Made in America,” Part 2
Elliot Moore, conductor, with Jason Shafer, clarinet

  • Silvestre Revueltas: Alcancías
  • Copland: Clarinet Concerto
  • Gershwin: Lullaby
  • Ravel: L’Tombeau de Couperin

7 p.m. Saturday, March 18, 2023
4 p.m. Sunday, March 19, 2023
Stewart Auditorium, Longmont Museum

“Darkness and Light”
Elliot Moore, conductor

  • Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”
  • Tyler Harrison: Symphony No. 3 (World premiere)

7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, 2023
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

“LSO Goes to the Movies”
Elliot Moore, conductor
Program includes:

  • John Williams: Music from Star Wars and Harry Potter films
  • Ennio Morricone: Music from Cinema Paradiso
  • Hans Zimmer: Music from Pirates of the Caribbean

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, 2023
Vance Brand Civic Auditorium

Season tickets now available. Single-even tickets go on sale July 29.

Boulder Phil announces its 65th anniversary season

Masterworks concerts for 2022-23 will all be in Macky Auditorium

By Peter Alexander April 27 at 12:15 a.m.

The Boulder Philharmonic announced programming for its 2022–23, 65th anniversary season Tuesday evening (April 26). All subscription concerts for the coming year will be once again in Macky Auditorium

Pianist Angela Cheng returns to Boulder to perform with the Phil April 22, 2023

The season introduced by music director Michael Butterman includes some warhorses— Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Richard Strauss’ Don Juan—some less familiar standard works—Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G—and a healthy dose of new and unfamiliar works (see full programs below). Particularly noteworthy will be two world and one Colorado premiere of commissioned works.

Some features of the season will be familiar to current and past Boulder Phil patrons. One will be the return to Macky. The annual Nutcracker performances with Boulder Ballet are scheduled for Nov. 25 and 27. There will be a seasonal special event, “Holiday Brass with the Phil,” Dec. 18. The Phil’s Executive Director, Sara Parkinson, announced the resumption of the educational Discovery Concerts for school students.

Long-time concertgoers will welcome the return of former CU faculty member and audience favorite Angela Cheng April 22, who has not appeared in Boulder since 2009. Other soloists during the season will include tenor Matthew Plenk, on the opening night concert Oct. 8; double bassist Xavier Foley and violinist Eunice Kim Nov. 12; and violinist Stefan Jakiw March 25. 

Concertmaster Charles Wetherbee will solo with the Phil Jan. 22, 2023

Boulder Phil concertmaster Charles Wetherbee has been on medical leave, but is expected back next season and will play Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the orchestra Jan. 22.

One prominent change for the season is that the Saturday evening concert time has been moved to 7 p.m. from 7:30 p.m., in response to feedback from ticket buyers. That change affects all the masterworks concerts except “Afternoon with Bruckner,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. In conjunction with the change of curtain time, the Phil will try different forms of related programming for its concerts, including pre-concert lectures, intermission features and post-concert talk-back sessions.

One special event in the season will bring the popular Denver-based multi-instrumental band DeVotchKa to Macky Auditorium to perform with the Phil. That performance will take place at the “old” time of 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, 2023. Further details of that concert are pending.

The opening night concert Oct. 8, titled “Hymn to the Earth,” includes the first of the season’s premieres, a Boulder Phil co-commission that was postponed from a planned earlier season due to COVID: Ozymandias: To Sell a Planet. This musical alarum for threats to the planet was composed by the American composer Drew Hemmenger and uses Percy Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias,” as well as texts from native American sources, United Nations climate reports and speeches by Greta Thunberg. 

The Colorado premiere of another co-commission, Jennifer Higdon’s Suite from Cold Mountain, follows on Nov. 12, and another world premiere of a new work by Boulder High School graduate Leigha Amick will be presented April 22, 2023.

Season tickets will go on sale Monday, May 2, and tickets to individual concerts will be available Monday, Aug. 22. Purchases can be made by calling the box office at 303-449-1343, or through the Boulder Phil web page.

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Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra
Michael Butterman, music director
2022-23 Season
All performances in Macky Auditorium except as otherwise noted

Conductor Michael Butterman with the Boulder Phil in Macky Auditorium

Opening Night: Hymn to the Earth
Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Boulder Phil Chorus and Matthew Plenk, tenor

  • Michael Abels: Global Warming
  • Drew Hemenger: Ozymandias: To Sell a Planet (Co-Commission & World Premiere)
  • Mozart: Overture to Don Giovanni
  • Wagner: Trauermusik from Götterdämmerung
  • Richard Strauss: Don Juan

7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8

Gran Duo: Higdon and Foley
Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Xavier Foley, double bass, and Eunice Kim, violin

  • Jennifer Higdon: Suite from Cold Mountain (Co-Commission & Colorado Premiere)
  • Xavier Foley: For Justice and Peace
  • Giovanni Bottesini: Gran Duo Concertante
  • Dvořák: Symphony No. 8 in G major

7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12

The Nutcracker with Boulder Ballet
Boulder Philharmonic, Gary Lewis, conductor 

2 and 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25
2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27

Special Event: Holiday Brass with the Phil

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18
Mountain View United Methodist Church, Boulder

Afternoon with Bruckner
Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Charles Wetherbee, violin

  • Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5
  • Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major

4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023

Jackiw Plays Bruch
Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Stefan Jakiw, violin

  • George Butterworth: The Banks of Green Willow
  • Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
  • Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances

7 pm. Saturday, March 25, 2023

Ravel and Rachmaninoff
Boulder Philharmonic, Michael Butterman, conductor
With Angela Cheng, piano

  • Leigha Amick: “Resound Boulder”” Commission 
  • Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
  • Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
  • Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet: Fantasy Overtur

7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023

Special Event: DeVotchKa + Boulder Phil

7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 6, 2023

Musical artists we lost in 2021

Remembering those we lost over the past year

By Peter Alexander Dec. 30 at 2:15 p.m.

Below is my annual remembrance of musicians that we the living lost over the past year. Let us take a moment to feel gratitude for each one who touched us individually and collectively over their lives and careers. This list is of course not compprehensive. As always, it is quite personal. I may not include those whom you will miss most, and if so I invite you to add your own memories in the comments. 

Gerry Marsden

Jan. 3: Gerry Marsden, lead singer, guitarist and founder of Gerry & the Pacemakers, a Merseybeat group that was created in Liverpool, UK, in the 1950s and disbanded in 1966, and whose version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” became the anthem of the Liverpool Football Club, 78

Jan. 6: Osian Ellis, Welsh harpist with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Melos Ensemble, who had a close musical partnership with Benjamin Britten, 92

Jan. 14: Elijah Moshinsky, celebrated Australian opera director who staged many productions at the Royal Opera House in London, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Scottish Opera, Opera Australia, Teatro all Scala and the Wiener Staatsoper, among others, 75

Sammy Nestico

Jan. 17: Phil Spector, renowned music producer who developed the “wall of sound,” producer of recordings by the Ronettes, Ike & Tina Tuner, and the Beatles “Let It Be” album; while serving a 19-year sentence for murder, 81

Jan. 17: Sammy Nestico, prolific American composer and arranger for Count Basie, the U.S. Air Force and Marine bands in Washington, D.C., and trombonist for the Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa and other big bands, 96

Mary Wilson

Feb. 8: Mary Wilson, founding member and linchpin of The Supremes, one of the greatest and most influential of the Motown groups, from their first hit in 1963 and in all of their 12 No. 1 hits, 76

Feb. 9: Chick Corea, a virtuoso keyboard player who had great impact on the world of jazz, through both his creativity and his enjoyment of performing, and who worked with jazz artists from Stan Getz to Miles Davis before forming his own electric band, “Return to Forever,” 79

March 2: Bunny Wailer, born Neville Livingston, one of the original members of the esteemed and highly influential Wailers trio with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, with whom he grew up as a near-stepbrother, and who won the Grammy for best Reggae Album three times, 73

Bunny Wailer

March 9: James Levine, one of the most admired conductors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries who over a 47-year tenure built the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera into one of the world’s best, until he was sidelined by health issues and fired after a long history of sexual improprieties caught up with him; loved by opera singers and Met audiences alike; also music director of the Chicago Symphony’s Ravinia Festival 1973–93, the Munich Philharmonic 1999–2004, and the Boston Symphony 2004–11; followed by accounts of abuse of younger men dating back to his student years, he was suspended and then fired by the Met when those accounts became public and subject to investigation, 77

March 13: Kenneth Cooper, harpsichordist and musical scholar, founder of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, known for performing Baroque music with flair and creativity, 79

