Apollo’s Fire destroys home for 30th anniversary of St. Raphael’s Church in Bay Village
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Some classic performances have people walking away saying, oh, that was good. But few see the audience give two standing ovations first, then walk out with a clear bounce in their step and take the opportunity to tell everyone possible about the spectacular performance they’ve just witnessed.
This is what the public experienced on Sunday (May 8) at the Saint-Raphaël church in Bay Village.
And that is the appeal and effect on audiences wherever Apollo’s Fire occurs. It is clearly not an orchestra that gives performances of classical music. They are incredibly energetic with their music and they leave a lasting impression. Missing them when they’re in the Cleveland area is a wasted day.
The official signature of Apollo’s Fire (at least when they are anywhere in Ohio) is the Apollo’s Fire Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. As we can claim them here in Northeast Ohio, because they bring a new understanding, as well as a special kind of excitement, to Baroque music.
The Bay Village program included works by Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Bologna. Mozart was influenced by Bologna, a solo violinist, composer and fencing champion who was 10 years older than Mozart, according to the performance schedule.
It was amazing to hear them both, and it was easy to see why Apollo’s Fire creator and bandleader Jeannette Sorrell chose the program. The two go together like brothers. (Side note: Sorrell created Apollo’s Fire in a Hunting Valley barn in 1992.)
Two soloists from the program deserve a shout out.
Sonya Headlam, an incredibly beautiful young woman with an extra spectacular soprano voice, enchanted the more than 400 people who attended the concert. She was born in the United States to Jamaican parents.
Francisco Fullana, a young Spanish-born violinist, shares his immigrant story with other young people on his travels. When he takes the stage, he simply cannot hide his youthful exuberance, as well as his energy, which rises to his almost constantly smiling face.
The church itself is a chosen location for Apollo’s Fire for a reason. Nichole Fehrman, marketing manager for Apollo’s Fire, noted the following about the church’s acoustics after a conversation with Bill Toler, liturgy director at St. Raphael:
“The new church (in Bay Village) was dedicated by Bishop Lennon on August 22, 2015,” Toler told him. “And Father Tim (Reverend Timothy W. Gareau) and I were both determined to build a space suitable for sacred music first and foremost, knowing that we could adapt with technology for speech, that which we always do.
“The acoustic modeling of the space in the architect’s computer was fascinating to work on. We have made some adjustments to the ceiling coverings and ceiling angles to improve the overall acoustic warmth of the room and to address specific issues. »
The result was a complete success for Apollo’s Fire performance.
But back to the music. It was my first time hearing the music of Joseph Bologna, and his skills are clearly at home sharing the same program with his more famous contemporary, Mozart. I can easily imagine that Bologna is also included in comparable programs with Haydn.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that it wouldn’t seem so odd to see him paired with the much younger, forward-thinking Beethoven either.
At Sunday’s concert in Saint-Raphaël, while Mozart’s skill of melodic inventiveness has always been his distinctive genius, Bologna’s ability to innovate melodically was also apparent – and I certainly wouldn’t say it pales compared to Mozart.
In fact, doing a Beethoven or even Shubert program with Bologna is not impossible either.
In any case, after attending a performance of Apollo’s Fire, all that remains is to say “Bravo!
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