Alex Ross at Cal Performances
The Second Cast of SF Opera's Figaro

Lars Ulrik Mortensen conducts Bach

Mortensen-pbo * Notes *
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (pictured left with soprano Maria Keohane, photograph by Michael Strickland) is currently conducting Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in a program of Bach. Friday night's performance in San Francisco started with the Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066. Mortensen lead the orchestra from the harpsichord, and it was clear at once we were in for a lively evening. For the following Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052, the harpsichord was rearranged such that Mortensen did not have his back to us. His playing was not perfectly clean, but this was more than made up for with his cheerful, engaged performance. The orchestra held together beautifully, and the playing was sprightly.

After intermission we heard Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten, known as the Wedding Cantata in English. Soprano Maria Keohane has a pure, yet rich sound. She employed a fine control of her voice, with neither too much vibrato nor tremolo. Her enunciation of the German may have not been completely comprehensible, but given that this is Baroque music, it was not particularly bothersome. The concert ended with an ebullient rendition of Concerto for Harpsichord in D major, BWV 1054.

* Tattling *
I was late meeting SFMike and Miss LCU, but did make it to the concert with Opernphrenologe before the music started. The audience was quiet and no electronic noise was noted.

Maria Keohane's outfit was charmingly absurd, it looked a bit like one ivory frothy ruffled dress had consumed a simple red evening gown.