Summer festival season opens with the Astoria Music Festival this weekend at the coast, preceded by a Portland preview tasting menu featuring festival musicians. Astoria’s operas happen later in the festival, but operaholics can get their Rake on at Portland Opera, then catch another Gilbert & Sullivan operetta and a famed film adaption. Please let ArtsWatch readers know of other worthwhile musical events in the comments section below, and consult All Classical Portland’s cultural events calendar for more listings of Oregon classical music events.
“The Rake’s Progress”
Portland Opera, Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay, Portland.
The Portland premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s only opera features the great English Californian artist David Hockney’s dazzling sets and visuals, in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum’s Hockney exhibit. Stravinsky based his sly, 1951 deal-with-the-devil tale on a series of famous 18th-century paintings by William Hogarth, so it’s only fitting that it really came alive in Hockney’s 1975 vision, which is still delighting audiences. This production stars tenor Jonathan Boyd as Tom Rakewell, soprano Maureen Mckay as Anne Trulove, Portland’s Angela Niederloh as Baba the Turk, and David Pittsinger as Nick Shadow. Read Bob Hicks’s ArtsWatch story about the opera and exhibit, my ArtsWatch preview of the opera, and stay tuned for Bruce Browne’s review.
“Astoria Music Festival Portland Preview”
The Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this benefit for the valuable Portland music venue. Violinists Martin Chalifour and Sarah Kwak, concertmasters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Oregon Symphony, respectively) cellist Sergey Antonov, and pianist Cary Lewis will repeat the program the following afternoon in Astoria (see below).
Mago Hunt Center, University of Portland
Mock’s Crest’s latest production features Gilbert & Sullivan’s spoof of British Royal Navy life.
“War and Peace”
Resonance Ensemble, June 13 Lincoln Recital Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., and June 14, 2 pm., First Presbyterian Church, 1200 Alder St., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the first-rate choral ensemble’s performance of music on the themes of war and peace.
“Love’s Labors Lyric”
ViVoce, St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, 1704 N.E. 43rd St., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this performance by the Portland Revels’ women’s a cappella ensemble.
“The Tales of Hoffman”
Northwest Film Center, Portland.
Powell and Pressburger’s film adaptation of French composer Jacques Offenbach’s 1881 opera.
Astoria Music Festival
June 13 – 28
Various locations, Astoria.
The festival’s opening week begins with a preview chamber music concert (see the Portland preview listing above), followed by a Beethoven bash of an orchestral concert (fifth symphony, violin concerto, Creatures of Prometheus overture) that night at the Liberty Theater.
Sunday’s orchestral concert at the Liberty opens with Leonard Bernstein’s ever popular Candide overture and includes the classic third symphony by the great 20th century American composer Roy Harris, Sibelius’s Finlandia, and Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto, starring Ilya Kazantsev.
Tuesday’s chamber concert at Clatsop Community College features contemporary Oregon new music, Songs of the Night, commissioned by the festival from Astoria native Israel Nebeker, son of the famous artist Royal Nebeker and founder of the indie rock band Blind Pilot), along with that inescapable night music by Mozart, music from Stephen Sondheim’s operetta A Little Night Music, and Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (with film by Takafumi Uehara).
Wednesday’s concert features Renaissance sounds courtesy of Oregon Renaissance Band founders Gayle and Phil Neuman, Portland lutenist Hideki Yamaya, Eugene organist Julia Brown, and more.
“ABBAQueen: A Royal Celebration”
Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, and
“ABBAQueen: The Party Edition,” June 19, Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark Street, Portland.
To celebrate its 35th anniversary and Pride Weekend, the 100-plus chorus reprises one of its most popular shows, a “choral rock concert” featuring music by two 1970s legends, original choreography bySara Mishler Martins, dance by The Locomotions, costumes, lighting effects, audience participation (dress glam!), especially in the Rev Hall show, and a happily decadent party vibe.
Jason Robert Brown
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Portland.
The Tony Award-winning songwriter of popular musicals like The Last Five Years, The Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas, and the song cycle Songs for a New World was the subject of a tribute concert in Eugene a couple weeks back. Now one of contemporary Broadway’s hottest composers (two shows and a film this year) returns to Portland with a solo concert and conversation sponsored by Staged!, which has carried his torch in Portland for years now, and a master class at Artists Repertory Theater the next day.
In this benefit for the American Cancer Society, the 12 piece vocal group sings perform “Liebeslieder Waltzes” by Brahms, “In a Persian Garden” by Lehman and PSU prof Ethan Sperry’s arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
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