Christa Ludwig

April 7: Wayne Peterson, composer, professional jazz musician and professor of composition at San Francisco State University for more than 30 years who won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in composition, sparking a controversy because the Pulitzer committee had rejected the recommendation of the music jury, 93

April 24: Christa Ludwig, German mezzo-soprano known for both insightful opera and intimate art-song performances; loved by her fans and often called the greatest mezzo of her time, her diverse roles included Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, 93

April 26: Al Schmitt, multiple Grammy-winning recording engineer who produced recordings by Jefferson Airplane, Al Jarreau and Eddie Fischer, among others, and recorded Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, and other artists over a span of 60 years, 91

Martin Bookspan

April 28: Paul Kellogg, a creative and imaginative opera impresario who led the Glimmerglass Opera from 1979—with no previous administrative experience—until 2006, and later the New York City Opera from 1996 until 2007, 84

April 29: Martin Bookspan, the voice of radio broadcasts of the Boston Symphony and the New York Philharmonic and announcer for “Live from Lincoln Center,” also an announcer for a soap opera and the author of books on music, among other careers, 94

Gianna Rolandi

June 20: Gianna Rolandi, American coloratura soprano known for her performances as Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos and the title roles of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, among other roles, during a career mostly centered on the New York City Opera, 68

June 20: Jeanne Lamon, violinist and for 33 years director of the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra of Toronto, which became an international center for Baroque performance and brought their multi-media performance “Tales of Two Cities: the Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House” to Macky Auditorium in March 2019, 71

June 21: Mimi Stern-Wolfe, for many years a fixture of musical life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan who presented an annual concert of music by composers lost to AIDS, the founder of Downtown Music Productions, which presented concerts of music by women, music of the Holocaust, and other performances exploring lesser known realms, 84

June 26: Frederic Rzewski, composer of 36 variations on the Chilean protest song The People United will Never be Defeated, one of the great piano pieces of the past century, and himself a virtuoso pianist, known for his leftwing political convictions as well as his numerous musical works, 83

Frederic Rzewski

July 1: Louis Andriessen, Dutch composer influenced by Stravinsky, American minimalism and bebop, whose output included film music, two operas and other stage works, and what he called “big symphonic works . . . using the materials of the vernacular,” 82

July 9: Gil Wechsler, the first resident lighting designer at the Metropolitan Opera whose lighting designs were featured in more than 100 Met productions from 1977 until 1996, including some of the most lavish shows in the company’s history, 79

Jean Kraft. Photo by Douglas Merriam

July 15: Jean Kraft, American mezzo-soprano who sang 784 performances at the Metropolitan Opera from 1970 to 1989, including 11 telecasts and more than 75 radio broadcasts, in addition to performances at the Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera and Vienna State Opera, 94

July 17: Graham Vick, British opera director known for his efforts to reach new audiences, through diverse casting and use of non-traditional performing spaces, and his founding of Birmingham Opera, where he gave performances in English and kept ticket prices low, but who also directed productions at Glyndebourne, the Met, and other major houses, 67

July 20: Jerry Granelli, jazz drummer from Halifax, Nova Scotia , who was the last surviving member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio that recorded the music for “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and who as a session drummer played with jazz artists including Bill Evans and Bill Frisell, and also with Sly Stone, the Kingston Trio and the Grateful Dead, 80

Igor Oistrakh

Aug. 14: Igor Oistrakh, Russian violinist who performed and recorded extensively in the West throughout the Cold War, a member of the Oistrakh violin dynasty along with his father, David, and son, Valery, 90

August 14: Hugh Wood, British composer of symphonic, chamber and vocal works, largely unknown outside Great Britain, where he was well respected and received many commissions, 89

August 14: R. Murray Schafer, Canadian composer known for his concept of the soundscape and a leader in the field of acoustic ecology, founder of the World Soundscape Project, 88

August 21: Don Everly, the last surviving member of the Everly Brothers vocal duo who hit peak teen stardom in the late 1950s with hits including “Wake Up Little Susie” and ”Cathy’s Clown,” but were eclipsed in the early ‘60s by the Beatles and the other mega-groups of that decade, leading to a dramatic onstage breakup in 1973, 84

August 24: Charlie Watts, for more than 50 years the solid, un-flamboyant and jazz-inflected drummer of the Rolling Stones, who as a trained graphic artist also designed some of the Stone’s album covers, 80

Charlie Watts

Sept. 2: Mikis Theodorakis, Greek composer known internationally for his film music, including scores for Zorba the Greek, Z and Serpico, who also fought a war of resistance against the Greek military junta that took power in 1967, leading to his arrest and temporary banishment from Greece, 96

