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Classical 101

Hear Homegrown Mozart and Wagner This Weekend

Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington Facebook page
Founder Antoine Clark conducts the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra.

One of the many joys of this job is seeing locally based talent grow to become a thriving entity. Such is the case with Antoine Clark, a young clarinetist and conductor who holds a doctorate in musical arts from Ohio State University.

Five years ago, Clark formed the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra. The chamber orchestra is now entering its fifth season, in residence at the eponymous performing arts venue in Worthington.

I'm glad to say Clark and the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra have become part of the Classical 101 family, both through their appearances on Music in Mid-Ohio and in collaborating with Clark for a series of podcasts on African-American conductors.

This Saturday afternoon, Opera and More is proud to present Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, performed by the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra.

Wagner wrote these five songs for voice and orchestra to texts by Mathilde Wesendonck. Historians believe Wesendonck was Wagner's girlfriend, although she was married to someone else at the time (and so was he).

Regardless of their relationship status, Wesendonck's poetry inspired deeply emotional and romantic music from Wagner. And it's romantic without being ponderous, which is the word you use when you're afraid to say "boring."

The Wesendonck Lieder are a challenge.

This Saturday, we'll hear Clark and the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra meet that challenge, along with the wonderful mezzo-soprano Katherine Rohrer.

Credit Ohio State University School of Music / music.osu.edu
Katherine Rohrer

Publicists love to say about classical artists: Played the great halls of Europe! Has sung in every major opera company! Yada yada yada.

Except Rohrer really hasFrom Chicago, San Francisco, the New York City Opera, The Met and the Grande Theatre de Geneve, she's the real deal in opera and concert.

When not performing, Rohrer is teaching in the School of Music at Ohio State.

Take a listen to one of her School of Music performances with the Ohio State Wind Symphony, conducted by Russel Mikkelson:


What's better than one locally based performance on a Saturday afternoon? 

Two such shows!

Credit Opera Columbus / operacolumbus.org
Miles Mykkanen performed the role of Belmonte in Opera Columbus' Mission: Seraglio production.

Before Wagner, beginning at 1 p.m., we'll hear Mozart's zany and sophisticated comic opera The Abduction from the Seraglio in Opera Columbus' production, performed in the Southern Theatre in January.

The 18th century opera is sung in the original German lyrics, but there's a lot of zippy spoken dialogue in English. The wonderful young cast is adept at both languages, singing and speaking. Jason Hiester conducts the Columbus Symphony.

Join me at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 on Classical 101 for Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio performed by Opera Columbus, followed by Richard Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder sung by Katherine Rohrer, with the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra conducted by Antoine Clark.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.