‘La Bohème’ still offers lyric lessons of love and loss

Reviewed by Tony Villecco

I attended Wednesday’s final dress rehearsal (Oct. 24) of Giacomo Puccini’s operatic masterpiece La Bohème, and while there were a few kinks yet to iron out, it was beautiful and musically fulfilling. Tri-Cities Opera will present two performances this weekend with an overall strong cast. No dress rehearsal is without its challenges; at times, the orchestra overshadowed the principals, especially in ensemble. The excellent chorus was ahead of the maestro during the festive second act, and lighting cues were continuing to be adjusted. Still, all this should be worked out, and even if it isn’t, the production merits enough positives to please even the most hardcore opera lover. Read the rest of this entry »

TCO production dedicated to singers who died this past summer

By Barb Van Atta

This weekend’s Tri-Cities Opera performances of Puccini’s La Bohème will be dedicated to three former members of the company who passed away in recent months: tenors Alan Crabb and Pasquale “Pat” Arcodia and soprano Rosalie (De Felice) Julian. Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Singers co-founder Alan Crabb dies in Pa. hospital

Alan Crabb

By Barb Van Atta

Alan C. Crabb, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Binghamton Downtown Singers, died Saturday morning (Sept. 15) at University of Philadelphia Hospital, of multiple complications following heart surgery. He was 70. Funeral arrangements are pending at Barber Memorial Home in Johnson City.

A gifted singer, he was well-known in both local and national music circles. As a conductor, he was commended for his ability to inspire the musicians under his baton to the highest levels of musical excellence.

Crabb, a graduate of the Crane School of Music (SUNY-Potsdam), appeared with many of the major orchestras of North America, including those of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle, San Antonio, New Jersey, and Vancouver, Canada, as well as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In addition to his symphonic and oratoria work, he was, for many years, a well-regarded operatic tenor, performing locally with Tri-Cities Opera and also with the Syracuse, Pittsburgh and other companies. His affiliation with Tri-Cities Opera began in the late 1960s as chorus master, and, during the 1970s, he sang leading roles from lyric (Rodolfo in La Boheme) to heroic (Manrico in Il Trovatore). Read the rest of this entry »

What music is part of your holiday? ‘Messiah’ is part of mine

By Barb Van Atta

Have you attended a concert or pageant to get into the holiday spirit? Or, like me, have you been too busy rehearsing to be in an audience? Either way, BAMirror welcomes your comments and reflections on seasonal music.

As I said, I’ve been in rehearsal, as has my son, for the Downtown Singers’ presentation of Handel’s Messiah on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 16 and 17) at The Forum in Binghamton. Here is a link to a Good Times story that features chorus members who have been around since Alan Crabb and the Rev. Hugh Miller of the former Centenary United Methodist Church in downtown Binghamton came up with the idea of the Downtown Singers: http://tinyurl.com/ccv3qfd.  (One adjustment to the article: Bruce Reed thought he sang with the group in 1993; it actually was 1992.)

 

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‘Messiah’ by the Downtown Singers: A sparkling tradition continues

Reviewed by Leo Cotnoir

Before moving to Binghamton a decade ago, I lived for many years in Washinton, D.C. The nation’s capital is home to some of the best professional choruses in the world, so I heard many outstanding performances of Handel’s “Messiah.”  The Downtown Singers could share the stage with any of them (full disclosure: my wife, Glenda, was in the alto section at The Forum in Binghamton). Not only was the singing splendid but the orchestra, except for a few intonation issues among the second violins, was superb, nicely underplaying both the soloists and the chorus. In part thanks to the particularly strong low strings, the outnumbered male voices were never overwhelmed by the sopranos and altos as is often the case in amateur choirs. Read the rest of this entry »