Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekend arts picks: May 13-15

Richard Fleischman.

Music:‭ ‬The instruments most musicians work with today are survivors or variations of the sonic armaments they had in other eras.‭ ‬Gone,‭ ‬for the most part,‭ ‬are the ophicleide,‭ ‬the serpent,‭ ‬the sarrusophone.‭ ‬Most of the viol family,‭ ‬with‭ ‬the exception of the double bass‭ (‬and its modern derivative the bass guitar‭)‬,‭ ‬also is gone,‭ ‬heard today only in specialist concerts.‭

But then there are the instruments that have been around for a long time but don‭’‬t get used that often.‭ ‬One of the most distinctive is the viola d‭’‬amore,‭ ‬a version of the viola with no less than‭ ‬14‭ ‬strings‭ ‬– seven of them played,‭ ‬and seven‭ “‬sympathetic‭”‬ strings underneath that vibrate along with the others.

‭“’‬Special‭’‬ is the perfect word for it,‭”‬ said Richard Fleischman,‭ ‬the violist of the Delray String Quartet and a frequent performer in area orchestral ensembles.‭ “‬The low strings are very mellow,‭ ‬and the high strings have a silvery,‭ ‬ravishing kind of sound.‭”‬ It‭’‬s a soft sound,‭ ‬and the kind of sound that doesn‭’‬t do well up against today‭’‬s high-powered instruments,‭ ‬Fleischman said.‭ ‬It‭’‬s more suited for the intimate rooms of the‭ ‬18th-century salon,‭ ‬and this weekend,‭ ‬a whole program of music for the instrument will be heard in Delray Beach.

Fleischman will play the instrument on Sunday afternoon with members of the Camerata del Re,‭ ‬a Baroque performance ensemble based at St.‭ ‬Paul‭’‬s Episcopal Church.‭ ‬Music on the concert,‭ ‬called‭ ‬The Art of the Viola d‭’‬Amore,‭ ‬includes a concerto by Vivaldi,‭ ‬a sonata by the Baroque viola d‭’‬amore specialist Attilio Ariosti,‭ ‬and a short piece‭ (‬Reverie‭) ‬by the French Romantic composer Rene de Boisdeffre.

Also on the program are trio sonatas by Telemann and Milandre,‭ ‬chamber works by Frederik Rung and Francesco Giuliani featuring soprano Karen Neal,‭ ‬and quartets by Ottorino Respighi and the contemporary American composer Elaine Fine.‭ ‬Fleischman is particularly excited about the Boisdeffre‭ ‬Reverie,‭ ‬which he will play in its original chamber music version.‭ ‬The music,‭ ‬which dates from about‭ ‬1890,‭ ‬is reminiscent of Massenet,‭ ‬he said,‭ ‬and was dedicated to Louis van Waefelghem,‭ ‬the greatest viola d‭’‬amore player of his day.‭ ‬“It‭’‬s a lovely little piece,‭ ‬so I‭’‬m kind of excited about playing it,‭”‬ Fleischman said.

The concert is set for‭4‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Sunday at St.‭ ‬Paul‭’‬s,‭ ‬181‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Swinton Ave.,‭ ‬Delray Beach.‭ ‬Tickets are‭ ‬$15-$18.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬278-6003‭ ‬for more information.

Russell Thomas.

Russell Thomas is making a great name for himself in the world of the tenor,‭ ‬appearing just a couple weeks ago as Andres in the Metropolitan Opera‭’‬s mounting of Alban Berg‭’‬s Wozzeck,‭ ‬and having been the man who created the role of The Prince in John Adams‭’‬ A Flowering Tree.‭ ‬Saturday,‭ ‬he returns to his hometown of Miami for a concert with pianist Elaine Rinaldi.‭ ‬Thomas will sing Vaughan Williams‭’‬ Songs of Travel,‭ ‬Britten‭’‬s‭ ‬Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo,‭ ‬the‭ ‬Three Songs of Fiona MacLeod by American composer Charles Griffes,‭ ‬and Beethoven‭’‬s beautiful‭ ‬Adelaide‭ (‬Op.‭ ‬46‭)‬.‭ ‬Mentored by James Levine and other luminaries,‭ ‬this is a voice on the way up.‭ ‬Thomas‭ ‬sings at‭ ‬8‭ ‬p.m.‭ ‬Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church of Miami,‭ ‬609‭ ‬Brickell Ave.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬305-274-2103‭ ‬or visit‭ ‬www.orchestramiami.org.

Will Ferrell in Everything Must Go.

Film:‭ ‬I know this sounds like an oxymoron,‭ ‬but the recommendation this week is a Will Ferrell drama.‭ ‬In Everything Must Go,‭ ‬he plays an alcoholic sales executive who receives a one-two punch of being fired from his job,‭ ‬then comes home to find that his wife has left him,‭ ‬locking him out and dumping his clothes and possessions on the front lawn of their Phoenix home.‭ ‬Oh,‭ ‬and his company car gets repossessed.‭ ‬So to the dismay of his neighbors,‭ ‬he starts living on the lawn,‭ ‬swilling beers and trying to start over.‭ ‬In contrast to all his juvenile comedies,‭ ‬Ferrell gives a very credible performance,‭ ‬surely his best since‭ ‬Stranger Than Fiction,‭ ‬with nice support from Rebecca Hall and Laura Dern.‭ ‬Yes,‭ ‬this is a Ferrell move for those who would not be caught dead going to a Ferrell movie.‭ ‬Opening at area theaters today.‭ – ‬H.‭ ‬Erstein

Elizabeth Birkenmeier in Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider.

Theater:‭ ‬St.‭ ‬Louis playwright Carter W.‭ ‬Lewis has been supplying Florida Stage with quirky comic dramas on diverse subjects for the past two decades.‭ ‬Currently receiving its world premiere at the Kravis Center is the enigmatically named‭ ‬Cha-Cha of a Camel Spider,‭ ‬his wide-ranging and occasionally surreal synthesis of our government’s reliance on private mercenary armies,‭ ‬the transporting power of art,‭ ‬and the lyrical nature of slam poetry.‭ ‬Yes,‭ ‬it is a lot to take in and moment-to-moment what is happening isn’t always clear,‭ ‬but the production is never less than entertaining.‭ ‬That is particularly due to Antonio Amadeo as a wisecracking Muslim cabbie and Elizabeth Birkenmeier as the poetry-spouting daughter of a Blackwater-like operative.‭ ‬Continuing through June‭ ‬5.‭ ‬Call‭ ‬(561‭) ‬832-7469‭ ‬for tickets.‭ ‬– H.‭ ‬Erstein

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