2010: Quasthoff, McFerrin return

  • Jul 16, 2009
[caption id="attachment_2820" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Helmuth Rilling and Sven-David Sandstrom head for an embrace at the conclusion of the Messiah premiere. Photo by Jon Meyers."][/caption]The electrifying charge of a 12-minute standing, stomping, and cheering ovation for Sven-David Sandström’s Messiah had barely subsided when festival executive director John Evans re-ignited a post-concert gathering with big news: singers Thomas Quasthoff and Bobby McFerrin will be among the headliners for OBF 2010. Evans announced 40th anniversary season highlights on the night of July 9 to a champagne-sipping crowd of OBF musicians, donors, audience members, board members, and sponsors. The major stars and events will include:
  • Helmuth Rilling, founding artistic director, returns to lead opening weekend performances of Verdi’s Requiem and final concerts of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, with both works performed in Eugene and Portland.
  • Thomas Quasthoff, the bass-baritone who made his American debut at the OBF in 1995, as artist-in-residence for 10 days. He’ll lead a master class, perform a solo recital of Schubert’s Schoene Mullerin song cycle with Jeffrey Kahane, and sing the title role in both performances of Elijah.
  • Bobby McFerrin, who sold out 1994 and 2001 OBF concerts, will work and perform with the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy.
  • Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein, will host a “Bernstein on Broadway” gala and present her acclaimed Bernstein Beat family programs, which reveal the South American and Cuban influences on her father’s music, in a bilingual presentation.
  • Monica Huggett and the Portland Baroque Orchestra, who will perform Bach’s Orchestral Suites in Festival concerts in Bend and Eugene.
  • An all-star benefit concert will aim to complete the Saltzman Endowment, led by Helmuth Rilling and featuring Quasthoff, McFerrin, pianists Kahane, Robert Levin and Ya Fei Chuang, the OBF Chorus and Orchestra, conductor Anton Armstrong, and the high-school singers of the Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy..
OBF dates for the 40th anniversary celebration are June 25-July 11, 2010. Look for a full schedule and tickets to go on sale in January 2010. Sandström’s Messiah was a dynamic, emotional, power-packed study in contrasts, at times bubbly, serene, mysterious, glorious, mesmerizing, and ultimately, inspiring. At the conclusion of its final, beautiful “amen” chorus the Silva Hall crowd sat in awe-struck silence; then, almost as one, rose to its feet. Sandstrom came to the stage and was seemingly overcome by emotion. “It is possible,” he later told the post-concert crowd, “for composers to be touched by their own music.” Rilling, who had led the first rehearsal of combined choir and orchestra for Sandström’s two-hour work just two days before the performance, said that the determination of audiences and artists assembled in Eugene made the performance possible. “You can look at such a work and say, well, maybe we can do it,” he said. “Or you can say, we will do it. And tonight, this was the case.” Click here to view photos from the event.