« Eugene Fodor, the 'Mick Jagger of the violin,' dead at 60 | Main | Weekend whirlwind, round 1: Baltimore Symphony's Russian richness »

March 4, 2011

A suggestion or two for making this a classical music weekend

Lots of promising fare on the classical music scene this weekend. Here are a few things worth considering:

Opera Vivente offers what is billed as the American stage debut of the 1731 version of Handel's "Rinaldo" (the work dates from 1711). In whatever version, the opera is a feast of melodic invention; the plot about Crusaders, an enchantress and a whole lot more may not be the easiest to follow, but it's certainly engaging. I've attached a clip of one of the hits from the score, "Lascia ch'io pianga" (I resisted the temptation to post Streisand's version, since I know I'm just about the only person in the world who actually likes her classical album).

Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony are back in a Russian mode this weekend. In addition to Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," there will be two Prokofiev symphonies, No. 1 and and the less often performed No. 6.

The Ravel Trio salutes Women's History Month with a program of works by women composers at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.

Organist Donald Sutherland will be joined by his wife, noted soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson (here as narrator), the C Street Brass Quintet and other artists in a program that includes works by Liszt, Ned Rorem, Samuel Adler, et al.

Pianist Andre Watts makes an overdue recital debut for the Shriver Hall Concert Series, playing an all-Liszt program.

The monthly Bach Concert Series features Cantata No. 170 and more.

And in Washington, Evgeny Kissin plays a recital (also all-Liszt) for Washington Performing Arts Society and the Post-Classical Ensemble explores the world of fascinating American composer Lou Harrison.

There's more, of course, but that should keep you busy enough. And now here's a gorgeous performance of that wonderful aria from Handel's "Rinaldo":

Posted by Tim Smith at 11:59 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Clef Notes


HeyTim-Thanks for the mention. And as to the Streisand rendition, I love it and actually mentioned it on WBJC during the preview promo piece I did last weekend.

If only Babs had recorded it with someone who knew about ornamentation. That would have produced even more delicious results, I'm sure. TIM

I'd give a particular nod to "Rinaldo" -- I was on a Händel kick about two years ago, and that was one of my _favourites_!!!

(I was exploring the umpteen Händel and Vivaldi operas for outlandish "vocal acrobatics," something which "normally" doesn't pique my interest in the least -- but I was absolutely _astounded_ by the stamina AND clarity of the singing on some of the live recordings I bought. And yes, the "name of the game" is melodic invention with these guys, if you can survive the oodles of often-tiresome recitative. ;^)

I saw Opera Vivente's Rinaldo on Sunday afternoon and look forward to another encounter with it this Saturday. This is one of the most striking sets that I've seen in the local opera scene, and the characters are all vividly sung and acted (special note for a most interesting sorceress Armida!). This is the 1731 version, which apparently cuts out some recitative and recycles some of the best arias from a less successful Handel opera.

I love Classical Barbra. I've always found it perfect for a lazy, rainy day.

Thanks for your support (for supporting Barbra, I mean). TIM

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

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.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected