Tempesta di Mare celebrates a unique first win, Black Founders Musical Experience, and more

BSR Classical Music Interludes, May 2023

3 minute read
A choir with all Black singers sing, orchestral players in front of them on a stage
Jeremy Winston Chorale in Prague. (Photo by Prague Proms.)

Concerts galore enliven the spring, and the first weekend in May is an especially busy one. Curtis Opera Theater (with Tempesta di Mare) is presenting a Handel opera, Mastersingers of Wilmington sings Haydn and Mozart, and Paul Jacobs and J.S. Bach fill Verizon Hall with organ music. Later in the month, the Museum of the American Revolution will also be filled with song, and Tempesta di Mare—which heads to Europe in June—has received a major German music award.

Germany’s Fasch Prize to Tempesta di Mare

As Philadelphia’s baroque ensemble gets ready for its tour of Germany (and its upcoming Philadelphia concerts on May 13 and 14), the State of Saxony-Anhalt announced in Berlin that Tempesta was awarded this year’s Fasch Prize. The first non-European ensemble to be honored, the group will receive the award on Thursday, June 15, at the opening ceremony of the International Fasch Festival, where they’re a featured ensemble—and they also play at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall on Saturday, June 17. Since 2008, Tempesta has been among the ensembles (almost all European) working to revive the music of J.S. Bach’s contemporary Johann Friedrich Fasch (1688-1758) through their concerts and recordings.

Curtis Opera Theatre: Ariodante
May 4-7, 7:30pm
Perelman Theater at Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Curtis Opera Theatre’s season concludes with Handel’s tale of obsession, desire, and royal intrigue. Based upon Ludovico Ariosto’s epic 16th-century poem Orlando furioso, the baroque work tells of Princess Ginevra, daughter of the King of Scotland, and her noble fiancé Ariodante. Directed by Omer Ben Seadia, the performance (in Italian with English supertitles) also features members of Tempesta di Mare, all under the baton of David Stern.

Market Street Music
This busy Delaware presenter closes its season with two May concerts at its home venue of First & Central Presbyterian Church, located at 1101 North Market Street, Wilmington:

Mastersingers of Wilmington: Mozart and Haydn
Saturday, May 6, 3pm

Accompanied by orchestra and conducted by David Schelat, this 30-voice ensemble and soloists (soprano Rebecca Siler, mezzo-soprano Lauren Kelly, tenor Colin Doyle, and bass Mark Hightower) will sing two beloved works by Mozart: Solemn Vespers of the Confessor (K. 339) and Te Deum (K. 141), along with Haydn’s colorful Theresienmesse.

Pyxis Piano Trio, with Grant Youngblood
Saturday, May 20, 3pm

Pyxis Piano Trio (Luigi Mazzocchi, Jie Jin, and Hiroko Yamazaki) will play the Piano Trio in C Major by Johannes Brahms and selected movements of Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello. The concert also features Grant Youngblood in a new arrangement of All the Way through Evening, Chris DeBlasio’s song cycle with text by poet Perry Brass. The cycle concludes with his most famous song, “Walt Whitman in 1989” from the original AIDS Quilt Songbook.

Paul Jacobs: Six Bach Organ Sonatas
Saturday, May 6, 5pm
Verizon Hall at Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Virtuoso organist and storied Curtis alumni Paul Jacobs returns to Center City for a unique evening. On the magnificent Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in Verizon Hall, the renowned organist will play all six of J.S. Bach’s three-movement organ sonatas. All ages are invited to attend the 90-minute free concert, but it’s a good idea to reserve seats.

A Black Founders Musical Experience, with the Jeremy Winston Chorale
Friday, May 12, 6:30pm, and streaming live online
Museum of the American Revolution, 101 South 3rd Street, Philadelphia

As part of its groundbreaking exhibition on the life of James Forten, the Museum of the American Revolution is presenting the Jeremy Winston Chorale. The ensemble, which has toured and performed worldwide and at the Obama White House, will explore Philadelphia’s rich music history and global connections. The concert will include choral works by Forten’s contemporary Francis “Frank” Johnson, including “The Grave of a Slave,” with text from the poetry of Forten’s daughter, Sarah L. Forten. Tickets include day-of access to the Black Founders exhibition, and the concert will also be livestreamed.

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