Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kudos for Ferguson, Bates

William Ferguson, the Richmond-born tenor, has spent the summer starring as Brian Cohen in "Not the Messiah: He's a Very Naughty Boy," Eric Idle's musical spinoff from the 1979 Monty Python film "Life of Brian."

Ferguson's getting good reviews. "[A] clean-cut tenor with a clean-cut sound," opines Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times:


Mixed reviews for the show itself: The Washington Post's Stephen Brookes found it "hysterically funny" . . .


. . . while David Mermelstein on MusicalAmerica.com (subscription only) dissed it as "crude vaudeville."

To hear Ferguson in Handel's "Messiah," as well as other non-naughty repertory, go here (click on his name, then click on "media"):


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Richmond-bred composer Mason Bates' "Liquid Interface," introduced in February 2007 by the National Symphony in Washington, rated as the "triumphant high point" of the opening weekend of California's Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, writes Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle: