Review: Piedmont Singers

with Classical Revolution RVA Chamber Orchestra
Erin Freeman conducting
June 28, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia, an ensemble of eight voices based in Farmville and Hampden-Sydney, brought together two semingly disparate composers – Felix Mendelssohn and Arvo Pärt – in a program of sacred works presented to a capacity crowd in the Marble Hall of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Mendelssohn’s cantata “Christe, du Lamm Gottes” (“Christ, You Lamb of God”), framed by Pärt’s “Da pacem Domine” and “Berlin” Mass, turned out to have more in common than might have been expected.

All three works are contemplative in tone, and fittingly on the quiet side. And they are deeply informed both by religious belief and sturdy compositional precedents, in Mendelssohn’s case by the forms and techniques of Johann Sebastian Bach, and in Pärt’s case by his “Tintinnabuli” (bell-like) compositional style, melding ancient and medieval liturgical chant with modern, at times quasi-serial practices.

The “Berlin” Mass, written in 1990 for the Katholikentag (Catholics Day) festival at Berlin’s St. Hedwig Cathedral, adds to the standard Mass setting two alleluias and a “Veni sancte spiritus” section appropriate for Pentecost performances, and two more alleluias for Christmas performance. All were sung in this concert.

The vocal octet blended and balanced its voices well through most of the program, although soprano voices occasionally stood out more than optimally. The male soloists shone in their introductions of Pärt’s alleluias.

Sufficient projection was a challenge in the large, crowded space in which they performed, especially when competing with stray noises from the audience, the bar and surrounding galleries.

A small string ensemble, led by Erin Freeman, acompanied the Mendelssohn cantata and the Pärt Mass with warmth and suitable reticence.

Letter V Classical Radio June 27

1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Wagner: “The Flying Dutchman” Overture
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble/Marc Minkowski

Bruch: “Scottish Fantasy”
Joshua Bell, violin & director
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
(Sony Classical)

Nielsen: “Helios” Overture
Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard

Sibelius: “Pohjola’s Daughter”
Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä

Past Masters:
Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor
Jacqueline du Pré, cello
London Symphony Orchestra/John Barbirolli
(EMI Classics)
(recorded 1965)

Hubert Parry: Symphonic Variations
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Andrew Penney

Beethoven: Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4
Hagen Quartet
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor
Orchestre des Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe

J.S. Bach: Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582
(orchestration by Ottorino Respighi)
Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz

Villa-Lobos: “Bachianas Brasileiras” No. 2
Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal de São Paulo/Rodrigo de Carvalho
(Lua Classical)

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, BWV 1067
Juliette Hurel, flute
Les Surprises

Richmond Chamber Players’ Interlude 2018

The Richmond Chamber Players’ 2018 Interlude series of four Sunday afternoon concerts in August will be staged at River Road Church, Baptist, in western Henrico County, while the series’ usual venue, the sanctuary of Bon Air Presbyterian Church, is closed for renovation.

This summer’s series will mark the centenary of Claude Debussy’s death with his Piano Trio and the 100th aniversaries of two works, Germaine Tailleferre’s String Quartet and Igor Stravinsky’s “L’histoire du soldat” (“The Soldier’s Tale”), the latter in a performance of the concert suite for clarinet, violin and piano that Stravinsky arranged from the original theater piece.

Other repertory ranges from solo string works by Johann Sebastian Bach and George Crumb to the Piano Trio by the early 20th century British composer Ethel Smyth, a woodwind trio by the late Richmond composer Allan Blank and string quartets by Shostakovich and the Mexican composer Javier Álvarez.

Performers include violinists Susy Yim and Catherine Cary, violist Stephen Schmidt, cellists Neal Cary and Ryan Lannan, clarinetists Jared Davis and David Niethamer, flutist Mary Boodell, bassoonist Thomas Schneider, harpist Lynette Wardle and pianist John Walter.

