Chamber Music Series presents:
Sunday, February 19 at 4:00 p.m.
The Capriccio Quartet
at the Gualala Arts Center
The Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series is happy to present the Capriccio Quartet for an afternoon of light-hearted fun and pure musical enjoyment. These four members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus will be in concert at the Gualala Arts Center on Sunday, February 19th at 4 pm. The program will include popular selections from Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Mozart's The Magic Flute, Rossini's La Cenerentola, Puccini's Tosca and La Boheme, Bizet's Pearl Fishers, Beethoven's Fidelio, Bernstein's West Side Story, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and Lerner & Lowe's My Fair Lady.
Members of the Capriccio Quartet are soprano Virginia Pluth, mezzo-soprano Sally Porter-Munro, tenor Richard Walker, and baritone Frederick Matthews. Ian Robertson accompanies the quartet on piano and serves as narrator. The quartet was formed in 1991 when these chorus members were chosen to preview the forthcoming San Francisco Opera fall season. They sang in a variety of venues to high acclaim. Enjoying this newly-found artistic outlet, they have continued to perform together, singing concerts all around the Bay Area. We are pleased to have them in Gualala as part of our concert series.
Ian Robertson has been chorus director and conductor with the San Francisco Opera since 1987, and artistic director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus since 1986. Robertson made his SFO conducting debut with the 1988 production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and has since led performances of Falstaff, Lohengrin, Rigoletto, La Traviata, Don Carlo, Turandot, Il Trovatore, and La Boheme. He was recently awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize for his artistic contribution to preparation of the San Francisco Opera's North American premiere of Saint Francois de Assise. Mr. Robertson has also led the Opera Orchestra and Chorus in many concerts. Additional conducting assignments have included productions for the Opera Center, concerts with the Merola Opera Program, and engagements with Sarasota Opera, Edmonton Opera, and Philadelphia's Curtis Opera Theater.
Before joining the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Robertson was head of music and chorus director of Scottish Opera, where he led numerous stagings. A native of Scotland, he trained as a concert pianist and accompanist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, subsequently graduating with honors from the University of Glasgow.
Virginia Pluth, soprano, is in her seventeenth season with the San Francisco Opera Chorus. Her many roles include Sarah in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Sister Catherine in Dead Man Walking, and the Heavenly Voice in The Damnation of Faust. Other appearances include Death in Venice, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Carmen, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel and Madame Butterfly. Ms. Pluth says, "What is most enjoyable is the opportunity to sing with Capriccio. Not only does it give more of an intimate venue with the audience, it also provides an opportunity to sing and perform with wonderfully talented friends."
Sally Porter-Munro, mezzo-soprano, is a London native and a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England. She sang with the English National Opera, the Royal Opera de la Monnaie in Brussels, and as an oratorio soloist in Europe. She also performed with the BBC Singers on radio and television. Relocating to New York City, she was soloist with many choirs, her wide repertoire spanning early music to twentieth century works. Since moving to San Francisco, Ms. Munro has sung with Pocket Opera, Berkeley Opera, North Bay Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. She has sung roles in Cosi fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, The Barber of Seville, Norma, Death in Venice and others. She has also appeared with the Oakland East Bay Symphony as a soloist in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and performed the role of the Duchess in the American premier of the opera Powder her Face, by Thomas Ades, with Kent Nagano and the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Munro enjoys collaborating with contemporary composers, and has premiered works by Allen Shearer, Marge Wheeler, Louise Canepa, and she has performed works by acclaimed British composer Ian Venables. As soloist with the Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, she has appeared in New York, New Jersey, Capetown, South Africa, and St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently, she and pianist Laura Dahl gave a recital as music directors of the "Music by the Mountain" chamber music festival in Mount Shasta. A return recital was televised and recorded for a CD.
Richard Walker, tenor, has had a versatile career of over one hundred opera and oratorio roles throughout the United States and Europe. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, and a former member of the Netherlands Opera Studio in Amsterdam, he has worked with many notable conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Robert Shaw, Edo de Waart, Lucas Foss, Kent Nagano, and Valerie Gergiev. A member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus since 1991, he has appeared in various roles in Faust, La Traviata, Don Carlos, the Ballad of Baby Doe, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Aida, Der Rosenkavalier, King Priam, The Elixir of Love, Eugene Onegin, Cosi fan Tutte, The Abduction from the Seraglio, Tales of Hoffman, and others.
Mr. Walker also maintains a busy concert schedule that has recently included Stravinsky's Persephone with the Berkeley Symphony, Henze's Kamermusik 1958 with the San Francisco Contemporary Players, Bach's Mass in B Minor and the Passions of St. Matthew and St. John, Mendelssohn's Elijah and St. Paul, Haydn's Creation, and the Requiems of Verdi and Mozart. Mr. Walker has also recorded Warlock's The Curlew for VARA Radio in the Netherlands, with the Alexander String Quartet.
Frederick Matthews, baritone, has been praised by audiences and critics alike for his operatic and concert performances. International recognition came while he was on tour singing the role of Jake in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, when the Neue Presse, Augsberg, Germany, wrote that he "projected evenly-balanced singing, and left an exquisite stage impression." Now residing in the Bay Area, he has appeared in a variety of roles with the San Francisco Opera, including performances in Das Rheingold, Lulu, Madame Butterfly, Dead Man Walking, and Der Rosenkavalier. He also sang opposite Kathleen Battle and Frank Laporte in Diagnosed's La Fille du Regiment. Of this performance, a reviewer wrote "Frederick Matthews magnetized attention...and was particularly affable as The Corporal."
In addition to performances with the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Matthews has appeared in a variety of roles with the Las Vegas Opera, the Marin Opera, the Sacramento Opera, and Opera Pacific in Costa Mesa, where he sang the role of Farewell in The Barber of Seville opposite Judith Forst and Pablo Elvira. He is featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "In the Shadow of the Stars," produced by Light-Saraf Films, now available on DVD. Mr. Matthews is also the music teacher for kindergarten through fifth grades at Coleman Elementary School in San Rafael.
Tickets for the concert are $20. Children ages 7 through 17 are admitted
free when accompanied by an adult. Advance tickets are available at the Gualala Arts Center or at the
Dolphin Gallery in Gualala. Tickets may also be purchased at the door prior
to the performance. For further information, call the Gualala Arts Center
at (707) 884-1138, or visit the website
GualalaArts.org. Those unable to
furnish their own transportation may call the Arts Center to request rides
to the concert.