Rigoletto, Immortal Back, La Serenata, and more

BSR Classical Music Interludes, October 2023

4 minute read
The four in the ensemble pose outside in a public-park-like daylit area, wearing all black, holding wind instruments

BSR Interludes are back, and so are the region’s presenters and musicians, busily preparing a raft of great musical experiences. You’ll find something this month, no matter where you look or where you live. Start the month with a free online three-part lecture series that previews a late-October opera. Then, you’ll find symphonic, choral, and early music performances, as well as a song recital accompanied by guitar all over the region.

Happy looking and listening!

OperaDelaware: Rigoletto
Friday, October 27, 7:30pm, and Sunday, October 29, 3pm
Grand Opera House, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington
Free lecture series streaming online October 5, 12, and 19

This story of the jester Rigoletto, who exacts a sad vengeance, has great arias, like Caro nome and La donna é mobile, and is always an audience favorite. Based on a controversial Victor Hugo work called Le Roi s’amuse/The King enjoys himself, the work premiered in Venice in 1851. Well-known Delaware baritone Grant Youngblood heads the cast here in a production stage directed by Chicago’s Kristen Barrett and conducted by Viswa Subbaraman, who appeared with Opera Philadelphia in May of this year. A co-production with Opera Baltimore, they’re rolling out a three-part free online lecture series by Towson’s Dr. Aaron Ziegel, also recorded to watch at any time.

Choral Arts Philadelphia: Immortal Bach: Sing a New Song
Saturday, October 7, 4pm
Holy Trinity Rittenhouse, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

This fine choral organization kicks off its new season welcoming artistic director Donald Meineke. Not new to Philadelphia, in 2021, he became music director and organist at the Church of the Holy Trinity on Rittenhouse Square. Choral Arts will sing two of Bach’s masterpiece motets (Singet dem Herrn BWV 225 and Komm Jesu Komm BWV 229) and Cantata 80, the great Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott. The concert also includes Immortal Bach, a 1988 choral work by Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt based on Bach’s four-part setting of the funeral song Komm, süßer Tod.

Lyric Fest: La Serenata
Saturday, October 7, 3pm
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 625 Montgomery Avenue, Bryn Mawr

Sunday, October 8, 3pm
Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street, Philadelphia

Tuesday, October 10, 7pm
Community House of Moorestown, 16 East Main Street, Moorestown

Lyric Fest always presents carefully curated and thoughtful programs that explore many aspects of song, and here it’s a concert of Italian song (serenata) that features music from the Renaissance to the 20th century. There are works by Monteverdi, Caccini, Rossini, Bellini, Puccini, and even some Neopolitan canzone. The singers are three Philadelphia favorites with burgeoning national reputations: Jessica Beebe (soprano), James Reese (tenor), and baritone Jean Bernard Cerin. In this concert, somewhat unusually for Lyric Fest, they’ll be accompanied by Philadelphia-based guitarist Allen Krantz.

Delaware Symphony: Sea, Sky, and Rhapsody
Friday, October 13, 7:30pm
Grand Opera House, 818 North Market Street, Wilmington

David Amado (designated Delaware Symphony's Music Director Laureate last season) conducts the symphony’s Classics Concerts season opener. The evening features Debussy’s popular La Mer; the Overture to Ruslan and Ludmila by Glinka; Takemitsu’s A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden, which blends traditional Japanese and contemporary Western musical traditions; and Rachmaninoff’s big-blazing Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for orchestra and piano. Amazing pianist Stewart Goodyear joins the Delaware Symphony just off his September recital debut at London’s storied Wigmore Hall, where he premiered his 2023 composition Mending Wall.

Piffaro: 1623: The Year the Music Died
Friday, October 13, 7:30pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 19 South 38th Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, October 14, 7:30 pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Sunday, October 15, 3pm
Immanuel Highlands Church, 2400 West 17th Street, Wilmington

Streaming online October 27-November 9

This Philadelphia early music ensemble—now under the artistic direction of musician Priscilla Herreid—explores an important year in musical history, opening their season with works by three seminal composers of the late English Renaissance: William Byrd, Thomas Weelkes, and Philip Rosseter. This concert for voices, winds, and plucked strings includes three of the country’s best lutenists who will (hopefully) play together as a trio. Like all of Piffaro’s offerings this season, the concert is also available for online viewing. And for our neighbors to the north, on Friday, October 27, the ensemble plays the music of Shakespeare at a concert in New Haven, Connecticut.

At top: Piffaro’s core ensemble from left to right: Erik Schmalz, Grant Herreid, Greg Ingles, and Priscilla Herreid. (Photo by Anthony Dean.)

Sign up for our newsletter

All of the week's new articles, all in one place. Sign up for the free weekly BSR newsletters, and don't miss a conversation.

Join the Conversation