Orchestra Sinfónica Portuguesa

Bruckner - an unexpected pleasure

The season begins! First concert features Bruckner Symphony #4, "The Romantic" (1878-80), which is an indulgently long, warm work that grows on you! While it may lack the fire and wildness of Mahler or Strauss, you just have to sit back a little and enjoy the "landscape" slowly passing by, the wonderful evolution of the harmonies, the occasional asides into Viennese tenderness, and of course the remarkable glow of the big brass writing. Sublime. And a good excuse to use my Powell Grenadilla flute; just the right colors!

The concert will be Sunday, Sept. 18th, at 5pm at the C.C.B. in Lisbon, and features the much more modern Lutoslawski Cello Concerto (1970) with Johannes Moser as soloist on the first half of the concert. I'm looking forward to working on that tomorrow—playing the piece, and hearing some wonderful cello playing! Two very complimentary/contrasting works to make a very balanced program—a great start to the season! Lutoslawski in black and white; Bruckner in color—

Going out with (verismo) style!

To finish a brilliant season, the Lisbon Opera House—soloists, orchestra and choir—will present Mascagni's famous one-act opera "Cavalleria Rusticana", the first verismo opera, dating from 1890, tonight and tomorrow at 9:30pm. Verismo basically means that there are no ten-minute arias sung while someone dies; if you die, you die FAST! The performances will surely be extra true-to-life as they are part of the July Festival outdoors on the square in front of the Opera House—very picturesque, as well as occasionally windy and noisy—near the Chiado area (see photo below), tuk-tuks and all.

Along with well-known, wonderful Portuguese singers, the production features a fellow American-Expat, Mary Elizabeth Williams, singing the role of Santuzza with both astounding power and subtlety—such an inspiration!

For those preferring creature comforts, Saturday's performance will be broadcast live on Portuguese TV—either way, enjoy!

Tuk-tuks at the top of Chiado, near the Lisbon Opera House

Tuk-tuks at the top of Chiado, near the Lisbon Opera House

Lisbon abuzz!

There is so much going on right now, it's simply insane! July is filled with music here in Lisbon, with the fantastic Festival held nearly every night on the square in front of the Lisbon Opera House, off of Chiado, the chicest street in Lisbon. The Orchestra Sinfónica Portuguesa has already performed three different programs, two of which were live on TV (smile!). Everyone loves the "urban arena" created by the beautiful 18th century buildings and the energy of the rapt crowd, many of whom stand through the entire program. Classical music dead? Don't think so! Here are two photos of the setting a couple hours before showtime Sunday—within an hour, every chair and standing place would be occupied. The program was versions of Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky, Gounod, and Prokofiev, with outstanding singing by the young soloists: Christiana Oliveira, soprano and Airam Hernández, tenor, in the Gounod.