Gualala Arts logo


Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Chamber Music logo

Gualala Arts Chamber Music Series presents:
Capriccio Quartet

Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center
Buy tickets

Capriccio Quartet
Capriccio Quartet
Ian Robertson, Director and piano
Virginia Pluth, soprano
Sally Porter-Munro, mezzo soprano
Richard Walker, tenor
Frederick Matthews, baritone
The Capriccio Quartet, all members of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, will return for an afternoon of light-hearted fun and pure musical enjoyment. Two years ago at Gualala Arts, they elicited a standing ovation and roof-raising applause. About that performance, music critic Iris Lorenz-Fife wrote in the ICO, "The members of the Quartet put so much heart into their presentation that I was swept up in the drama . . . The passion, the acting, and the singing of the final offering moved me to tears."

Their previous programs have included 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.

The Quartet was formed in 1991 when they 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 again as part of our concert series.

Virginia Pluth, soprano, will begin her 21st season with the San Francisco Opera Chorus and has sung various roles with San Francisco Opera including: 1st Priestess, Iphigenie; First Noble Orphan, Der Rosenkavalier; Civil Rights Quartet, Appomattox; Archangel, Maid of Orleans; Madrigalist, Manon Lescaut; Lolette, La Rondine; Suzanne, Louise; Sarah, The Ballad of Baby Doe; Sister Catherine, Dead Man Walking; A Maidservant, Jenufa; The Heavenly Voice, Damnation of Faust; The Lace Seller, Death in Venice; A Bridesmaid, Marriage of Figaro; A Cretan Woman, Idomeneo and others. Virginia's other roles include: Cenerentola; Fiordiligi and Dorabella, Cosi fan Tutte; Cherubino, Marriage of Figaro; Micaela, Carmen; Anne Page, The Merry Wives of Windsor; The First Lady, The Magic Flute; Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi; The Sandman, Hansel & Gretel; Kate Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly, plus many more.

Virginia recently performed the Wesendonck by Wagner with Symphony Parnassus. Other oratorio works include: The Messiah, The Creation; Poulenc's Stabat Mater and Mozart's Vesperae Solemnes de Confessore, among others. What is most enjoyable to Virginia is the opportunity to sing with Capriccio. Not only does it give more of an intimate venue with the audience, it also provides the 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, 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 to continue her studies.

Since moving to San Francisco, Ms. Munro has sung as a soloist with Pocket Opera, Berkeley Opera, North Bay Opera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, and Lake Tahoe Festival. Her roles include Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte), Cherubino (Marriage of Figaro), Siebel (Faust), Tisbe (Cenerentola), Beppe (L'Amico Fritz), Rosina (Barber of Seville), Adalgisa (Norma) and Charlotte (Werther).

Ms. Munro has performed as a soloist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Russian Chamber Orchestra, Master Works Chorale, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. She is a full time member of The San Francisco Opera Chorus and has covered and sung a number of small roles.

Ms. Munro's recent concertizing includes recitals with the Capriccio Quartet as well as solo concerts in the Bay Area, New York City and London. Since 2003 she has made five visits to Russia, performing with The Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet, The Chamber Orchestra of Novgrod and The Orchestra Classic of St Petersburg. In 2004 she gave a number of recitals in Cape Town South Africa and performed with the Cape Town University Orchestra.

She enjoys collaborating with contemporary composers and has performed premiers by Thomas Ades, Allen Shearer, David Irving, Marge Wheeler, Louise P. Canepa and Peter Dyson. Ms. Munro teaches singing and the Alexander Technique and is a faculty member of the San Francisco Girls' Chorus.

Richard Walker, tenor, has had a versatile career of over 100 opera and oratorio roles throughout the United States and Europe. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Music and former member of the Netherlands Opera Studio in Amsterdam, he has worked with such notable conductors 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, Mr. Walker has also appeared with the opera in such roles as Colonel Parker in the world premiere of Phillip Glass' Appomattox, the First Philistine in Samson, the First Armored Man in Die Zauberflote, Megaros in Doctor Faust, Giuseppe in La Traviata, the Royal Herald in Don Carlos, Senor Lopez in Betrotha l in a Monestary, Bushy in The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde, Eisslinger in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, the Messenger in Aida, the First Student and Animal Trainer in Der Rosenkavalier and the Young Soldier in King Priam.

A frequent performer throughout the Bay Area, his most recent credits include Alfredo in La Traviata, Nemorino in The Elixir of Love, Lensky in Eugene Onegin, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Belmonte from The Abduction from the Seraglio, Rinuccio from Gianni Schicchi and the title roles in Faust and The Tales of Hoffmann. Mr. Walker also maintains a busy concert schedule that has most recently included Stavinsky's Persephone with the Berkeley Symphony, Henze's Kamermusik 1958 with the San Francisco Contemporary Players, Bach's Mass in B Minor and the Pas sions 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 Hilversum, The Netherlands with the Alexander String Quartet.

Fredrick Matthews, baritone, is praised by audiences and critics alike for his appearances on the operatic and concert stages. International recognition came while on tour singing the role of "Jake" in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess when it was reported that he "projected evenly balanced singing and left an exquisite stage impression." (Neue Presse - Augsburg, Germany) Now residing in the Bay Area, he has been seen in a variety of solo and bit parts with the San Francisco Opera. During the San Francisco Opera's presentation of Wagner's Ring Cycle, he covered the role of "Fasolt" in Das Rheingold. He also sang the role of "The Corporal" opposite Kathleen Battle and Frank Lopardo in Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment. Of this performance a reviewer wrote, "Frederick Matthews magnetized attention...and was particularly affable as The Corporal."

He has also appeared in a variety of roles with the Las Vegas Opera, Marin Opera and the Sacramento Opera. With Opera Pacific in Costa Mesa, California he sang the role of "Fiorello" in Rossini's The Barber of Seville opposite Judith Forst and Pablo Elvira. Of this performance the Los Angeles Times' described his performance as "strikingly mellifluous." During the 1998 San Francisco Opera Season, he sang the role of "Ein Diener" in Berg's LULU, and "The Official Registrar" in Madama Butterfly by Puccini.

This season he was heard as the 5th inmate in the World Premiere of Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally, as well as a Marschallin Lackey in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. Mr. Matthews is also featured in the Oscar-winning documentary entitled: "In the Shadow of the Stars," produced by Light-Saraf Films now available on DVD. Also, Mr. Matthews teaches music at Coleman Elementary School, Kindergarten through Fifth Grades, Fourth and fifth Grade at Laurel Dell, and Sixth through Eight Grades at Davidson Middle School all in San Rafael.

Ian Robertson was recently awarded the Olivier Messiaen Foundation Prize for his artistic contribution to the preparation of San Francisco Opera's North American premiere of Saint François d'Assise, Ian Robertson has been chorus director and conductor with San Francisco Opera since 1987 and artistic director of the San Francisco Boys Chorus since 1996. He made is 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 Bohème.

In addition to his highly praised work with the Opera Chorus, he has led the Opera Orchestra and Chorus in many concerts. Additional conducting assignments include productions for the Opera Center, concerts with the Merola Opera Program, as well as engagements at S arasota Opera, Edmonton Opera and at Philadelphia's Curtis Opera Theatre. Before joining the San Francisco Opera, Robertson was head of music and chorus director of Scottish Opera, where he led numerous stagings. A native of Scotland, the maestro trained as a concert pianist and accompanist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, subsequently graduating with honors from the University of Glasgow.

Tickets are $20 for advance purchases; $5 more on the day of the concert (buy your tickets early!). Children and young people ages 7 through 17 are admitted free.

For advance purchase, go to Brown Paper Tickets or call them at 800-838-3006.
To purchase in person, visit the Gualala Arts Center or Dolphin Gallery in Gualala.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.