Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar embraces “All the Pleasures” at 2024 Festival, continues through June 23

The Baroque Music Festival, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach’s only professional classical music performing organization, returns with a pleasurable 44th season. The 2024 Festival, themed “All the Pleasures” (named after the Purcell Ode featured in the series’ finale), focuses on music by a wide range of Baroque-era English composers, juxtaposed with pieces by their continental European predecessors and contemporaries. A highly enjoyable, as well as educational, boutique summer festival of accessible, smaller-scale concerts awaits. Specialist musicians present five concerts over eight days, at beautiful venues in Corona del Mar and Newport Beach.

Esteemed Baroque violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock directs the season, curating and leading all but one (the Monday recital) of the performances. She maintains a busy international schedule performing on the 17th century Guarneri violin, generously loaned by the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust. In addition to her role as artistic director of the Baroque Music Festival since 2011, she serves as a concertmaster and soloist of Baroque orchestras nationwide and in Germany. Blumenstock’s choice of Baroque masterpieces for the 2024 Festival is as eclectic and entertaining as ever, ranging from Italian violin duos to a grand Handel choral work.

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Photo by Gary Payne Photography

Festival Orchestra led by Elizabeth Blumenstock

This 44th Festival – “All the Pleasures! The Italian Influence in London and Beyond” – is anchored by two Sunday afternoon concerts with the Festival Orchestra, joined for the finale by the Festival Chorus. For the opener, London Fog, Italian Sunshine, soloists from the ensemble bring out the southern sun (the influence of Italian music on London-based composers) in J.C. (“The London”) Bach’s Sinfonia Concertante for violin and cello, concerti grossi by Arcangelo Corelli, Francesco Geminiani (“La Follia” variations, after Corelli) and Charles Avison (inspired by Scarlatti), an overture by Handel’s close friend Dr. Maurice Greene, and a Handel organ concerto endearingly nicknamed “Cuckoo and Nightingale.”

Chamber ensembles and further soloists give three evening concerts between the larger-scale Sunday events. Monday evening’s intimate Time Stands Still: English Lute Songs recital highlights the excellent acoustics of St. Michael & All Angels Church, Corona del Mar. Then, the Festival presents two concerts at Corona del Mar’s Sherman Library & Gardens, a beloved venue since the first series in 1981. This year, musicians gather there on the Wednesday and Friday evenings for Nightingales in the Gardens (music for three violin soloists, and more) and Galante in the Gardens (Bach and late Baroque chamber music by Telemann and others), respectively.

The season will close with Handel & Purcell Choral Odes, showcasing each composer’s stunning vocal music, alongside instrumental selections. Countertenor Clifton Massey returns to the Festival (he last appeared in Bach’s Magnificat in 2019) for the familiar opening aria of Handel’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, “Eternal Source of Light Divine” (trumpet Kathryn Adduci) – a piece featured at many British royal weddings. Joining Clifton Massey are debuting soloists Nola Richardson (soprano), Gregório Taniguchi (tenor) and Jesse Blumberg (baritone).

Schedule of performances:

Wednesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m. – Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona del Mar

Nightingales in the Gardens

Gates open at 6:45 p.m. for complimentary wine in the Gardens, intermission with coffee & cookies and meet the musicians after the concert.

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Friday, June 21, 7:30 p.m. – Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona del Mar

Galante in the Gardens

Gates open at 6:45 p.m. for complimentary wine in the Gardens, intermission with coffee & cookies and meet the musicians after the concert.

Sunday, June 23, 4 p.m. – St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach

Festival Finale: Handel & Purcell Choral Odes

Followed by a wine and waters reception on the patio with the musicians.

For full program information and performers, visit https://bmf-cdm.org.

In addition to the ticketed concerts, they invite audience members to enjoy Baroque music performed al fresco by South Coast Brass, beginning 45 minutes before each concert. At all performances, audience members and musicians are encouraged to mingle for conversation and refreshment at complimentary “wine and waters” receptions.

Subscriptions: $325 for all five concerts. Price includes reservable premium seating at each concert and a private caterer post‐concert dinner following the Festival Finale on Sunday, June 23.

Single Tickets: Ranging from $45-$55 for individual concerts, for open seating.

Students Go for Baroque Rush Tickets for Under-30s (age 12 and above): $10 on the day of performance only, cash only, with a valid student card and photo ID. Email students@bmf-cdm.org for further information and to inquire about group bookings and their open dress rehearsals for students. Exclusively for NMUSD families – thanks to the support from the City of Newport Beach, an adult accompanying any NMUSD student(s) age 12 or over is also eligible for the $10 rush ticket rate. Proof of enrollment at an NMUSD school is required to receive the discounted rate.

For festival subscriptions, single tickets and full venue information, visit https://bmf-cdm.org, or call 949.760.7887 and leave a message for a callback within 24 hours.


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