Tickets, $25 per concert, will be sold at the door and may be ordered in advance by mail: Richmond Chamber Players, P.O. Box 14654, Richmond, VA 23221. For details, visit

Interlude 2018 programs, all at 3 p.m. at River Road Church, Baptist, River and Ridge roads:

Aug. 5
Stravinsky” L’histoire du soldat” (“The Soldier’s Tale”) Suite for clarinet, violin and piano; Allan Blank: “Introduction and Three Episodes” for flute, clarinet and bassoon; Mozart: Flute Quartet in D major, K. 285.

Aug. 12
J.S. Bach: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001, for solo violin; Henry Cowell: “Seven Paragraphs” for string trio; Kodály: Intermezzo for string trio; Germaine Tailleferre: String Quartet.

Aug. 19
Ethel Smyth: Piano Trio; Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 5

Aug. 26
Debussy: Piano Trio; George Crumb: Sonata for solo cello; Javier Álvarez: “Metro Chabacano” for string quartet; Dvořák: String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 (“American”) – IV: Finale.


Symphony extends Lin, taps Myssyk

The Richmond Symphony has extended the contract of Chia-Hsuan Lin, its associate conductor, for two more years, and has appointed Daniel Myssyk to the new position of assistant conductor.

Lin’s contract extension, running through the 2019-20 season, coincides with the period during which the orchestra will be searching for a new music director to replace Steven Smith, who is leaving at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Lin, who joined the symphony in 2015, has been the principal conductor of Symphony Pops, LolliPops and Discovery concerts, and also has led classical subscription, community and tour programs.

Myssyk, who serves as director of orchestral studies at Virginia Commonwealth University and was artistic director of the Appassionata Chamber Orchestra in Montreal from 2000 to 2016, will become conductor of the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra and will assume a leadership role in the orchestra’s Young Performers Program, as well as taking conducting dates with the symphony.

Lin’s extension and Myssyk’s appointment were announced at the end-of-season symphony board meeting. Also announced were the appointments of two new board members: Joshua Bennett, vice president of technical services at Dominion Energy, and Samuel Koo, a former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, president of World Embrace and executive director of the Great Mountains Music Festival in his native South Korea.


Letter V Classical Radio June 20

1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Berlioz: “Rob-Roy Macgregor” Overture
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Alexander Gibson

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major
Los Angeles Philharmonic/Esa-Pekka Salonen
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
La Gaia Scienza
(Winter & Winter)

Barber: “Knoxville, Summer of 1915”
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Orchestra of St. Luke’s/David Zinman

Marty Regan: “Splash of Indigo”
Apollo Chamber Players

Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622
Martin Fröst, clarinet & director
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen

Bizet: Symphony in C major
Orchestre de Paris/Paavo Järvi

Medtner: “Sonata-Idylle” in G major, Op. 56
Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Suk: Serenade in E flat major, Op. 6
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Boccherini: Quintet in D major, G. 448 (“Fandango”)
Rolf Lislevand, guitar
José de Udaeta, castanets
Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall

Gennady Rozhdestvensky (1931-2018)

Gennady Rozhdestnevsky, the emiment Russian conductor, has died at 87. Rozhdestnevsky was a close associate and advocate of several generations of Russian composers, notably Dmitri Shostakovich, Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina.

While directing several leading Moscow musical institutions, including the Bolshoi Theater, State Symphony Orchestra of the Soviet Ministry of Culture and Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rozhdestnevsky became of the most frequent visitors to the West during the Soviet era. He subsequently led Western ensembles, including the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra, and regularly guest-conducted other leading European and American orchestras and opera companies.

His large discography ranges from standard and lesser-known Russian concert and theater music to an eclectic sampling of romantic and modern repertory from central and western Europe.

