- October 24, 2018
The 2016-2017 music season in Sarasota is bringing lots of firsts to the area. Take the Sarasota Opera’s season, for example. This will be the company’s first year since 1989 that Giuseppe Verdi’s name will not appear on the roster, but it will also mark the first time the opera will present Poulenc’s dramatic and moving “Dialogues of the Carmelites” — an opera that will send shivers down your spine through its gorgeous music and intense (and true) story.
Sarasota Orchestra is entering its fourth season with Anu Tali at the helm and, while the music director has conducted many diverse programs in the past, this will be the first time she’s led a choral program. She’s bringing the ever-popular Mozart “Requiem” to Sarasota with a chorus imported from her homeland: the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
In addition, the Orchestra’s Pops Series has become so popular, it’s expanding, for the first time, from two to three concerts for each program. And the impressive Sarasota Music Festival will have a new music director in the multitalented, award-winning pianist and conductor Jeffrey Kahane.
Collaboration is the name of the game, and the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has set up mighty meetings-of-the-arts with the renowned Young Concert Artists in New York City, and Gloria Musicae and SILL in Sarasota to bring a series of five French concerts to town featuring solo, chamber and vocal music. It’s probably also the first time Sarasota will witness a piano quintet — and I mean a quintet of pianos on one stage — at the opera house this coming weekend.
Several years ago, when I was still living and working in New York City, I noticed that PBS was presenting a gospel version of Handel’s “Messiah.” What’s that about, I wondered. I watched with great trepidation and found, to my surprise, that “Every Valley,” “Rejoice,” “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” and even the great “Hallellujah!” chorus could be successfully swung to a beat Handel never dreamed of. Well, Gloria Musicae is, for the first time, teaming up with members of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe for a performance of this unusual rockin’ version of the classic that will be “Too Hot to Handel.”
We’ve heard Broadway star Liz Callaway in Sarasota, and we’ve attended at least one performance by legendary cabaret pianist/singer Ann Hampton Callaway, but this coming season, the sisters will be in town thanks to another first by the Artist Series Concerts for their internationally renowned act, “Sibling Revelry.”
I have to get a first or two in for my SILL Music Monday series, too. The Callaway Sisters will be my guests in March for the first time in Sarasota. And, to kick off our season, we have Blair Tindall, author of the infamous book and TV series, “Mozart in the Jungle,” followed by a 90th birthday tribute to Dick Hyman.
Those are the firsts of the new season. We haven’t even mentioned the Perlman Music Program, La Musica, a collaborative performance of the Verdi “Requiem,” Great Performers on the Sarasota Concert Association and the Van Wezel’s line up of Broadway shows and outstanding orchestras.
Ain’t it a shame Sarasota’s cultural life is so boring?