Performing Arts

The Classical Beat: Innovative Trio Virado brings its twist on chamber music to JCCC

Trio Virado is Amy Porter (flute), João Luiz (guitar) and Juan-Miguel Hernandez (viola).
Trio Virado is Amy Porter (flute), João Luiz (guitar) and Juan-Miguel Hernandez (viola).

Virado is Portuguese for upside down, and Trio Virado certainly turns the typical classical chamber music concert on its head.

The Performing Arts Series of Johnson County Community College will present the innovative ensemble April 7 at the Polsky Theatre. Comprising flutist Amy Porter, violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez and guitarist João Luiz, Trio Virado brings a sound and a repertoire that is unique among classical chamber groups.

“What distinguishes Trio Virado is the sound,” Porter said. “The combination of the three specific instruments of flute, viola and guitar is unlike other sounds. There’s the lush chordal qualities of the guitar, the viola, which can span the breadth of the middle register timbres, and the flute, a flexible treble instrument that can take on many roles, from melodic to percussive.”

Trio Virado’s program will show off this blend. From the rhythmic sounds of Latin America to the gravitas of Johann Sebastian Bach, the group promises to keep things interesting.

A highlight of the concert is Scaramouche by French composer Darius Milhaud. Originally written for two pianos, it’s a lively, rumba-flavored work, inspired by Milhaud’s stay in Brazil. Bach’s Musical Offering will provide a cerebral contrast to the Brazilian booty-shaking, and some tangos and music by Maurice Ravel will round out the program.

8 p.m. April 7. Polsky Theatre, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. $21-$25. 913-469-4445 or JCCC.edu/TheSeries.

Lawrence Brownlee, Eric Owens

The Harriman-Jewell Series, well known for its incomparable vocal recitals, is really pulling out the stops for its next concert. Two of America’s finest young singers, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and bass Eric Owens, will give a duo recital April 6 at the Folly Theater.

There’s hardly an opera company or famous orchestra around the world with which Brownlee has not performed. And his singing always draws critical raves. The Associated Press, for example, calls him one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors.”

Owens is just as lauded. The Chicago Sun-Times music critic Andrew Patner wrote, “Eric Owens speaks to you even in his silences and shakes you when he sings.”

This dynamic duo will sing a richly diverse program of arias by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Giuseppe Verdi and Georges Bizet, spirituals and classics from the American songbook. But these two could sing names out of the proverbial phone book, and it would still be a don’t-miss concert.

7:30 p.m. April 6. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. $20-$70. 816-415-5025 or HJSeries.org.

Te Deum Chamber Choir

Written three years before his St. Matthew Passion, Bach’s St. John Passion is even more dramatic, with an almost operatic extravagance. At the same time, Bach wrote his oratorio to appeal to the average person by using Martin Luther’s familiar translation of John’s gospel.

Te Deum Chamber Choir preserves this congregational spirit for a 21st-century American audience when it sings the St. John Passion in English April 9 at Village Presbyterian church. The choir, conducted by its artistic director, Matthew Christopher Shepard, will be joined by the Kansas City Baroque Consortium performing on authentic period instruments.

The St. John Passion was written in two parts, intended to surround a sermon by a minister, and was first performed at a Good Friday service in 1724 at St. Nicholas church in Leipzig, Germany. There are many spine-tingling highlights to the work, including the opening chorus and the death of Jesus. Singing the Passion in English will add immensely to the visceral impact.

The work, well-loved though it is, has not been without its critics. In recent years, the Passion has caught fire for what some claim is the inherent anti-Semitism of John’s text. Recent revisions have changed the word “Juden” to “Leute” (people), shifting the blame for Jesus’ death from the Jews to those sitting in the congregation.

The concert is free, but a retiring offering will be accepted to benefit Jewish Vocational Services Refugee Services.

You can reach Patrick Neas at patrickneas@kcartsbeat.com and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat.

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