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Annapolis Chorale Schedule Includes Masterworks, 'Encounters'

August 09, 2009|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Annapolis Chorale's 2009-2010 season will feature masterworks, Broadway classics, "Noteworthy Encounters" to discover what is behind two classics and the annual Christmas concerts, plus three "Messiah" performances.

This is the 37th season and the second under Live Arts Maryland, the chorale's presenting and producing arm. The county's largest performance group has grown to the 180-voice Annapolis Chorale, the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, the 25-member Annapolis Chamber Chorus, the Annapolis Youth Chorus and a group of superb soloists that includes baritone Shouvik Mondle, soprano Fatinah Tilfah, soprano Carolene Winter and tenor Tom Magette.

First on the schedule is the chorale's popular "Broadway in Annapolis" series, Oct. 9 and 10, in a production of "Man of La Mancha" - Dale Wasserman's musical retelling of Cervantes' "Don Quixote." Music director J. Ernest Green describes this show as "a beautiful music dialogue, a unique show with an incredible message of hope through adversity. Its 'Dulcinea' and 'Impossible Dream' reinforce the message that in the most trying times, beauty and hope are there." Mondle will play the title role.

The spring "Broadway in Annapolis" presentation is "Oklahoma!," which Green calls "another hallmark of American musical theater that I've wanted to do for a long time." The production will include the Dream Sequence ballet by Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

The first classics program, "Musical Fireworks," is set for Nov. 13 and 14 and will feature the full Annapolis Chorale, the chamber chorus and the chamber orchestra.

"In 'Musical Fireworks' the idea is to present larger-than-life pieces," Green said. "The most famous, Handel's 'Royal Fireworks,' sets the tone for these explosive works. Dvorak's 'Te Deum' will feature timpani, and winds answering each other, jubilantly full of flourishes.

"The audience will get a chance to hear two of opera's grandest choruses as chorale members do - surrounded by singers and musicians," he said. "Works like 'Te Deum' from 'Tosca' and 'Regina Coeli' from 'Cavalleria Rusticana' will feature orchestra and chorus members offstage answering others on stage." The concert will end with John Rutter's "Gloria."

The classics program continues March 26 and 27 when the chamber orchestra and chamber chorus perform J.S. Bach's "St. Matthew Passion." This work is rarely heard in live performance and will feature two choruses and two orchestras with soloists.

Third in the classics series is Haydn's " 'The Creation' (in the 21st Century)" on April 23 and 24, when a multimedia presentation of National Geographic and NASA images will lend a modern touch to Haydn's 200-year-old masterpiece, featuring the full Annapolis Chorale and chamber orchestra.

Green will explore uncharted musical territory with "Noteworthy Encounters," in which a limited audience of about 100 will discover what makes certain music great. The first concert, "Brahms' Requiem Revisited," will be Oct. 24 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church.

"The goal is to stretch boundaries of the concert hall," Green said. "Who says we can't have something as dynamic and as exciting as movies? One thing we can do is share, because our organization is not constrained. Audiences will get a chance to hear Brahms in a new way."

At St. Anne's Parish House on May 7 and 8 will be "Carmina Burana Undressed," which will reveal its secrets so audiences can discover what is behind this work's scandalous reputation.

"We'll use only a piano and chorus and everyone will be sitting in the middle of the music," Green said. "These concerts will take only about an hour and 15 minutes. This is my way of sharing what I love about both pieces - it's letting me share my world with you."

Across the musical spectrum - from great classical choral and operatic works to Broadway hallmarks, holiday concerts and new explorations - Green will communicate what the music dictates, revealing the richness of grand opera choruses and capturing the sparkle of Broadway musicals. As in past performances, the music director will concentrate on the essentials of creating beautiful sound in grand opera and show tunes with minimal distraction from sets and props.

If you go

Subscriptions are available for the Annapolis Chorale's full season. A variety of custom packages for three or four concerts or single tickets can be ordered. Call 410-263-1906 or go to annapolischorale.org for information or to order tickets.

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