Mark Osten Lisa van Stuijvenberg
Ooh, La! La! Get your French on with the Oh, So French Salon and master pianist Mark Osten. Accompanied by violinist Claire Martin and soprano Lisa van Stuijvenberg, Mr. Osten offers people the opportunity to savor music from Debussy, Fauré, Satie and Chopin and unleash their inner Francophile! It’s all happening on Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. in the intimate Silvagni Recital Hall at the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center. The center is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa. Only 68 seats are available, so don't wait. (Berets optional)
What is a French Salon? In 19th century Paris, the wealthy women of the aristocracy had social affairs in their homes to which they invited the great pianists, singers and violinists of the age. Instrumental luminaries such as Chopin, Liszt and Paganini along with singers like Maria Malibran would attend these social events and entertain the delighted guests. It would not be unusual for Chopin to sit in the hostess’s salon and play his latest nocturne with Liszt following, trying to outdo him. Then the party might see the two of them sit and play a piano duet. “Chopin took the bass and Liszt took the treble, because Chopin never wanted to be drowned out,” says Mark Osten.
“These were society events of the highest order,” continues Osten. “You had to be somebody to be invited to these events. Sometimes poets such as Victor Hugo would be there and recite their latest poetry. That’s the concept behind our concert. We are pulling together a potpourri of music that is mostly French, but I am including Chopin, although he was Polish, because he spent most of his life in Paris. I will play a set of Chopin pieces and Claire Martin is going to play some Chopin and Fauré. Lisa van Stuijvenberg will sing some art songs of Satie.”
Tickets for the Oh, So French Salon are $15 general admission and $10 for seniors/students/military. For tickets call the NVC box office at 707-256-7500 or buy online at www.musicnapavalley.org.