* Notes *
I haven't been to hear UC Berkeley's University Chorus since a 2004 performance of Rachmaninoff's Vsenoshchnoye bdenie at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension in Oakland. Imagine my surprise at not seeing Marika Kuzma, as she is on leave this school year, and Aya Ueda is the Guest Director. The evening started off with Awit Sa Panginoon, an a cappella work with a Filipino text. The work seems more appropriate for Easter than Thanksgiving, given that it is based on pasyon, a Lenten vocal genre. The music was hypnotic, and the two female soloists were particularly good, the sopranos Lily Ehlebracht and Dalia Sawaya.
Mozart's Requiem in D minor, KV 626 was played and sung very nicely. The soprano, Krista Wigle, had a good deal of vibrato, but a pretty voice. Mezzo-soprano Paula Chacon occasionally had an odd wobble in her voice as well. The men fared better, Matthew Oltman (tenor) and Jeffrey Fields (bass) sing with, respectively, Chanticleer and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and it was apparent why.
Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei ended the evening, as an extension of the Mozart. While not horrible, it was a bit odd to hear after the Requiem. I did not give it the proper attention, so I have nothing more to say about it.
* Tattling *
The performance was sold-out, though this is not an infrequent occurrence, as students wish to see their friends perform. The audience was well-behaved, I noted no watch alarms or phone rings, nor was there any talking. I did sit in the middle of the third row, so that probably made a difference. After the performance, I overheard some complimentary words about Matthew Oltman's hair, worn in a discreet mohawk.