Chamber group joins multifaceted soprano for innovative concert in Ajijic

One of the more ingenious presentations of the Northern Lights Festival de Febrero is set for Friday, March 4, 7:30 p.m., when Patricia O’Callaghan, a versatile Toronto singer described as both masterful and tender, takes the stage at Auditorio de la Ribera with her longtime collaborators The Gryphon Trio, a well-known, Canadian piano trio that is said to be “redefining chamber music for the 21st century.”

2 27 16 25aThe performance will consist of songs from the 2011 O’Callaghan-Gryphon release entitled “Broken Hearts and Madmen,” along with material from another new release. Everything is popular or poetic music to which these musicians have brought their own unique take.

“We took well known pop songs and reinterpreted them,” commented Roberto Occhipinti, who produced and arranged much of the O’Callaghan-Gryphon material and is in town for the festival. “For example, there is Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Gypsy’s Wife,’ the famous Spanish-language song ‘Volver,’ plus popular music from around the world.”

“Roberto is a living legend in Canada,” said Northern Lights Festival de Febrero artistic director Chris Wilshere. “The audience will love the classical spin that he and Patricia and the Gryphons gave to this mix of world music, poetry and love songs.”

In other festival developments, Wilshere noted that local audiences have been enchanted so far by pianist David Fung, who is still scheduled to headline the festival’s gala concert Saturday, February 27, 7:30 p.m., at Auditorio de la Ribera. 

“Word has gotten out how amazing David is,” said Wilshere. “He blew away the patrons.”

Wilshere also noted the excitement among festival musicians about the upcoming “Performance for All Seasons,” set for Wednesday, March 2, 4 p.m., and featuring the well known, Lithuanian-born violinist Julian Rachlin, who will direct the 19-member festival orchestra as he plays solo parts on his Stradivarius violin. 

The program consists of Vivaldi’s famed group of concerti, “The Four Seasons,” in which spring, summer, fall and winter are each interpreted musically, followed after intermission by the work of the 20th century Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla  — “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires” — which refers to Vivaldi’s masterpiece but infuses it with newer harmonic elements, jazz and tango.

“Piazzolla is a national hero in Argentina,” Wilshere explained, adding that “Julian’s violin was made when Vivaldi was just 24 years old!”

“Broken Hearts and Madmen,” with Patricia O’Callaghan and The Gryphon Trio, Friday, March 4, 7:30 p.m., Auditorio de la Ribera, Boulvard De Jin XI 110, Ajijic.

“From Russia with Love” (gala concert of Northern Lights Festival de Febrero with pianist David Fung), Saturday, February 27, 7:30 p.m., Auditorio de la Ribera.

“A Performance for All Seasons,” Wednesday, March 2, 4 p.m., Auditorio de la Ribera.

Tickets available at La Nueva Posada, Calle Donato Guerra 9, Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the auditorium door; cash only. See for more details.