photo: State Opera Ruse orchestra during a production of Hamlet in Ruse, Bulgaria.

Variety is the spice of life. As a company with ties to so many genres, PARMA often finds itself involved with a breadth of different musical projects simultaneously. This month was particularly diverse, with recordings of opera, classical, and jazz ensembles.

Hamlet recording in Bulgaria

The cast of Hamlet takes a final bow on stage at the State Opera Ruse, Bulgaria.

Following 32 days of rehearsals, recording, and performances, sessions overseas for the operatic production of “Hamlet” by Joseph Summer have concluded. The opera premiered this month, performed at the Dohodno Zdaniein Bulgaria by the State Opera Ruse orchestra, choir, and selected Bulgarian soloists, joined by nine international soloists singing the lead roles.

Omar Najmi (Hamlet), Brianna Robinson (Ophelia), Kevin Thompson (Polonius), Evan Bravos (Claudius), Michelle Trainor (Gertrude), Katherine Pracht (Horatio), Neal Ferreira (Laertes), Melanie Forgeron (Player Queen), and Joseph Hubbard (Player King & John, the Gravedigger) were all flown in from the United States and Switzerland to take part in the production.

Trio Casals at Shalin Liu Performance Center

Trio Casals

Violinist Alexandr Kislitsyn during a recording session with Trio Casals at Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport MA.

PARMA continued this month’s sessions back at home with longtime collaborators Trio Casals. The trio came from Philadelphia PA to record the works of Frederic Glesser, David Klock, Kim Diehnelt, Robert Fleisher, Joanna Estelle, Michael Slayton, and L Peter Deutsch in Rockport’s Shalin Liu Performance Center. Over the course of five days, PARMA captured audio from Trio Casals for their 8th album release under Navona Records. In addition to this studio recording, Trio Casals will perform the compositions at Carnegie Hall.

Lukáš Oravec and the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra

Some performances deserve to be heard more than once. Such is the case with the Lukáš Oravec Quartet and Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance on the PARMA Live Stage in May 2021. A collaboration infusing the characteristic sound of the jazz quartet with the MFO’s orchestral mastery, the two ensembles joined forces once again to create a studio recording of the program. The studio version of this performance will be virtually the same, featuring all of the pieces arranged by internationally acclaimed composer and conductor Pavel Klimashevsky that were showcased in the Live Stage event. Pianist Danny Grissett and saxophonist Andy Middleton perform on this recording.

New Songs From New England

Following the Live Stage theme, PARMA produced New Songs From New England, a Live Stage video performance featuring the works of composers Scott Gendel, Gregory W. Brown, and Ronald Perera. The compositions — written specifically for the performers in this production — were performed by soprano vocalists Jamie-Rose Guarrine and Mary Hubbell, pianist Lemuel Gurtowsky, and cellist Karl Knapp.

Wrapping up with the Portland Symphony Orchestra

An ongoing collaboration with the Portland Symphony Orchestra came to a soft close this month as the PSO successfully concluded another concert season with a performance of Beethoven’s Eroica and Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. Recorded and captured on video by PARMA, the PSO’s final installment in their Classical 8 Concert Series is available to view on their website.

Diana Damrau and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra

Fort St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo in Valletta

PARMA circled back overseas at the end of this month and touched down in Malta to capture audio and video recordings of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Surrounded by open air, the orchestra was joined by star soprano Diana Damrau, bass-baritone Nicolas Testé, and soloists Marvic Monreal and Charles Buttigieg at Fort St. Elmo in Valletta. The online opera-gala concert began in daylight and carried through the night, leaving the orchestra basking in the fort’s blue lights. The audio-visual concert will air later this summer featuring an eclectic program of popular arias and orchestral numbers.