A Musical Appetizer

August has been beautiful, including very satisfying concerts on Whidbey Island and Vancouver with our PMW house band featuring Tess Altiveros and Danielle Sampson as soprano soloists in a gorgeous repertoire of music from Latin America. We will have the gang back together for two quickly approaching events, a fun and informal season preview party at Naked City Brewery in Greenwood on Sept. 8 and our annual Gala Fundraiser (this year called a Musical Banquet) at Resonance at SOMA Towers in Bellevue on Sept. 16. Then comes our season opener Songs of Love and Passion with the Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble coming to town in late September for our concert at Trinity Episcopal on Oct. 1.

Most of you know that being co-artistic director of the Boston Early Music Festival is my other “hat”, and I am always eager to bring the bounty of musicians and repertoire that we have developed in Boston to the Northwest. In this case, a very special group featuring four of the BEMF star singers (Amanda Forsythe, Emöke Barath, Colin Balzer and Christian Immler) with the BEMF continuo team doing a very special repertoire of chamber duets by Agostino Steffani, which we recorded in Bremen in January this year. The Northwest will be the first leg of a CD release tour, which will go on to New York, Boston and Kansas City the following week. At the end of the recording sessions in Bremen we did a live concert of this exquisite repertoire that was also recorded by the European television company called ARTE. The clip we have here of the duet called “Gelosia” features Amanda Forsythe and Colin Balzer, who also happen to be featured singers on our PMW season this year. Colin will be back already at the end of October to star in our concert performances of Monteverdi’s Orfeo – and he will also be our featured artist for October, so more about Colin then.

This month, our Artist Spotlight shines on Amanda Forsythe, who has been to Seattle for many PMW events (Handel’s Il trionfo in 2012, Handel’s Apollo & Dafne and Gloria, 2013, and most recently as our Euridice in Gluck’s Orphee in 2016) as well as several appearances at Seattle Opera, most recently as Pamina in their Magic Flute last season. Amanda has been a treasured colleague of mine ever since our first work together in Boston, starting with our recording of Lully’s Thesee in 2006, and she has been featured on almost every BEMF CD since then, including the one for which we won the GRAMMY award in 2015. We will end this PMW season with a very special concert featuring Amanda in the brilliant repertoire Handel wrote during his three years in Italy as a very young composer. It will feature the tragic heroines of his cantatas of that period: Armida and Lucrezia as well as seldom-performed works demanding the kind of virtuosity that Amanda is so uniquely able to provide.