Classical Music News of the Week, June 10, 2012

Merola Opera
Program Season Opens with Schwabacher Summer Concert

Presented at the Herbst Theatre on Thursday, July 5 and
free for the community on Saturday, July 7 at Yerba Buena Gardens.

The Merola Opera Program summer season will open with the
popular Schwabacher Summer Concert, presented on Thursday, July 5, at 7:30 PM
at the Herbst Theatre and offered to the community for free on Saturday, July
7, at 2 PM as part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Conducted by San
Francisco Opera Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi and directed by Roy Rallo,
the Schwabacher Summer Concert features extended scenes from four operas:  Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Boïto’s Mefistofele,
Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth and
Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.
Tickets for the concert at the Herbst Theatre are affordably priced and range
from $25 to $40, with a special student price available.

A native of Bari, Italy, Finzi made his San Francisco
Opera debut in 2008 conducting The Elixir
of Love
for Families and returned
for performances of La Bohème (2008),
The Abduction from the Seraglio
(2009), Faust (2010), La Fanciulla del West (2010), Aida (2011) and Carmen (2012), as well as the San Francisco Opera’s performances at
the 2009 and 2011 Stern Grove Festivals.

Stage director Roy Rallo has worked with Merola often. He
has twice staged the Schwabacher Summer Concert (2009 and 2010) and his most
recent stage direction included Il
barbiere di Siviglia
in 2011. An internationally acclaimed stage director,
Rallo’s past work includes a new production of Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos for the Opéra National de Bordeaux and a new
music-theater piece, the Methusalem Projekt, for the Nationaltheater und
Staatskapelle Weimar.

The Schwabacher Summer Concert is named in memory of James
H. Schwabacher (1920-2006). Mr. Schwabacher, a noted singer and scholar, was
not only instrumental in the establishment and development of the Merola Opera
Program – he became its heart and soul, demonstrating an unwavering commitment
to the next generation of vocal talent. He provided vital financial and
administrative stewardship to Merola, serving as President of the Board of
Directors for 29 years and subsequently as Chairman of the Board for 15 years.

The Schwabacher Summer Concerts are graciously
underwritten, in part, by the Frances K. and Charles D. Field Foundation, Rusty
Rolland and the Schick Foundation, the Jack H. Lund Charitable Trust and the
Grace A. Diem and Alice E. Siemmons Fund. Giuseppe Finzi is sponsored by James
Heagy and Roy Rallo is sponsored by Mrs. A. Barlow Ferguson.

Merola Opera Program:

Schwabacher Summer Concert

Thursday, July 5, 7:30 PM

War Memorial Veterans Building, Herbst Theatre

Tickets: $40/$25

Schwabacher Summer Concert

Saturday, July 7, 2 PM

Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission St. between 3rd and 4th


Postcard from Morocco

Dominick Argento

Sung in English with English supertitles

Thursday, July 19, 8 PM

Saturday, July 21, 2 PM

Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center

Tickets: $60/$40

La finta giardiniera

W.A. Mozart

Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Thursday, August 2, 8 PM

Saturday, August 4, 2 PM

Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason Center

Tickets: $60/$40

Merola Grand Finale and Reception

Saturday, August 18, at 7:30 PM

War Memorial Opera House

Tickets: $45 Grand Tier & Orchestra Prime/$35
Orchestra/$25 Dress Circle

Reception begins at 10 PM in the Green Room

(Reception tickets are an additional $50 each)


Tickets for the July 5 concert are $25 and $40, in
addition to a student price of $15.*

A season discount of 10% applies through June 1 if tickets
for the Schwabacher Summer Concert, Postcard from Morocco, La finta giardiniera
and the Merola Grand Finale are purchased together. Tickets for all
performances may be purchased by calling San Francisco Opera Box Office at
(415) 864-3330: Monday 10 a.m. – 5 PM and Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 6
p.m. or on-line at

*Student tickets must be purchased in person at the Box
Office window, located inside the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Ave.
Valid student ID is required.

For more information about Merola, please visit or phone (415) 551-6299

--Karen Ames Communications

Woodstock Mozart
Festival Presents 26th Season, July 28-August 12

All-Mozart opener followed by programs of Bach, Grieg,
Mahler, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and more.

