Monday, October 31, 2011

Italian & Polynesian fireworks

Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra, with Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor, presented baroque “fireworks” by Handel & Vivaldi in Hertz Hall In Berkeley. Indeed the first piece sung by Jaroussky was fire out of the gate, with “a lot of fast notes” executed in a pure clear voice. His demeanor was relatively calm, considering the work his body (diaphragm and vocal chords) was doing. Wonderful poise and presentation. Beautiful musicianship – he is relatively young and I can only imagine the depth that will develop in the future. Breathtaking technique that was on par with virtuoso string or wind playing. The vocal agility was matched by the baroque orchestra who, despite some tuning challenges, delivered tight ensemble playing through fast and furious passages throughout the concert.

Jeannette Sorrell, Music Director of the orchestra, mentioned that the collaboration with Jaroussky arose from mutual admiration of each other's You-Tube videos. Jaroussky was offering a free download through and his work can be found on

Although it is not the primary diversion that it was in the 18th century, and it does not attract the maddening crowds, there’s still nothing that compares to the drama, excitement, and transportive power of live opera. Or live music.

Or live music, singing, drumming and dancing. The rest of the day and evening was spent in rehearsal: playing instruments, dancing fast, dancing slow, singing, and further addressing love, rage, and sorrow.

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