meet charlie [kalmar]’s (arch)angels

[full disclosure: well, yesterday late morning came the announcement that chris brandes, the soprano originally scheduled to sing the creation this weekend, is unable to make the gig.  another stellar singer will be flying in to take her place.  the beavs is gonna post this anyways…]

benjamin butterfield sings tenor.  christine brandes sings soprano.  ben wager sings bass-baritone.  all three artists are [were] flying into pdx this week to do nothing less than sing into being the entire friggin’ universe!  huddled together on the muddy shores of the willamette, the angelic trio patiently answered all the beaver’s questions about their upcoming performance this weekend:

alright, what 3 words best describe papa haydn’s creation?

Benjamin: Elegant.  Perfect.  Witty.

Christine: Clear.  Expansive.  Ecstatic.

Ben: Seminal.  Epic.  Sincere.

y’all do anything special to warm up before performing?

Benjamin: Motor boat sounds, pacing, and a bit of dancing… I like to walk around breathing in what I am about to perform.  I do like to have a good sleep-in on the morning of a concert.

Christine: I don’t think I do anything unusual… I eat 3-4 hours before singing, warm-up, and generally do a little yoga before going to the hall.

Ben: I usually try to get as much sleep as I can and just rest up for two days before a performance.  Also, anything to get the blood flowing is helpful.  I go on long walks and about an hour before down beat I do several reps of push-ups.

motor boat sounds, downward dogs, and push-ups… these are a few of my favorite things!  hey, let me ask you: what’s so great about live classical music?

Benjamin: The sheer excitement of seeing all of those people on stage making organized mayhem.  The variations are limitless and the idea that it is all happening without electricity to amplify it is a trip.

Christine: Nothing can surpass the experience of being in a hall with other music lovers and sharing that experience, that music, that moment with them and the musicians on stage.  It is not unlike going to a live sporting event.  Staying at home, one might be more comfortable and see the instant replays but that doesn’t hold a candle to being there, in the energy of the moment. While I’m a great baseball fan, the emotional and soulful buttons pushed by great music are far more complex and satisfying than those triggered during a game!  Beauty is more than doubled when shared, even with a complete yet sympathetic stranger sitting next to you.

Ben: Sharing an experience with a single group is what’s unique.  Plus, being that it’s live, you’re never precisely sure what’s going to happen next.  To feel and hear the vibrations as they’re naturally produced is appealing as well: there’s nothing electronic between you and the music at all and there is no pitch correction!

wow ~ thanks for all 3 brilliant responses!  so, um.. any memorable performances from 2011 you’d care to share?

Benjamin: Filling in with 5 hours notice for an indisposed Rodolfo with Pacific Opera in Victoria – performing the role for the first time from the pit while the director acted the show on stage.

Christine: Singing the role of Pamina in Mozart’s Magic Flute with the Seattle Opera… and the Oregon Bach Festival’s Joan of Arc at the Stake by Honeggar, with Marin Alsop as conductor.

Ben: I was a part of the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night which was launched by Minnesota Opera earlier this fall.  I got to create a roll (a first for me) and be a part of something brand new.  It was a huge hit and it’s continuing onward toPhiladelphia next season.

before i let you go, what are you expecting from coach kalmar and our band?

Benjamin: The same as last time I sang with them – a sublime musical experience with like-minded enthusiasts performing amazing music. 

Christine: A fantastic week of music-making.

Ben: Nothing shy of an overwhelmingly enthusiastic run of the masterpiece from one of the greatest composers of all time.  We’re going to have a good time up there making great music!

oh man, the beavs is getting so pumped for this performance ~ thank you all so much… double-b, chris-b, and b-dub in da’ house!  [and by house, of course i mean the arlene schnitzer concert hall… tonight and sunday!]


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