Wednesday, February 12, 2014

NCCO: Open Rehearsal

New Century Chamber Orchestra photo IMG_20140211_095545_zps622c4f58.jpgTuesday morning I attended an open rehearsal of the opera-themed program that the New Century Chamber Orchestra is presenting this week in 4 Bay Area locations. In the first half, we heard the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, the Prestissimo movement from Verdi’s string quartet, & the Meditation from Thais, with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg as soloist. New Century plays without a conductor, though Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg definitely leads. They played each piece first without stopping, then went back over it, working out tempo & ensemble issues through discussion among members. After they played the Intermezzo a 2nd time with more articulation between sections, Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg joked to the audience, “Disregard the first performance.” Her solo in the Meditation had a dark, woody texture. Weirdly, the arrangement by Clarice Assad has a marimba replacing the harp.

New Century Chamber Orchestra photo IMG_20140211_113404_zps22028467.jpgAfter a break, we saw a complete run-through of Rita, an ebullient one-act comic opera by Donizetti, lasting an hour. Adler Fellows Maria Valdes, Thomas Glenn & Efraín Solís are a lively & appealing cast. They sing in Italian but speak the dialogue in English, & that is enough to communicate the basic plot, which involves 2 men each trying not to be declared the rightful husband of the shrewish title character. Eugene Brancoveanu, another Adler Fellow, did the funny, fast-paced staging, which involves a lot of spousal abuse & fights. The addition of woodwinds & horns gave the orchestra a much fuller sound. Ms. Salerno-Sonnenberg was very busy playing, conducting, & keeping an eye on the singers. After the run-through, she went over spots where the singers were dragging. The rehearsal took place in a high-ceilinged room that was nice for voices. The enthusiastic audience applauded frequently. Coffee & donuts were served during the break.

§ Open Rehearsal
New Century Chamber Orchestra
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Music Director

Mascagni (arr. Assad): Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana

Verdi: Prestissimo from String Quartet in E minor

Massenet (arr. Assad): Meditation from Thais
    Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violin

J. Strauss (arr. Lindstrom): Overture to Die Fledermaus

Donizetti: Rita
Rescored & edited by Peter Grunberg
    Maria Valdes, Rita
    Thomas Glenn, Beppe
    Efraín Solís, Gasparo
    Eugene Brancoveanu, Director, Script, Production Design

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 10am
Kanbar Performing Arts Center, San Francisco

No comments: