TOUGH CHOICES: Camerata Pacifica’s February programs — 1 and 8
p.m. Friday, February 17, in Victoria Hall — will feature the
luminous talents of pianist Warren Jones and violinist Catherine
Leonard, plus the flute-playing of Adrian Spence and new-comer
Colin Fleming. In one combination or another, these four musicians
will play Franz and Karl Doppler’s Valse Di Bravura for 2 flutes
and piano, Opus 33, François Devienne’s Sonata for Flute &
Piano in F Major, Franz Liszt’s transcription of the “Liebestod”
from Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, Robert Schumann’s Sonata
in A Minor for Violin & Piano, Opus 105, and Franz Doppler’s
Fantasy on Verdi’s “Rigoletto” for 2 Flutes and Piano, Opus 38.

Devienne and the Doppler boys are both fine composers whose
penchant for wind instruments, especially flutes, probably accounts
for their relative obscurity. Devienne (1759-1803) wrote
particularly fluid melodies. He was the son of a saddlemaker, the
youngest of 14 children. He worked for Cardinal de Rohan before the
revolution, managed to survive the collapse of noble patronage,
wrote very successful operas in 1790s, and died of overwork, aged
44, in a sanatorium at Charenton in the same year that the Marquis
de Sade was confined in the asylum there. For tickets call

The Santa Barbara Music Club’s February “Matinee Concert” — 3
p.m. Saturday, February 18, in Faulkner Gallery, Public
Library — will open with Franz Josef Haydn’s Flute Trio in G Major,
played by Mary Jo Hartle (flute), Carol Roe (cello), and Viva
Knight (piano). Then we will hear Ludwig Beethoven’s youthful
String Trio in C Minor, Opus 9, No. 3, performed by Elaine Schott
(violin), Katie Schaefer (viola), and Teresa Bothman (cello). The
concert will conclude with the extraordinarily gifted pianist,
Zeynep Ucbasaran playing Wolfgang Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K.
330, Maurice Ravel’s Sonatine, and Franz Liszt’s — her Liszt is to
die for — Réminiscences de “Norma” (after Bellini). Any opportunity
to hear Ms. Ucbasaran is not to be passed up, especially since, on
this occasion, admission is free.

It should be a cause for rejoicing that Opera Santa Barbara is
at last presenting its first real opera of the 2005-06 season on
Saturday, February 18, at 7:30 p.m., at the Lobero Theater. The
eagerly awaited Puccini Festival opens with the first of four
performances of Tosca, with OSB’s Artistic Director Valéry Ryvkin
conducting, and James Marvel directing the stage action. Floria
Tosca will be sung by soprano Amy Johnson, the hapless
revolutionary Mario Cavaradossi, by tenor Michael Hayes, and the
villainous Baron Scarpia by baritone Todd Thomas.

For this performance only, there will be at 5:30 p.m. a special
Gala opening the Festival, and then at 6:45 p.m., before this and
every other opera in the Festival, OSB will offer a presentation
explaining the opera about to be performed. For tickets and other
information, call OSB at 898-3890; for tickets only, call the
Lobero at 963-0761.

Alas for timing — the first performance of Tosca competes
directly with the first of two concerts by the Santa Barbara
Symphony, conducted by the Australian Conductor, Kynan Johns, with
pianist Fabio Bidini. This is, in fact, the last program of the
second “Audition Season” — Johns seeks to become Music Director
after the departure of Gisele Ben-Dor — and he will lead the
orchestra in performances of Leos Janacek’s Suite, Opus 3,

Serge Prokofiev’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in C
Major, Opus 26, and Wolfgang Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 in C Major,
K. 551, called the “Jupiter”. Johns will conduct this program
twice: at 8 p.m., Saturday, February 18 and at 3 p.m., Sunday,
February 19; both performances will be in the Arlington.

Janacek was a Czech nationalist, and he sounds like an edgy
Dvorak. The Prokofiev concerto is, as far as I know, the only one
of which there is a decent recording with the composer at the
piano. It is one of his most popular works, and deservedly so.

For tickets and symphony information, call 898-9626; for
tickets, call the Arlington at 963-4408.


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