Grammy-winning artists and three diverse concert programs
make up the Woodstock Mozart Festival’s 26th season July 28–August 12, 2012 at
the Woodstock Opera House. Single tickets are on sale now.

The program lineup is as follows:

July 28 and 29: Chicago keyboard artist David Schrader,
conductor—all-Mozart program:

Symphony No. 29 in A
, K. 201 reveals traces of the 18-year-old’s Viennese experiences,
both in its four-movement form and in an undercurrent of urgency; it also shows
influences from one of his Salzburg neighbors, Michael Haydn, younger brother
of Joseph.

Piano Concerto in C
, K. 246 (No. 8) Lützow was written for Countess Antonia Lützow,
married to the nephew of Prince-Archbishop Colloredo.

Piano Concerto in E-flat Major, K. 271 (No. 9)
Jeunehomme, regarded as Mozart’s first mature piano concerto, was written for
French virtuoso Mlle. Jeunehomme.

Schrader will play and conduct from his instrument,
sharing information about the work in a “concert with conversation” format.

August 4 and 5: Grammy-winning violinists Igor Gruppman,
conductor, and Vesna Gruppman:

Bach’s Concerto in D
Minor for Two Violins and Strings
, BWV 1043 was one of his most famous
instrumental works, among the religious compositions so integral to his

Grieg’s Holberg
, Opus 40 was created by one of the 19th century’s most distinguished
composers of songs, rarely deviating from creating nationalistic music; Grieg
composed this piece in honor of Ludvig Holberg, celebrated as the founder of
Danish literature.

Mahler’s Adagietto
for Strings and Harp
, from Symphony
No. 5 in C-sharp Minor
, is a departure from the composer’s song-oriented
approach, featuring a scherzo with French horn obbligato; Mahler finished the
piece shortly after marrying Alma Schindler.

Mendelssohn’s Symphony
No. 9 in C Major
shows influences from Mozart and Beethoven, as well as
folk music the 14-year-old composer heard in Switzerland the summer prior to
its completion.

Arnold’s Concerto
for two Violins and Strings
, Opus 77, from the composer of the Academy
Award-winning score for the film The
Bridge on the River Kwai
, was commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin for the 1962
Bach Festival and later earned the Gruppmans a Grammy.

August 11 and 12: Dutch conductor Arthur Arnold; former
Chicago Symphony principal oboist Alex Klein:

Pleyel’s Symphony in
D Major
, Opus 3, No. 1 is one of the better-known works from a largely
forgotten figure of the Classic era, who wrote hundreds of works.

Mozart’s Concerto
for Oboe and Orchestra in C Major
, K. 314, was composed for Salzburg’s new
oboist Guiseppe Ferlendis and contains a theme Mozart used later in his
Abduction from the Seraglio.

Schubert’s Symphony
No. 5 in B-flat Major
, D. 485 was written for spare instrumentation to
reflect the conditions of its performances—by a small group of devotees playing
in Viennese homes.

Choro no Capricho, Brazilian oboist Alex Klein’s choro
version of Paganini’s 24th Caprice,
interweaves Brazilian elements with the original work.

The 2012 Woodstock Mozart Festival takes place July
28–August 12, Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Woodstock Opera
House, 121 Van Buren Street, Woodstock. Pre-concert introductions take place
one hour before each of the performances August 4, 5, 11 and 12. Tickets are
$30–52, $25 for students, per program, and are available through the Woodstock
Opera House Box Office at 815-338-5300 or at For more
information about the Festival, visit

About the Woodstock Mozart Festival:

The Woodstock Mozart Festival’s first performances took
place in 1987 at the restored 1880s Woodstock Opera House in an environment
reminiscent of Mozart’s day. From the beginning, the Festival showcased
internationally recognized guest artists and conductors during its three
weekends of concerts in late July and early August. The Festival’s goal is to
inspire and educate audiences of all ages through a chamber orchestral program
of an outstanding caliber, which is centered on Mozart. The Woodstock Mozart
Festival is a member of the League of American Orchestras and the Illinois Arts
Alliance. Funding is provided by the Illinois Arts Council, the Gaylord and
Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture, the
AptarGroup Charitable Foundation and private and corporate contributions.

--Jill Chukerman, JAC Communications

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