Cape arts ahead: Orchestra and festival put modern spins on classic music and theater

In December, soprano Sarah Joyce Cooper will sing as part of a performance of Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer of 1915” by the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra.
In December, Soprano Sarah Joyce Cooper will sing as part of a performance of Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer of 1915” by Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra. Image by Dan Busler

CAPE COD TIMES – Live concerts will be back for the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra’s fourth season, beginning Aug. 29 with a “Season Kickoff & Serenade” concert that launches a new format.

The return comes after a year of virtual performances described as created through “digital innovation and pandemic limitations” for the ensemble led by founding music director Matt Scinto.

“I’m very grateful to our supporters for making a seemingly impossible online season work for our orchestra, helping us reach thousands of individuals and collaborating with great people and organizations here on Cape Cod,” Scinto said in the new season announcement. “We are supercharged and ready to get back to the magic of live concerts.”

Cody Forrest is composer in residence for the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra's fourth season and will have a world premiere of a new work during a concert at the auto barn at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich.
Cody Forrest is composer in residence for the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra’s fourth season and will have a world premiere of a new work during a concert at the auto barn at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. Courtesy image.

That first live performance in 18 months will debut “OPEN,” a format that combines performance, audience interaction, and a behind-the-scenes look into an orchestra rehearsal. The Harwich Port concert will feature Dvořák’s “Serenade for Strings,” exploring the composer’s American ties and his work, followed by a wine and cheese reception and a season preview presentation. The program takes place at 3 p.m. Aug. 29 at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, 533 Route 28, Harwich Port.

Concertmaster Jean Huang will be featured in Vaughan Williams' “The Lark Ascending” for an April 2022 concert by the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra.
Concertmaster Jean Huang will be featured in Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending” for an April 2022 concert by the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra. Courtesy image.

The fourth season will then take the orchestra to other towns. Upcoming Oct. 23-24 will be a “Ghost Hunters” program in Chatham and Harwich Port, examining the story of Liza Tower Hill, the “Witch of Barnstable,” plus ghost stories and music by Vaughan Williams, Bartok and Haydn. In mid-November, the orchestra will move to Martha’s Vineyard and Yarmouthport  with a “Shaw, Barber & Tchaikovsky” program that will also feature “Entr’acte,” written by Caroline Shaw in 2011. A December show will turn the typical Christmas concert on its head with a theme of “Summer Holiday” in Chatham and Harwich Port, with soprano Sarah Joyce Cooper singing for Barber’s “Knoxville, Summer of 1915,” plus works by Price and Ives, to benefit WE CAN as it celebrates 20 years of women-empowerment programs.

For 2022, the orchestra returns in February to the automobile barn at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, where it performed a remote concert. The new “CCCO @ Heritage: Walker, Copland, Forrest & Beethoven” will feature the world premiere by composer-in-residence Cody Forrest showcasing CCCO cellist Joseph Gotoff.

The season will conclude April 9-10 in Chatham and Harwich Port with “The Lark Ascending,” a collaborative concert with Mass Audubon and Wild Care Cape Cod. Concertmaster Jean Huang will be featured in Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending,” while a quintet of woodwinds takes on Peteris Vasks’ “Music for Fleeting Birds,” and the concert concludes with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

The chamber orchestra’s stated mission is to connect local arts communities and people in an inclusive way, and spotlight living composers as well as music from the classical canon. Tickets and information: https://www.capecodchamberorchestra.org/, 508-432-1668, or at the door.

Tennessee Williams festival to explore ‘Is censorship ever appropriate?’

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is on for its 16th season, running Sept. 23-26 and following the same theme as its smaller, distanced event last year: “Tennessee Williams & Censorship.”

The group Blessed Unrest, described as a "subversive physical theater ensemble" from New York City will give a performance directed by Jessica Burr based on the uncensored script for 1940's "Battle of Angels" as part of next month's Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
The Group Blessed Unrest, described as a “subversive physical theatre ensemble” from New York City, will give a performance directed by Jessica Burr as part of next month’s Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival. Image by Maria Baranova.

The event will include four Williams plays; the “Longing Lasts Longer” rock manifesto by Penny Arcade (with a connected interactive workshop); a “Sex” play from 1926 that got Mae West thrown in jail; and a satire in which women from the Mayflower re-create a witch story from 1616. Featured artists will be from the Cape, but also from Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Illinois.

Beyond live performances, there will also be workshops, parties and educational programming, all connected to playwright Williams and the censorship theme. One-time events will be a burlesque show headlined by Lefty Lucy, along with a connected workshop; and an interactive censoring display of the 1951 film “A Streetcar Named Desire,” led by the former festival executive director Jef Hall-Flavin.

The festival will take place at various venues around town. For festival or day passes and information: https://www.twptown.org/ and 866-789-8366.

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By Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll