The Festival portion of the 2016 American Bach Soloists (ABS) Festival & Academy gets under way tonight with a performance at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of music by George Frideric Handel and Antonio Vivaldi that is already sold out. The thematic title of this year’s program is An Italian Journey. To supplement the performances, ABS will present a free three-part colloquium providing background information for the concerts being presented. The colloquium will be led by William Burger, who provides the commentary for the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts provided by Sirius/XM satellite radio. Burger will be joined by members of the Academy faculty to supplement the content with musical examples.
The entire colloquium will take place this Saturday afternoon (August 6) and will be divided into three sessions as follows:
Session I, 2:30 p.m.–3:15 p.m., The Grand Tour of Italy: Berger will provide an in-depth exploration of major historical figures that left extensive documentation of their visits to Italy, including Charles Burney, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and E. M. Forster.
Session II, 3:30 p.m.–4:15 p.m., Corelli and his Legacy: Arcangelo Corelli’s music and its impact will be investigated through a performance-demonstration that will feature violinists Elizabeth Blumenstock and Robert Mealy, cellists William Skeen and Kenneth Slowik, and continuo provided by Steven Lehning on violone and Corey Jamason on harpsichord.
Session III, 4:30 p.m.–5:15 p.m., The Craze of Italian Opera: Handel traveled to Italy to learn about opera. What motivated him to make the trip, and what did he learn there? Berger will discuss this issue with support from mezzo Judith Malafronte, baritone William Sharp, and bass-baritone Max van Egmond. ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas will also contribute to this final session.
The colloquium will be held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which is located at 50 Oak Street. This is between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street on the north side of the street. It is a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Once again, there will be no charge for admission; and all are invited to attend.