Mendocino resident, author Todd Walton reports:
Opening night of the Fall Concert of the 2014-2015 season of the Symphony of the Redwoods was a gala affair, audience members encouraged to come dressed up for the opera because the program was all opera music. There were several men wearing top hats and long coats and many women wearing elegant dresses, and the audience was obviously excited and happy about the new season beginning.
The first half of the show featured the overture from Beethoven’s Leonora, Entr’acte #3 from Schubert’s Rosamunde, Waltzes from Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavelier and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Wagner’s Götterdammerung. The orchestra was in fine fettle, the audience enthusiastic, and the combination and order of the four pieces was, shall we say, perfectly orchestrated, with the Strauss, starring the fabulous clarinet playing of Eric Kritz, providing superb comic relief following the oh so tender Schubert and as prelude to the gorgeously elegiac climax of the Wagner.
At intermission, Sally Fletcher and yours truly, Todd Walton, manned the table to launch the exciting Wine Raffle featuring wine from fifteen local wineries that we hope will bring in boatloads of money to support the symphony as tickets are sold throughout the season, the drawing to take place on the day of the last Spring Concert. The lobby was cacophonous—everyone raving about the music and celebrating the ongoing miracle of great classical music in this unique place far from the madding crowd.
For Act II, the community chorus joined the orchestra for a selection of choruses from operas by Giuseppe Verdi. The high point for this listener was Jim Rodseth’s masterful playing of the famous trumpet solo in the Triumphal March from Aida. Gorgeous and inspiring! The chorus sang with gusto, the orchestra supported that gusto with verve, and Allan Pollack conducted with his usual vim and vigor. Bravo!