An obituary by David Nice for The Guardian:

Letter V Classical Radio June 13

1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Dvořák: “In Nature’s Realm” Overture
Prague Philharmonia/Jakub Hrůsa

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216
Pamela Frank, violin
Tonhalle Orchestra, Zurich/David Zinman
(Arte Nova)

Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major, Op. 61
Stephen Hough, piano

Beethoven: Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2 (“Razumovsky”)
Miró Quartet
(Miró Quartet Media)

Martinů: Quartet No. 5
Kapralova Quartet

Stravinsky: “Scherzo fantastique”
Cleveland Orchestra/Pierre Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Dukas: Symphony in C major
Orchestre National de France/Leonard Slatkin
(RCA Red Seal)

Osvaldo Golijov: “Omaramor”
Alisa Weilerstein, cello

Joseph Martin Kraus: Symphony in C minor
Basel Chamber Orchestra/Giovanni Antonini

Past Masters:
Brahms: Scherzo in E flat minor, Op. 4
Julius Katchen, piano
(recorded 1964)

Past Masters:
Elgar: “Variations on an Original Theme” (“Enigma”)
London Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux
(recorded 1958)

Letter V Classical Radio June 6

1-5 p.m. EDT
1700-2100 UTC/GMT
WDCE, University of Richmond
90.1 FM

Mozart: Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385 (“Haffner”)
Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Tchaikovsky: “Variations on a Rococo Theme”
Pieter Wispelwey, cello
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Daniel Sepec
(Channel Classics)

Terry Riley: “The Heaven Ladder,” Book 5 –
“Etude from the Old Country”
ZOFO piano duo
(Sono Luminus)

Schumann: “Carnaval” (4 excerpts)
(orchestration by Maurice Ravel)
Royal Philharmonic/Dirk Joeres

Ravel: “Daphnis et Chloé” Suite No. 2
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa
(Deutsche Grammophon)

Mussorgsky: “Pictures at an Exhibition”
(orchestration by Maurice Ravel)
Cleveland Orchestra/Lorin Maazel

Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34
Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
Artemis Quartet

Past Masters:
Bernard Molique: Oboe Concertino in G minor
Heinz Holliger, oboe
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Eliahu Inbal
(Brilliant Classics)
(recorded 1975)

Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in F minor, K. 69
Federico Colli, piano

Respighi: “Trittico botticelliano”
Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Jesús López-Cobos

Albéniz: Piano Concerto No. 1 in A minor (“Concierto fantástico”)
(completion by Tomás Bretón y Hernández)
Martin Roscoe, piano
BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena

Past Masters:
Rimsky-Korsakov: “Capriccio espagnol”
London Symphony Orchestra/Igor Markevitch
(recorded 1962)

June calendar

Classical performances in and around Richmond, with selected events elsewhere in Virginia and the Washington area. Program information, provided by presenters, is updated as details become available. Adult single-ticket prices are listed; senior, student/youth, group and other discounts may be offered.

In and around Richmond: Capitol Opera Richmond stages Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” starring Gabrielle Maes, Tracey Welborn and Anne O’Byrne, with Gustav Highstein conducting the period-instruments ensemble Jefferson Baroque, in five performances from June 1 to 9 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. . . . Chia-Hsuan Lin conducts the Richmond Symphony in a classical and pops program, June 3 at James River High School in Chesterfield County. (The concert, originally scheduled for June 2 at Pocahontas State Park, has been moved because of weather concerns.) . . . The Festival of the River features three performances by the symphony, joined under its Big Tent by Rhiannon Giddens, Savion Glover, the No BS Brass Band and the Richmond Symphony Chorus, June 8-10 on Brown’s Island. . . . . The Atlantic Chamber Ensemble wraps up its 2017-18 season with a program of Bach, Jean Françaix and Amy Beach, June 14 at St. James’s Episcopal Church. . . . The Richmond Philharmonic stages its summer pops program, June 17 at Sunday Park at Brandermill in Midlothian. . . . The Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia, joined by the Classical Revolution RVA Chamber Orchestra, sing works by Mendelssohn and Arvo Pärt on June 28 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Noteworthy elsewhere: The National Philharmonic, Piotr Gajewski conducting, marks the centenary of Polish independence with music by Chopin, Szymanowski and Krzesimir Debski, June 2 at Strathmore in the Maryland suburbs of DC. . . . Christoph Eschenbach, the National Symphony Orchestra’s laureate conductor, leads three programs of mostly familiar repertory, each featuring a principal player from the orchestra, on June 7 and 9, 12 and 13, and 15 and 16, at Washington’s Kennedy Center. . . . The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival features instrumental and vocal works by Bach, Telemann, Beethoven, Bernstein, Vaughan Williams and others, in concerts on June 10, 15, 16 and 17 at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg. . . . Wolf Trap Opera stages Mozart’s “Idomeneo” on June 22, 24, 27 and 30 at the Barns at Wolf Trap in Fairfax County, and, with Halcyon’s By the People and dancers from the Hong Kong Ballet, “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht, June 23-24 at Union Market in Washington. . . . The Garth Newel Piano Quartet opens the summer season at Bath County’s Garth Newel Music Center with the premiere of David Biedenbender’s “The Four Seasons,” June 30 in the center’s Herter Hall.

