by Michael Caruso
Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, will launch its 10th anniversary season with a concert entitled “Fanfares, Suites and a Birthday Symphony” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave. The concert will feature the largest orchestra Tempesta di Mare has ever assembled and will perform scores by Vivaldi, Boyce, Fasch, C.P.E. Bach and Rameau. The concert will also wrap up the “live in concert” series of recordings of the music of Fasch the ensemble has made for the Chandos label.
Co-founders and co-directors Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone explained that the concert will literally open with a fanfare, Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach’s “March for the Ark.” The scoring features three trumpets and timpani and is nowadays most frequently performed as a stand-alone overture. In its day, however, it was probably intended as the overture for an oratorio referring to the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant of the ancient Hebrews and their entrance into the Promised Land of Israel.
The program also includes the American premiere of Johann Friedrich Fasch’s “Overture in D,” opulently scored for three trumpets, two horns, timpani, reeds and strings,” according to Roberts and Stone. William Boyce composed his “Symphony in A” as part of the royal birthday celebrations for England’s King George II.
The concert’s most compelling performance will be that given Fasch’s “Concerto in F,” reconstructed by Richard Stone from two different sources — the fully orchestrated but incomplete manuscript and the complete “part books” for the players. Filling out the program will be Jean Philippe Rameau’s “Les Fetes de Polymnie,” recalling the French victory at Fontenoy in 1745.
For ticket information call 215-755-8776 or visit www.tempestadimare.org.
Concert Operetta Theater will present Victor Herbert’s “Sweethearts” at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23, in the Academy of Vocal Arts Helen Corning Warden Theater, 1920 Spruce St. Jose Melendez is the musical director of the concert presentation and will conduct and accompany at the piano.
The cast includes Chestnut Hill native Megan Monaghan as Sylvia and Wyndmoor native Zachary Altman as Prince Franz. Monaghan now lives in Flourtown; Altman resides in New York City.
“Sweethearts” is best known from its 1938 MGM cinematic incarnation starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. The latter was an alumnus of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music and took part in the American premiere of Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder” with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Academy of Music under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, the orchestra’s music director from 1912 until 1938. Much of the operetta’s original score was cut from the film version.
Soprano Monaghan said that Victor Herbert’s music is “true perfection. It offers the audience an escape within his soaring romantic melodies as well as moments of hilarious comedic musical genius.” She added that in “Sweethearts,” her character of Sylvia is multi-faceted, ranging from the stunning melody of the song “Sweethearts” to the sacred, solemn feeling of “The Angelus” to the hilarious “In the convent they never taught me that.”
Baritone Altman added, “The most appealing thing about ‘Sweethearts’ is its unapologetic romanticism. The plot is your typical romantic comedy that’s recycled every week in the movie theaters, but here is where it was done first and done better. The music sounds like a soundtrack to my grandparents’ generation falling in love. To be able to hear it live is a rare treat. To be able to sing it is really something to savor.”
Tickets are $30 for general admission, $20 for seniors, and $10 for students, and can be purchased at the door. For more information, call 215-389-0648 or visit www.concertoperetta.com/index.
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