Santa Barbara Music Club

Puccini’s Desperate Divas

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Saturday, November 7, 2015
3:00 pm

Faulkner Gallery

Program Information

  • Vivaldi: Concerto No. 6 in E minor RV 484
    Paul Mori, bassoon
    Issac Kay, violin
    Matthew Maler, violin
    Erik Fauss, viola
    Tim Beccue, cello
  • Bach: Sonata No. 2 in E-flat minor, BWV 1031
    Andrea Di Maggio, flute
    Neil Di Maggio, piano
  • Hogan: Suite for the Senses (2014)
    Played by the composer
  • Puccini’s Desperate Divas
    Signore, ascolta! (Liù in Turandot)
    In quelle trine morbide (Manon in Manon Lescaut)
    Chi’il bel sogno di Doretta (Magda in La rondine)
    Vissi d’arte (Tosca in Tosca)

    Deborah Bertling, soprano
    Betty Oberacker, piano

Notes on the Program

by Betty Oberacker

One of the highlights of Santa Barbara Music Club’s concerts is the opportunity for audiences to hear great music from a variety of historical periods, with a diversity of musical forms, performed by excellent artists. This concert features a wonderful variety of music from the Baroque, Romantic, Impressionistic, and Contemporary periods.

The program opens with Antonio Vivaldi’s vivacious Concerto for Bassoon and Strings No. 6 in E minor, RV 484, performed by bassoonist Paul Mori with Isaac Kay and Matthew Maler, violins, Erik Fauss, viola, and Tim Beccue, cello. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his reputation has come to center almost exclusively on the instrumental concerto, for the violin as well as a variety of other instruments. He composed over 500 concerti, in which he developed some of the most important aspects of that genre, such as the fast-slow-fast progression of movements and the “ritornello” arrangement of solo and orchestral passages. This important work highlights the effervescent character and sensitive instrumental treatment for which the composer is renowned.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s cheerful Sonata No. 2 in E-flat major, BWV 1031 follows, interpreted by flutist Andrea Di Maggio and pianist Neil Di Maggio. Comprising three movements, the sonata follows the pattern familiar from Vivaldi concerti rather than the four-movement chamber and church sonatas of the decades immediately preceding its composition. So too, the work features light textures, simple yet elegantly refined harmonies, and highly ornamented melodic lines so typical of the newly emerging galant style of the 1730s. The interplay between the two instruments is delightfully conversational, with the keyboard part remaining independent of – yet always complementary to – the flute part.

Next, Santa Barbara composer and pianist Leslie Hogan presents her Suite for the Senses (2014). In Dr. Hogan’s words, the work is “a series of brief movements written in response to a set of poems by David Shaddock, a poet and therapist based in Berkeley, California, framed by a freely-imagined Prelude and Postlude. Since it’s pretty much impossible to ‘represent’ the senses in music, my main compositional strategy was to respond to the rhythm of the words, the rhetorical devices in the poems, and the expressive world of the poems. … I performed two movements at the Spoleto Festival, Spoleto, Italy, as part of a panel entitled Art, Creativity and Self-psychology: Aesthetic Gesture in the Arts, Self-experience, and Psychoanalyis, with David reading his poems. The complete work was premiered in April 2014 on an Ensemble for Contemporary Music Concert here in Santa Barbara.”

Soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Betty Oberacker will conclude the program with four intensely dramatic arias from some of Giacomo Puccini’s most beloved operas. Ms. Bertling has entitled the presentation “Puccini’s Desperate Divas,” and most appropriately so, as the selections comprise the tearfully pleading “Signore, ascolta!” (“My Lord, Listen!”), sung by Liu in the opera Turandot; the achingly heartfelt “In quelle trine morbide” (In Those Soft Lacy Curtains”), sung by Manon in the opera Manon Lescaut; the splendidly rapturous “Chi’il bel sogno di Doretta potè indovinar?” (“Who Could Guess Doretta’s Beautiful Dream?”), sung by Magda in the opera La rondine; and the poignantly moving “Vissi d’arte” (I Have Lived For Art”), sung by Tosca in the opera Tosca.