'Hamilton' stars, Beethoven, bebop trumpet: 2022 starts big musically

Harriet Howard Heithaus
Naples Daily News
Schaghajegh Nosrati

Musically, 2022 has not come crawling out in a diaper. It already has a full wardrobe and a college degree.

In just the upcoming week, concert choices are astoundingly diverse for a season just out of holiday mode (and for an even fuller list, see In The 239 in Friday's Naples Daily News or naplesnews.com) :

  • Beethoven's beloved Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"),  Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 6-8, Naples Philharmonic, with Augustin Hadelich starring on the Sibelius Violin Concerto, at Artis—Naples.
  • Bartok's deep take on "15 Peasant Songs," Grand Piano Series, St. Leo Roman Catholic Church, Bonita Springs.
  • Laser-sharp be-bop trumpet from Terumasa Hino, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, Artis—Naples ($54). He's standing in for Charles McPherson, who can't travel to Naples, according to the venue. But expect an equal show of brass and sass.
  • Melodies from "Hamilton" and more, by Renée Elise Goldsberry, its original Angelica Schuyler, with the Gulf Coast Symphony. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan 15, Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Myers.
  • A generous helping of Rachmaninoff's crowning choral music achievement, "All-Night Vigil," and other songs like "Vocalise," by Choral Artistry (formerly the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida) Jan. 6 -8, including St. Mary's and Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal churches in Bonita and Naples.
  • Two dance-out-of-the-hall, infectious pop/rock programs with an Elton John tribute, The Rocket Man Show 8 p.m. Jan. 13 ($27-$57); and The Righteous Brothers 7 p.m. Jan. 14 ($45-$65), Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Fort Myers.
Terumasa Hino

Here's a more in-depth look at three of them:

Triple play 

There's a bit of baseball terminology with the upcoming Beethoven and Sibelius Masterworks Series because it has a nearby companion wearing pinstripes and cleats.

For the hour before each Masterworks concert, the adjacent Baker Museum is open free to concert ticketholders. And it has, in MLB talk, a double: The vast "Baseball Heroes" collection of Jay Baker, featuring historic artifacts from icons like Babe Ruth, and "Love In All Its Forms," art through several centuries in the Patty and Jay Baker Collection, and, yes, there's a Monet. Concert ticketholders are admitted free.

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On to the concert. A single program each year, as Melanie Kalnins, vice president, marketing and patron engagement, pointed out, is offered on three dates, based, among other things, on the appeal of the program. And few things are more appealing than the pairing of Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, the "Pastoral," and the Sibelius Violin Concerto with lithe-fingered Augustin Hadelich as the guest artist. 

Add to that the fact Music Director Andrey Boreyko has the baton — this is his final Beethoven for Naples audiences — and it's a home run evening.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 6-8

Where: Artis—Naples, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples

Tickets: $15-$75

To buy: artisnaples.org or 239-597-1900

Bach to her roots

When you hear Schaghajegh Nosrati (pronounced SHAH-GAH-REG noze-RAH -tee) perform Bach, you know there's something different in this reading. Nosrati, a Bochum, Germany, native, literally cut her teeth on Bach, being born into a family who played his works and a brother who was practicing it while she toddled around the living room. 

When he heard his 3-year-old baby sister singing all the melody lines, her brother alerted the family to the fact they might have more musical talent. That talent won Nosrati second place in the 2014 International Leipzig Bach Competition, performance dates around Europe and, now, U.S. demand.

Bach is to music what the Beatles were to rock 'n' roll, she suggested. 

"He was a ground breaker in so many ways — his strong polyphony, and counterpoint, and he was very progressive in his use of harmony. His harmonic language was very important to the next generations," she said. Her program, which includes Béla Bartók's "Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs," poses it as something of an omega to Bach's alpha. 

"I feel there's some kind of connection between Bach and Bartók. On one hand it is very refined, but on the other hand it's very rustic, very simple." 

Nosrati is packing as much music as possible into this visit. She's playing her Grand Piano Series concerts at Bonita Springs and Punta Gorda, and she's sandwiching in three music visits to schools: "Kids can be so naturally enthusiastic about music," she said. "They have really fresh interpretations of it."

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12

Where: St. Leo Catholic Church (Auditorium), 28290 Beaumont Road, Bonita Springs

Tickets: $35-$50

To buy: grandpianoseries.org; information, 646-734-8179

Trent Brown (standing) is artistic director for Choral Artistry.

Rachy mountain high

When Trent Brown and Choral Artistry began rehearsing Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil," they were on rugged terrain. The music is a cappella. The language is Russian.

Some portions of the work are subdivided, a technique known as divisi, so that different melodies are being sung within the same section. This means some sections contain as many as 11 separate parts.

"It involves a lot of independence," Brown said of the singers. "It's a tough work to do." "All Night Vigil" is one of Rachmaninoff's most demanding, yet so sublime the composer wanted its fifth verse of vespers sung at his funeral. 

Part of that beauty is in the ultra-deep bass, or contrabass that dips to an A below the bass clef staff. Choral Artistry has several singers with that ability this year, which spurred Brown to add it to the season.

He brought in the linguistics and diction coach who had helped him and the FGCU chorus learn a Latvian-language work a year ago. With diction recordings and a half-hour tutorial on Russian language, chorus members were also delivered their parts by upload on the members section of the website. It cut down the need for extra-long rehearsals during the pandemic.

The work is not of a length to carry the listener through the night, singing only 15 verses of evening vespers, and to make room in the concert for Rachmaninoff favorites such as "Vocalise," Choral Artistry is not even singing all of those. 

"So it's a 'Most-Night Vigil,'" Brown quipped. 

When and where: There are three performances

  • 7 p.m. Friday, Jan 7, at Sanibel Community Church, 1740 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel
  • 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 9801 Bonita Beach Road SE, Bonita Springs
  • 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, at Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church, 553 Galleon Drive, Naples

Admission: Free

Information:choralartistry.org  239-560-5695

'Hamilton' star southbound

Reneé Elise Goldsberry, who made her name as the fiery Angelica Schuyler in "Hamilton," brings her extensive Broadway repertoire from New York to Fort Myers. She and her singing stage sisters regularly stopped the show  in "Hamilton" with "The Greatest City in the World," a paean to the infant Big Apple.

Goldsberry also played Nettie Harris in the original Broadway cast of "The Color Purple," and Mimi Marquez in "Rent." Look for some "Lion King" repertoire, too, as she partners for a big sound with the Gulf Coast Symphony and Music Director Andrew Kurtz.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15

Where: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 13350 FSW Parkway, Fort Myers

Tickets: $39-$85

To buy: gulfcoastsymphony.org or 239-481-4849

Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Reach her at 239-213-6091.