by Maxine Eilander
The Berkeley Festival in early June was a delightful opportunity to present our New World program: Missions and Mysteries to a really appreciative and attentive audience, and with SHAK’s beautiful production of Handel’s Serse being the festival kick-off, and also with Henry Lebedinsky and Rom Pokorny representing The Harpsichord Shop at the instrument exhibition, Seattle was strongly represented at the festival – perhaps for the first time. Unlike my situation at the Boston Early Music Festival (where I’m in so many festival events that it is nearly impossible to take in other concerts) I was able on this occasion to see many other things, with the outstanding concert (to my mind) being the inventive and virtuosic Gabrieli/Venetian concert by Dark Horse and Quicksilver.
The beginning of July finds me in a surprisingly cold San Francisco, but happily at work rehearsing and conducting Mozart’s early opera Il re pastore with five terrific young singers, a wonderful stage director named Tara Faircloth and a whole artistic staff at the Merola program here which is of truly remarkable quality. Our performances here will be on July 19 and 21.
Almost immediately afterwards we will be off to Whidbey Island to take part in Tekla Cunningham’s annual summer music Festival there. Go to the Whidbey Island Music Festival website for all the details, but the basics are these: 6 wonderful concerts over two weekends – last weekend of July and first weekend of August – all held in the charming chapel of St. Augustine-in-the-Woods at 5217 Honeymoon Bay Road, Freeland. The first weekend features one of our favorite singers, Reginald Mobley, in two different concerts: Program I (on Friday, July 27th at 7:30 and Sunday, July 29th at 3pm) called The Master as Student with music of Bach and the Italians who influenced him, particularly Vivaldi. Reggie will sing Vivaldi’s gripping and virtuosic cantata Cessate, omai cessate, as well as Bach’s beloved cantata Ich habe genug, which contains the sublime aria Schlummert ein. Program II (on Saturday July 28th at 7:30) is called A Bach Family Celebration and contains music as it was known and performed in the Bach family home, typified by the collection that Bach prepared for his second wife, the soprano Anna Magdalena Bach, well known as the Notenbüchlein für Anna Magdalena Bach which includes the beloved aria Bist du bei mir. The second weekend features other musical colleagues of Tekla’s, particularly her long-time violin duo partner Cynthia Freivogel (now living in Amsterdam and thus rarer to hear in concerts here). The same pattern holds with Program III called
Treasures from the Codex Rost: the greatest hits of the 17th century (on Friday Aug. 3 at 7:30, and Sunday August 5 at 3pm), and program IV on August 4th at 7:30 featuring the Masterworks of J.S.Bach.
We will be taking that Program I with Reggie singing Bach and Vivaldi to Vancouver’s Bach Festival on August 2nd between the two Whidbey weekends. The success of Matt White’s initiative to create this festival two years ago has spurred us to think about doing something similar in Seattle as of next year. Standby for details of dates and venues beginning next summer.
August is dependably the best weather season in Seattle, and this year Maxine and I will be able to enjoy it to the full and suspend most of our concert activities until the new season begins. Speaking of the PMW season we are pleased to say that early subscription sales have been strong, and subscriptions are still available until the end of July, with single-ticket sales beginning on the 1st of August.
Also, the Mariners season is in full swing and you can catch Tess Altiveros (as in season’s past) singing the National Anthem at the game today Saturday, July 7 at Safeco Field.
Thank you, as always, for your interest and support and we hope to see you all soon, whether on Whidbey Island or during the regular season and whether at the mainstage events or the Underground and Sanctuary series.
Watch for a detailed preview of our coming season in the August blog!