, Gloucester, MA


June 13, 2013

Chamber Fest salutes Wagner, Verdi's 200th

Rockport Chamber Fest pays homage to Wagner, Verdi 200ths

The second weekend of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival will pay homage to two of the great composers — Wagner and Verdi — in marking each’s 200th birthday year.

Tonight, at 8 p.m., Rockport Music presents Wagner at 200 (and Bruckner at 189).

Primarily known for his operas, the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth marks the enduring influence his work has had on the development of classical music.

His “Tristan und Isolde” is often described as the start of modern music. His “Wesendonck Lieder” was inspired by Mathilde Wesendonck who provided the poetry for the five songs, two of which Wagner subtitled as “studies for Tristan und Isolde.”

The program features outstanding young musicians, including highly-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell, who was recently hailed as “… a radiant mezzo-soprano” by the New York Times and is a 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition First Prize Winner. In this program, she performs Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.

Other works in the program include Wagner’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in A-flat major and Anton Bruckner’s String Quintet in F major. Bruckner was an Austrian composer (1824-1896).

Then on Friday at 8 p.m., the Rockport Chamber Music Fest — now in its 32nd year — celebrates the 200th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth with a performance of his string quartet and Lady Macbeth’s Sleepwalking Aria from his opera “Macbeth.”

Mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell received rave reviews for her performance of this aria during her leading role in Master Class, opposite Tyne Daly. She also will perform three additional Verdi songs: La seduzione, Stornello, and Brindisi.

The program includes Vittorio Giannini’s Quintet for Piano and Strings, and is preceded by a lecture at 7 p.m.

The festival continues Saturday at 8 p.m., with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and pianist Anton Nel performing a program including Mozart’s Sonata in F major, K. 377, Arvo Part’s Spiegel im Speigel, Ravel’s Sonata No. 2 in G major, as well as works by Piazzolla and de Falla.

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