Entreflamenco Company’s year-round performance space on Palace Avenue is a tiny shoebox of a theater where classes are held during the off-season, and chairs and tables are set up for their six-night-a-week summer season. The good news is that such an intimate space lends authenticity to the flamenco experience.
Local dancer Emmy Grimm, known professionally as “La Emi,” has grown up in front of flamenco audiences in Santa Fe. A student of María Benítez’s from age four, she performed with Benítez’s Flamenco’s Next Generation, and then gained further experience with Juan Siddi, Antonio Granjero, and others during summer seasons at The Lodge, among other venues.
Browsing through the entertainment listings in American newspapers from the first half of the 20th century, one is struck by the vast number of performers who made the rounds of movie halls and vaudeville palaces — and by how profoundly forgotten most are today. Among the obscure are singer Felipe Delgado (1899-1940) and pianist Anna Maude Van Hoose (1884-1960).
The theater’s performing space and seating can be configured however suits the production. This time, it is theater-in-the-round, and attendees walk through the “stage” upon entering.
Some 50 intrepid souls braved Fiesta road closings on the afternoon of Sept. 11 and made their way to First Presbyterian Church for the season-opening concert of Serenata of Santa Fe. They were rewarded with an elegantly conceived program well performed. The concert was designed with its date in mind. Though none of the pieces explicitly involved the attacks of 2001, most of them had a memorial cast that supported the event’s title, Shades of Gray.
Things go seriously off track when we encounter the Lazara Quartet, the ensemble that inhabits Michael Hollinger’s play Opus. Its four gentleman musicians, founding members all, sit near the summit of their discipline, with a Grammy award to prove it, but their violist has pushed people’s buttons too many times, and they have felt compelled to cut him loose.
Following the usual speeches, last weekend’s Santa Fe Symphony concert got off to a very slow start with a static rendition of the Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten, written in 1977, the year after Britten’s death, by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The program advised listeners that “there is no form in this music” — an astonishing assertion if not a bona fide impossibility.
The Santa Fe Symphony’s performance last Sunday seemed like two separate concerts: a mediocre one before intermission and a pretty good one after, the halves sharing little in terms of vision or execution. The more successful, post-intermission portion was an agreeable reading of Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8, to which guest conductor Guillermo Figueroa must have devoted most of the rehearsal time.
One cannot escape feeling that every note, rest, bow stroke, breath, and phrase has been poked, prodded, worried about, argued over, and not yet put to rest — without sacrificing the sense of spontaneity in performance. The group imposes its strong personality on the music.
As much as certain performers help define the group’s distinctive timbre, Chanticleer is really about ensemble singing, even if individuals occasionally emerge for solo turns. Although there exists a rich trove of music crafted for standard men’s choir of tenors and basses, for the most part it is not Chanticleer’s repertoire.
McAdams, a contender in the soon-to-conclude search for the Santa Fe Symphony’s new principal conductor, returned on Sunday, Jan. 17, for another test drive. His initial appearance, last April, apparently impressed the decision makers a good deal — as it did me — since he will be back for still another pair of adjudicatory concerts in May, given over to works by Beethoven.
For her sixth album, The Trackless Woods (2015), Iris DeMent set poems by the late Russian writer Anna Akhmatova to the same haunting yet rollicking country-gospel-inspired music she’s become known for since the release of Infamous Angel in 1992.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Musical Offering is the most arcane brainteaser that issued from the pen of music’s supreme puzzle master. Here we find the composer, three years from the end of his life, discovering the makings of two extended fugues, 10 canons, and a full four-movement trio sonata of surpassing sonic luxury.
Between the cars and the crowds heading away from the Plaza tree lighting and those destined for the Lensic Performing Arts Center for Circus Luminous, on the night after Thanksgiving, downtown was bustling like any big city.
Since the notated repertoire of medieval music tends toward shortish pieces, at least apart from plainchant, it is hard to assemble it into effective full-length concert programs. But the performance at San Miguel Chapel on Nov. 19 showed that it can be done, and masterfully.
Stars of American Ballet is a showcase that Daniel Ulbricht, a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, has been bringing to Santa Fe for the last five years. It features a changing cast of actual stars from NYCB, as well as dancers from other companies and often a few corps de ballet members to fill out the ranks.