June 1 (8 p.m.)
June 2 (8 p.m.)
June 7 (8 p.m.)
June 8 (8 p.m.)
June 9 (8 p.m.)
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Forest and Patterson avenues, Richmond
Capitol Opera Richmond
Jefferson Baroque
Gustav Highstein conducting
Daniel Stipe, harpsichord
Latin Ballet of Virginia dancers
Purcell: “Dido and Aeneas”
Gabrielle Maes (Dido)
Tracey Welborn (Aeneas)
Anne O’Byrne (Belinda)
Chelsea Burke, stage director
in English
(804) 840-7878

June 1 (7:30 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Fairfax County
Wolf Trap Opera Soloists
Steven Blier, piano & director
songs by Piazzolla, Léhar, Bernstein, Lehrer, Tosti, Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss
(877) 965-3872 (

June 1 (8 p.m.)
June 2 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Pops
Emil de Cou conducting
“Space, the Next Frontier”
Michael Giachino, composer
John Cho & Nick Sagan, speakers
Grace Potter &, vocalist
Coheed & Cambria
(804) 444-1324

June 2 (8 p.m.)
Main Street Lawn, Gloucester
Gloucester Arts Festival:
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Erin Freeman conducting
“Symphony under the Stars”
program TBA
(804) 824-9401

June 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Symphony
Benjamin Rous conducting
“The Best of John Williams”
(434) 979-1333

June 2 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Chinese Music Society of Greater Washington:
Hunan Art Ensemble of China
Zhang Yinyue & friends
program TBA
(804) 444-1324

June 2 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
National Philharmonic
Piotr Gajewski conducting
“100th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence”
Krzesimir Debski: “Hussar’s Polonaise”
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor
Brian Ganz, piano
Szymanowski: Stabat Mater
Esther Heideman, soprano
Magdalena Wór, mezzo-soprano
Tyler Duncan, baritone
National Philharmonic Chorale
(301) 581-5100

June 3 (4 p.m.)
Trinity Lutheran Church, 2315 N. Parham Road, Richmond
Richmond Choral Society
Markus Compton directing
Eric Lyttle, piano
Rusty Farmer, bass
Keith Willingham, drums
“An Afternoon of Jazz”
works TBA by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Richard Rodgers, others
$15 in advance, $18 at door
(804) 353-9582

June 3 (7 p.m.)
James River High School, Robious Road and James River roads, Chesterfield County
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
program TBA
(804) 796-4255

June 4 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Hee-Sung Jang, piano
Jun Seo, cello
Mozart: Piano Sonata in A minor, K. 310
Gershwin-Wild: “Virtuoso Etudes”
Schumann: “Fantasiestücke,” Op. 73
Shostakovich: Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40
(804) 444-1324

June 7 (7 p.m.)
June 9 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Verdi: “Macbeth” ballet music
Walton: Viola Concerto
Daniel Foster, viola
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major (“Italian”)
(804) 444-1324

June 8 (6 p.m.)
Brown’s Island, Richmond
Festival of the River:
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Rhiannon Giddens, singer & multi-instrumentalist
No BS Brass Band
works TBA by Johann Strauss II, Percy Grainger, Joplin, Gershwin, Mozart, others
(804) 323-2033

June 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Brown’s Island, Richmond
Festival of the River:
Richmond Symphony
Steven Smith conducting
Savion Glover, tap dancer
Bernstein: “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’ ”
Duke Ellington: “The River”
Sousa: The Stars and Stripes Forever”
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”) – finale (“Ode to Joy”)
Zoe Johnson, soprano
Clara Nieman, mezzo-soprano
Stephen Carroll, tenor
Andrew Paulson, baritone
Richmond Symphony Chorus
donation requested
(804) 323-2033

June 9 (7 p.m.)
Battersea Villa, 1289 Upper Appomattox Lane, Petersburg
Virginia Opera singers TBA
“Arias and Duets”
program TBA
(804) 732-9882

June 9 (8 p.m.)
Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop conducting
Bernstein: “Slava! A Political Overture”
Bernstein: Symphony No. 2 (“The Age of Anxiety”)
Jon Kimura Parker, piano
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor
(877) 276-1444 (Baltimore Symphony box office)

June 10 (1 p.m.)
Brown’s Island, Richmond
Festival of the River:
Richmond Symphony
Chia-Hsuan Lin conducting
works TBA by Bizet, Rossini, Brahms, Dvořák, Copland, others
donation requested
(804) 323-2033

June 10 (3 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
J.S. Bach: “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV 1050
Emma Resmini, flute
Joan Griffing, violin
Marvin Mills, harpsichord
Telemann: Concerto in D major, TWV 52:D 1
David Wick & Jay Chadwick, French horns
Telemann: Concerto in E major, TWV 53:E 1
Emma Resmini, flute
Sandra Gerster, oboe d’amore
Paul Miller, viola d’amore
Telemann: Overture in D major, TWV 55:C 3 (“Hamburg Ebb and Flood”)
(540) 432-4367

June 10 (2 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Kennedy Center Chamber Players
Handel: Trio Sonata in G major, Op. 5, No. 4
Elliott Carter: Sonata for cello and piano
Handel: Sonata in D minor, HWV 359a, for violin and bass continuo
Stravinsky-Dushkin: “Suite Italienne” for violin and piano
Enescu-Rudd: “Romanian Rhapsody” No. 1 for piano quintet
(804) 444-1324

June 12 (8 p.m.)
June 13 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Rossini: “William Tell” Overture
Mozart: Oboe Concerto in C major, K. 314
Nicholas Stovall, oboe
Mendelssohn: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Overture
Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B flat major
(804) 444-1324

June 13 (7 p.m.)
St. James’s Episcopal Church, 1205 W. Franklin St., Richmond
Atlantic Chamber Ensemble
J.S. Bach: Clavier Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052
Jean Français: Divertissement for bassoon and string quartet
Amy Beach: Piano Quintet, Op. 87
donation requested
(804) 359-1779

June 14 (7:30 p.m.)
Asbury United Methodist Church, 205 S. Main St., Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Judith Malafronte, mezzo-soprano
Anne Timberlake, recorders
Daniel Lee, baroque violin
Martha McGaughey, viola da gamba
Arthur Haas, harpsichord
Buxtehude: Trio Sonata in B flat major, Op. 1, No. 4
J.S. Bach: Cantata, “Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn,” BWV 132 – aria: “Christi, Glieder, ach bedenket”
François Couperin: “Les Folies Françoises ou les Dominos,” 13th order
Couperin: “Les Oiseaux de Couperin,” 14th order (excerpts)
Elisabeth de la Guerre: Sonata in D minor
Couperin: “Pièces de viole” in E minor
J.S. Bach: Cantata, “Wahrlich, wahrlich, ich sage euch,” BWV 86 – aria: “Ich will doch wohl Rosen brechen”
J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata in D Minor, BWV 527 (arr. recorder, violin & bass continuo)
donation requested
(540) 432-4367

