Following the success of Sacra/Profana Artistic Director Juan Carlos Acosta choral direction of San Diego Opera’s “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914,” the San Diego choral director returned with the Sacra/Profana chorus in a fine concert last weekend that smartly exceeded the expectations of traditional holiday programming.
Ruben Valenzuela’s Bach Collegium San Diego gave an electric performance of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Friday (December 14) in the capacious sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of San Diego. Sung in German by a strong 19 member chorus, accompanied by a fleet 25-piece period instrument ensemble, and guided by Artistic Director Valenzuela’s acute sense of Baroque period performance practice, this concert brought the audience amazingly close to Bach’s musical world.
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.”