As molded by Joshua Habermann, the group’s music director since 2009, its general aesthetic straddles the realms of the church choir and the collegiate chorus, though, if the latter, probably at a school with a well-regarded music program and an active religious affiliation. In fact, the Desert Chorale takes pains to emphasize its para-ecclesiastical nature.
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival sidled into its 43rd season earlier this week with two go-rounds of a very long program that rewarded listeners who sat it out to the end. Again this year I cannot explain why the festival delights in opening its season with a negligible work.
The new production of Richard Strauss’ Salome unveiled by Santa Fe Opera on Saturday affords as fine an evening of musical drama as the company’s audience can hope for.
In its recital at St. Francis Auditorium on April 16, the Takács Quartet justified its reputation as one of the world’s preeminent chamber ensembles through a magisterial performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet in F major (Op. 59, No. 1), which occupied the second half of the program.
Ryan McAdams, the latest up-and-comer to ascend the Santa Fe Symphony’s podium in a bid to be named the group’s principal conductor, scored a success when he led the orchestra in a concert of Dvorák, Sibelius, and Brahms at the Lensic Performing Arts Center last Sunday afternoon.
This modern “tribute band” opened its concert last Sunday at the Lensic with selections from Les Boréades by Jean-Philippe Rameau, the final opera of the composer most associated with the last of those kings.
Santa Fe part-time resident Susan Graham touched down in town on March 12 following a whirlwind concert tour in California, where she picked up a cold as a souvenir.
The draw at last weekend’s concerts of the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra, conducted by Thomas O’Connor, was Schumann’s Violin Concerto, in which the solo part was entrusted to the violinist Midori. It was one of the last works Schumann wrote prior to being committed to an insane asylum in early 1854.
With the Szymanowski Quartet things are not “same old, same old.” Of the four works that figured on the group’s Feb. 8 recital at St. Francis Auditorium, sponsored by Santa Fe Pro Musica, only the last, Dvorák’s Quartet in A-flat Major (Op. 105), aligned with mainstream expectations when it came to interpretation.
In the realm of classical music, Classical music with a capital C — denoting compositions from the second half of the 18th century — sets a standard when it comes to rhetorical logic and balanced discourse. Much of it is technically unencumbered when compared to the virtuosic demands of ensuing centuries, but it makes its own unforgiving demands involving elegant lines and exposed textures.
Music of festivity opened and closed Santa Fe Pro Musica’s last program of the recently departed year. Thomas O’Connor began by conducting the Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra in Georg Philipp Telemann’s Water Music. Although it is in no way the equal of George Frideric Handel’s similarly named compilation, Telemann’s orchestral suite is nonetheless a work of considerable allure, an above-average achievement from a composer whose very name betokens the pedestrian in music.
The Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble presented a concert titled Songs of Peace as an optimistic Christmas offering. Its 13 members are not vocal professionals, but director Linda Raney has cultivated them beyond the level a listener would anticipate of an amateur group.
The a cappella women’s quartet Anonymous 4 has been weaving its spells since 1986, and it has decided that 30 years is going to be enough. Its final CD, a collection of Civil War-era popular songs performed in tandem with folk musician Bruce Molsky, is to be released this January.
Since it opened in London in 1997, the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe has explored Shakespeare’s plays through the prism of the performance practices of his day in a theater of Elizabethan design.
Composer Franco Faccio unveiled his opera Amleto (Hamlet) in 1865 to lukewarm listeners in Genoa, and in 1871 he revised it for another go in Milan, where it did not survive beyond its opening night. The rest was silence … until last Sunday afternoon, when this long-forgotten work received an enthusiastic staging, its first in 143 years.
Much was at stake when the Fusion Theatre Company took to the stage of the Lensic Performing Arts Center last Saturday with John Patrick Shanley’s ingratiating comedy Outside Mullingar.
The Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra opened its season in a stentorian mood last weekend when Thomas O’Connor conducted two Beethoven works in C minor, the master’s most blustery key. The Santa Fe Symphony opened its season a week earlier, on Sept. 14. On the podium was Kevin Rhodes, auditioning to be the group’s next principal conductor.
