Classical Music News of the Week, June 30, 2018

Opera Maine Presents a New Production of The Marriage of Figaro in July

Opera Maine is proud to present a new production of Mozart's masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, a comic satire often described as "the perfect opera." Mozart's sublime music in The Marriage of Figaro has delighted audiences since 1786, and the captivating plot, with its dynamic characters and themes of social and sexual tension, is sure to excite today's audiences. The Marriage of Figaro will be performed at Merrill Auditorium on Wednesday, July 25 and Friday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Conducted by Stephen Lord, who was chosen by Opera News as one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera," The Marriage of Figaro includes a cast of renowned veterans of the world's greatest opera houses. Keith Phares will perform the role of Count Almaviva and soprano Danielle Pastin is the Countess. Returning to perform with Opera Maine are tenor Robert Brubaker as Basilio, baritone Robert Mellon as Figaro, and soprano Maeve Höglundas Susanna. Mezzo-soprano Hongni Wu joins the cast having just won the Metropolitan Council Auditions. Also featured in this star-studded cast are soprano MaryAnn McCormick as Marcellina, and bass Kevin Glavinas Bartolo.

Opera Maine's Artistic Director, Dona D. Vaughn, and the production team that includes Portland native and Tony Award-winning lighting designer Chris Akerlind have taken a new consideration of time and place in this fresh approach to the opera's amusing imbroglio and Figaro's impending marriage. Audiences will escape to a night of intoxicating comedy and unforgettable melodies, including the duet popularized in the movie The Shawshank Redemption. The opera will be sung in Italian, with projected translations in English.

Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Pre-Curtain Presentation at 6:30 p.m. by Calien Lewis
Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine
Tickets: $31 – $131 (includes service fees)
(207) 842-0800 or

For complete information, visit

--Kristen Levesque PR

Young People's Chorus of New York City: 30th Anniversary Summer
This summer, the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC), led by Founder and Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez, continues its 30th anniversary celebration with performances in seventeen cities spanning three countries. YPC's summer launched on Sunday, June 24, when the chorus was joined at Carnegie Hall by young singers from around the world. Additional summer performances include a free concert at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, YPC's return to the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, and tours to Canada and Japan.

Free Pre-Curtain Concert — The Classical Theatre of Harlem's Antigone
Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. (Antigone begins at 8:15 p.m.)
Marcus Garvey Park, Richard Rodgers Amphitheater (18 Mount Morris Park West)

Shortly after returning from the five-day International Choral Kathaumixw festival in British Columbia (see below), the Young People's Chorus of New York City under the direction of YPC Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Núñez reprises the Canadian tour program in a free pre-curtain concert at The Classical Theatre of Harlem's performance of Sophocles's Antigone at Marcus Garvey Park. Both the pre-curtain concert and performance of Antigone are free and open to the public.

For more information, visit

Bernstein: Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers
Mostly Mozart Festival
Tuesday, July 17 and Wednesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall

Young People's Chorus of New York City returns to Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival after debuting last summer in the festival's opening concert. This July, under the direction of Elizabeth Núñez, YPC joins the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and Music Director Louis Langrée in Bernstein's Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers. In celebration of the Leonard Bernstein centennial, these performances feature a new, fully-staged production by director Elkhanah Pulitzer in her New York debut, and also feature baritone Nmon Ford (as the Celebrant), the Concert Chorale of New York, a marching band, and dancers.

For more information, visit

Two International Tours:

British Columbia, Canada — July 1-9, 2018
Choristers of the Young People's Chorus of New York City on tour, 2018.

Additionally, on Wednesday, July 4, YPC performs in concert with three other participating choirs--Crescent Collegiate Vocal Ensemble (Canada), Ad Una Corda (Slovak Republic), and Pan African Choir (Uganda)--at the Max Cameron Theatre.

For more information, visit

--Shuman Associates PR

This Week at Miami Music Festival
Miami Music Festival brings you a full week of opera, featuring Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Broad Auditorium, plus an intimate studio opera featuring Handel's Teseo.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Saturday, June 30, 7:30pm
Broad Auditorium, Barry University

Ariadne Auf Naxos
Friday, June 29, 7:30pm
Sunday, July, 2pm
Broad Auditorium, Barry University

Saturday, June 30, 3pm
Sunday, July 1, 5pm
Weber Hall, Barry University

Independence Day Orchestra Pops Concert
Wednesday, July 4, 5pm
Broad Auditorium, Barry University

Wagner Institute with Antoine Wagner
Saturday, July 14, 7:30pm
New World Center, South Beach

For more information, visit

--Miami Music Festival

Los Angeles Master Chorale Announces a $1 Million Gift from Kiki & David Gindler
The Los Angeles Master Chorale today announced that it will receive a $1 million gift from philanthropists Kiki and David Gindler. The pledge was announced at the annual meeting of the Master Chorale's Board of Directors held today at The Music Center where the choir is a founding resident company. The meeting was Mr. Gindler's last in his role as Chair of the Board, a position he has held for two three-year terms, the maximum term allowed.

This is the second $1 million gift the Gindlers have made to the Master Chorale. The first gift, announced in 2012, established the Artistic Director's Circle, a group of dedicated supporters who donate $50,000 or more to the organization to support core institutional programming. This group currently has 17 members. In recognition of that gift, the Master Chorale re-named Grant Gershon's position the Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director, a title that will continue. In March the Gindlers were honored at the Los Angeles Master Chorale gala for their leadership.

--Jennifer Scott, Director of Public Relations

Chicago Duo Piano Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary Season
The Music Institute of Chicago continues the 30th anniversary season of its Chicago Duo Piano Festival (CDPF) with an expanded schedule of public performances featuring international guest artists July 8–20, 2018 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.

Called a "duo piano mecca" by Pioneer Press, the world-renowned Chicago Duo Piano Festival was founded in 1988 by Music Institute of Chicago faculty members and piano duo in residence Claire Aebersold and Ralph Neiweem. Aiming to establish a project dedicated to the study of piano duo repertoire, the Chicago Duo Piano Festival has grown from a small workshop to a multifaceted annual festival. "Thinking about our early days as Chicago Duo Piano Workshop, we are gratified to see how the festival has grown into an event of international importance for fans of the piano duo," commented Neiweem. "In addition to guest piano duos from Russia and Italy, this year's festival includes a Leonard Bernstein centennial tribute concert and performances featuring some of the Music Institute's acclaimed piano faculty." Aebersold added. "Our mission continues unabated into the next decade, and we welcome everyone to share the enthusiasm by attending one of the many exciting events planned for our season of celebration."

All concerts and the master class take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Illinois. Single concert tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students; a 3-PASS is $60 for adults, $40 for seniors, and $20 for students.

Call 847-905-1500, ext. 108 or visit

--Jill Chukerman, Music Institute of Chicago

4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
Transcendence Theatre Company and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

Be amazed by the largest fireworks display in Sonoma County, CA, with our most exciting 4th of July program to date! This year Transcendence Theatre Company, best known for their "Broadway Under the Stars" performances, joins the Santa Rosa Symphony to present a show-stopping program celebrating the spirit of America! Bring the whole family--lawn tickets for kids 12 and under are half price, and kids under two are free.

Families: Make sure to arrive early and check out our Kids Zone beginning at 4:30 p.m., complete with carnival games, bounce houses, face painting, plus food, music, and more.

Weill Hall and Lawn, Green Music Center
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Wednesday, July 4, 7:30 pm

For more information, visit

--Green Music Center

Spectrum Presents Pianist Jenny Q Chai, July 28
On Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 8:00pm, Spectrum presents contemporary Chinese-American pianist Jenny Q Chai in "Sonorous Brushes," a new multi-sensory program employing Chai's unique form of synesthesia.

The program explores repertoire that lives at the intersection of color and sound, exploring this meeting of the senses through important works of the colorful Impressionistic era paired with new works created using Artificial Intelligence technology. In order to fully realize this concept, Chai completed a six-month residency at Cité des Arts in Paris, where she worked simultaneously on the musical performance and the paintings associated with each score. Sonorous Brushes was designed and premiered at Wigmore Hall in London on June 26, 2018.

The program features Debussy Etudes Pour les huit doigts and Pour les quartes, Les tierces alternée and Feux d'artifice from Debussy's Prelude Book 2 No.11, Frédéric Durieux's Pour tous ceux qui tombent – Hommage à Ravel, Ravel's Oiseux tristes, and Messiaen's Cantéyodjayâ. The evening ends with two audio-visual works by Polish composer and Stanford University Music Department Chair, Jaroslaw Kapuscinski: Side Effects and the US premiere of Calligraphies for Ziqi.

For complete information, visit

--Katy Salomon, Morahan Arts and Media

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Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff
John J. Puccio, Editor, Publisher, Reviewer

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.
Karl W. Nehring, Contributing Reviewer

For more than 20 years I was the editor ofThe $ensible Soundmagazine and a regular contributor to its classical review pages. I would not presume to present myself as some sort of expert on music, but I have a deep love for and appreciation of many types of music, "classical" especially, and have listened to thousands of recordings over the years, many of which still line the walls of my listening room (and occasionally spill onto the furniture and floor, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering wife). I have always taken the approach as a reviewer that what I am trying to do is simply to point out to readers that I have come across a recording that I have found of interest, a recording that I think they might appreciate my having pointed out to them. I suppose that sounds a bit simple-minded, but I know I appreciate reading reviews by others that do the same for me -- point out recordings that I think I might enjoy.

For readers who might be wondering about what kind of system I am using to do my listening, I should probably point out that I do a LOT of music listening and employ a variety of means to do so in a variety of environments, as I would imagine many music lovers also do. Starting at the more grandiose end of the scale, the system in which I do my most serious listening comprises an Onkyo C-7030 CD player, Legacy Audio StreamLine preamplifier, Legacy Audio PowerBloc2 amplifier, and a pair of Legacy Audio Focus SE speakers augmented by a Legacy Point One subwoofer. I also do a lot of listening while driving in my 2016 Acura RDX with its nice-sounding ELS Studio sound system through which I play CDs (the ones I especially like I rip to the Acura's hard drive so that I can listen to them whenever I want) or stream music through the system using my LG G7 ThinQ cell phone, which features surprisingly sophisticated audio circuitry. For more casual listening at home when I am not in my listening room, I often stream music through the phone into a Vizio soundbar system that has remarkably nice sound for such a diminutive physical presence. And finally, at the least grandiose end of the scale, I have an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker for those occasions where I am somewhere by myself without a sound system but in desperate need of a musical fix. I just can't imagine life without music and I am humbly grateful for the technology that enables us to enjoy it in so many wonderful ways.
Bryan Geyer, Technical Analyst

I initially embraced classical music in 1954 when I mistuned my car radio and heard the Heifetz recording of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. That inspired me to board the new "hi-fi" DIY bandwagon. In 1957 I joined one of the pioneer semiconductor makers and spent the next 32 years marketing transistors and microcircuits to military contractors. Home audio DIY projects remained a personal passion until 1989 when we created our own new photography equipment company. I later (2012) revived my interest in two channel audio when we "downsized" our life and determined that mini-monitors + paired subwoofers were a great way to mate fine music with the space constraints of condo living.

Visitors that view my technical papers on this site may wonder why they appear here, rather than on a site that features audio equipment reviews. My reason is that I tried the latter, and prefer to publish for people who actually want to listen to music; not to equipment. My focus is in describing what's technically beneficial to assure that the sound of the system will accurately replicate the source input signal (i. e. exhibit high accuracy) without inordinate cost and complexity. Conversely, most of the audiophiles of today strive to achieve sound that's euphonic, i.e. be personally satisfying. In essence, audiophiles seek sound that's consistent with their desire; the music is simply a test signal.

Mission Statement

It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job. --John J. Puccio

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa