New Cappella Romana CD, Shakespeare 2016, and misadventures of the very rich

Cappella Romana's new album is released today plus OSF's new season

Dear ArtsWatchers, today Cappella Romana, the great Portland choral ensemble, is releasing a new CD, and maybe you’ll want to drive it to the top of the Billboard classical charts? Of course you will!

And yesterday, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced its 2016 season, early birds that they are, which features five Shakespeare productions (its the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death) and some tasty world premieres, not to mention the The Wiz.

Finally, the owner of that Francis Bacon triptych that launched a million words and cost 142.2 million dollars? She’s very unhappy. But not about the paintings.

cappellaromanaCappella Romana’s new album, Maximilian Steinberg: Passion Week, now stands at #2 on the Amazon list of new opera and vocal releases, and today is its official release date. What makes it such a big deal? Here are a few key sentences from Benedict Sheehan’s Orthodox Arts Journal review:

“While the discovery of this long-lost major work of sacred choral music is a milestone in the history of the literature, in no lesser degree is Cappella Romana’s rendering of the piece a landmark contribution to the modern canon of choral recordings. In every respect, and I don’t use these words lightly, their new disc is a triumph. Using their characteristic radiantly bright and clear sound—a welcome relief from the proliferation of performances that seem to be stuck in the wrong-headed notion that Russian sacred music has to be dark, dramatic, and ponderous, with a superabundance of vocal “cover”—Alexander Lingas and the singers of Cappella Romana bring a highly refined musical sensibility to the Steinberg score.”

It goes on in that celebratory vein!

And you can celebrate, too! Cappella Romana and Artslandia are holding a Listening Party, 5-8 pm Tuesday, March 31, at the Artslandia offices, 2240 N. Interstate Ave., Suite 200, in Portland. The available space isn’t unbounded, so you’ll have to RSVP. Don’t let the Add to Cart instruction fool you: It’s free. And it includes beer courtesy of Lucky Lab Brewery and snacks. Which is a lot to include for free.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, recently embarked on its 2015 season, has announced its 2016 schedule, per ArtsWatch friend Amy Richard. These guys are organized!

The Shakespeares: Twelfth Night (February 19-October 30) and Timon of Athens (July 27-October 29) in the Bowmer Theatre; Richard II (July5-October 30) in the Thomas Theatre; and Hamlet (June 7-October 14) and The Winter’s Tale (June 9-October 16) in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.

The Musicals: The Yeomen of the Guard (Feburary 24-October 30), a World Premiere adaption; The Wiz (June 8-October 15).

World Premieres: Lisa Loomer’s Roe, part of the the company’s American Revolutions cycle (April 20-October 29); Great Expectations, adapted by Penny Metropulos and Linda Alper (February 20-October 30); Marisela Treviño Orta’s The River Bride (February 21-July 7).

And Vietgone (March 30-October 29), Qui Nguyen’s play about the Vietnam War from the perspective of her parents, who fled the country in 1975 for a refugee camp in Arkansas, which is receiving its first production later this year at South Coast Repertory Theatre.

Tickets for the 2016 season will go on sale in November 2015 for members, and general sales will begin in early December.

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, New York / Christie’s Images Limited 2013

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, New York / Christie’s Images Limited 2013

Elaine P. Wynne, the casino magnate who bought the $142.2 million Francis Bacon triptych, “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” that was parked at the Portland Art Museum last year, is in a fight to retain a seat on her own board. Naturally, we wrote at length about that triptych and its discontents here at ArtsWatch in “Dealing with Francis Bacon and all that money.” The New York Times also estimates that lodging the art here might have saved her an $11 million Nevada tax bill. We were so glad to be of service.

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