The Mass … the pinnacle! (Daily Festival log, July 14)

Janna Elesia Critz and Fiona Gillespie are the vocal soloists in rehearsal of “Christie elesion” on Sunday afternoon

Janna Elesia Critz and Fiona Gillespie are the vocal soloists in rehearsal of “Christie elesion” on Sunday afternoon

The first week of the Academy saw substantial rehearsal time devoted to the music that was performed with amazing clarity and brilliance last night. In fact, I would add to those virtues two more: purpose and passion. It was clear from the expressive opening bars of the Kyrie that Maestro Thomas and the Festival orchestra were committed to presenting a memorable performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor. All those hours of rehearsal and work and we, the audience, share in the reward: a magnificent realization of Bach’s masterpiece. It was a transporting experience that won’t be forgotten by many of us who were present. There will be one more performance of the Mass on July 20 at 2:00, the final performance of the Festival. That performance is completely sold out.

The American Bach Choir join the orchestra and soloists for final rehearsal before the Sold Out Sunday night performance

The American Bach Choir join the orchestra and soloists for last rehearsal before the Sold Out Sunday night performance

The performance of the Mass ended at 9:30 pm and it was great to see nearly everyone in the concert hall lingering around, socializing, and collectively holding onto the experience—like we had all just been through something extraordinary together and didn’t want to let it end just yet. Though the performance felt like a culmination in many ways of everything that has happened thus far in the Academy, there is still so much more to come! Tonight is the first of the Academy-In-Action concerts. Rehearsals for Handel’s L’Allegro resume on Tuesday. Public lectures and master classes happen each day from tomorrow through Saturday. Mary Wilson returns for a highly anticipated concert on Saturday. And, of course, another chance to hear this fine assemblage perform Bach’s Mass on Sunday. Oh yes … the Festival has just gotten started.

Continue reading, Day 8.