Paddy Maloney

Sept. 30: Carlisle Floyd, composer-librettist from the South best known for his opera Susannah, which transferred the Biblical tale of Susannah and the elders to Tennessee, and other operatic tales of Americana, long time faculty member at Florida State University in Tallahassee, 95

Oct. 1: Raymond Gniewek, concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 43 years, a position to which he was appointed in 1957 at the age of 25, and who was instrumental in the orchestra’s rise to a first-class ensemble, 89

Oct. 12: Paddy Maloney, Irish musician, composer and producer, founder of the traditional Irish folk group The Chieftains, noted as a player of the uilleann pipes and the tin whistle, whose career spanned nearly 60 years and included collaborations with musicians as diverse as Sir James Galway, Chet Atkins, Mick Jagger, Sinéad O’Connor, and Van Morrison, 83

Edita Gruberova

Oct. 18: Edita Gruberova, Slovak-born coloratura soprano who debuted at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1970 as the Queen of the Night, a role in which she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1977; also known for other coloratura roles during a career that lasted until 2001 with performances at Gyndebourne, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and La Scala, 74

Oct. 21: Bernard Haitink, chief conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra for 27 years who also conducted the London Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Dresden Staatkapelle, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony, among others, at Glyndebourne and other opera companies, and made more than 450 recordings, 92

Slide Hampton

Nov. 11: Graeme Edge, drummer and co-founder of The Moody Blues who fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll as a boy, author of many of the group’s “Spoken word poems” attached to songs including “Knights in White Satin,” one of the songs for which they were best known, 80.

Nov. 20: Slide Hampton, jazz trombonist, composer ,arranger and Grammy-award winner who started playing trombone in his father’s band, then played with Dizzy Gillespie and Maynard Ferguson, among others, and led “The World of Trombones,” a band of up to nine trombones and a drummer; 89

Stephen Sondheim

November 26: Stephen Sondheim, one of the very few genuine titans of the Broadway stage of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, composer and lyricist who learned at the feet of family friend Oscar Hammerstein, broke onto Broadway with lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959) and then pointed to his future path writing music and lyrics for the Tony-Award winning A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); in the following decades he provided music and lyrics for an astonishingly varied series of shows, including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987); in the course of this career he collaborated with some of Broadway’s best, including director Hal Prince, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and playwright/director/librettist James Lapine; 91

NOTE: Links to performances have been added after the original posting of this article.

Santa Fe Opera announces 2022 festival season

One world premiere, one company premiere, and three favorites

By Peter Alexander Nov. 5 at 11:40 p.m.

The Santa Fe Opera (SFO) has announced their 65th summer festival season, scheduled for July 1 through Aug. 27, 2022.

Robert Meya announcing the Santa Fe Opera’s 65th season

The festival will feature a world premiere and a company premiere, as well as three operatic favorites. The announcement was made by SFO general director Robert K. Meya on Thursday, Nov. 4. 

Following last year’s reduced season of four productions, the company returns to a full season of five different operas, played in repertoire throughout the summer.

The first of the operatic favorites to be performed in 2022 will be Bizet’s Carmen, opening the season on July 1. That will be followed by Rossini’s Barber of Seville on July 2 and Verdi’s Falstaff on July 16. A co-production with Scottish Opera, Falstaff will be presented in Sir David McVicar’s production, which is set in a wood structure resembling an Elizabethan theater of Shakespeare’s time.

Next in the summer’s rotation will be the company premiere of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This will be the first piece by Wagner to be presented at the SFO since The Flying Dutchman in 1988, and the only Wagner to be presented other than Dutchman. Some performance start times at the SFO shift over the summer season, due to changing times of sunset, but due to length, all performances of Tristan und Isolde will begin at 8 p.m.

Rounding out the summer season will be SFO’s 18th world premiere, M. Butterfly, based on the 1988 Tony Award-winning play by David Henry Hwang, who is also the librettist, with music by Huang Rao. The play and opera were inspired by the true story of a French diplomat who carried on a 20-year affair with a star of the Peking Opera without discovering his lover’s remarkable secret. The production of this new work will recall the SFO’s productions of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the opera that has opened all three of the company’s theaters, in 1957, 1968 and 1998.

