The Ars Nova Musicians and director Marylouise Nanna are warming up for a sparkling new season of Viva Vivaldi, the annual baroque-and-beyond festival held in the city’s sacred spaces. The first of the four concerts is Sunday.
This year’s concerts see a greater spotlight on Vicarious Visionaries – festival lingo for other composers besides Vivaldi, composers who presumably shared the vision of the red-headed Italian priest.
Sunday, when the first concert takes place at Blessed Sacrament Church, the eminent pianist Claudia Hoca is the soloist in a Mozart piano concerto. The festival also explores the music of Francesco Durante and Leonardo Leo, two masters of the Neapolitan school.
On Nov. 11, a performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem has special significance, Nanna says.
“It’s Veterans Day weekend, and the piece will be performed in memory of veterans, and of Dorothy Smith, very instrumental in Ars Nova life, as well as Bernard Fleshler, Frank Primerano and Matthew Tworek,” she explains, naming three recently deceased musicians who were members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Requiem will be sung by the members of the Buffalo Choral Arts Society, directed by Marcia Giambrone. The soloists will be promising young baritone Julian Cook as well as teenage soprano sensation Emily Helenbrook, the granddaughter of the late Tworek. Another featured soloist this season is Megan Prokes, the Philharmonic’s newest violinist. She plays a Vivaldi concerto Nov. 18. The final concert, Nov. 25, features the Vocalis Chamber Choir.
As always, the highlights of Viva Vivaldi are many, and choosing just one concert can be a challenge.
Here is the schedule for Viva Vivaldi 2012. All performances start at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday at Blessed Sacrament Church (1035 Delaware Ave.): Claudia Hoca performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 in A, K. 414. Oboists Paul Schlossman and Christine Ford and violinist Diana Sachs are featured in Vivaldi concertos. Master Matthew Cone, young violinist, performs a Largo by Francesco Maria Veracini, another Vicarious Visionary.
Nov. 11 at St. Joseph University Church (3269 Main St.): Emily Helenbrook and Julian Cook are the soloists in Faure’s Requiem, which also features the Buffalo Choral Arts Society. Helenbrook also sings Vivaldi’s motet “Vos Aure” in honor of St. Anthony. Drew Cone is the cellist in a concerto by Girolamo Frescobaldi, and the evening also includes concertos by Francesco Durante and Vivaldi.
Nov. 18 at St. Katharine Drexel Church (135 N. Ogden St.): Violinist Megan Prokes is the soloist in a Vivaldi concerto. Young cellist Talia Mekinulov plays a Romance by 19th century Vicarious Visionary George Goltermann. Other Vivaldi concertos feature oboist Schlossman and the Buffalo Suzuki Strings, directed by Mary Cay Neal.
Nov. 25: At First Presbyterian Church (1 Symphony Circle): The Vocalis Chamber Choir, directed by James Burritt, sings sacred music by Vivaldi, and pianist Joseph Mohan plays a concerto by Johann Christian Bach, J.S. Bach’s Catholic son. David Schmude is the cello soloist in a concerto by Leonardo Leo, and BPO Principal Flutist Christine Bailey Davis plays a flute concerto by Vivaldi.