Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Lincoln Festival Chorus 35th Season Performance

Soprano Suzanne Nance soloed with the Lincoln Festival Chorus in Boothbay Harbor and Newcastle, Maine this weekend in an all-Mozart concert including the Solemn Vespers.
This is a story about how great it is to get out of your own head/hood and into the world to see what others are doing: a kind of wake-up call for the way we need to break and cross boundaries in Maine arts.

There is a lot of beautiful, high quality performance work happening by and in Maine communities, and a great example of this is the Lincoln Arts Festival in the Boothbay region. The Lincoln Festival Chorus and the Mozart Mentors Orchestra conducted by maestro Anthony Antolini (disclaimer: yes, another fellow Bowdoin grad as well as member of the Bowdoin faculty) gave a fabulous, all-Mozart concert in Newcastle tonight of the Ave verum corpus, written in 1791, less than six months before the composer's death; and Vesparae solemnes de confessore from 1780. Both pieces featured soprano soloist Suzanne Nance, whom followers of this blog have seen frequently at Opera House Arts.

We rarely have truly hot days and evenings in Maine, and today was one of these. The beautiful St. Patrick's hall in Newcastle, where tonight's concert was held, had no AC and both audience and performers were swabbing our sweat from our faces. The maestro shed his white tie to reveal strong green John Deere suspenders over his soaked shirt.

Antolini mentioned to me after the performance that he was extremely grateful for the Maine Arts Commission's support of a world premiere commission he conducted in May, Elizabeth Brown's To Walk Humbly for theremin, piano, and chorus. Brown is composer in residence at Monclair State University in New Jersey. Her music, which has been heard around the world, is informed by her performances on flute, shakuhachi, theremin, and dan bau (Vietnamese monochord). It is always a thrill for the Arts Commission to support the world premieres of original performances, especially of contemporary classical works, right here in Maine.

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