Five Classical Music Events to Check Out This Week

The Collegium Musicum Oberliniense, an Oberlin College-wide chorus that sings masterworks of (mostly) Renaissance music under the direction of Steven Plank, repeats last weekend’s on-campus programs of English music on the Wednesday Noon Brownbag Concert Series at Trinity Cathedral on May 6 at 12:15. “Musica Anglicana” features sacred music from the golden age of English polyphony by John Tavener, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, and John Sheppard, plus two 20th century classics: Gustav Holst’s Ave Maria and William H. Harris’s glorious double-chorus motet, Faire is the heaven, to words by Edmund Spenser (Harris provided music for the royal family during his tenure at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor). The concert is free. Bring your own lunch or buy one on the spot for $5. Never been to Trinity? Here’s an opportunity to enjoy the perfect match of architecture (15th-century Gothic) and music.

Several 19th century composers — Schumann, Liszt, and Mahler, to name a few — took on musical versions the über-Romantic tale of Faust as told by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his 1808 “tragic play”. One of the best is Hector Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust, a “dramatic legend” that’s usually performed in concert, though several opera companies have tried to stage it (most notably The Met, in a 2008 production by Robert Lepage that employed interactive computer technology in anticipation of Lepage’s staging of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.) The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus will give three performances of the Berlioz version at Severance Hall, on Thursday, May 7 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 9 at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 pm under the direction of Swiss-born conductor Charles Dutoit, who led the Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal from 1977 to 2002. Faust will sell his soul to the Devil with the help of mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, tenor Paul Groves, bass Willard White, and baritone Christopher Feigum. Tickets here.

Cleveland Opera Theater, the company formerly known as Opera Per Tutti, will celebrate its rebranding this weekend with two fully-staged performances of Puccini’s Tosca at the Cleveland Performing Arts Center (formerly known as the Masonic Auditorium) on Friday, May 8 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 10 at 3:00 pm. Scott Skiba directs and Domenico Boyagian conducts. The cast includes Andrea Anelli as Floria Tosca, Timothy Culver as Mario Cavaradossi, Brian Keith Johnson as Barone Scarpia (boo, hiss!), Robert Pierce as Cesare Angelotti, Benjamin Czarnota as the Sacristan, and a children’s chorus specially organized for the occasion. Tickets here.

FiveOne Experimental Orchestra (a.k.a. 51XO) will try out music the ensemble is thinking of including on a forthcoming CD during their concert at Bop Stop on Friday, May 8 at 9:00 pm. The playlist will include the premiere of Michael Bratt’s Atari Punk, as well as works by Jeremy Allen, John HC Thompson, David Crowell, Michael Laurello, and Ted Hearne. No admission charge for this show and drinks and small plates will be on sale.

BlueWater Chamber Orchestra will showcase its principal bassoon, Oberlin professor George Sakakeeny, and its principal horn, Ken Wadenpfuhl in a 75-minute, intermissionless concert at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 pm. The winner of this year’s Iron Composer Contest, Jason Thorpe Buchanan, will be represented by a performance of his de/ter| |ior.ation, Paul Dukas’s Villanelle will feature Wadenpfuhl as soloist, and Sakakeeny will star in Libby Larsen’s full moon in the city. (Larsen describes the piece as “a stroll for bassoon and strings… an after-hours walk in the club district of an unnamed city…The sound of the music borders on jazz but is not jazz—rather it is a noire portrait of echoes of late night music, the kind of music that evokes party fatigue and staying up all night”. Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 competes the program. Tickets available online.

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