Poets throughout the ages have beautifully expressed the way nature can uplift our spirits and open our hearts. Shakespeare used images of birds, especially larks, to represent sweetness and freshness. Songs like "Hark! Hark! The Lark!" and "Have you seen the bright lily grow?" are entreaties to love and will celebrate the return of the human voice to our concert stage when performed by soprano Nola Richardson—praised for her "singing with beautiful tone" by The New York Times—who will also bring her "lushly polished...exemplary, impassioned singing" (San Francisco Classical Voice) to "When Daisies Pied" by Thomas Arne and William Shakespeare.
With Handel's evocative and joyful organ concerto, "The Cuckoo & The Nightingale," and Williams' sonata "In Imitation of Birds" you'll experience an homage to our happy avian friends. The musical sounds of hens, cuckoos, nightingales, and other garden animals abound in delightful compositions by Uccellini, Schmelzer, Vivaldi, and the imaginative Spanish violinist and composer, Jose de Herrando. Tekla Cunningham will bring her "unutterably sweet and rich" (Classical Sonoma) style to Schmelzer's clever "Cuckoo" sonata, and YuEun Gemma Kim will transport the sounds of Madrid's Aranjuez Gardens to San Francisco's beautiful Herbst Theatre.
The Festival's closing concert finds a truly rousing finale in Rachell Ellen Wong's performance of Vivaldi's "Nightingale" violin concerto, conducted by Jeffrey Thomas, which is sure to bring the house down!