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A Goliath show

  • Jul 5, 2007

By Bob Keefer The Register-Guard Published: Thursday, July 5, 2007 King David cut a giant figure through the Old Testament. So perhaps it's no surprise the Oregon Bach Festival and Willamette Repertory Theatre are thinking big - very big - when they bring a musical telling of David's story to the Hult Center stage next week. "We are going to be doing it Vegas style,'' laughed costume and scenic designer Michael Olich as he explained his concept to actors at Willamette Rep one recent evening. "Everything is flashy." The show is going to be a first-ever collaboration between the Bach festival and Willamette Rep, which are...

Majestic Brahms opens Bach fest

  • Jul 2, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007 DAVID STABLER The Oregonian Staff EUGENE -- Scenes from Friday's opening night of the Oregon Bach Festival: Hundreds of children singing in lavish harmony to welcome patrons inside the timber-columned lobby of the Hult Center. A standing ovation that grew to shouts and roars before the music even began, for a quiet-spoken man named Royce Saltzman, who helped found the festival 37 years ago and is retiring after this year's festival. And the enveloping beauty of the "German Requiem" by Johannes Brahms. For three decades, Eugene has been home to an international festival with a cultlike following for performances of large-scale choral...

Opening night resonates with celebration

  • Jul 2, 2007

By Tom Manoff For The Register-Guard Published: Monday, July 2, 2007 The beginning of the Oregon Bach Festival on Friday evening continued an extraordinary run of musical excellence in Eugene's cultural life. Arriving on the heels of Renée Fleming's Eugene Symphony gala and the Philadelphia Orchestra's concert for the Hult Center's 25th anniversary, the return of the Bach Festival - Eugene's premiere arts event - should have audiences celebrating the fine state of classical music in their city. Helmuth Rilling opened the festival with an emotionally charged account of Johannes Brahms' "A German Requiem," one of the conductor's signature works. When Brahms assembled a text...

Bach Festival's large-scale delights

  • Jun 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007 If Chamber Music Northwest is a musical conversation, then the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene is its complement: large-scale oratory. Whereas Portland's annual chamber feast -- going on now -- offers duos, trios and quartets engaged in intimate debate, the Bach Festival spreads across the stage with massed choral/orchestral fare. It opens Friday with Johannes Brahms' exalted Requiem and follows on with Beethoven's immense "Missa Solemnis," Arthur Honegger's dramatic oratorio, "King David" and a nifty Haydn choral mass. This is the dilemma Portland audiences face every late June and early July: How much shuttling up and down Interstate 5...

Prelude to a Farewell

  • Jun 30, 2007

By Bob Keefer The Register-Guard Published: Saturday, June 30, 2007 Royce Saltzman drew a standing ovation at Friday night's opening of the Oregon Bach Festival from the moment he walked onstage, before the music even began. "Thank you," he said again and again and again, as the audience, the orchestra and the chorus came to their feet in tribute. Saltzman tried to silence the Hult Center crowd, but the applause roared on, along with shouts of "Bravo!" all over the house. Saltzman, the much-loved executive director and one of the founders of the 38-year-old summer Bach extravaganza, is retiring at the end of this year's festival. "Thank...

The Five Browns

  • Jun 30, 2007

By Bob Keefer The Register-Guard Published: Thursday, June 28, 2007 Five pianos, plus five siblings, plus one stage, equals one unusual concert. That's the math behind the Five Browns, who are five 20-something brothers and sisters - all trained or still training at Juilliard - who play five pianos together on stage at the same time. They'll play at the Oregon Bach Festival on Friday, July 13. From young to old, they are Ryan, 21; Melody, 23; Gregory 24; Deondra, 27; and Desirae, 28. We talked to all five of them at once by telephone the other day - they're accomplished enough at this sort of interview...

Festival co-founder retiring with heap of good memories

  • Jun 30, 2007

By Bob Keefer The Register-Guard Published: Thursday, June 28, 2007 Every proud parent should be allowed a moment or two for unabashed gloating. We asked Oregon Bach Festival co-founder Royce Saltzman, who is stepping down from the post of executive director after this year's festival, to list a few of his fondest memories from the nearly four decades he has run the organization with artistic director Helmuth Rilling. "Helmuth and I gave birth to this organization about 38 years ago," he said. "We have seen that child grow over the years through its infancy and teenage years. So as a parent, at some point in...