Viva la Viola

This is the time of year when many arts organizations in Naples put on programs for the seasonal residents and tourists. I have been busy performing on viola for several of these performances.

Tha Opera Naples performances of Faust were very well received. I think it is my favorite opera that I have done with Opera Naples thus far. The music was challenging but enjoyable under the baton of Maestro Paul Nadler. The patrons of Opera Naples are very excited about the future alliance with the Naples Philharmonic. For me, it may mean that this is among the last performances I will play with the Opera as they will now use Naples Philharmonic Orchestra members.  I have enjoyed working with the many outstanding conductors and fellow musicians and wish all the best for Opera Naples in the future. I am fortunate that in my life I have had wonderful experiences performing with both opera and ballet companies. It was great to see my friends John and Michelle Mansika of Naples Original Video Productions handling the filming of the production.

Here is a link to read the review.http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/feb/26/neopera-naples-faust-gives-devil—-and-every-face/

Next came the performance at the Sugden Theatre in downtown Naples as I was part of the Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra on the Classic Chamber Concerts series. On the program was the Mendelssohn” Italian” Symphony #4 and the Piano Concerto #2 by Saint- Saens. I really enjoy performing with William Noll, the Director and Conductor. He is well liked and respected by his patrons and musicians and always gives a little talk before the concert begins.  As a result, his concert series have performed to sell out crowds. The Mendelssohn was also very challenging for me, requiring great concentration and a lot of practice to prepare. The concert was superb and very well received by the audience. We had the privilege of performing with a young man who has quite a future ahead of him. He was brilliant!

Here is a link to the review. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/mar/07/sanchez-werner-pulls-crowd-into-high-energy/

The next project was the Bach Mass in B minor performed with the Bach Ensemble. Performing at the Moorings Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Dr. Ron Doiron, this performance was the culmination of many months of preparation for the group. This work is considered one of the greatest choral masterpieces and this performance marked the first time it has been performed in Southwest Florida. The vocalists were all wonderful as well as my fellow musicians. All my colleagues who make up Seaside Strings are in the orchestra: Susan Sikuta, Joan Stewart, Diane Coffman and Wendy Willis. The concert was very well attended and the audience was very enthusiastic about the performance. This performance marked the tenth anniversary of the Bach Ensemble’s founding and was also a benefit concert for Avow Hospice. Also noteworthy was that several choir members traveled from Europe to participate in this concert. It was another memorable evening!

Here I am with Dr. Ron Dorion and my stand partner, Lani Mastrangelo.

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Opera Naples- Don Giovanni

I have been fortunate to be a part of the Opera Naples Orchestra since the company began seven years ago. On the playbill this week was Mozart’s Don Giovanni. I was excited because I have always wanted to perform this piece. Playing in the orchestra is really a rewarding experience. Working on the part helps improve my playing skills and working in the orchestra keeps me a well-rounded musician, I think. It requires such a  high level of concentration! I really enjoyed playing with Gail Picha and Barbara Lounsbury in the viola section! As always Stephanie Pearce, the founder of Opera Naples has chosen exceptional singers and the conductor Franz Vote was a real pleasure to work with! I am really proud to be a part  of these productions.

Here is a picture of Gail, Barbara and me along with the conductor.

Next month we tackle Gounod’s Faust.