San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows
with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra
Mark Morash, guest conductor
A beloved tradition this year takes the name of our dear benefactor, Barbara K. Jackson. Free to the public since its inception in 2010, thanks to Jackson’s committed generosity, Rising Stars of Opera features the world’s most promising young singers from the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow program in recital and with full orchestral accompaniment from the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra (this year under the baton of SF Opera Center Director of Musical Studies Mark Morash). Expect vocal artistry, stirring arias and a glimpse at the opera stars of tomorrow.
Free, but tickets required. Limit 4 per household. (Assigned Seating)
Introduction and Allegro
Jolán Friedhoff and Dagenais Smiley, violin
Ellen Ruth Rose, viola, and Susan Lamb Cook, cello
Variations on an Original Theme (“Enigma”), op. 36
On sale starting July 14:
$10 Students and Children, $20 Adults (Assigned Seating)
For string quartet and string orchestra only, Introduction and Allegro is evocative of a Baroque concerto grosso with demanding, soloistic parts playing with and against a full-sounding string orchestra. The work was composed for a concert of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1905, then in its infancy. The piece is meant to showcase the string-players abilities of the orchestra, and the Allegro section features, in Elgar’s words, a “devil of a fugue.”
Elgar wrote of the Enigma Variations: “Its dark saying must be left unguessed, and I warn you that the apparent connection between the variations and the theme is often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played.” In other words, Elgar varied the typical practice itself of a theme and variation—a common enough compositional practice—by writing a set of variations upon a theme (“its dark saying”) that the listener never really hears. Each variation is instead a counterpoint to that enigmatic theme. Although Elgar said only the composer knew the Enigma melody, plenty of individuals have proposed answers, from a minor version of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star to a theme presented in Brahms’s Fourth Symphony to Elgar’s own signature E-minor leitmotif. What is known, however, are the variations are representative of his friends. In fact the dedication of the piece reads, “My Friends Pictured Within.” The Nimrod variation is easily the most famous and most often extracted variation of the set, and represents Elgar’s friend, editor, and critic Augustus Jaeger. The name Nimrod is actually a character from the Old Testament, a mighty hunter. In German, Jäger means hunter—which, although seemingly cryptic, makes the connection between the Nimrod variation and Augustus Jaeger clear.