2012 Season

Opening Galas

We opened our season with three Gala concerts in our main performing locations. These galas were an occasion to meet our Resident Opera Artists in a more intimate and personal setting, who were featured in our production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.


The extraordinary Ana Vidovic returned to the Upper Peninsula! She was last seen in our 2008 season and was a stunning addition to the Festival. This international guitar sensation brought her exceptional musicianship, technical mastery, and grace to our concert stages once again. This was a special evening set in the intimate venues of the Upper Peninsula.


Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the third collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte, is a masterpiece of comic invention and dramatic detail.  Two young men disguise themselves to test their lovers’ fidelity and what starts out as fun and games, turns into something no one quite bargained for. The alternative title, The School for Lovers (La scuola degli amanti) is perhaps a more precise description of the opera – four naïve young lovers trying to understand and figure out the nature of love and relationships. The mischief makers, Don Alfonso and Despina, two characters with a little more experience, lead the young lovers through the opera, imparting their worldly advice and cynical points of view. The opera was conducted by the remarkable Joseph Mechavich (Il matrimonio segreto 2010) and directed by Artistic Director, Joshua Major. (Pre-opera talk one hour before performance by Joseph Mechavich.)


This concert featured the future of classical music with all Upper Peninsula musicians! Miles Mykkanen, tenor, from Bessemer and Amanda Boundy, soprano, from Eben Junction are the featured vocalists. Also featured on flute was Savannah Clayton from Calumet. Joining these soloists on piano was another Calumet musical star Susan Byykkonen.  These sensational musicians offered a thrilling concert of music familiar and new.


The Bergonzi String Quartet returned to the Festival with their humor, joy, and spirited music making. We were very excited to roll out the red carpet to this foursome so dear to all of us. They were joined by pianist Tian Ying to perform a new arrangement of Gershwin’s great Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and String Quartet.


This concert featured the romantic and lush music of Johannes Brahms including solo piano music with the beautiful playing of Tian Ying at the keyboard and two Brahms Lullabies with Pamela McConnell of the Bergonzi Quartet on viola and Mezzo Soprano Natalie Easter. Steven McGee (Piano), Alison Scherzer (Soprano), Natalie Easter (Mezzo), Kyle Tomlin (Tenor) and Jonathan Christopher (Baritone) joined Tian Ying to present the romantic and thrilling Liebeslieder Waltzes for two pianists and four singers.


Luretta Bybee, guest artist in our production of A Little Night Music, offered a public Master Class for our Resident Opera Artists. This Master teacher, with an international performing and teaching career, worked with our singers in a Master Class format. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn a little bit about what goes into becoming a successful opera singer. 


Young rising star, Jeremy Tarrant, brought his exciting organ playing to the U.P. He has been Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Episcopal) in Detroit since 2000 and is quickly developing an exciting international career. 


Led by PMMF regular trombonist, Mark Fry, this exciting group of Brass players brought their passion and virtuoso playing to the U.P.  Third Coast Brass is comprised of some of the finest brass musicians in the Midwestern United States holding positions in prestigious ensembles including the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Their repertoire included Mozart, Sibelius, Ewald, Sondheim and more.


Sondheim’s enduring and touching masterpiece, A Little Night Music, continued where Così fan tutte leaves off. With a sweeping, lush score, (“Send in the Clowns,” “A Weekend in the Country”) and a plot that cleverly weaves together stories of love, intrigue and heartache, Sondheim continues our exploration of love. Based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night, A Little Night Music is set in a weekend country house in turn-of-the-century Sweden. This witty and romantic story with music set in ¾ time is the perfect midsummer musical. A middle-aged lawyer, an 18-year-old bride, a sardonic old woman, the somber brooding son of the middle-aged lawyer, a former actress lover, the military lover of the former actress lover, the manic depressive wife of the military lover of the former actress lover, and a maid all end up spending a weekend together in a country estate. Wit, romance, heartache and finally, reconciliation ensue.