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Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series presents:
The Capriccio Quartet

Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 4:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center

The Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series is very pleased to present the Capriccio Quartet, members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, in a return visit for an afternoon of light-hearted fun and pure musical enjoyment. The performance will take place at the Gualala Arts Center on Sunday, January 28th, at 4:00 p.m.

Capriccio Quartet This concert will be similar to last February's Capriccio performance at Gualala Arts, which elicited a standing ovation and roof-raising applause. About that performance, music critic Iris Lorenz-Fife wrote a special report to the ICO titled "What a joy to have them, the Capriccio Quartet," in which she wrote, in part, "The members of the Quartet put so much heart into their presentation that I was swept up in the blending...the passion, the acting, and the singing of the final offering moved me to tears."

The program will include popular selections from Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Wagner's Tannhauser, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Massenet's Werther, Dvorak's Rusalka, Rossini's Barber of Seville, Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Tales of the South Pacific.

Members of the Capriccio Quartet are soprano Virginia Pluth, mezzo-soprano Sally Porter-Munro, tenor Richard Walker, and baritone Frederick Matthews. The quartet is directed and accompanied on piano by Ian Robertson, who also serves as narrator. The Quartet was formed in 1991 when these members were chosen to preview the forthcoming San Francisco Opera fall season. That year they sang in a variety of venues to high acclaim. Enjoying this newly-found artistic outlet, they have continued to perform together, and since that time they have sung many concerts around the Bay Area. We are happy to have them perform 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 awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize for his artistic contribution to the 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, begins her 18th season with the San Francisco Opera Chorus this year. She has sung various roles in many operas, including those of Sarah in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Sister Catherine in Dead Man Walking, and the Heavenly Voice in The Damnation of Faust. She has also sung roles in Death in Venice, The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Carmen, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel, Madame Butterfly, and many others. 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 native of London, England, and a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England. While living in 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. She relocated to New York City, where she was soloist with many choirs, her wide repertoire spanning early music to 20th century works. Since moving to San Francisco, Ms. Porter-Munro has sung with Pocket Opera, Berkeley Opera, North Bay Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. She has sung various 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. Porter-Munro enjoys collaborating with contemporary composers, and has premiered new works by Allen Shearer, Marge Wheeler, Louise Canepa, and has performed works by the acclaimed British composer Ian Venables. As a 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. She and pianist Laura Dahl gave a recital together 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 Numberg, 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 Copntemporary 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, among others. 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 Rosenkavilier. He also sang the role of The Corporal opposite Kathleen Battle and Frank Lopardo in Donizetti'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 Fiorello 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 are $20 for advance purchases, or $25 on the day of the concert. Children and young people ages 7 through 17 are admitted free. Advance tickets are available at the Gualala Arts Center or at the Dolphin Gallery in Gualala. For advance credit card purchases by telephone, call the Arts Center at 707-884-1138. For further information visit our website, Those unable to furnish their own transportation may call the Arts Center to request rides to the concert.