Promotional art for the Santa Fe Opera/Scottish Opera production of Verdi’s Falstaff

Further information and the full calendar of performances are available at the Santa Fe Opera Web page. Both season subscriptions and individual performance tickets are now on sale through that portal, or by calling the box office at 505-986-5900 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (toll-free 1-800-280-4654). Currently, the SFO plans to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for all patrons 12 or older. Full details of the SFO health and safety policies and any updates can be found here.

CORRECTIONS: Typos corrected 11/6.

Central City Opera announces 2022 summer festival season

90th season is planned to be back in the beautiful Central City Opera House

By Peter Alexander Oct. 6 at 5:40 p.m.

Central City Opera has announced three delicious offerings for the 90th summer season in 2022, scheduled to be back in  the exquisite but small Central City Opera House in Central City, after last year’s outdoors performances at Hudson Gardens in Littleton.

Opening Night at Central City Opera. Featured in Central City Opera’s 75th anniversary book, “Theatre of Dreams, The Glorious Central City Opera—Celebrating 75 Years.”

The 2022 season will open on July 2 and run through July 31. The two works scheduled for mainstage performances in the Central City Opera House will be Die Fledermaus, the frothy Viennese operetta by Johann Strauss, Jr., and  The Light in the Piazza, a 2005 Broadway show by Adam Guettel—Richard Rodgers’s grandson—based on a novella by American writer Elizabeth Spencer. The third production will be Two Remain, a two-act opera by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer based on the true stories of Holocaust survivors Krystyna Zywulska and Gad Beck. Two Remain will be performed in the Martin Foundry in Central City.

The mainstage productions promise lighter fare for next summer, with no murder-for-hire plots (Rigoletto, 2021), suicides (Carousel, 2021, and Madame Butterfly, 2019), hangings (Bully Budd, 2019), or burnings at the stake (Il Trovatore, 2018). This may be just what audiences need after the COVID pandemic; I for one look forward to a summer without operatic death. I also look forward to all three works: one I love (Die Fledermaus) and two that I am eager to discover (The Light in the Piazza and Two Remain).

Central City Opera has provided the following descriptions of the works in the 2022 season:

  • The light comic operetta Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr. premiered in 1874 and continues to be treasured by audiences today. Gabriel von Eisenstein playfully tosses his friend Doctor Falke out of a carriage en route home from a lavish costume party. Dressed in a ridiculous bat disguise, Falke is now known about town as Doctor Bat, or Die Fledermaus. Later, Eisenstein is attempting to dodge a short jail sentence for yet another overture of mischief. Under the guise of one final night on the town, Falke launches a champagne-soaked prank with the help of Eisenstein’s wife Rosalinde, determined to entertain the evening’s dinner party host Prince Orlofsky.
  • A 2005 Broadway premiere by composer Adam Guettel (grandson of Richard Rodgers of Rodgers and Hammerstein), The Light in the Piazza sees strong-willed Southern housewife Margaret Johnson and her charming daughter Clara vacationing in Italy in the summer of 1956. Margaret hopes the magic and memories of Florence will sweep her off her feet, but it’s Clara and earnest inamorato Fabrizio who fall in love at first sight. Torn from their guidebooks, mother and daughter must brave blossoming love, buried secrets and a startling cultural clash to uncover the hopeful new chapters they didn’t know they’d been searching for.
  • Two Remain tells the powerful true stories of Holocaust survivors Krystyna Zywulska and Gad Beck. Premiering in 2016 under the title Out of Darkness, the two-act opera was commissioned by Music of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall in Seattle and composed by Jake Heggie. The libretto by Gene Scheer is based on documents and journals found in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Central City Opera’s production will be the Colorado regional premiere of this stunning piece.

New subscriptions to Central City Opera will be available in January, 2022. Single tickets will go on sale April 1, 2022. More information and access to tickets sales can be found on the Central City Opera Web page.

NOTE: Typo corrected 10/7.

Takács Quartet recording wins Gramophone award for 2021

Piano Quintet recording with pianist Garrick Ohlsson winner in chamber category

By Peter Alexander Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m.

The London-based classical music monthly Gramophone recently announced the winners of their Classical Music Awards for 2021, including a recording by the Takács Quartet and pianist Garrick Ohlsson in the chamber music category.

Primarily a magazine devoted to reviews of new recordings, Gramophone annually selects the recordings it considers to be the best in a variety of categories. For 2021, the winner in the Chamber Music category is Ohlsson and the Takács’s recording of piano quintets by Sir Edward Elgar and Amy Beach. This CD was reviewed on this site earlier this year.

