ENCINITAS — A cabaret in Encinitas? Chanteuse Ann Chase has a great track record since kicking off the popular Wednesday@Noon concerts sponsored by the city of Encinitas a year ago. She is hoping her new three-part Cabaret Caccia concert series will be as successful.
At 7 p.m. Feb. 10 the Community Room of the Encinitas Library will be transformed into Cabaret Caccia, a club inspired by New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge and Kaplan Center with candlelight, sparkling wine and table seating with black tablecloths.
Chase will reunite with longtime collaborator Dr. Peter Gach at the Steinway piano for an evening of Stephen Sondheim, thought by many to be the greatest living artist in American musical theater today. Musical offerings will come from Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods,” “Follies,” “A Little Night Music” and “Company.”
Gach is professor emeritis, and retired chair and artist-in-residence in piano in the Performing Arts Department at Palomar College. He has been performing with Chase for 30 years.
“Ann has a tremendous musical imagination and she is able to bring life to a musical score in a very unique way,” he said. “Every time I work with her I learn more about my artistry. I never imagined when I started a career at Palomar College that I would be performing Stephen Sondheim and cabaret and would go in so many different directions.”
Gach will sing “Send in Wolfgang,” a takeoff on Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart on which Sondheim based his show, “A Little Night Music.”
Chase will also sing a duet with Katie Sullivan who is a graduate student in voice at Cal State Fullerton.
A highlight of the evening will be the performance of a composition by Benjamin Krause commissioned for the evening by Chase and Gach.
“Benjamin is a former student who was born in Carlsbad and surfed up and down the coast,” Gach explained. “Now he is in his second year in the doctoral program studying composition at Rice University. We commissioned him to write a composition based on Sondheim’s ‘Bring in the Clowns,’ which will have its world premiere at Cabaret Caccia. He just finished it on Jan. 18.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in music from Ohio State University, Chase did graduate work at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She went on to earn a master’s degree in voice from UCSD. She and husband David Chase, longtime choral director of La Jolla Symphony Chorus, moved to Solana Beach in 1974 and eventually settled in Leucadia where they raised their two children.
“For more than 30 years I have been singing as a classical soprano soloist in opera, oratorio, chamber music, 20th-century music and musical theater,” she said. That included being co-founder and artistic director of the chamber music ensemble Camarada where she performed chamber music from Bach to the Argentine tangos of Astor Piazzolla in addition to several premieres.
Chase said she reached a turning point in 2006 when she attended the Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference in New York City.
“All the people were steeped in New York cabaret and it was a wonderful time to be there,” she remembers. “I came back and thought that maybe I should give it a try. For four or five years I was playing the piano and singing at venues like the Dove and Encinitas libraries, and performed cabaret for fundraisers for the La Jolla Symphony and North Coast Singers.”
A cabaret in Encinitas, she explained, will have the added benefit of saving the time and expense of traveling to New York.
“I like cabarets because they are very intimate and are very much involved in storytelling,” she said. “I want to establish more programs that combine the spoken word and song with a theatrical edge.”
To that end, she has scheduled the following performances for the series:
— March 3, A Telling Experience by actor and storyteller David Novak.
— April 7, The Chamber Music Ensemble Camarada Tango Nuevo, Music of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992).
Cost is $15 cash or credit card at the door and includes one complementary glass of wine. The Encinitas Library is located at 540 Cornish Drive in Encinitas. For more information, email [email protected]