June 15 (7:30 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major
David Berry, piano
Vaughan Williams: “Five Mystical Songs”
John Fulton, baritone
Walton: “The Wise Virgins” Suite (after Bach’s “Hunt” Cantata, BWV 208)
(540) 432-4367

June 15 (11:30 a.m.)
June 16 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
National Symphony Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach conducting
Mozart: Serenade in G major, K. 525 (“Eine kleine Nachtmusik”)
Richard Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major
Abel Pereira, French horn
Haydn: Symphony No. 92 in G Major (“Oxford”)
Wagner: “Die Meistersinger” Act 1 Prelude
(804) 444-1324

June 16 (7:30 p.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
J.S. Bach-Reger: Prelude on “O Mensch, bewein’ dein Sünden grosse,” BWV 622
Ennio Morricone: “Gabriel’s Oboe”
Sandra Gerster, oboe
Bernstein: “Chichester Psalms”
Festival Chorus
Bernstein: “Symphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’ ”
Bernstein: “Candide” (selections)
Jessica Spafford, soprano
Tracy Cowart, alto
Dian Rene, tenor
John Fulton, baritone
(540) 432-4367

June 17 (6 p.m.)
Sunday Park at Brandermill, 4602 Millridge Parkway, Midlothian
Richmond Philharmonic
Peter Wilson conducting
pops program TBA
(804) 673-7400

June 17 (10 a.m.)
Lehman Auditorium, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival:
Festival Orchestra & Chorus
Kenneth Nafziger conducting
“The Leipzig Service”
Rabbi Scott Sperling, homilist
J.S. Bach: Cantata, “Est ist die gesagt, Mensch, was gut ist,” BWV 45
Tracy Cowart, alto
John Ross, tenor
John Fulton, baritone
Bernstein: “Missa brevis” – Kyrie
Buxtehude: Cantata, “Ernhalt uns, Herr, bei deinum Wort,” BuxWV 27
donation requested
(540) 432-4367

June 18 (8 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
Masterworks Festival Chorus
Anton Armstrong directing
Florida Gulf Coast University Bower School of Music Wind Ensemble
Mariachi Mestizo
Juan Morales directing
Duruflé: Requiem
other works TBA
(804) 444-1324

June 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Paramount Theater, 215 E. Main St., Charlottesville
Charlottesville Municipal Band
Stephen R. Layman directing
Rachel Duncan, trumpet
Steve Sanford, trombone
works TBA by Haydn, Sousa, others
(434) 979-1333

June 22 (7:30 p.m.)
June 24 (3 p.m.)
June 27 (7:30 p.m.)
June 30 (3 p.m.)
The Barns at Wolf Trap, Trap Road, Fairfax County
Wolf Trap Opera
Geoffrey McDonald conducting
Mozart: “Idomeneo”
Ian Koziara (Idomeneo)
Madison Leonard (Ilia)
Megan Mikailovna Samarin (Idamante)
Yelena Dyachek (Elettra)
Duke Kim (Arbace)
Senhica Klee (High Priest)
Omer Ben Seadia, stage director
in Italian, English captions
(877) 965-3872 (

June 23 (9 p.m.)
Lawn of Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
Virginia Arts Festival Funhouse Fest:
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
conductor TBA
Bruce Hornsby, singer-pianist
program TBA
(757) 282-2800

June 23 (8 p.m.)
June 24 (2 p.m.)
Dock 5 at Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE, Washington
Wolf Trap Opera
Joseph Li conducting
Kurt Weill & Berthold Brecht: “The Seven Deadly Sins”
Annie Rosen (Anna I)
Ye Feifei (Anna II)
Piotr Buszewski, Nicholas Nestorak, Johnathan McCullough & Anthony Reed (Family)
Halcyon’s By the People
dancers from Hong Kong Ballet
Septime Webre, stage director
in English
(877) 965-3872 (

June 25 (7:30 p.m.)
Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington
Jayoung Hong, piano
Grieg: “Holberg Suite”
Grieg: Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 7
Couperin: “Les Baricades Misterieuses” – Rondeau
Rachmaninoff: “Variations on a Theme of Corelli,” Op. 42
(804) 444-1324

