The Atlanta Opera presented Bizet's "Carmen." This was an outstanding production with great singers and fine orchestral accompaniment. Maria Jose Montiel inhabited the title character with strength, seductiveness, and a certain psychopathy. The excitement of this production was in stark contrast to the leaden "Don Giovanni" from last season. Kudos to all involved.
The Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta presented the Vega String Quartet in a performance at the Emerson Concert hall on the Emory Campus. The highlight was the world premier performance of Jan Jirasek's "Fragile Balance/Letter to Heaven." This an accessible piece that captures the composer's relationship with all things spiritual. To some degree it reminded me a bit of Part or Gorecki, both of whom undertake to express their relationship to the spiritual. The Vega Quartet played beautifully and the Schwartz Center hall supports their music wonderfully- it is warm and reverberant. They also played a Beethoven and Mendelssohn String Quartets, but the Jirasek was the piece de résistance.
The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra played a concert that included Borodin's Symphony No. 2. I prefer not to review amateur productions, but this was a very good performance. There must have been 50 violins on stage and they performed with remarkable precision. The youthful concertmaster was outstanding in reinforcing the beat and indicating bowing to his colleagues. He was most impressive. Congratulations to conductor Jere Flynt are also in order.