It’s hard not to be excited about a new year. Optimistic, positive, buoyant and hopeful. What better way to go forward?
So, it is with all those electrifying adjectives that I enter 2010 in Sarasota not as a Pollyanna but, rather, as a logical, reasonable explorer who has looked into the future and found some really good stuff.
Yes, there are times I find the Sarasota Opera a little too traditional for my taste, but who can resist a really good English translation of Humperdinck’s opera, “Hansel and Gretel”? It’s perfect family fare: fairytale, familiar, folks-friendly and just plain fun. Fabulous!
The Sarasota Orchestra has a trio of events I can hardly wait to hear. The first is the early January “Masterworks on Tour” concert featuring one of my favorite pieces, Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy,” played by concertmaster Daniel Jordan. Then, there’s the musicians benefit concert on Jan. 16 with violinist James Ehnes and pianist Robert Levin, a performance that will, one hopes, raise money for the players and soothe the sturm und drang of the past few months.
And, as I mentioned on page 6B, John Goberman, producer of “Live from Lincoln Center,” returns for another Pixel Pops production, this time featuring the great American music of Rodgers and Hammerstein on Jan. 23.
The Buffalo Philharmonic and Music Director JoAnn Falletta are visiting the Van Wezel under the auspices of the Sarasota Concert Association March 16, with a stellar program that features the Barber “School for Scandal” overture, Ravel’s Piano Concerto (with Fabio Bidini) and the lush Symphony No. 2 of Rachmaninov. Yes, this is part of a mostly sold-out series, but you can always get tickets at the door the night of the concert. Don’t stay home!
I can’t help brag a little: Gloria Musicae, under the direction of new Music Director Joseph Holt, is going to present what will probably be the world premiere of the newly issued critical edition of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle,” with soloists that will include Metropolitan Opera mezzo Leah Wool April 5, at the Sarasota Opera House.
And, the legendary Curtis Institute of Music, in Philadelphia, is sending two of its immensely talented instrumentalists to join with Curtis graduate Abe Feder (Sarasota Orchestra’s principal cellist) for a chamber concert March 21, at The Glenridge.
Then, there’s the Perlman Music Program, Key Chorale, the Met’s HD performances, the Players’ “Lend Me a Tenor,” our three international festivals: La Musica, Sarasota and Ringling and, well … you can see why I’m excited.
Whether they’re all as great as they sound remains to be heard. But, I’m grateful to be here to find out. Happy New Year!
— June LeBell
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Did you notice a familiar name in the February issue of Southern Living magazine?