A Mass at the Opera, or Opera in church

I heard of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival in a kind of circuitous way.

One of my favorite shows is Mozart in the Jungle, starring Gael García Bernal, on Amazon TV.  It’s based on a book by the same name, which is about the life of a woman who went to conservatory as an oboist. She started at a high school for performing arts, then conservatory, then life as a professional musician, auditioning here, there, yonder, usually the 2nd or 3rd pick. She started sleeping around to get music gigs, did not have great success, and never had a relationship that lasted beyond a few months. She played with some big orchestras and wrote of some interesting experiences.  She lived for years in an apartment building in NYC where many musicians lived. One of them was Samuel Sanders, who was a collaborative pianist, best known as Ithzak Perlman’s accompanist. Sanders started the Cape & Islands Chamber Music Festival, later changed to CCCMF.

So that’s how I found out about this fabulous festival, now in its 38th year and going strong.

Once we arrived to the Cape this past May, I heard about a mini-expo showcasing organizations and opportunities in the Orleans area. There was someone from the festival and they were selling season tickets and recruiting volunteers. And I signed up to volunteer.

Tonight was my second gig and both performances were quite amazing. Tonight the entire program was Rossini. A dozen pieces assembled into what Rossini called a petite Messe Solenelle with piano, organ, chorus and soloists. It was very high quality. The chorus is lovely – they come from Chatam and perform all around the Cape. The soloists had clear beautiful voices and could be seen on stage anywhere.

Jon Nakamatsu, the pianist, is also half of the festival’s artistic team. Jon’s talent is beyond doubt; he is the only winner of Van Cliburn festival from the US since 1981. He played all but one piece tonight, and that piece was acapella. Additionally, he is a very approachable person.

Such surprising things I keep finding on Cape Cod. So glad to be here.


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