Last week we wrapped up another great season with an exhilarating performance of Handel’s La Resurrezione. The last triumphant notes of our 2010-11 series had barely died away before our attention behind the scenes was completely absorbed by the demands of next year.
In every arts organization, planning for the next season always commences well before the public gets to hear about it. As we enter our Fifth Anniversary Season, we’re already brainstorming about the next five years and if we didn’t focus on the next step we wouldn’t have our season brochure in the works, ready to land on your doorstep later this summer, or some exciting updates on our website coming up next week! But it would be a shame not to take a moment to reflect on a wonderful (and eventful) week of music-making so indulge me while I bask in the glow for a little while.
La Resurrezione was the largest performance the band has undertaken in terms of the forces needed – quite fitting for our final Angels vs. Demons showdown of the season. Our core of string players was augmented by two oboes, two flutes and two trumpets. We also welcomed a total of five outstanding vocal soloists, our two sopranos, Diane Atherton and Josefien Stoppelenburg, counter-tenor Ian Howell, tenor James Kryshak and baritone Mischa Bouvier. I managed to squeeze in a brief trip to listen to a little of the rehearsal and it was fascinating to hear the musicians working together on such interesting music. However, like our audience, I didn’t get to experience it in its full glory until the first performance in Hyde Park. It really is a fantastic piece, worthy of more performances – and lucky me to be ushered in to my position here at the Band with such a great work. Of course, it would be atypical for everything to run perfectly smoothly and, alas, our Angel, Diane, was taken ill with laryngitis the day before our final concert at Symphony Center. For those of you that didn’t catch a performance the soprano has a pretty fiendish part. Now, being the adventurous chap that he is, Garry had programmed a pretty unfamiliar work here – it’s not exactly in the standard repertoire even of a baroque specialist.
Enter Amy Conn. Chicagoans are lucky to have her in the area and I’m sure many of you are familiar with her already. Having worked with her before I was aware of what a lovely voice she has but I have to admit to being pretty blown away by the way she managed to master this tricky part in 24 hours and contribute so splendidly to a wonderful – and sold out – final performance.
So now we move on to next season. As I mentioned earlier, we’ll be updating the website with some more information very soon and I’ll share tidbits here on this blog and on our facebook page. Stay tuned, and don’t forget you can buy subscriptions online here.