Matthew Halls - Live Review - Oregon Festival - RegistedGuard.com


07 July 2011
RegistedGuard.com
Bob Keefer

Matthew Halls is a potential festival maestro

The 2011 Oregon Bach Festival wraps up its summer run this weekend with performances in Eugene and Portland of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - the one with that famous last choral movement, the "Ode to Joy" - and, in Eugene only, with early music whiz Matthew Halls conducting a program of music about St. Cecilia.

Helmuth Rilling, the festival's eminence grise, conducts the full festival chorus and orchestra for the two performances of Beethoven.

A German music conductor and scholar with an international reputation, Rilling was co-founder, with the University of Oregon's Royce Saltzman, of the festival here in 1970.

The white-haired Rilling, who is 78, is soon to retire - he's mentioned 2013 as his last year both here and at the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart - so it's certainly worth heading out to hear him conduct another major choral work in the repertoire of music inspired by J.S. Bach.

Soloists will be Tamara Wilson, soprano; Anja Schlosser, alto; Thomas Cooley, tenor; and Christopheren Nomura, baritone.

The festival will perform Beethoven's Ninth at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Portland's Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and then, for the last performance of the season, at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Silva Concert Hall in Eugene's Hult Center.

You can take in a free "Intro to Beethoven's Ninth" by Linda Hathaway Bunza, director of the Columbia Research Institute for the Arts and Humanities in Portland, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Hult's Soreng Theater.

Speaking of people running the festival, Halls is worth checking out because he's on the short list of conductors who might succeed Rilling at the festival's helm.

Halls, who is 36, will conduct the festival orchestra and chorus at 7:30 p.m. today at the Hult's Silva Hall in a program that features three separate works inspired by St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. The music is by Henry Purcell, Benjamin Britten and G.F. Handel.

Soloists will be Robin Johannsen, soprano; Reginald Mobley, countertenor; Dann Coakwell, Tom Cooley, tenor; and Tyler Duncan, bass.


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