Nicholas McGegan on the PBO podium (from the PBO Web site)
Subscription tickets are still on sale for the 38th season of concerts given by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO) & Chorale. Once again, the season will consist of six “sets,” each of which will be given a performance in San Francisco. Also, as was the case last season, programming will extend the usual repertoire of the “distant past” by devoting one of the “sets” to much more recent music. Finally, all performances will again take place on Friday evenings at Herbst Theatre, located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Specifics are as follows:
October 5, 8 p.m.: The season will begin with a program consisting entirely of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart entitled Mozart Magnified: Magnificence in the Meticulous Detail. It will be devoted entirely to sacred works, the most familiar of which will probably be the K. 165 motet “Exultate, jubilate.” This will be preceded by the K, 195 “Litaniae Lauretanae;” and the second half of the program will be devoted entirely to the K. 317 “Coronation” Mass setting in C major. The Philharmonia Chorale (Bruce Lamott, Director) will perform with PBO led by Waverley Fund Music Director Nicholas McGegan. Vocal soloists will be soprano Camille Ortiz, mezzo Meg Bragle, tenor James Reese, and bass-baritone Dashon Burton.
November 9, 8 p.m.: The title of the second set will be Vivaldi the Teacher: When Reigning and Rising Stars Align. The program will consist primarily of six concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, each for a different combination of instruments. (Only one will be for a solo instrument.) The program will begin with the seventh, in D major, of the twelve Opus 6 concerti grossi by Arcangelo Corelli. The final selection will be a Corelli transcription, Francesco Geminiani’s concerto grosso arrangement of the last of the twelve violin sonatas in Corelli’s Opus 5, a set of variations on the “Folia” theme. McGegan will conduct; and the featured soloists will be violinists Elizabeth Blumenstock and Alana Youssefian, cellists Phoebe Carrai and Keiran Campbell, and oboists Gonzalo X. Ruiz and David Dickey.
December 7, 8 p.m.: Patrick Dupré Quigley, Founder and Artistic Director of Seraphic Fire, will be the guest conductor. Consistent with his background, he has prepared a program entitled Philharmonic Fire, whose offerings will be sacred and secular vocal music. The earliest work will be Claudio Monteverdi’s second setting of “Confitebor tibi Domine” (Psalm 111) from his Selva morale e spirituale collection. The program will also include two Bach cantatas, BWV 61 and BWV 140, as well as Vivaldi’s RV 608 motet setting “Nisi Dominus.” The secular offering will be Henry Purcell’s music composed for the second scene of the third act of John Dryden’s King Arthur. Vocal soloists will be soprano Margot Rood, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Steven Soph, and baritone Steven Eddy.
February 8, 8 p.m.: Viennese Pivot: Classicism at the Crossroads will be the annual program that McGegan prepares that ventures into the nineteenth century. The second half will be devoted entirely to Franz Schubert’s D. 589 (sixth) symphony in C major. The “path” to this symphony, so to speak, will be established during the first half of the program, beginning with Mozart’s overture for his K. 492 opera The Marriage of Figaro, which will be followed by a violin concerto by Franz Clement that inspired Beethoven to compose his (now) well-known Opus 61 violin concerto in D major. The violin soloist will be Rachel Barton Pine.
March 8, 8 p.m.: Mezzo Anne Sofie von Otter will be the featured guest artist, and she will be joined by countertenor Daniel Moody. This will also be a program that contrasts styles from different ages, beginning with arias and duets by George Frideric Handel, which will be followed by selected works by Arvo Pärt and Caroline Shaw. The program will be framed by instrumental music by Handel and Purcell.
April 12, 7 p.m.: This season’s Handel oratorio offering will be the HWV 53 Saul. Lamott will return with the Philharmonia Chorale. The vocal soloists will be soprano Sherezade Panthaki (Michal), soprano Yulia Van Doren (Merab), countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (David), tenor Aaron Sheehan (Jonathan), and baritone Daniel Okulitch (Saul). Note that, due to the length of the oratorio, the performance will begin one hour earlier than all of the preceding concerts.
As was the case last season, there are a variety of subscription options for those not wishing to attend all six of these concerts. Once again there is a single Subscription Packages Web page of the PBO Web site that provides all of the details and the necessary hyperlinks for online purchase. In addition single tickets are now on sale. Those tickets may again be ordered through City Box Office, and a Web page has been created with hyperlinks to the City Box Office Web pages for each of the concerts. Further information may be obtained by calling Patron Services at 415-295-1900, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition, three PBO SESSIONS events have been planned for the coming season, two of which will take place in San Francisco, each at a different venue. The San Francisco events have been planned in conjunction with the Vivaldi program in November and the Handel oratorio in April. Both events will begin at 8 p.m. and are expected to last about 90 minutes. Seating will be general admission, and all tickets will be $25. Complementary wine will be served and the end of the evening. This season PBO is handling its own ticketing, and hyperlinks for online purchase may be found on the PBO SESSIONS Web page. Those who wish further information may call 415-392-4400. Specifics for the two events are as follows:
Thursday, November 8, ODC Theater: The Vivaldi program will be supplemented with a discussion-performance on the rising popularity of historically-informed performance. PBO Executive Director Courtney Beck will discuss this phenomenon with Ben Sosland, Director of the Historical Performance program at the Juilliard School. Music by Vivaldi, Handel, and Geminiani will be performed by both PBO musicians and recent Juilliard graduates. The ODC Theatre is located at 3153 17th Street on the northwest corner of Shotwell Street.
Tuesday, April 9, Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM): Most of Handel’s oratorios are based on Biblical texts, and many of them involve settings of the texts themselves. McGegan will bring a star-studded cast to conjure the personalities of the heroes and villains that figure prominently in these sacred narratives.The CJM is located in SoMa at 736 Mission Street, just north of Yerba Buena Gardens.