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Classical 101

Favorite Columbus Area Performances in 2010

Okay. Tedious, tedious, tedious are these eternal "Best of ..." lists that crop up at the end of the year. Are they worse than everybody's annual Christmas letter? But mine will be fun! (HA!) I'm listing the five area performances of 2010 that I most enjoyed.

Best of Columbus Area Performances in 2010

  1. Apollo's Fire performing Claudio Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 conducted by Jeanette Sorrell. The Cleveland based baroque orchestra and chorus was presented by Early Music in Columbus at Mees Hall, Capital University. This may be my favorite music and I had never heard it done "live." The performances were beautiful, the ensemble superb. Never will I forget the two tenors duelling joyfully throughout.
  2. The appointment of Jean-Marie Zeitouni  as music director of the Columbus Symphony (CSO) was the big news this season. This engaging Canadian has a lot of hopes pinned on him. He's been handling himself on stage with talent and aplomb. Jean-Marie Zeitouni's first concert after being named music director was a beautiful and erotic bath: Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade and Claude Debussy's La mer brought out all of the colors available to our Columbus Symphony. Hearing Maurice Ravel's Sheherezade (Karine Gauvin, soprano) was a great bonus.
  3. The Ohio State University School of Music performing Ludwig van Beethoven's opera Fidelio, in concert at Mershon auditorium on March 10. Marshall Haddock conducted the combined forces of all student orchestra and choirs. The days leading up to the show were harried, with the two leading artists cancelling late in the game. Our own Jennifer Whitehead came in at the last minute and covered, as did Tenor Michael Hedrick. Everyone sounded glorious. Beethoven and Columbus were well served.
  4. Pomerium, a chamber choir formed in the 1970s by Alexander Blachly, specializing in medieval music. I have loved Pomerium's recordings of Guillaume DuFay and Josquin des Prez going back over thirty years. I used to hear them in New York, either at Corpus Christi Church or at the Cloisters. Their current incarnation came to St Joseph Cathedral in Columbus on October 3. Musica Vaticana explored music written for Popes over three centuries, including Dufay and Palestrina. The singing was exquisite. Alexander Blachly's lively program notes are a free and enjoyable course in music history. There's a reason Pomerium has been around for over thirty years.
  5. Gunther Herbig conducts the Columbus Symphony on October 1 in an all Ludwig van Beethoven program including a violin concerto with Augustin Hadelich. The CSO always plays like a dream for Herbig. He needs no flash, no beads of sweat peppering the audience. He comes out and bows and turns around and makes great music. The audience adored the young Hadelich, who played like a giant.


Honorable Mention:

The Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Carmen live in HD last January. Elina Garanca, Roberto Alagna, Nicole Cabell and Teddy Tahu Rhodes got right in your face-and ears-in movie theatres hundreds of miles from Lincoln Center. The conductor ,Yannick Nezet-Seguin, has the biz buzzing; he's just been named music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, following Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti and Wolfgang Sawallisch. The Compline service at St. Joseph Cathedral with the choir conducted by Paul Thornock. First Sunday of the month at 9 PM. You sit in the dark cathedral and wait, and as the men chant in the choir loft and the sound floats down to you, you just be. If you ask me for this list tomorrow I'd probably give you a different five choices! For example, Ballet Met's Dangerous Liaisons; ProMusica is playing Felix Mendelssohn and Alfred Schnittke with Timothy Russell and Vadim Gluzman; ProMusica's Messiah Sing a Long, as seen on WOSU TV; and Carpe Diem String Quartet with Jerry Kirkbride at the Southern Theater (Chamber Music Columbus). Want more? Check back next year!