Fall music festival will feature works by French composers
Francophiles, delight! French music will be highlighted through the next week in a Fall Festival of Music presented by Ohana Arts, a fledgling performing arts organization launched last year. The festival features a series of concerts that will include large-scale orchestral works, two chamber music concerts and a small opera production, all by French composers.
“The theme kind of found us,” said mezzo-soprano Laurie Rubin, a founding member of Ohana Arts, which puts on chamber music performances in private residences and has sponsored a children’s musical theater program.
OHANA ARTS FALL FESTIVAL OF MUSIC
» Faure’s “Requiem” with the Hawaii Vocal Arts Ensemble, the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, the Ohana Arts Festival Youth Orchestra and soloists Laurie Rubin and Keane Ishii
» “Rendezvous a Paris: A Celebration of French art song and vocal chamber music,” with the Momenta Quartet, University of Hawaii professors Jonathan Korth and Maya Hoover, soprano Rachel Shutz and Rubin. Works by Chausson, Faure, Bizet, Gounod, Satie and others.
» Momenta Quartet: Up-and-coming string quartet performs works by Chausson, Prudencio and Glass. With pianist Djordje Nesic and Rubin
» “Les Voix Humaine,” one-woman opera starring Rubin, and Milhaud’s “La Creation Du Monde” (Creation of the World), with the Momenta Quartet and Nesic
>>The Momenta Quartet will give two free presentations during the week: a talk and demonstration about classical music from the Renaissance to the contemporary period, at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday at Warmer Auditorium, Hawaii Pacific University, 1060 Bishop St.; and a master class for student ensembles and soloists, 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Orvis Auditorium at UH-Manoa.
Rubin has recently performed chansons and cabaret songs for the local chapter of Alliance Francaise, an organization that promotes French culture and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The festival begins Sunday with a performance of Faure’s Requiem, an orchestral-choral work that emerges frequently in pop culture. It was used in the films “American Beauty” and “Interview with a Vampire” and television programs like “CSI.”
“It’s ethereal,” Rubin said. “Of all the requiems, it’s the one for me that you just sit there and you feel like you’re already in heaven.”
The performance will include the Momenta Quartet, a New York-based group known for playing some of the most challenging new music in the repertoire.
“They really love difficult, difficult music,” Rubin said. “They’re just beginning to get a lot of recognition … and it’s mostly because they’ll do anything from Brahms to the most difficult contemporary work, and they’ll do it really well.
The quartet will give a concert of French art songs and chamber music with University of Hawaii-Manoa music faculty on Thursday, and on Nov. 4, it will give a concert featuring a work written for them, Cergio Prudencio’s “Transfiguraciones,” and Chausson’s “Chanson
Perpetuelle” for piano, string quartet and mezzo-soprano. Rubin will sing the role, which she said is about “longing and abandonment, everybody’s worst fear.”
Next weekend, Rubin concludes the festival with the one-woman opera “La Voix Humaine” (“The Human Voice”), by Francis Poulenc, with a libretto by Jean Cocteau. “La Voix Humaine” is in the character of a “woman who’s on the phone with her lover for the last time before he marries someone else,” Rubin said. “So she’s holding on to this one thread.”
The production includes three dancers, who carry spotlights and move about the stage, lighting up Rubin. The dancers are “like spirits, interacting with me but keeping their distance,” she said.
–Steven Mark / email@example.com