Most of the weekend’s classical music action takes place south of the Portland area for once, in Mt. Angel, Eugene, and Jacksonville, and they’re all worth the trip for those Oregonians not lucky enough to live in those hot spots. Be sure to let ArtsWatch readers know of other worthwhile weekend musical events in the comments section below.
“The Elixir of Love”
July 30-August 1
Portland Opera, Newmark Theatre.
Read Daryl Browne’s ArtsWatch review of the closing weekend of Gaetano Donizetti’s fizzy 1832 ode to intoxicants and placebos, which tells the story of Nemorino, who tries to fulfill his lust for the abundantly endowed (financially, that is) and polyamorous Adina, with help from a spurious potion (not a date rape drug, but rather the 18th century equivalent of MDMA) that allegedly will make him irresistible to women, supplied by the huckster Dr. Dulcimara. Antics and reversals ensue, and the real aphrodisiac is revealed to be something more noble (as well as something else less so — money) than a magic cocktail. Conducted by Nicholas Fox and directed by Ned Canty, this version, like Eugene Opera’s production last year, is set in America’s late 19th century Wild West. The August 1 performance is preceded by a daylong, family-friendly Street Fair beginning at noon, followed by a free outdoor simulcast of The Elixir of Love that evening. And Portlanders who need another dose of Elixir can find some at Living Room Theaters starting Sunday.
Abbey Bach Festival
Mount Angel Abbey
The 44th annual festival in the most beautiful setting imaginable continues, alas without its long time leader Father Paschal Cheline, who died in March. This summer’s edition features New York-based organist Gail Archer playing J.S. Bach’s music and more on Wednesday at 6, violinist Antoine Bareil and cellist Sebastien Lepine playing Bach, Ravel, Edgar Meyer, Holst and more that night at 8. Thursday’s shows include Meyer playing more Bach as well as music by 20th century American composers Libby Larsen and Samuel Barber early, with pianist David Jalbert performing Bach’s mighty Goldberg Variations late. Friday’s concerts featuring the great Portland vocal ensemble In Mulieribus and the fun loving Boulder Brass are sold out.
July 31-August 9
Jaqua Concert Hall, John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, 285 E Broadway, Eugene.
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of the Oregon Festival of American Music’s annual summer musical.
Unistus Chamber Choir
Milwaukie Lutheran Church, 3810 S.E. Lake Road, Milwaukie.
The excellent chorus continues its devotion to the music of the choral hotbed of Estonia. Read my ArtsWatch feature about the choir, and my Wall Street Journal story about its appearance at the world’s largest choral festival last year.
Portland Festival Symphony
August 1, Laurelhurst Park, and August 2, Peninsula Park, Portland.
Lajos Balogh’s annual free, family friendly orchestra concerts in Portland parks continue with Saturday and Sunday performances.
July 31-August 2
Britt Pavilion and Performance Garden, Jacksonville.
Music director Teddy Abrams, one of the country’s hottest young conductors, leads Friday’s performance of Carl Orff’s perennially popular Carmina Burana, Russian composer Alexander Scriabin’s wild Poem of Ecstasy, and Abrams’s own Kentucky Royal Fanfare, written for his other job at the Louisville Orchestra to commemorate a visit by Britain’s Prince Charles to that city. Saturday’s terrific show includes Stravinsky’s 20th century blockbuster The Rite of Spring, the great American composer John Adams’s Absolute Jest (featuring the Dover Quartet) and his son Samuel’s Radial Play. Sunday’s concert stars one of the country’s great young choirs, the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
3820 N Haight Ave., Portland.
Help the valuable early music organization and break the heat wave at MM’s ice cream social, which includes music by Marais, Sammartini and other 17th and 18th century composers, played on period instruments (oboe, recorder, viola da gamba, theorbo, et al) as well as homemade ice cream, sorbet, and spirits (the drinkable kind).
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