Mozart would be 250; calls for a party.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 250th birthday is coming up next week, and who better to help celebrate than the Oregon Mozart Players?
The Mozart Players have lined up a week's worth of events to mark the anniversary, culminating in an all-Mozart concert, featuring the Eugene Concert Choir and the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble, at the Hult Center on the birthday itself, Jan. 27.
The ``Happy Birthday to Wolfgang!'' show will feature actor and musician David Ogden Stiers - remember Maj. Winchester in ``M.A.S.H.''? - as narrator and guest conductor, along with regular Mozart Players conductor Glen Cortese. On the program:
The overture to ``The Marriage of Figaro'' with soprano Lauren Flanigan and the Eugene Concert Choir;
The Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K.622, with clarinetist David Krakauer as soloist;
Exsultate Jubilate, K.165;
Symphony No. 41 in C Major (``Jupiter''), K.551;
And the final scene from ``The Marriage of Figaro'' with the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble.
Soloist Flanigan has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, Glyndebourne and La Scala, among other major opera houses. In 2002, Carnegie Hall commissioned composer Philip Glass to write a symphony for her on a text by Allen Ginsburg.
Krakauer, who plays everything from classical clarinet to klezmer, has performed with the Tokyo String Quartet, the Kronos Quartet, the Lark Quartet, Eiko and Koma, the Orquesta Sinfonica del Barcelona and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra.
Stiers has a lengthy resume as an actor. Besides his role in ``M.A.S.H.,'' he has performed in five Woody Allen films. He got his start in the movies as the narrator in George Lucas' early film ``THX-1138.''
As a musician, Stiers has conducted more than 40 symphony orchestras around the world and spends time on the Oregon Coast as associate conductor of both the Newport Symphony Orchestra and the Ernest Bloch Music Festival in Newport.
Another highlight of the weeklong party will be the Northwest premier of ``In Search of Mozart,'' a new full-length documentary movie on Mozart's life that will be screened Saturday afternoon at the McDonald Theater.
Mozart has long been one of the towering figures in Western music, and the Mozart Players have been planning this week's program for more than a year.
``Why is this one single musical figure so important? What is it?'' asks Cortese, the Oregon Mozart Players' music director.
``I think we resonate with the man himself. The myth that his music flowed from God to his pen has long been dispelled. His gifts were God-given, without question, but they were gifts that he developed.''
Jeff Eaton, the Mozart Players' executive director, agrees: ``Even though Mozart's music is over 200 years old, it still speaks powerfully and directly to us. Like Shakespeare, Mozart tapped into universal and timeless truths of the human condition, and even now his melodies can bring us to tears or fill our hearts with joy.''
In conjunction with the celebration, the Mozart Players helped develop a grade-school curriculum for local students. As many as 500 middle and high school students will get free tickets to the Jan. 27 concert.
CELEBRATING MOZART: EVENTS
Here is a list of Mozart-related events scheduled for the coming week. Tickets are available through the Hult center box office, 682-5000, except as noted.
Lunchtime concert: Short selections from Mozart's Oboe Quartet and Clarinet Quartet, 12:15 p.m. today, Hult Center lobby, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street. Free.
Friday through Feb. 11
The play ``Amadeus'': Very Little Theatre opens its production Friday at the theater, 2350 Hilyard St. It runs through Feb. 11. (See related story, below, for a schedule of performances and ticket information.)
The film ``In Search of Mozart'': A new full-length documentary on Mozart's life, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, McDonald Theatre, 1010 Willamette St. $8, $6 for students and seniors.
``Chamber Music and Chocolate'' concert: Musicians from the Oregon Mozart Players will deliver full performances of Mozart's Oboe Quartet and Clarinet Quintet, followed by a dessert reception, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, McDonald Theatre. $16, $14 for students and seniors; $22 ($18 for students and seniors) also buys admission to the earlier screening of the film ``In Search of Mozart.''
UO School of Music concert: Several Mozart pieces, including the `Kegelstatt' Trio, performed on period instruments: Margret Gries, classical viola and violin; Michael Anderson, classical clarinet; and Anne Dhu McLucas, fortepiano, 5:15 p.m. Jan. 26, Collier House, 1170 E. 13th Ave., on the UO campus. Free.
``Happy Birthday to Wolfgang'' concert: The Oregon Mozart Players perform an all-Mozart concert on the composer's 250th birthday, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27, Hult Center's Silva Concert Hall. $20 to $28.