Remembering Ponselle with music and a Mass


Rosa Ponselle, the famed diva who guided the Baltimore Opera Company for several decades, died 20 years ago this month. The Rosa Ponselle Foundation began commemorating that anniversary last weekend with a concert in Washington and a High Mass at the soprano's old parish church in Pikesville; the remembrances continue this week in Baltimore:

Stefania Dovhan, who won the gold medal at the 2000 Rosa Ponselle Competition, will give a free recital at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Baltimore School of the Arts, 712 Cathedral St., where she studied. Dovhan, who was born in Ukraine and currently is a scholarship student at the University of Maryland, College Park, also will give a free recital at 4 p.m. Saturday at the university's new Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive.

Finally, Cardinal William Keeler will celebrate another High Mass in Ponselle's memory at 4 p.m. May 27 at the Basilica of the Assumption, Cathedral and Mulberry streets. Besides Dovhan and the Chorus of the Basilica, a former gold medalist of the Ponselle Competition will sing.

Call 410-486-4616.

Glass plays in D.C.

Speaking of notables with a Baltimore past, composer Philip Glass, born and raised here, will perform in Washington this week. He is teaming up with Foday Musa Suso, a West African composer and virtuoso performer of native instruments, in a performance of a score they collaborated on for a 1989 production of Jean Genet's play "The Screens."

The concert, which also features woodwind player Jon Gibson and percussionist Yousif Sheronick, will be at 8 p.m. Thursday at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., N.W. Tickets cost $22 to $30. Call 301-808-6900.

Hahn's there, too

That same night, a few blocks away, Baltimore favorite Hilary Hahn will perform Elgar's soulful Violin Concerto with the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. It's part of the final week in the NSO's British Music Festival. The U.S. premieres of works by Steve Martland and James MacMillan also are on this program at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kennedy Center.

The festival continues with Slatkin leading Gustav Holst's popular "The Planets" and other works at 1:30 p.m. Friday, and a re-creation of the famous "Last Night of the Proms" - the final, light-hearted program of the Promenade Concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall - at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. (Later this year, Slatkin will be the first American to conduct that "Last Night" in London.)

Tickets cost $21 to $78. Call 202-467-4600 or 800-444-1324.

Long or short

The third annual "Marathon of French Organ Music" will be held from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St. David Brock, Joy Hecker, Thomas Spacht, Mark Willey, Seoyoung Cho, Chapman Gonzalez and Jason Kissel are among the 15 Baltimore area organists who will participate, each playing 20-minute sets. Among the composers whose works will be heard are Saint-Saens, Franck, Widor and Vierne.

Admission is free, and the public is invited to "come when you can - leave when you must." Call 410-433-6650.

Cello competition

Forty cellists from around the world will compete for more than $50,000 in prizes and concert engagements in the third Leonard Rose International Cello Competition, May 24 to June 2, at the University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park. Finalists will perform with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Lockington, at 8 p.m. June 2.

In conjunction with the competition, there will be four evening concerts: the Weiss-Kaplan-Carr Trio on May 29; CELLO (an all-female quartet) on May 30; "The Cello in Popular Music -- Jazz, Cajun and Beyond" on May 31; and a Massed Cello Ensemble on June 1. Various lectures, symposia and exhibitions also will take place.

Call 301-405-7847.

Youth orchestra performs

Some of the area's best and brightest musicians ages 8 to 23 will perform over the Memorial Day weekend at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 712 Cathedral St.

Youngsters from the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra and its sister organization, the Greater Baltimore Youth Concert Strings, will present a concert of selections from Bach, Dvorak, Wagner and others at 4 p.m. May 27.

And next month, members of the youth orchestra are scheduled to visit Japan's Kanagawa prefecture south of Tokyo as part of the Maryland Sister State program.

Tickets cost $3-$12 and can be bought by calling 410-780-6914.

Wrong composer

Due to an inadvertent typing error, Saturday's review of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program mis-identified the composer of "Symphonie fantastique" as Bizet in one reference. The remainder of the review correctly referred to the composer as Berlioz. I regret the confusion.

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