Sunday, December 28, 2008

ArtsBuzz: Upcoming music events

Mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor.

By Greg Stepanich

ArtsPaper has been around only a little longer than a month, but the e-mails are starting to pile up. Here are three recent notes from my musical inbox about upcoming events:

Walter Salas-Humara, solo: The frontman for the band The Silos, which has gotten a bunch of good press in the past from outfits such as Spin magazine, returns to his South Florida roots with a show Friday at My Coffee House Gallery in West Palm Beach. Salas-Humara, who grew up in Little Havana, writes reflective, melodically plainspoken songs that remind me a good deal of John Hiatt.

Bill Perry, who manages the music at My Coffee House, says the show will last from 8-10 p.m. Admission is $5. Call My Coffee House for more information at 853-5748.

Soloists named for Boca's Ninth: This year's Festival of the Arts Boca will close Sunday, March 15, with the Russian National Orchestra and the Master Chorale of South Florida under Itzhak Perlman in the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven.

The four soloists for this most remarkable of symphonies were named earlier this month, and they are: soprano Layla Claire, who will sing Susanna in Marriage of Figaro next year with the Palm Beach Opera; mezzo Kelley O'Connor, a dark-voiced Grammy winner who sang this work and Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony early last year in Miami with the Cleveland Orchestra (she can be seen at the top of this entry); tenor John Tessier, a young Canadian who got good reviews earlier this year for his Almaviva at the English National Opera; and bass Kyle Ketelsen, who sang Leporello earlier this year at the Royal Opera Covent Garden.

It's a strong lineup, and should add some emerging star power to the finale of the third Boca festival, which has mounted some impressive concerts in the past. For more information, call 1-866-571-2787 or visit the festival Website.

Duelling Divas: Two Florida sopranos, Birgit Fioravante and Wendy Reynolds, have teamed up with Florida Atlantic University's Heather Coltman for an operatic sendup called Duelling Divas that has picked up some decent media buzz. This is classical music geek humor of a kind that kept people like Victor Borge and Peter Schickele busy and touring for decades (I did some myself as a teenager, playing piano for a comedic bit featuring a singer who called herself Brunnhilde Benzene).

The divas -- Baronness Vladka von Loudenstimme (Fioravante) and Gwendoline Josephine Bellevoix Bouvier (Reynolds) -- and pianist Coltman as the eye-rollingly named Paige Turner, can be seen in this YouTube video touting their rivalry and their show, called The Battle Begins. The humor appeals to a specific taste, but the video, and their Website, demonstrate that amid all the tomfoolery are three fine musicians, which is critical for any long-term success of a project like this.

The divas have commanded me to appear at their shows this coming weekend, though I don't think I can make it. But if you can, they can be seen at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 4. Ticket prices range from $10 to $35 and can be had by calling 305-674-1040 or visiting Ticketmaster.

No comments: