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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2016 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Festival Preview: De-Lux Aeterna

A look at Lincoln Center's month-long 2013 White Light Festival.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Anna Caterina Antonacci performs Era la Notte as part of the 2013 White Light Festival.
Photo by Magalie Bouchet © 2013 courtesy of Lincoln Center.
The White Light Festival has become the signature fall offering of Lincoln Center. Once again, New York's biggest performing arts center invites artists from all over the world and from different genres and disciplines to participate in an exploration of music, spirituality and the soul.

White Light 2012 was marred by the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. That devastating storm that destroyed and shut down whole swathes of New York. (The performances went off, but the minds of New Yorkers may have been on other things than spirituality and contemplation of the soul.) This year's Festival offers a promising slate of artists, and hopefully more clement weather. The month-long offering starts with a free performance on Oct. 24 (at the David Rubinstein Atrium) and continues through Nov. 19.



Here are the highlights from the 2013 White Light Festival:

Orchestral music:

  • On Oct. 28, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble will devote an evening to the music and multimedia works of Michael van der Aa, at the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom
  • The Cleveland Orchestra makes a welcome return to Avery Fisher Hall on Nov. 4, with The Divine Presence, a program of sacred music by  Messiaen and Beethoven, including the latter's underperformed Mass in C Major. This is the Orchestra's first Lincoln Center appearance since their Bruckner: Revolution project three years ago. 
  • Neeme Järvi and the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra will offer The Word Made Flesh, a program of Mozart, Sibelius and Tormis with two works by that country's great composer (and the Festival's principal inspiration) Arvo Pärt. Nov. 10 at Avery Fisher Hall.

"Bare, ruined choirs": an abandoned church in Detroit, MI from the film The End of Time.
Image© 2013 Grimthrope Film, courtesy of Lincoln Center

Opera and Dance:

  • The baroque ensemble Le Concert d'Astrée offers Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, a prototype for the composer's later opera Acis et Galatea. Oct. 26 at Alice Tully Hall. 
  • On Nov. 13 and 14, Antonia Caterina Antonacci sings the U.S. premiere of Era la Notte, a cycle of arias by Monteverdi and other 17th century Italian composers.
  • The Mark Morris Dance Group returns to Lincoln Center for L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, combining the genres of oratorio and dance and featuring the music of Handel. 


Chamber Music:
The JACK Quartet from Los Angeles turns out the lights for this performance of Georg Friedrich Haas' String Quartet No. 3. And yes, performing this work in total darkness (at the Clark Studio Theater on Nov. 19) is at the composer's instruction.

Sacred Music:

  • The music of Bach and Vivaldi are featured in Gloria (Nov. 12), a Festival appearance by the Boys Choir of St. Thomas' Church in Leipzig, Germany. Yes, that's the church choir from where Johann Sebastian Bach served out his life as kapellmeister.
  • The Tallis Scholars are at Alice Tully Hall on Nov. 14 performing works by Renaissance composer John Taverner.

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.