Maestro Joel Revzen returns to Insight with highlights from the sixth season of Classical Tahoe and previews the opening of a new performance venue. This season, the orchestra of virtuoso musicians will perform pieces by Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Milhaud, and Beethoven.
ON RECRUITING MUSICIANS FOR CLASSICAL TAHOE
MAESTRO JOEL REVZEN: I’m lucky. I’m on the conducting staff at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In fact, I made my debut this year. I got to conduct two performances of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin with Anna Netrebko and Peter Mattei as soloists.
Being at the Met, we bring 17 musicians from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. Eight of them are first chair principal players, and the rest are principal or associate principal from L.A. Philharmonic, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas. This year we have one from the Philadelphia Orchestra, one from the Cleveland Orchestra. We were able to expand our orchestra for the first week to 54 musicians, which allowed us to play some of that larger [repertoire].
ON PRESENTING “A FIDDLER’S TALE” BY WYNTON MARSALIS
MAESTRO JOEL REVZEN: Last year we performed Stravinsky’s Tale of a Soldier (L’Histoire du Soldat) with a narrator. It got such a strong response that we’re following up tonight with a jazz version [called A Fiddler’s Tale] by Wynton Marsalis of that same theme, the Faust legend, with seven musicians and a fabulous narrator, Lester Lynch, who has sung lead roles all over the world in Berlin, Dresden, and certainly at the Met.
We all know Wynton [Marsalis] as one of the great trumpet players in the world and the head of Jazz at Lincoln Center, so he infuses in his composition a lot of these same jazz elements. And it’s a wonderful storyline to go along with it.
ON THE NEW PERFORMANCE PAVILION
MAESTRO JOEL REVZEN: It’s been a game-changer for us. We have an acoustically-designed tent. Actually, the Royal Philharmonic [Orchestra] in London
uses one [called the Gorse Tent]. It comes from British Columbia. We have a very generous donor who has purchased it for us, so we actually own it. And the acoustics are phenomenal. I would say, maybe with the exception of the Musikverein in Vienna
and the Symphony Hall in Boston
, it will rival almost any concert hall in this country. The sound is very vibrant and clear and rich and full no matter where you sit. And of course, we play in a 371-seat tent. The audience probably could not match the intimacy of that experience of hearing a symphony orchestra that close playing major orchestral repertoire.