The members of the Academy vocal studio found themselves with another full day of coachings yesterday. Several of the singers took the opportunity to develop their solo repertory in sessions with faculty members Max van Egmond, Judith Malafronte, William Sharp, and Jeffrey Thomas. Master classes with the other studios—strings, low strings, keyboard, winds & brass—occupied the afternoon. The winds & brass master class was open to the public and an attentive audience filled the Osher Salon to watch Sandra Miller, Debra Nagy, and John Thiessen work with the flutes, oboes, and brass, respectively. After working together for almost two straight weeks, the rapport and mutual respect between teacher and student was clear to see.
At 5:00 pm, the Osher Salon was packed to the rafters with auditors for Jeffrey Thomas’s lecture about Handel and his librettists. Of course Thomas devoted considerable attention to the literary sources of L’Allegro, by looking closely at the work of Milton and Jennens. This preparation for the evening’s concert gave us all something to think about and discuss over dinner in the remaining hours before the performance at 8:00 pm.
In the hour before “curtain,” the lobby of the Conservatory filled with eager concertgoers as well as those hoping to get a ticket to the sold out performance. The mood was festive and reminiscent of the previous Friday when the Festival opened. As with the Bach rehearsals for the Mass in B Minor last week, the preparations for L’Allegro have been intense and led to a splendid performance.
So we have heard exquisite performances of Bach, music by many of his predecessors, an outstanding evening-length work by Handel. What’s next? Mary Wilson with the American Bach Soloists, that’s what!! Tonight’s concert will feature Thomas conducting Wilson and the members of ABS in works by Handel, Vivaldi, and Bach. Following the concert, Ms Wilson will autograph copies of the new ABS CD in the Conservatory lobby. Stick around after the concert and meet this sensational artist.