San Diego Opera’s opening night enthusiasm seemed more electric than usual Saturday (Jan. 25) at Civic Theatre when the company opened its 49th season with Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
Promoting a concert that featured two symphony orchestras playing together on the same stage conjured the image of a circus barker luring patrons into a tent to see the bearded lady or a two-headed dog. Fortunately, under the baton of guest conductor Pinchas Zukerman, the combined performance of the San Diego Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra easily provided an unusually powerful, moving account of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor.
Fans of cellist Alisa Weilerstein who have been following her progress over recent seasons of La Jolla SummerFest and last spring’s solo appearance with the touring Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra brought the highest expectations to her joint recital with pianist Inon Barnatan Friday (Jan. 17) at Sherwood Auditorium. Neither musician disappointed our high hopes, and the chemistry between these accomplished young artists produced a evening of inspired and probing performances.
Saturday’s (Jan. 11) soundON Festival concert at the La Jolla Athenaeum featured three new, edgy chamber music compositions juxtaposed with Arnold Schoenberg’s now classic Expressionist gem “Pierrot Lunaire.”
Pro basketball hall of famer Bill Walton may have been the tallest man at San Diego’s Jacobs Music Center – Copley Symphony Hall on Saturday night, but he was not the biggest. Instead, it was legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman who was the evening’s star attraction, dazzling concertgoers young and old, short and (very) tall with the first of two masterful weekend performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61.
Friday’s performance (Jan. 10) by tenor Aaron Sheehan and Musica Pacifica for the San Diego Early Music Society made a winning case for Jean-Phillipe Rameau’s distinctly French Baroque style, complementing this repertory with more familiar pieces by J.S. Bach, G.P. Telemann, and G.F. Handel.