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July 16, 2010

Suggestions for the classical music-inclined Artscape-goer

Artscape is not best known for its classical music component, but there's always something going on to entertain folks seeking a hcnage from the festival's prominent pop beat.

This year, the Baltimore Symphony once again offers a free concert at Meyerhoff Hall (and a chance to find a breath of air-conditioning after roaming the fair in the heat).

Christian Colberg, a longtime and, alas, soon to depart violist in the BSO, will conduct his colleagues in a program that includes two colorful travelogues-in-music: Tchaikovsky's "Capriccio Italien" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol." Popular arias from Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" and Bernstein's "Candide" will also be performed, featuring soprano Rachele Gilmore (she had a big success last year in the Metropolitan Opera's "Hoffmann" production.) The BSO concert is at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Speaking of operatic voices, they'll be heard during several other Artscape doings. Baltimore Concert Opera will focus on one composer and one voice type. The singing in the company's presentation of "The Verdi Baritone" will be done by

Jonathan Carle, accompanied by James Harp on the piano. There will be narration by Victor DeRenzi, the longtime artistic director of the Sarasota Opera who has made a speciality of Verdi's works -- by 2013, the company will have staged every one of them, an enviable record (I'm glad I got to attend several of them during the "Florida Years" chapter of my breathtaking life). "The Verdi Baritone" will be performed at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in MICA's Brown Center.

Opera Vivente will present a program of favorite operas scenes covering a wide ranging of repertoire. from Moneteverdi to Britten, and performed by students. This event is at 1 p.m. Sunday at MICA's Brown Center, where, at 4 p.m. that day, members of the Lyric Opera of Baltimore (a group associated with the Lyric Opera House and a potential successor to the lamented Baltimore Opera Company) will perform works addressing the theme of "Women in Love."

Corpus Christi Church will be the site of at least nine classical mini-concerts over the weekend, starting at 4 p.m. Friday with the Dahlia Flute Duo and wrapping up at 4 p.m. Sunday, when the Bach Concert Series presents a performance of Bach's motet "Jesu Meine Freude," led by T. Herbert Dimmock.

Remember, all of these events are free, so it will be easy and painless to class up your Artscape adventure.

PHOTO OF RACHELE GILMORE (by Kristen Hoebermann) AND VICTOR DeRENZI (Salvatore Brancifort)

Posted by Tim Smith at 9:49 AM | | Comments (2)


I was at the Friday dress rehearsal for Opera Vivente's Sunday event. I hope people can make it to that -- some very nice voices, and watch for a certain light tenor who I thought was spectacular in some Lalo, Donizetti and Britten. I'm doing more operatic window-shopping at Artscape this weekend, too.

Hi Tim!
We just came back from the concert. It was lovely. We brought our toddler who is very much into music. He could not help staring at all the musical instruments. He loved Capriccio Italiene and Les Oiseaux Dans la Carmille! I was glad Ms. Gilmore sang her sort of "signature" aria and that my son got to hear live opera from the 4th row!!!

Glad to hear of your very positive experience. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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