A good deal of Baroque music figured on the programs of Music from Angel Fire this season, including an evening of Bach concertos, one of Vivaldi concertos, and yet another dubbed Barocco italiano. Presented at the Taos Center for the Arts on Aug. 27, the Italian Baroque sampler assembled five works from as many composers of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Performance Santa Fe has found a winning formula in its Festival of Song series, a sequence of afternoon performances, presented in partnership with Santa Fe Opera, in which singers starring at the Opera are invited to show off a different side of their artistry through an hour or so of art songs.
Jack DeJohnette has maintained a reputation of inventiveness for half a century, a fact pointed out by poet and former National Endowment for the Arts deputy chairman A.B. Spellman when he introduced the drummer-composer-bandleader to a sold-out crowd on Saturday, July 26, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
We may all think we’re good people, but we’re probably not, is the takeaway from this production, a collaboration between Ironweed Productions and Santa Fe Playhouse. It’s a play about delusion, about how we think of ourselves despite our actions.
Santa Fe Pro Music Baroque Ensemble offered an evening of well-crafted delights in the latest installment of its annual Baroque Holy Week music-making.
Steven Smith served as music director of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from 1999 through the end of last season and then slipped away quietly without the sort of salute one would have expected after 14 years in such a high-profile position. It finally arrived this past Sunday in the form of a musical celebration.
Vadym Kholodenko is the kind of pianist who gives Brahms a bad name. In his recital on April 1 at St. Francis Auditorium in the New Mexico Museum of Art, he played into the composer’s worst instincts, allowing the master to ramble on with the unmitigated gravity that inspired even the depressive composer Hugo Wolf to assert, “Er kann nicht jubeln” — “He is unable to rejoice.”
That a 10-person dance troupe based in two small cities has the ability to attract and pay up-and-coming and established European and American choreographers is a testament to the directors, Tom Mossbrucker and Jean-Philippe Malaty, whose taste in dancers as well as choreographers is a brilliant balance between practicality (budget and scale) and vision.
Much of what the lead character in Sharr White's "The Other Place" perceives is delusional, but Fusion Theatre Company director Shepard Sobel allows the drama to be disclosed without becoming mired in confusion. Doubt is the subject, but the doubt is demarcated with clarity, and the presentation keeps the viewer engaged. Jacqueline Reid portrayed the central role with brutal forthrightness.
Each play may run not more than 15 minutes and is to involve a small cast, two or three characters being the norm. Each needs to fit into a set that consists of exactly one park bench (hence the series’ moniker), with the playwright supplying any requisite props or unusual costumes beyond that.
The program the Santa Fe Symphony presented last Sunday at the Lensic Performing Arts Center was titled In Honor of Lincoln, but that proved to be a metonym for the concert’s real topic, which was cultural diversity in American symphonic music.
Two works of surpassing loveliness occupied the first half of Santa Fe Pro Musica Orchestra’s program on Jan. 25 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Ralph Vaughan Williams drew the melody of his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis from a third-mode hymn Tallis had published in a 1567 collection of psalm settings.
This season and next, the Santa Fe Symphony is hosting a succession of guest conductors as it considers who will occupy its open position of principal conductor. On Sunday, all eyes were on James Feddeck, whose primary affiliations have been as assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra (2009 to 2013) and, for the two years before that, of the Memphis Symphony. He audaciously chose to program the Symphony No. 4 of Anton Bruckner, a massive work that makes considerable demands on the players and their conductor.
Johann Melchior Molter’s charming Concerto pastorale set the 18th-century tone right from the outset of Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble’s annual A Baroque Christmas offering at the Loretto Chapel, heard on Dec. 20, in the second of the program’s 10 go-rounds.
When I opened my program book for the Winter Festival of Song concert by the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble (at First Presbyterian Church) I saw that we were to be treated to … yes, a glockenspiel solo. When its moment arrived, percussionist Angela Gabriel Goulden informed the audience that, in all her years as a percussion soloist, she had never before been invited to play an unaccompanied glockenspiel solo.
Four musicians much respected in early music circles joined forces for a recital of Baroque Christmas music at St. John’s College on Dec. 6: soprano Ellen Hargis, violinist Carla Moore, violist da gamba John Dornenburg, and harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree.
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