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Matthew Halls wows Colorado critics

  • Jul 7, 2011

Tonight he's in Silva Hall, but the previous stop for Matthew Halls, conductor of our St. Cecilia program, was Central City Opera in Colorado, where he was music director for a new version of Handel's 1715 opera "Amadigi di Gaula." (OBF photo Jon Meyers) Halls caught the attention of Denver-area critics. “It is worth attending this production just to hear the score. It is brought vividly and organically to life by conductor Matthew Halls, who outdoes himself in his third appearance with the company, and a first-rate pit orchestra supplemented by four baroque specialists.” —Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post "CCO general...

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Audio and images: Matthew Halls

  • Jul 5, 2011

Matthew Halls arrived in Eugene July 3 to conduct the July 5 Discovery Bach Cantata, the St Cecilia program July 7 in Silva Hall, and Handel's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day in the July 9 Portland Ode to Joy program. Caitriona Bolster of KWAX interviewed him for Artsline. Click below to watch a slideshow of images by Dan Morrison, Jon Meyers, and Caitlin Estes. Concert details Order tickets "Royal" discount: On the ticket order screen, enter to passcode ROYAL and click "validate" to reveal discount prices—tickets start for as little as $10 with the discount. Offer is not...

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Joan of Arc oratorio musically rich, profound

  • Jul 5, 2011

  [caption id="attachment_5715" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Eileen DeSandre, left, as Joan; Marin Alsop, conducting; soprano Christine Brandes, upper right, in the July 2 performance."][/caption] From the Eugene Register-Guard Tuesday, July 5 By Marilyn Farwell The buzz started in the lobby of the Hult Center. It was about the return of Marin Alsop, the anticipation of a rarely performed oratorio, and the result of those who had witnessed a rehearsal and enthusiastically told friends. The event was the presentation of the 20th century dramatic oratorio about Joan of Arc by the French composer Arthur Honegger. French is not the lingua franca of the...

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Unforgettably thrilling German Requiem

  • Jun 30, 2011

From the Eugene Register-Guard Thursday June 30 By John Farnworth On Sunday afternoon, Silva Hall witnessed one of the most extraordinary musical events in this reviewer’s substantial and lengthy experience. Maestro Helmuth Rilling, now 78 years of age, showed no sign of diminished vigor and authority in leading the Oregon Bach Festival orchestra and the most spellbinding chorus I have heard in many years in a wondrous performance of Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem. The chorus was actually a blending of two separate choruses: the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, based in Caracas, and the Berwick chorus of the Oregon Bach Festival....

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Dido: rich, though not perfect

  • Jun 30, 2011

[caption id="attachment_5741" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Leah Wool, Robin Johannsen, Sumner Thompson"][/caption] From the Eugene Register-Guard Thursday June 30 By Catherine Olson PORTLAND — Oregon Bach Festival and Portland Baroque Orchestra built on a thriving relationship Monday with a performance of “Dido and Aeneas” here. The concert was one of four performances around the state that the Bach Festival is sponsoring this year. Others have been staged in Ashland and Bend. The final performance is tonight in Eugene. Baroque Orchestra Artistic Director Monica Hugget began the Portland concert with Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, a boisterous dance in a sweep of perfect tuning and deep, energized tones from the...

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Virtuosic Latin choir packs Beall Hall

  • Jun 29, 2011

From the Eugene Register-Guard Wednesday June 29 By Terry McQuilkin When Schola Cantorum de Venezuela first visited Eugene during the 2006 Oregon Bach Festival, audience members were mesmerized by the ensemble’s virtuosity, urgency and sheer energy. Thus it was no surprise that Beall Hall was completely full Saturday evening, when the chamber-choir contingent of Schola offered a program of contemporary works from the Americas. The 15 works on the program used a variety of texts, and translations were displayed unobtrusively above the stage. But for most of the pieces, the text was just a starting point: Conductor Maria Guinand’s 27 singers served as storytellers,...

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Purcell/Britten: outstanding performances

  • Jun 27, 2011

From the Oregon Music News Wednesday June 29 By James Bash [caption id="attachment_5564" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Soloists Leah Wool, Robin Johannsen, Sumner Thompson"][/caption] Ah! Leah Wool’s sumptuous voice made a queen’s lament one of the many highlights of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” on Monday evening (June 27th) at First United Methodist Church in Portland.  Wool was the star in a performance that featured the Portland Baroque Orchestra under violinist Monica Huggett, soloists, and a superb vocal ensemble from the Oregon Bach Festival, which sponsored the concert. Their collaborative effort resulted in an exquisite interpretation of Purcell’s opera, but the near-capacity audience also heard an...