Second Thoughts

Second Thoughts
By Henry C. Mayer

A Festival of Sonic Wonder

This concert by Russia's premiere men's a cappella choir (w/o accompaniment) promises to be a many-splendored adventure for the inner ear. Maestro Alexander Sedov brings us a striking example of his talents in providing musical leadership and arrangements.

John Chrysostom (golden tongued) was one of the fearless advocates for the freedom of conscience and expression. He has been honored by both the Western and Eastern Churches.

This liturgy by Sergei Rochmaninov, who is perhaps better known as a concert pianist and for his secular compositions, can introduce listeners to the spirit which animates much of what is most sublime in the Russian culture. These number are the premier performances of the arrangements by the Chorus' Director.

The second half of the program is rich in diversity. It includes some numbers by both Russian and Western composers. It is unlikely that any of the audience will have heard the Russian pieces before. Pay special heed to the ballad by Borodin; his work blends the influences of both Orient and West. These numbers will include some striking solos. This part of the program also features numbers by Franz Schubert and Camille Saint-Saens.

In all, two unforgettable evenings; the Orchestra will play at 8 p.m. on March 3 at the Brown; the Chorus will be on stage at the Bomhard also beginning at 8 p. m. on March 10.

Intrigued? Interested?? Then call 502 584-7777!!

Romeo and Juliet

If you have enjoyed "Faust," then you will relish "Romeo and Juliet" - it has some unforgettable romantic music, also by Charles Gounod!

Opinions are divided about its merits but not in France. The librettists, Barbiere and Carre, are the ones who collaborated with Gounod to produce "Faust." In this production, they follow Shakespeare's text closely but not slavishly.

One might find it useful to recall that there are three main schools of operatic composition. Italian came first, just before the 17th century dawned. French composers came next. The 17th century was one of the most creative for French genius, so perhaps it should rank first. German opera only developed during the concluding decade of the 18th century with Mozart's "Magic Flute."

It may be of interest to recall that "Faust" was originally a German drama by Johann Goethe, whose genius paralleled that of Shakespeare. Several other works of his pen found their way into French opera houses. Ambrose Thomas' "Mignon" and Jules Massanet's "Sorrows of Werther" are the best known and most frequently played. (The Met revived "Werther" this season.)

Shakespeare's tragic romance gave rise to several other musical presentations including those by Tschaikowsky and Prokofiev.

There was one earlier presentation by Kentucky Opera. so it is well to have another if only to recognize the varied genius of Gounod. Grove's Dictionary can provide an acute awareness of his many-sided talent in this matter, this writer once saw and heard his overture to "Merielle" as interpreted by Eugene Goosens and the Cincinnati Symphony.

It is a remarkably beautiful piece. "Romeo and Juliet" was premiered 132 years ago. Its beauty is well worth your presence and careful listening. Come and find that out for yourself that Mark Flint knows how to interpret Gounod.

Kentucky Opera will offer three enlightening "Lunch and Listen" programs that can enhance your delight in this masterpiece.

For more info and reservations, call 584-4500.