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A 2016 Canberra musical calendar

From Baroque music to Christmas favourites, there's something for every music lover this year.

It's just about the end of January and if you haven't already marked your calendar with 2016's top music events from our own Canberra groups and artists, I'm going to give you suggestions of unmissable events from February right through to December.

On February 5, at 7.30pm, at Albert Hall, Salut! Baroque celebrates the liberation of the voice, no longer heard only with others in choral church music, but gloriously solo, accompanied by the finest instrumentation, in music by composers including Handel, Bach and Mozart in a concert, The Ravishing and Enrapturing Voice.

Salut! Baroque brings music from Handel, Bach and Mozart.
Salut! Baroque brings music from Handel, Bach and Mozart. Photo: Supplied

Soprano Maia Andrews will be the soloist, with eight wind and string instrumentalists, plus Monika Kornel on harpsichord. Book on 6230 9262.

In March (preview on February 25) Canberra Repertory Society brings Bertolt Brecht'sThe Threepenny Opera, described as a play with songs, rather than a musical, to Theatre 3.

Italian early music singer, Marco Beasley, performs at the Canberra International Music Festival in April.
Italian early music singer, Marco Beasley, performs at the Canberra International Music Festival in April. Photo: supplied

The show is directed by Aarne Neeme and features a traditional band, including piano. There's Mack "the Knife" Macheath, Polly Peachum and all the decadent devilry of the Weimar Republic.

First performed in Berlin in 1928, with music by Kurt Weill it's still a relevant critique of the capitalist world. Book on 6257 1950 or see canberrarep.org.au.

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April brings one of Canberra's most ambitious music events, The Canberra International Music Festival, beginning on April 29 and running through to May 8 – 11 days of exhilarating music with artists from around the world.

This year it features the music of the Mediterranean and South America, from Monteverdi to Ravel and Granados, and from composer-in-residence Gerard Brophy. And there's an intriguing piece, Ear of the Cat, from the inventive Griffyn Ensemble, an hour of fantasy that connects Egypt to Australia.

The Zapico brothers are Forma Antiqva.
The Zapico brothers are Forma Antiqva. Photo: Supplied

The program launch is on Thursday, February 11, from 6.30pm, at the Ainslie Arts Centre, but I have some advance knowledge about highlights, which are an opera triple bill on May 6, The Battle of the Sexes with music by Monteverdi and Pergolesi, featuring Italian early music singer Marco Beasley; baroque music from Spain from the brothers Zapico, Forma Antiqva; a tribute to Enrique Granados who drowned in the sea in 1916, and a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. Roland Peelman again directs the festival.

Irresistible for May is the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's collaboration with Opera Australia in which Stephen Mould will conduct the orchestra and opera soloists in Beethoven's majestic Symphony No. 9, on May 11 and 12.

Soprano Karen Fitz-Gibbon will perform with Alan Hicks at Art Song Canberra's November concert at Wesley Music Centre.
Soprano Karen Fitz-Gibbon will perform with Alan Hicks at Art Song Canberra's November concert at Wesley Music Centre. Photo: supplied

In June, there is The Heart's Desire. What more could you ask? Art Song Canberra presents the third in their 2016 series of music to celebrate all types of vocal magic.

This concert features tenor Christopher Saunders, accompanied by pianist Berta Brozgul in a program of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann.

Tobias Cole has established his own production company.
Tobias Cole has established his own production company. Photo: Hou Leong

For everyone who loves the intimacy of these concerts in the acoustically superb Wesley Music Centre, there's a lot more.

Three concerts during the year feature Canberra-trained singers returning here to show just what truly accomplished artists they have become: tenor Christopher Lincoln Bogg (February), baritone Jeremy Tatchell (October) and soprano Karen Fitz-Gibbon (November). Check artsongcanberra.org for details.

July brings another CSO concert, this time with director Nicholas Milton and more soloists from Opera Australia in the Icon Water Opera Gala – Mozart, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner and Puccini, which will be a dazzling operatic feast.

In August, Oriana Chorale presents Lily of the Valley – Songs of Solomon at 5pm at Wesley Uniting Church, on Saturday, August 13. There's another intriguing Griffyn Ensemble presentation on August 11 and 12 at CSIRO Discovery Centre as part of Science Week. It's Sex and Dragons – think Homer's Iliad for lizards!

In September, and continuing into October, the Canberra Philharmonic Society will stage the Cole Porter musical Anything Goes at Erindale Theatre. The show pulses with catchy music, guaranteed to chase the blues away.

In October, look out for The Vow, a retitled dramatic presentation of Handel's last oratorio, Jephtha, at the Canberra Playhouse, on Saturday, October 8.

Tobias Cole has established his own production company to continue the presentation of Handel works and has been awarded a project grant by Arts ACT to assist with production costs.

He will direct the production and sing the role of Hamor, in love with Iphis, the daughter of Jephtha. Kelly Corner will assist Cole, and Brett Weymark will conduct. Mezzo-soprano Christina Wilson will again join the cast to sing the role of Storge, Jephtha's wife. Get in early to book for this one-night performance.

In November, there are two attractions to vie for your attention on Sunday, November 13. International pianist and authority on Percy Grainger, Penelope Thwaites, will return from London to her hometown and join pianist Wendy Lorenz for a concert at Tuggeranong Arts Centre on Sunday, November 13.

Guitarist Matt Withers will again conduct his composition competition with the winners of the $3000 prize money announced and their pieces played at a concert at the National Arboretum. It's Music with a View, indeed, with the panorama spreading to the lake and beyond, as you listen to the fresh musical ideas of young composers.

In December, expect a delectable round of Christmas concerts. There will be a performance of Messiah, as always, with the Llewellyn Choir strutting its stuff, large groups and small. There's an amazing choice, with something for everyone.