The second weekend of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival will pay homage to Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, marking each composer’s 200th birthday year.
Tonight, at 8 p.m., Rockport Music presents Wagner at 200 (and Austrian composer Anton Bruckner at 189).
Primarily known for his operas, Wagner has had an enduring influence on the development of classical music. His work “Tristan und Isolde” is often described as the start of modern music. His “Wesendonck Lieder” was inspired by Mathilde Wesendonck, who provided the poetry for the five songs, two of which Wagner subtitled as “studies for Tristan und Isolde.”
Tonight’s program features young musicians, including highly-acclaimed mezzo-soprano Naomi O’Connell, who was recently hailed as “… a radiant mezzo-soprano” by the New York Times and is a 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition First Prize Winner. In this program, she performs Wagner’s “Wesendonck Lieder.”
Other works in the program include Wagner’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in A-flat major and Bruckner’s String Quintet in F major.
Tomorrow at 8 p.m., the festival — now in its 32nd year — celebrates the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth with a performance of his string quartet and Lady Macbeth’s Sleepwalking Aria from his opera “Macbeth.”
O’Connell received rave reviews for her performance of this aria during her leading role in “Master Class,” opposite Tyne Daly. She also will perform three additional Verdi songs: “La seduzione,” “Stornello,” and “Brindisi.”
The program includes Vittorio Giannini’s Quintet for Piano and Strings. A lecture at 7 p.m. will precede the concert.
The festival continues Saturday at 8 p.m., with violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and pianist Anton Nel performing a program including Mozart’s Sonata in F major, K. 377, Arvo Part’s “Spiegel im Speigel” and Ravel’s Sonata No. 2 in G major, as well as works by Piazzolla and de Falla.