18th-century French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais
wrote three plays about Figaro, the famously clever barber from Seville, that inspired operas by Wolfgang Amadè Mozart, Gioachino Rossini, and Giovanni Paisiello. Probably the most celebrated of the three operas is Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which premiered in Vienna in 1786 and consistently appears on the list of today’s ten most frequently staged operas. You can enjoy Mozart’s bubbly music and fast-paced action in four performances this week by the CIM Opera Theater. Directed by David Bamberger, who ran Cleveland Opera from 1976 to 2004, and conducted by Harry Davidson, the production will be double-cast, with one group of singers performing on Wednesday and Friday, November 4 and 6, and another group on Thursday and Saturday, November 5 and 7. All performances take place in Kulas Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music and begin at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be reserved online
It sounds a bit crazy, but Quire Cleveland
’s artistic director Ross W. Duffin has constructed a full-length choral program out of rounds and canons (think “Three Blind Mice”). Duffin’s selections range in age from the medieval Summer Canon to 19th-century canons by Beethoven and Brahms, and in sophistication from jolly tunes by Henry Lawes to heady mathematical experiments by Johannes Ockeghem. Count on the professional singers of Quire to put them across with flair. You can catch “Sing You After Me: Wondrous Canons” on Friday, November 7 at 7:30 pm in St. John’s Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, or on Sunday, November 8 at 4:00 pm at the Methodist Church in Painesville. Both concerts
are free, but your donations are welcome.
Speaking of Painesville, one of its most notable natives, organist Tom Trenney
, will return to Northeast Ohio on Friday, November 7 at 7:30 pm to play concertos with Todd Wilson and Trinity Chamber Orchestra on the Dutch organs at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. The program includes George Frideric Handel’s Concerto in F, nicknamed “The Cuckoo and the Nightingale” for its birdlike twittering, and American composer Stephen Paulus’s 1991 Organ Concerto. Trenney will also improvise on poems by Shel Silverstein. The Cleveland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is sponsoring the event, so there’s no admission charge.
The Cleveland Orchestra
returns to its hometown this week after three weeks abroad barnstorming Europe’s major concert halls. The fabulous Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos will be guest soloist for the Orchestra’s three-concert set this weekend, playing Dmitri Shostakovich’s gripping first concerto. Italian conductor Gianandrea Noseda will be at the helm. The concert will also feature Goffredo Petrassi’s compelling 1932 Partita, which brought its composer to international prominence, and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s brilliant Symphonic Dances. The schedule is a bit unusual: the first performance will be on Friday, November 6 at 11:00 am (omitting the Petrassi), followed by Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, November 8 at 3:00 pm. Tickets can be ordered online.
One of Cleveland’s jewels, the French baroque ensemble Les Délices
, will launch its four-concert subscription series with “The Age of Indulgence,” showcasing founder and baroque oboist Debra Nagy with the ensemble’s strings. Promising “lush harmonies, baroque gestures, and classical forms,” the program will continue Les Délices’ revelatory musical voyage into the music of the French Rococo period. Quartets by François-André Philidor, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and others push the Baroque envelope toward the extreme forms of musical expression that led to the music of Joseph Haydn and C.P.E. Bach. Les Délices will do this show twice: on Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 pm at Survival Kit (at the W. 78th St. Studios near the Shoreway in Cleveland), and on Sunday, November 8 at 4:00 pm in Herr Chapel of Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights. Nagy will talk about the music at 3:00 pm before the Sunday performance. Tickets here.
Finally — but maybe we should have mentioned this first — don’t forget to catch the election on Tuesday, November 3, and vote yes on Issue 8, the renewal (no increase involved) of the tax that supports Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. It’s one of the great arts support success stories of our time and needs to be resoundingly renewed by residents of Cuyahoga County.
Check out a complete two-week calendar of classical music events here.