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April: Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire

REVIEWS

WATCH: “Is Trajan Happy” video by Marica Petrey, California Magazine

results were spectacular.” – James Roy MacBean, Berkeley Daily Planet

…for sheer beauty, both visual and auditory, this lovingly produced Le Temple de la Gloire could not be surpassed.” – Ilana Walder-Biesanz, BachTrack

 …that it has been realized in such an exquisitely refined and coherent manner is almost miraculous.” – Rita Felciano, Dance View Times.

…music and movement, human frailty and the quest for justice were raveled together like those maypole ribbons.” – Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice

..encountering it on stage at last was like watching a resplendently bedecked giant stirring to life.” – Joshua Kosman, SF Chronicle

…conducted with his trademark verve and attention to detail, drawing forceful orchestral responses in the triumphant music and gentle, opulent sound in the pastoral scenes.” – Georgia Rowe, Mercury News

..the orchestration (especially brass and percussion) consistently startles, the rhythmic scheme captivates and the composer’s skill at setting a French text sparkles.” – Allan Ulrich, Financial Times

..the results were vivid enough to make a case for this as an opera worth reviving.” – Harvey Steiman, Seen and Heard International

…at the end of a long road, with international cooperation and a legion of supporters, McGegan’s dream, which he called “living musicology,” became a reality.” – Janos Gereben, Classical Voice North America

The music was terrific and mostly very beautifully performed; yay, Nicholas McGegan, who brings life and joy to all he conducts.” – Lisa Hirsch, Iron Tongue of Midnight Blog

…wonderfully light dances flowed like water over rocks as they embodied shepherds, muses, and other creatures sympathetic to the virtues of magnanimity.” – Paul Parish, The Bay Area Reporter (bottom)

The most consistently beautiful sound came from the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, singing with a perfect fullness that sounded like a group twice their size.” – Michael Strickland, SF Civic Center Blog

PREVIEWS

“There’s a monumental sense about it,” says Turocy, who praises the producers for mounting the work “with all the force needed to do it. I think these will be once-in-a-lifetime performances.” – Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle

It’s period, but fantastical. When everything comes together, it brings you back in time.” – Anne Brice, Berkeley News

There’s a nice topicality to the libretto, says McGegan, a commentary by Voltaire for kings and, perhaps, presidents.” – Cy and David’s Do List, KQED Arts

“…when Voltaire asked Louis XV “Is Trajan happy?” after the 1745 premiere, he was answered only with a chilling silence. “The opera was meant as a lesson in kingship,” McGegan says.” – Charlise Tiee, KQED

The message to the one person who mattered – the King of France – was ‘don’t be a bully,’” says McGegan. – Preview by Georgia Rowe, Mercury News

It wasn’t the first collaboration of Voltaire and Rameau, and they didn’t get along very well, but it was ordered after a military victory by King Louis XV.” – Jeffrey Freyman, State of the Arts Podcast, KDFC

In the words of McGegan, “It’s extravagant, spectacular beyond description.” – Lou Fancher, SFCV

Gala and New Music for Old Instruments

Through the New Music for Old Instruments initiative, PBO will provide a platform for the creativity of young composers and the new music that results.- Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio

March: Operatic Heroes with Iestyn Davies

…one of the finest musical performances of the young year.” –Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

This entailed a generous breadth of emotional dispositions, all of which were delivered with expressive clarity through Davies’ vocal technique.” –Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio Blog

Combining his weighty, agile, beautifully colored instrument with a keen sense of dramatic virtuosity, Davies made each selection on the program sound vibrant.” Georgia Rowe, The Mercury News

January: Haydn & Mozart with Elizabeth Blumenstock

It was an altogether lovely and expressive reading of the piece, greeted with a sustained and well-earned ovation.” – Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice

McGegan and the orchestra gave the piece a suave, forthright reading, full of instrumental color and rhythmic bloom…” – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

was clearly delighted to have encountered this symphony, and he could not have done a better job of sharing his delight with the audience.” – Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio Blog

December: Handel’s Joshua

Music Director Nicholas McGegan carried it all off splendidly, with rhythmic command and plenty of high-contrast effects. The orchestra, chorus, and vocalists all seemed keenly attuned to the task…” – Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice

..under McGegan’s inspired direction, the performance emerged as one of the period instrument ensemble’s finest offerings in recent memory.” – Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News

There was a generous supply of choral work, all of which was given a dazzling account…” – Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio

East Coast Tour: Harvard & Yale

McGegan presented an enlightening lecture/recital, bringing this fascinating musical period to life via the Yale Voxtet…” – Susan Miron, The Boston Music Intelligencer

November: Vivaldi & Bach with Rachel Podger

The second and third movements offered wonderful dialogue between the two solo instruments, and here Podger and Ruiz were at their best, making this work stand out in a program already full of wonders. – James Roy MacBean, The Berkeley Daily Planet

INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL PODGER
by Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

If you play kids some Vivaldi, they go ‘Whee!’ and just jump up and down. It’s popular stuff in that way. Then you play the slow movement and they start dreaming. It’s very wonderful. I think about that a lot, how kids react. We all have a kid inside us. If you can reawaken that in the audience, it’s really nice.” – Rachel Podger

October: All Beethoven with Robert Levin

With torrential arpeggios and raging chromatic scales that pushed the instrument to its limit, Levin evoked the mental image of the composer himself premiering it in 1803.” – Ken Iisaka, San Francisco Classical Voice

McGegan led an evocative and aptly charming account of the “Pastoral,” with a spacious, long-breathed take on the opening movement and an admirably brisk attack on the scherzo.” – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

The conductor was a master of small details in this extraordinary music and drew from the Orchestra playing of distinct articulation and luminous sound. – Terry McNeil, Classical Sonoma

McGegan coaxed a warm, thrilling sound from the orchestra, so filled with minute twists and turns that it was impossible to disengage.” – Elijah Ho, San Jose Mercury News

NEWS: FIRE AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

Berkeley Church Fire Disrupts Concert Life’ – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

One thing I know is we’ll never find a space better than this,” said Parker Monroe, the interim executive director at Philharmonia Baroque.” – Mark MacNamera, San Francisco Classical Voice

Early Music Ensemble’s Home of 30 Years Destroyed in Fire.” – James Bennett II, WQXR

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