by Michael Caruso
For the third Wednesday evening in a row, the powers-that-be that determine the weather smiled on Chestnut Hill’s Pastorius Park and the organizers of this summer’s series of outdoor concerts. They held back the rains and allowed Ali Wadsworth and Satellite Hearts to entertain local music lovers. Although the audience was smaller than the one that heard Hot Club of Philadelphia and The Lawsuits June 17 and 24, respectively, a good-sized crowd was on hand to cheer on the musicians.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the concerts of both Hot Club and The Lawsuits, I wasn’t much impressed by Wadsworth’s singing last Wednesday evening. I found the tone of her voice to be grating and monotonous, edgy even when she was singing a slower ballad whose words were anything but, unvaried in coloration regardless of the dynamic level or the tempo. I was lulled nearly into oblivion by the meager and repetitive harmonic progressions characterizing many of the songs she and the band performed, both original numbers and cover selections. I was troubled by how loud the music making was, even out-of-doors and at a considerable distance. Most of all, I wasn’t impressed by her ability — or inability, really — to interact with the crowd. She sang “at” her public as much as she sang “for” it.
The Choir of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) will make two stops in our area on its American tour. The first is set for Thursday, July 9, 8 p.m., in the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House, 20 East Mermaid Lane; the second is scheduled for Friday, July 10, 8 p.m., in the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City. Admission is free, but an offering will be taken. The Cathedral Basilica’s parking lot is free and will be open for the concert.
Music director David Skinner will conduct the choir in a program of works by Byrd, Palestrina, Gabrieli, Croft, Parry, Howells, Holst and Whitacre. This repertoire reaches back in time to before the split between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.
More information at 215-587-3696 or www.CathedralPhilaConcerts.org.
‘THE MAGIC FLUTE’
The Delaware Valley Opera Company (DVOC) continues its 2015 summer season of fully staged productions with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” Saturday, July 11, and Wednesday, July15, 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 19, 3 p.m. The performances will take place in the Venice Island Performing Arts Center in Manayunk and will be sung in an English translation from the original German.
The mounting is stage-directed by Teresa Seri. Music direction is by Ting Ting Wong. The cast includes local singers Tim Oliver of Roxborough as Tamino, Maja Lisa Fitzhuspen of Mount Airy as the Second Lady, Dan Schauble of Lafayette Hill as the First Priest, Elizabeth Oliver of Roxborough as Papagena and Kent Schauble of Conshohocken as the First Armed Man.
Mozart composed “The Magic Flute” (“Die Zauberflote” in the original German) to a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. It received its premiere in Vienna’s Theater auf der Wieden September 30, 1791. Although it is set in an imaginary country in a far-off time, ancient Egypt is often evoked for its setting.
“The Magic Flute” was first performed in the U.S. in New York City in 1833. Because of the allegorical nature of the libretto, “The Magic Flute” is often staged in exotic settings. In four decades of reviewing operatic productions, I’ve seen it set in Egypt as well as in the Amazon Rain Forest and outer space. In other words, it’s always an adventure.
For ticket information and directions, visit www.dvopera.org.