Isabel Sings Cleopatra and Levin Plays Emperor in Philharmonia Baroque's 2007-08 Season

Classic Arts News   Isabel Sings Cleopatra and Levin Plays Emperor in Philharmonia Baroque's 2007-08 Season
A shepherd king, an Egyptian queen and a Romantic Emperor (concerto) are among the highlights of the 2007-08 subscription season offered by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the renowned period-instrument ensemble based in San Francisco.

PBO music director Nicholas McGegan opens the season in September with a concert performance of Mozart's opera Il re pastore (The Shepherd King), featuring sopranos Heidi Grant Murphy and Lisa Saffer, mezzo Margaret Lattimore, and tenors Iain Paton and Michael Slattery.

Violinist Monica Huggett — who directs another PBO up the coast, the Portland Baroque Orchestra — visits this PBO in October for three Vivaldi concertos (featuring oboe as well as violin).

In November, Dutch recorder virtuoso Marion Verbruggen joins the PBO for some dance music — suites of Baroque dances by Telemann and Rameau (from the opera Castor et Pollux) and Rebel's Les Caractres de la danse — plus a Telemann recorder concerto reconstructed by Frans Brüggen.

Coming to California for Christmas is conductor Konrad Jungh‹nel, founder and director of the vocal ensemble Cantus C‹lln. He makes his West Coast debut leading the PBO and vocal soloists in early German Baroque music for Christmastide, including Heinrich Sch‹tz's Weihnachtshistorie (Christmas Story) and Johann Rosenm‹ller's Magnificat.

In February, expert fortepianist (and improvisation whiz) Robert Levin performs Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (the "Emperor"), and McGegan conducts Schubert's Symphony No. 3.

For a March PBO program called "The Queen of Egypt," soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian sings arias for the character of Cleopatra from Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Graun's Cleopatra e Cesare as well as Johann Mattheson's cantata The Death of Cleopatra. Also, Janet See will be the soloist in a flute concerto written by King Frederick the Great of Prussia.

McGegan closes PBO's regular season in April of 2008 with a program of ceremonial works for the English Chapel Royal: anthems by Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel's Zadok the Priest and Dettingen Te Deum.

These subscription programs will be performed in the PBO's usual venues around the Bay Area, in San Francisco, Berkeley, Contra Costa and Palo Alto. In addition, McGegan and the orchestra make two festival appearances this summer. At the Ravinia Festival on June 5 and 6, they'll give a reprise of Jake Heggie's one-act opera To Hell and Back, starring Bayrakdarian and Patti LuPone. On July 14, at the Festival del Sole in the Napa Valley, they will appear with soprano Danielle de Niese and countertenor David Daniels to perform arias from Handel's Giulio Cesare.

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