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A Norwegian Baritone Makes His San Miguel Debut

Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal

Magnus Kjeldal

By Fredric Dannen

Norway has a great classical music tradition, exemplified by the composer Edvard Grieg and the Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad. In the past twenty years, some of Norway’s finest musicians have had their training at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and one of the academy’s most talented alumni, the opera baritone Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal, is about to make his San Miguel debut.

A dynamic performer with a big voice, Kjeldal has a passionate relationship with music and is too versatile to be confined to the opera repertoire alone. He also sings big band and jazz standards—“my guilty pleasure,” in his own words.

Kjeldal’s concert will be this year’s final installment of the Steinway Series, benefit concerts held at the Bellas Artes on a quasi-monthly basis. The Steinway Series has developed a reputation for excellence, and a portion of the profits are always donated to Libros para Todos, a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire children in rural communities in México to read more. (For more information, visit makingreaders.org). The series was created to use the Bellas Artes’ nine-foot Steinway concert grand as a solo or ensemble instrument.

Two pianists, Alexander Pashkov and Ken Bichel, will accompany Kjeldal, and the soprano Clara Dunham will sing with him the duet, “Là ci Darem la Mano,” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, an opera whose title character is a role for which Kjeldal is known.

Tickets for the concert are 200 pesos in advance (or $10 US online), and 250 pesos at the door. The box office is located at Boleto City, Mercado Sano, second floor, Ancha de San Antonio 123, Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm. Tickets can be purchased online at boletocity.com or steinwayseries.com.

Kjeldal’s route to San Miguel is a matter of happenstance and luck. A little over six months ago, he married a Mexican psychotherapist, and he and his wife live in Juárez, from where Kjeldal regularly commutes to Norway to perform opera. (He most recently appeared in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Bizet’s Carmen). He is also an Ascension meditation teacher, and while on a retreat he met two other musicians and Ascension practitioners, Ken and Wendy Bichel. This coming February, the four-character musical Bikers in Camelot, book, music, and lyrics by Wendy Bichel, will have its world premiere at the San Miguel Playhouse. The Bichels eagerly cast Kjeldal in the role of the Dark Angel, a romantic leading man from a series of fantasy novels who comes to life. Kjeldal will be singing the character’s signature song at the concert.

The program will also include Christmas music, including some Norwegian Christmas songs, a few pop numbers, and beloved operatic chestnuts such as “Largo al Factotum” from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

 

Music

Magnus Dorholt Kjeldal, Baritone

With Alexander Pashkov and Ken Bichel, Piano and Clara Dunham, Soprano

Wed, Dec 12, 7pm

Miguel Malo Auditorium

Bellas Artes, Hernández Macias 75

Tickets:

200 pesos

Boleto City, Mercado Sano

Online:

US$10 US

boletocity.com or steinwayseries.com

250 pesos at the door

Proceeds benefit Libros para Todos

 

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