GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 28, 2012

Two free holiday shows on tap in Rockport

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Celebrate the holiday season with Rockport Music, which is hosting two free family concerts as well as hard-swinging jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn,” and an afternoon at the Met Opera all at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

Experience the unique interpretation of “A Christmas Carol” by the Firebird Ensemble on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. (Please note date has changed from Thursday, Dec. 6). The Firebird Ensemble has been described as “ambitious and eclectic” by the New York Times and has earned a reputation as one of the premier new music ensembles in the United States. Known for its virtuosic performances and wide audience appeal, Firebird Ensemble’s musical interpretations are drawn from diverse sources and genres. This concert is free to the public; no tickets required.

Led by jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio performs Sunday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. a special holiday program of jazz and holiday favorites. Cyrus’ hard swinging, soulful interpretations set him apart from many musicians today. A graduate of Berklee School of Music, Chestnut has worked with Wynton Marsalis, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, and the legendary Betty Carter, as well such artists as Vanessa Williams, Kathleen Battle, Bette Midler and Isaac Hayes. Chestnut is known for blending gospel, blues, and the tones of Jelly Roll Morton’s ragtime and early jazz. Time Magazine wrote: “what makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.” Tickets are $18 to $32.

The New England Ringers will perform classical and holiday favorites Sunday, Dec. 16, at 5 p.m. This 15-member energetic ensemble plays advanced handbell works with a blend of musical moods and styles—from classical transcriptions, familiar favorites, and original compositions, all with a touch of entertaining humor. Tickets are $15 to $28.

On Monday, Dec. 17, at 4:30 and 8 p.m., “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” returns to Rockport Music. The holiday shows may be sold out but check the website for any openings.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. (Please note the date has changed from Dec. 15), Rockport Music will host the annual Holiday Community Sing featuring Rockport High School Madrigal Singers led by Patti Pike and host Bill Hausman. This concert follows the Rockport Christmas Pageant held earlier the same day. It is free to the public; no tickets required.

The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD is broadcast directly from New York with behind-the-scenes interviews and a “front row” perspective of the opera. Tickets are for reserved seating and range from $20 to $32.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Met Opera Live in HD presents Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” with Giuseppe Filianot as the title character, a Roman emperor, and Barbara Frittoli as the vengeful Vitellia, daughter of the deposed ruler.

Saturday, Dec. 8, features Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera,” a story of jealousy and vengeance starring Sondra Radvanovsky as Amelia, Marcelo Álvarez as Gustavo Ill, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as Anckarström.

Dec. 15 features Verdi’s “Aida” with Liudmyla Monastyrska as the enslaved Ethiopian princess and Olga Borodina sings her royal rival Amneris.

For tickets and more information, visit www.rockportmusic.org. Tickets are also are available through the box office at 978-546-7391.