On November 4 in Berkeley, CA, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler leads New Century Chamber Orchestra in the world premiere performances of Last Year, a 2019 cello concerto by composer Mark Adamo. Co-commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, ROCO, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the concerto’s four-movement narrative is a powerful artistic statement on the climate crisis.
“In 2018, I had listened — really listened — to a new-to-me recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. And I marveled: not only at the score’s vigor and clarity, but at its innocence, too — as it portrayed each season offering its own delights and terrors while still yielding, safely, to the next. The recording finished: I turned to the news and learned that — due to the latest in our series of once-in-a-lifetime-except-now-every-year storms — a hurricane had left the city of Houston nearly drowned. Vivaldi couldn’t write those scores today, I thought. But — if he were alive now, and knew what we know — what would he write? Last Year is my answer.” — Mark Adamo
Three more performances with Zeigler and New Century Chamber Orchestra take place around the Bay Area November 5-7. ROCO will present Last Year in Houston November 13, under the direction of Jeri Lynne Johnson and featuring their principal cellist Richard Belcher as soloist.
Adamo continues to stay active in the world of opera, with a new production of Becoming Santa Claus debuting at Chicago Opera Theatre December 11-19. Little Women will be seen in its UK debut this summer with Opera Holland Park and Pittsburgh Festival Opera will be releasing a version of Lysistrata created specifically for film later in 2022. This past summer, The Lord of Cries, his first opera with John Corigliano, premiered at Santa Fe Opera.
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