by Daniel Hathaway
Organist Celina Kobetitsch, a Cleveland native and Oberlin grad who currently serves as associate director of music at Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock, plays music by Lübeck, Aguilera de Heredia, Tilo Medek and her own chorale partita on the noon Organ Plus concert at the Church of the Covenant. Click here for the live stream.
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Yesterday, The Cleveland Orchestra announced details of the second Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Opera & Humanities Festival, which will take place at Severance Music Center and partner locations throughout Cleveland from May 15 to 26, 2024.
“Anchored by four fully staged performances of Mozart’s The Magic Flute directed by Nikolaus Habjan and featuring The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, this year’s festival examines the theme of Power. A core element of Mozart’s beloved work, this theme will further be explored through a series of concerts, exhibitions, and conversations over the course of two extended weekends.” Read the complete, 10-page press release here.
On Monday The Cleveland Orchestra also released its 2023 annual report on Monday, reporting a surplus for the fifth year in a row. “On a budget of $61.3 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, the orchestra had a surplus of $15,000, a near-perfect balance in a period of continuing recovery from the pandemic.” Read the story by Zachary Lewis on Cleveland.com.
Continuing the “Good News From Orchestras” thread, the Indianapolis Symphony and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra will be the recipients of major windfall gifts of $2.75 million each from the Christel DeHaan Foundation, which is ceasing operations. Read the Violin Channel story here.
“A new documentary tells the story of Orin O’Brien, a double bassist who became the only woman in the New York Philharmonic when she joined in 1966 and helped open doors for others.” Read the New York Times story, “She Broke Barriers in Music. But She’s Uneasy About the Attention,” here
Henry Purcell neatly timed his all-too-early demise at the age of 36 — he was younger than Mozart — for the eve of St. Cecelia’s Day, November 21, 1695. That makes this an appropriate time to listen to one of the composer’s Odes written in honor of the patron saint of music. Watch performances of the chouses ”Thou tuned’st this world” and “Soul of the World” from Hail, Bright Cecelia from a concert last September 30 by Les Délices and Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble in Kulas Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
And since we’re honoring Purcell’s demise, click here to watch Vox Luminis perform his Funeral Sentences, which are still in use on state occasions in England (as they were at the September 2022 funeral for Elizabeth II).
And on this date in 1820, an 80-ton sperm whale attacked and sank the Nantucket whaling ship Essex 2,000 miles off the west coast of South America. That event inspired Herman Melville’s 1851 more-than-a-novel, Moby-Dick, and in turn, moved American composer Jake Heggie to write his opera of the same name on commission from Dallas Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, the State Opera of South Australia and Calgary Opera. I saw the premiere in Dallas in April, 2010 along with colleagues from the Music Critics Association of North America. (Alas, no aria for the whale.)
Heggie, who visited the Oberlin Conservatory for a recital and master classes last week, talked about the process of composing the work in a University of California TV interview in 2012. No time like the present to crack open Melville’s magnum opus, which just might be one of those classics we’ve never gotten around to reading. Melville’s Billy Budd also inspired the eponymous opera by Benjamin Britten.