By Gail McCarthy
---- — January’s program of Rockport Music events represents the ever-broadening scope of music that the nonprofit organization brings to the waterfront Shalin Liu Performance Center. This month’s concerts feature everything from fiery flamenco dance and music to the return of a gospel ensemble. In between is HD opera and classical music.
Tony Beadle, the executive director of Rockport Music, said the new year will usher in music of all kinds, as well as some new features.
“We’re delighted to present a wide variety of music and other events,” he said, noting in particular something new in the spring when residents can be part of the audience during the national live broadcast NPR’s news quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”
The year kicks off Saturday, Jan. 5, at noon with the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcast of Berlioz’s “Les Troyens,” featuring Francesca Zambello’s 2003 production of the Trojan War epic. The cast includes Marcello Giordani in the lead role of Aeneas, the hero who fled Troy for the North African kingdom of Carthage. Deborah Voigt reprises the role of the cursed Trojan prophetess Cassandra and Susan Graham makes her debut as Dido, the noble but heartbroken Queen of Carthage.
The passionate sounds of flamenco take center stage Saturday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. featuring the Flamenco Dance Project, comprised of musicians and dancers from both sides of the Atlantic dedicated to the evolving art of this centuries-old tradition. The program features critically-acclaimed guitarist Juanito Pascual, flamenco singers Barbara Martinez and Seville native Alfonso Cid, and dancers Jose Moreno and Sabrina Avilés.
Classical music will be featured the following day, Sunday, Jan. 13, when award-winning pianist Wendy Chen performs at 3 p.m., with a pre-concert talk at 2 p.m. At 14, Chen debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under conductor André Previn, and in 1990 became the youngest winner of the National Chopin Competition. Program highlights include Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” Chopin’s “Nocturne, Op. 48, No. 1 in C minor,” Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz No. 1,” and several works by Astor Piazzolla.
The National Theatre of London in HD presents a Victorian farce with “The Magistrate” on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. featuring Academy Award-nominee and Tony Award-winner John Lithgow in the title role in Arthur Wing Pinero’s “uproarious” work, which is directed by Olivier Award-winner Timothy Sheader.
The second Met HD broadcast takes place Saturday, Jan. 19, at 12:55 p.m. featuring Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda” with a pre-opera lecture by Elizabeth Seitz starting at noon. This is the second opera in Donizetti’s trilogy of operas about Tudor history. Joyce DiDonato sings the title role of the defiant Mary, Queen of Scots.
Later the same day, the nine-piece Cryogenic Renaissance Orchestra performs at 8 p.m. The group is described as a mini–big band led by jazz composer, arranger and trumpeter Greg Hopkins, a longtime professor of jazz composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Hopkins was also a soloist and arranger for the Buddy Rich Band from 1972 to1974 before settling in the Boston area.
Back by popular demand after its concert last season, New England Gospel Ensemble, under the direction of James Early, returns Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. for an afternoon of celebrated inspirational music.
On Sunday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m., multiple Grammy Award-winning country and folk singer Kathy Mattea performs. From her signature ballad “Where’ve You Been” to the iconic “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” Mattea has long been known as an impeccable singer-songwriter with an unmistakable voice. Her 17 albums and 30 hit singles are woven through with bluegrass, gospel, and Celtic influences, and have garnered multiple Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and Grammy awards. With her latest release, “Calling Me Home,” Mattea, accompanied by her all-star band, embraces the rich musical heritage, and timeless melodies of her Appalachian roots. “Mattea remains one of Nashville’s most spiritual singers, and the songs she sings about love lost and humility are as fine as can be,” according to USA Today.
For tickets to or information about any of these events, visit www.rockportmusic.org, or call 978-546-7391, or visit the box office at 35 Main St. in Rockport, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or email@example.com.