Friday, February 13, 2015

Mother Lode Friends of Music features Soprano Alexis Magarò the music of Richard Strauss - Sun Mar 8

The Mother Lode Friends of Music, the regional organization of classical music performances, presents its annual symphony concert on Sunday, March 8, starting at 3 pm in the Church of the Nazarene, 14050 Ridge Road, in Sutter Creek,

This year’s concert features the music of Richard Strauss.  An important transitional figure between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Strauss is well-known for his lushly orchestrated symphonic tone poems (a free-flowing orchestral piece inspired by literature or nature) and for his many operas.  Perhaps his best-known work is Also Sprach Zarathustra which served as the soundtrack for the landmark film of Stanley Kubrick, 2001:  A Space Odyssey.

The Friends of Music Orchestra opens the program with one of Strauss’ most important works, the tone poem Tod und Verklärung, or Death and Transfiguration.  The music movingly depicts the death of an artist.  As the man lies dying, thoughts of his life pass through his head: his childhood innocence, the struggles of his manhood, the attainment of his worldly goals.  At the end, he receives the longed-for transfiguration "from the infinite reaches of heaven".  The program continues with the joyful Festmarsh (Festival March), one of the composer’s earliest works.  The remainder of the program highlights the composer’s life-long love affair with the human voice, particularly the soprano voice.  Two beautiful songs, Morgan and Cäcilie, come from his set of Lieder for voice and orchestra.  The concert concludes with the epochal last scene from the composer’s last opera Capriccio, completed in 1942, which, in passages of great beauty, offers a summation of the composer’s musical outlook and legacy.

The soprano soloist is Alexis Magarò.  Magarò is a native Californian who received a degree in English and Italian literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she was also one of the star performers in its opera program. She then immediately moved to Florence, Italy where she studied voice with soprano Jolanda Meneguzzer and the conductor Bruno Rigacci. Having distinguished herself in a series of vocal competitions in Italy and the United States, Magarò made her opera debut in Innsbruck, Austria in “Il Tito” by Antonio Cesti under the baton of famed baroque specialist, Alan Curtis. Performances were aired live on radio and television throughout Europe, leading to a position as principal soloist at Opernhaus Halle in Händel’s birthplace. There she sang a variety of roles ranging from Violetta to Mélisande, Tatjana, Vitellia, and Queen of the Night. She subsequently made her home in Berlin and then Paris, accepting engagements throughout Europe and perhaps most frequently in Prague where she was repeatedly called upon as Mozart’s Donna Anna. A dramatic coloratura, Ms. Magarò has appeared frequently on television and often been the subject of radio broadcasts with both live and recorded performances of everything from Mozart to Puccini, Richard Strauss and Villa-Lobos. She currently resides in Chicago.

Soprano Alexis Magarò
Henrik Jul Hansen returns as conductor of the Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music.  A native of Denmark, Hansen received his training at several prominent European conservatories, including those of Stockholm and London.  His debut in the United States was at Carnegie Hall in New York City, under the patronage of the Queen of Denmark.  Hansen has resided in California over the past two decades where he has served as conductor of the Sacramento Ballet, the Merced Symphony and other regional orchestras. 

Henrik Jul Hansen, Conductor
The Orchestra of the Mother Lode Friends of Music has evolved to become the premier orchestral ensemble in the Sierra foothills.  Its repertoire ranges from Haydn and Mozart to contemporary Latin American music.  The upcoming concert of music by Richard Strauss will be performed by one of the largest ensembles ever put together by the organization, with some 58 players, including four acting concertmasters from sister orchestras from throughout Northern California.  The majority of the orchestra’s personnel remain long-time associates who reside in the Mother Lode counties.

Mother Lode Friends of Music Orchestra

Tickets to the concert are $20 for adults, and may be purchased at Mother Lode Music in Martell or the offices of the Calaveras County Arts Council on Main Street in San Andreas, or at the door.  In a special promotion to encourage young people to appreciate classical music, admittance of children under the age of 18 will be without charge.  For more information, go to the organization’s web site or call (209) 293-4227.

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