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Andrea Veal, who performs in “Love, War & (Black) Magic” this Friday. Courtesy photo.




Love, War & (Black) Magic

Where: Concord Community Music School, 23 Wall St., Concord
When: Friday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Admission: $15
Contact: ccmusicschool.org, 228-1196




Rinaldo essentials
Concord faculty presents Handel’s opera, abbreviated

04/06/17
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



 Andrea Veal is pulling out all the stops for her upcoming concert at the Concord Community Music School, “Love, War & (Black) Magic,” Friday, April 7. 

The program is like an abbreviated version of Handel’s opera Rinaldo, with seven fully-staged and costumed arias from the piece. Performing are music school faculty members, including Veal (voice), Steven Lundahl (recorder), Bozena O’Brien (violin), Kate Jensik (cello) and Kathryn Southworth (harpsichord and piano), who will tell the story with the help of props and scenery, from large dragon set pieces to a mobile of paper cranes suspended across the stage.
Veal began hatching the idea two years ago when music school President Peggy Senter called out for event proposals to coincide with its Musicians of Wall Street series. Handel is one of Veal’s favorite composers, and she wanted audiences to get a good feel of a baroque opera.
It’s not all about the music.
“The orchestra plays on period instruments, so the idea is that it will sound like what Handel would have heard in his time,” Veal said via phone. “Opera is a visual medium as well as an auditory one. … If you’re doing a familiar opera aria, something by Rossini or Mozart, that music is more familiar, and maybe it’s easier to just do it in a concert setting and not stage it and costume it. But I feel like the music of Handel is a little less familiar to audience members, and I wanted it to come to life in the way it’s meant to come to life.”
The story within Rinaldo involves a  king desperate to retain control of his kingdom, a commander on a quest to conquer, a knight confident in love’s power and a witch searching to belong. They live in a world of dragons, sirens, flying spirits, war and black magic. The opera is three hours long, but this one is cut to span an hour and a half with intermission. The dramatic pieces omitted will be explained in program notes so audiences can still follow along.
“We do have some small opera companies in New Hampshire, and it’s great to have them. This is a nice opportunity to not only see some opera but to hear some baroque arias,” Southworth said. “It’s hard to see opera in New Hampshire, but it’s even harder to see baroque operas because they require certain specialized singing techniques.”
The concert required a great deal of practice and planning. Veal sent scores and performance videos to the musicians in December and has been rehearsing with them for the past five weeks. 
Veal studied early music from the baroque period and sang in chamber choirs and music groups like the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. It’s important to her that audiences feel the same vitality these ideas, themes and characters had in the 1700s, when Handel wrote them.
“I want people to see how alive and important this music can be when it’s done with imagination and personality. So many of my students love musical theater, and this is just the precursor to that,” Veal said. 





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