Although the mandolin as a featured solo instrument is not one that symphony audiences regularly encounter, young mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital offered splendid concertos by J. S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi with the San Diego Symphony last weekend.
With collaboration from Bodhi Tree Concerts and Sacra/Profana, San Diego Opera opened a powerful new production of Peter Rothstein’s choral opera “All Is Calm” Friday (December 7) at the Balboa Theatre.
At UC San Diego, Luciano Berio’s now classic avant-garde “Circles” from 1960 was magnificently performed on Thursday, November 29, 2018, in the university’s Experimental Theater at the Conrad Prebys Music Center.
With the San Diego Symphony’s dazzling performance of Antonín Dvořák’s Sixth Symphony at Friday’s concert, Dvořák lovers in Copley Symphony Hall were no doubt left swooning. Guest conductor Johannes Debus led an exuberant yet skillfully shaped account of the composer’s one mature symphony that stubbornly remains in the shadow of his mighty Eighth Symphony and beloved Ninth—the “New World.”
This year, with many other musical organizations across the continent, the San Diego Symphony has observed the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. But choral director Ruben Valenzuela has chosen 2018 to bring attention to the music of another composer, the Anglo-Canadian Healey Willan, who died 50 years ago, with his Willan West 2018 festival, which ended Saturday, November 17, 2018, with a liturgical celebration at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Hillcrest.
Continuing the San Diego Symphony’s laudable Leonard Bernstein year-long centennial salute, guest conductor Steven Sloane and the orchestra offered a rousing account of Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety,” Friday, November 16, at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall.