Jake Heggie: Moby-Dick Orchestral Suite [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Christopher Rountree: Overture to La Haine [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Gabriella Smith: Field Guide [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Karim Al-Zand: The Prisoner (Jonathan Lemalu, bass-baritone) [World Premiere | Festival Commission]
Four world premiere commissions bring the 2017 Festival season to a spectacular close. The premiere of an orchestral suite of American composer Jake Heggie’s critically acclaimed opera, Moby-Dick, opens the program. Moby-Dick is a “masterpiece of clarity and intensity” wrote critic Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle. The suite is arranged by Macelaru, who collaborated on the world premiere of Moby-Dick as assistant conductor for the Dallas Opera. The program also includes the world premiere of a Festival commission by Christopher Rountree, a composer and conductor working at the intersection of classical music, new music, performance art and pop. Rountree is the founder, conductor and creative director of the path-breaking L.A. chamber orchestra wild Up. This commission is part of an ongoing series designed to identify the next generation of talent sponsored by the Pacific Harmony Foundation, established by celebrated composer John Adams and his wife, the noted landscape photographer Deborah O’Grady. John Adams’ 70th birthday is a milestone being celebrated by the music community across the globe, and commemorated tonight with the world premiere commission of a new piece by Gabriella Smith. The prolific young San Francisco-based composer has a special relationship to Adams, who has been a mentor and supporter, and whose Pacific Harmony Foundation commissioned Smith’s acclaimed Tumblebird Contrails for the 2014 Festival season. Cristi Macelaru has dreamed of inviting composers to write works on subjects genuinely close to their hearts, and he has found that opportunity here at the Cabrillo Festival. We close his inaugural season with the world premiere of a stirring new work for orchestra and voice by Canadian composer Karim Al-Zand. Featuring Grammy Award-winning, New Zealand-born bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, Al-Zand offers The Prisoner—inspired by the story of Adnan Latif, a Yemeni man wrongfully imprisoned for more than a decade at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until his death. Al-Zand, whose music has been celebrated as “strong and startlingly lovely”(Boston Globe), includes in the libretto segments of a letter Latif wrote to his lawyers, interspersed with poems by Rilke and Rumi.
The concert is followed by a Dessert Reception for the entire audience and orchestra!