Jeremy Dibble’s Gramophone review, which is included in the announcement of the winner, states “Ohlsson and the Takács are to be congratulated for the warmth of their interpretation and for their ability to encompass the challenging range of Elgar’s complex moods.”

You may see the full list of 2021 Gramophone Classical Music Awards winners here. The winners are all automatically in contention for Gramophone’s award for Classical Music Recording of the Year. That award will be announced at the Gramophone Awards ceremony, which will be available online at 12 noon MDT (7 p.m. BST) Tuesday, Oct. 5, on the Gramophone YouTube channel.

Joining a growing trend, Boulder Chamber Orchestra plans return to the stage

2021-22 season will celebrate heroes and mourn victims of the past year

By Peter Alexander June 25 at 5:24 p.m.

Bahman Saless, music director of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra (BCO), can hardly wait to get back in front of a live audience

Bahman Saless and the Boulder Chamber Orchestra.

“Oh my god yes, I’m dying!” he says.

The BCO recently announced their 2021–22 season, which will feature a mix of orchestra concerts and mini-chamber concerts through the coming year—very much the pattern of previous seasons. “People want to feel that normalcy is back, and that was the whole plan,” Saless says. “We haven’t gone anywhere, we’re here, and we’re going to have a super season!”

For those who prefer to retain some social distancing in public situations, Saless points out that the current location of most of their concerts, Boulder’s Seventh-Day Adventist Church, had a large space that does not usually sell out. 

“We never filled all the seats, because Seventh Day Adventist is pretty big.” He says. “I think the same number of people will want to come back, in which case they would still be OK. They could occupy the entire place, sitting  every other seat. We’re all crossing our fingers that things will get even better and they will get back to normal by October. I’m pretty confident we should be OK.”

Saless says the programs were chosen to fit the timing, of opening up again after a pandemic. “We’re going to celebrate heroes, the people that were in the front line with COVID,” he says. “That’s the first concert, with the Beethoven “Eroica” (Symphony). And then (we remember) the victims, which is the last concert.”

Howard Goodall

The major piece on that closing concert is Eternal Light by British composer Howard Goodall, a piece that Saless says recalls his years in a British boarding school. “I was homesick for so long about English hymn tunes,” he says. “When I heard this piece I was like ‘Oh my God, this is what I’ve wanted to do!’ I thought it would be very fitting to dedicate that concert to the people who lost their lives to COVID. And it’s absolutely gorgeous.”

Most of the rest of the season is music that Saless had originally planned for the “lost” season of 2020-21.

A discounted season ticket for the 2021–22 season is available here. You may purchase tickets to the individual concerts by clicking through from that page to the listing of each concert.

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Mini-Chamber Concert
Members of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra performing string quintets

  • Dvorak: String Quintet, Op. 97
  • Mozart: String Quintet in G Minor, K. 515

8 PM, Sept. 23, 2021, Boulder Seventh-Day Adventist Church

“Celebrating the Heroes”: All-Beethoven Concert
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with
Jennifer Hayghe, piano

  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major (“Eroica”)
  • Beethoven: Concerto for Piano No. 4 in G major

7:30 PM, Oct. 23, 2021, Boulder Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Maxime Goulet

“A Gift of Music”: Celebrating the Season with BCO Stars
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with
Joey Howe, cello, and Kellan Toohey, clarinet

  • Maxime Goulet:  Symphonic Chocolates
  • Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
  • Mozart: Clarinet Concerto

7:30 PM, Dec. 11, Boulder Seventh-Day Adventist Church

“Diversions in History”
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with
Andrew Staupe, piano, and Sam Dusinberre, trumpet

  • Johann Christian Bach: Concerto for Piano in E-flat
  • Dimitri Shostakovich: Concerto for Piano No. 1
  • Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings.

7:30 PM, Jan. 29, 2022, Boulder Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Mini-Chamber concert
Program TBA
Feb. 12, 2022.

“Eternal Light”
Boulder Chamber Orchestra, Bahman Saless, conductor, with
Boulder Chorale, directed by Vicki Burrichter

  • Vladimir Martynov: Come in! (Colorado premiere)
  • Howard Goodall: Requiem Eternal Light (in memory of the lives lost due to the pandemic; Colorado premiere)

8 PM. April 1, 2022, First United Methodist Church