Saturday's concert version of "Aida" by the Greater Bridgeport Symphony pared Giuseppe Verdi's monumental four-hour opera to two hours, but that didn't dampen any of the opera's dramatic intensity at the Klein Memorial Auditiorium.
The GBS capped its season with much of the "monumental" aspects of this opera remaining intact.
One case in point was the Triumphal March. In a fully staged version, the hero Radames enters with the conquering Egyptian army with enormous celebration and sweeping visual spectacle. And although the concert version naturally omits all the staged aspects of this jubilant scene, Maestro Gustav Meier and the GBS nontheless provided their own intense excitement.
The Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, under the direction of its Artistic Director Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell, has established itself as one of the pre-eminent choral ensembles in New England. The Choir will widen its sphere of recognition when the singers perform for The National Pastoral Musicians' Conference in June and engage in a European Concert Tour to Italy in July.
In fact, the outstanding trumpet work of James Ranti and principal Joseph Kaminski was in itself a musical triumph within the march. The entire orchestra, in fact, scored a major victory as "Aida" unfolded.
Was it any wonder that with Meier leading this elite orchestra, that the concert turned into a triumph?
The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut will present Handel's Messiah on Saturday Dec. 18, at 8 p.m. at the Norwalk Concert Hall, 125 East Ave..
One of the most familiar pieces of sacred music ever written, this holiday favorite, complete with its famed Hallelujah Chorus will be performed by two of Fairfield County's most venerable music institutions. The Norwalk Symphony under the direction of Diane Wittry is in its 71st season and the Mendelssohn Choir, under the direction of Carole Ann Maxwell is celebrating its 25 years of choral music.
"Messiah" soloists include the quickly emerging, powerful young soprano Colleen Daly; contralto Kirsten Sollek who was hailed as "...an appealingly rich alto" by The New York Times; smooth-voiced tenor Lawrence Jones ("stylish and clear tenor" Opera News) and Fairfield County resident and longtime professional, bass/baritone Thomas Woodman.
Typically a sold-out event, patrons are urged to purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are available through the symphony box office at (203) 847-8844 or at the concert hall on the night of the performance. Tickets are $30-50 / Students: $10.
The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra is a passionate group of professional musicians serving Norwalk and its neighboring towns, the heart of Fairfield County. Its mission is to provide friends with the opportunity to explore and discover the joys of orchestral music in an informal fashion. For more than 70 years, the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra has been a vital part of the fabric of the communities it serves and continues to enrich audiences' cultural experience through live performances, pre-concert discussions and educational activities for all ages.
Copyright - 2010, Norwalk Citizen
Phyllis A.S. Boros, Staff Writer
In 1984, Dr. Carole Ann Maxwell acceded to the wishes of about a dozen Fairfield University graduates -- who wanted to continue singing beyond college with their former Glee Club conductor -- by establishing a small independent singing group.
That was 25 seasons ago. And that tiny group has blossomed into the 90-member Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, considered among the best chorales in the state.
During economic hard times, when many nonprofit arts groups find themselves on the brink of folding, a silver anniversary of a thriving musical organization is cause for celebration, says Maxwell, the Mendelssohn's Choir's conductor and artistic director.
And celebrate they will with "25th Anniversary: Mendelssohn Magic" Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Norwalk Concert Hall, a concert sponsored in part by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
Among the highlights will be the participation of the brassSALAD Quintet and Percussion as well as the world premiere of "O, Divine Music," a piece by Texas composer Randol Alan Bass. The work, which was specifically commissioned for Saturday's gala concert, "incorporates significant texts from global writers and is woven in a stunningly eloquent, joyous and sophisticated style," according to the concert program.
News & Reviews
From a visitor to our website:
"Your group is wonderful! While looking for samples of the music we are performing in the next couple of weeks, I heard your excerpts on the Geocities "Hear the Choirs Sing" website. I was wondering who arranged the versions of "All the Things You Are" and "Stardust" that you sang so beautifully."