June 28 (7 p.m.)
Marble Hall, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
Piedmont Singers of Central Virginia
Helena von Rueden directing
Classical Revolution RVA Chamber Orchestra
Erin Freeman conducting
“Resonance of the Spirit”
Arvo Pärt: “Da Pacem Nomine”
Mendelssohn: “Christ du lamm Gottes”
Pärt: “Berliner Requiem”
(804) 340-1400

June 28 (6:30 p.m.)
The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW, Washington
Wolf Trap Opera:
Mané Galoyan, soprano
Thomas Glass, baritone
Patrick Gueti, bass
Nathan Raskin, piano
program TBA
(877) 965-3872 (

June 29 (9 p.m.)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall, Washington
DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents:
National Symphony Orchestra
Jacomo Bairos conducting
Jon Batiste, singer & multi-instrumentalist
Kishi Bashi, singer-songwriter
Joachim Horsley, composer/performer
program TBA
(804) 444-1324

June 30 (5 p.m.)
Herter Hall, Garth Newel Music Center, Route 220 near Hot Springs
Garth Newel Piano Quartet
David Biedenbender: “The Four Seasons” (premiere)
Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26
$25 (concert), $84 (concert & dinner)
(877) 558-1689

Review: ‘Dido and Aeneas’

Capitol Opera Richmond
May 31, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

The doomed love affair of Dido and Aeneas, a tale told in Virgil’s “Aeneid,” inspired the creation of the first real opera in the English language, written in 1688 by Henry Purcell. It was a very good start: No composer has set English words to music more masterfully, and few in the baroque period conveyed emotion in music more genuinely or with such nuance.

Capitol Opera Richmond’s new staging of “Dido and Aeneas” does Purcell’s score and style more justice than might be expected, given that many in the production are treading on unfamiliar musical and dramatic terrain.

Baroque opera is quite different from music drama of later centuries. Its vocal style is decorous, at times more like oration than song, and its singers’ movements are as stylized and choreographed as those of its dancers. In many operas of the period, certainly this one, the chorus is a collective actor and often a participant in dance sequences.

Purcell also infused his score with folk song and dance, challenging performers to shift from stylized theatrics to rustic high jinks.

This production’s stage director, Chelsea Burke, and its choreographer, Ana Ines King, manage the multiple demands of this music drama effectively, at times ingeniously, blending singing and dance seamlessly, extending the performance space throughout the church sanctuary, and using lighting to fine atmospheric effect, all without upstaging the principal singers.

Those singers – Gabrielle Maes (Dido), Tracey Welborn (Aeneas), Anne O’Byrne (Belinda) and Ingrid Young (the Sorceress) – as well as several in secondary roles, notably Victoria Kenney and Sarah Wells (the witches), deliver dramatically compelling portrayals as they cope variably with the vocal demands of baroque style. O’Byrne is audibly conversant in that style; the others are at differing stages of mastering it.

The big moments of the opera – the biggest being the lament of the dying Dido, sung quite affectingly by Maes – come across with the needed impact.

For production value, though, the highlights of the show are the dances, especially the performances of Latin Ballet of Virginia principals Marisol Cristina Betancourt Sotolongo and DeShon Niajhi Rolins in a demonically writhing “Echo Dance of the Furies” and a proto-flamenco dance in the “Guitar Chacony.” The company’s Junior Dancers bring an angelic touch to the “Drooping Wings” choral finale.

The instrumental forces – the Jefferson Baroque consort, conducted by Gustav Highstein, with harpsichordist Daniel Stipe accompanying the arias – enhance the period musical style of the production, although the strings are prone to go out of tune. Central Virginia humidity is not a gut-strung fiddle’s friend.

“Dido and Aeneas” will be repeated at 8 p.m. June 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Patterson and Forest avenues. Tickets: $30 Details: (804) 840-7878; http://www.capitoloperarichmond.