JEFFREY THOMAS music director
Our Twenty-Fourth Season
Messiah George Frideric Handel December 20â€“22, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
nothing beats being here
THE SAN FR ANCISCO SYMPHONY PRESENTS GRE AT PERFOR MER S
renée fleming and sUsan graham Wed Jan 16 7pm
renée fleming soprano susan graham mezzo-soprano bradley moore piano Works by Chausson, debussy, fauré, and more The evening’s collaboration between two celebrated American singers promises an experience of pure delight. Fleming, with her “plush, opulent soprano” (The Star-Ledger), and Graham, possessed of “a voice that abounds in expressive colors” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), join forces for a program of delightful French art songs and more. Presenting Sponsor Great Performers Series
sfsymphony.org (415) 864-6000 Concerts at Davies Symphony Hall unless otherwise noted. Programs, artists, and prices subject to change. *Subject to availability. box office hours Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat noon-6pm, Sun 2 hours prior to concerts Walk Up Grove St between Van Ness and Franklin seCond CentUry partners
From the Executive Director
Few will likely forget such transporting experiences of the past season as the St. Matthew Passion (performed in a rarely heard early version), the exquisite instrumental concertos, the celebratory cantatas, and the bountiful offerings of July’s American Bach Soloists Festival & Academy. The past season was one of exhilarating highlights that left audiences and critics in agreement: ABS is in a league of its own and a great treasure for music lovers. Tonight we welcome you to the start of our exciting 24th season. Maestro Jeffrey Thomas, his handpicked virtuoso American Bach Soloists, and the standard-setting American Bach Choir are ready to reveal more of the best of ABS!
AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS 44 Page Street, Suite 403 San Francisco CA 94102-5975 Tel: (415) 621-7900 Fax: (415) 621-7920 americanbach.org email@example.com twitter.com/americanbach facebook.com/americanbach American Bach Soloists are Artists-in-Residence at St. Stephen’s Church, Belvedere. © 2012 American Bach Soloists. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
The 2012-13 season opens with two essential, hot-ticket events: last weekend’s holiday collaboration with the five-time Grammy Awardwinning San Francisco Girls Chorus in the beautiful settings of St. Stephen’s Church and the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, and our annual performances of Handel’s Messiah here in San Francisco’s magnificent Grace Cathedral, a beloved holiday tradition. The season continues in January with Bach’s powerful and moving St. John Passion; instrumental virtuosity and the masterful singing of the American Bach Choir in a March program of works by Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi; and two charismatic vocal soloists headline the May program which includes Handel’s Apollo & Dafne. This season also boasts the debuts of two excellent young soloists, both former ABS Academy participants. As we enter our 24th consecutive season, we are pleased to continue the tradition of presenting the highest caliber of performances. The sold out concerts during our 2011-12 season and our historically generous donors, as well as our new ones, who are giving more than ever before, show that our patrons and supporters are excited about what we are presenting. We can’t do any of this without you and we can’t stop here! Thank you for being with us this evening and we look forward to seeing you throughout the coming year.
Don Scott Carpenter, Executive Director BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Hugh Davies, President Marie Hogan, Vice President Jose Alonso, Treasurer Angela Hilt, Secretary Richard J. Boyer David Cates Cindy Cooper John H. Crowe * Judith Flynn Jan Goldberg Greg Madsen Blake Reinhardt
The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus Irving Broido Karen Broido Corty Fengler Tom Flesher John Karl Hirten Corey Jamason Harvey Malloy Sandra M. Ogden Don Roth Peter Sonnen Kwei Ü Charles E. Wilts Elizabeth F. Wilts
Jeffrey Thomas Jonathan Dimmock Richard H. Graff The Rev. & Mrs. Alvin S. Haag Mr. & Mrs. Robert V. Kane Dr. & Mrs. Paul C. Ogden
Jeffrey Thomas Artistic & Music Director
Katherine McKee Academy Administrator
Don Scott Carpenter Executive Director
Philip Daley Production Manager
Steven Lehning Music Administrator
Lisa May Patron Services Manager
* on Sabbatical
Christopher D. Lewis E. J. Chavez Development & Stage Crew Communications Director Heli Roiha Jeff McMillan Bookkeeper Executive Administrator
On the cover: Nativity, 1515–20, by Andrea Previtali (circa 1480–1528); Oil on canvas, 133 x 215 cm, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice. 3
About American Bach Soloists
“Electric Camaraderie” — San Francisco Classical Voice The AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS (“ABS”) were founded in 1989 with the mission of introducing contemporary audiences to the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach through historically informed performances. Under the leadership of co-founder and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas, the ensemble has achieved its vision of assembling the world’s finest vocalists and periodinstrument performers to bring this brilliant music to life. For more than two decades, Jeffrey Thomas has brought thoughtful, meaningful, and informed perspectives to his performances as Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists. Recognized worldwide as one of the foremost interpreters of the music of Bach and the Baroque, he continues to inspire audiences and performers alike through his keen insights into the passions behind musical expression. Fanfare Magazine proclaimed that “Thomas’ direction seems just right, capturing the humanity of the music…there is no higher praise for Bach performance.” Critical acclaim has been extensive: The Wall Street Journal named ABS “the best American specialists in early music…a flawless ensemble…a level of musical finesse one rarely encounters.” San Francisco Classical Voice declared “there is nothing routine or settled about their work. Jeffrey Thomas is still pushing the musical Baroque envelope.” And the San Francisco Chronicle recently extolled the ensemble’s “divinely inspired singing.” PERFORMANCES The American Bach Soloists present an annual Subscription Series with performances in Belvedere, Berkeley, Davis, and San Francisco. Their annual holiday performances of Handel’s Messiah—presented each December before capacity audiences since 1992—have become a Bay Area tradition. Each season culminates with the American Bach Soloists Festival, 4
held every summer in July in the spectacular facilities of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Components of the annual summer Bach Festival include the Masterworks Series, Chamber Music Series, Distinguished Artist Series, Academy-in-Action Series, free Lecture and Master Class Series, and public Colloquia on a variety of topics. In addition to their regular subscription season, the American Bach Soloists have been presented at some of the world’s leading early music and chamber music festivals, and have appeared worldwide from Santa Fe to Hong Kong and Singapore. ABS has been a leader throughout the Bay Area in its commitment to artistic collaborations. Some examples include a collaboration with two San Francisco dance organizations, Xeno and Ultra Gypsy, at The Crucible in Oakland in 2004 and collaborations with the well-known Mark Morris Dance Group in 2004 and 1999. To celebrate the 20th Anniversary Season, ABS joined forces with San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and Lighting Systems Design Inc. (based in Orlando FL) in a spectacular laser show rendering of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks. HISTORY The first public concerts were given in February 1990 at St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere, where the ensemble serves as Artists-in-Residence. The debut of ABS’s first annual summer festival in Tiburon/Belvedere took place in 1993. By the fifth season, regular performances had been inaugurated in San Francisco and Berkeley, and as a result of highly successful collaborations with the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, ABS’ full concert seasons expanded to the Davis/Sacramento region in 2005. As the audience increased, so the artistic direction of the ensemble expanded to include Bach’s purely instrumental and larger choral masterpieces, as well as music of his contemporaries and that of the early Classical era.
In 1998, in conjunction with the Fifth Biennial Berkeley Festival & Exhibition, ABS established the American Bach Soloists & Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artist Competition as a way to foster emerging musicians who wish to pursue a career in early music. The Chorus of the American Bach Soloists has shone in repertoire from the Baroque and early Classical eras. With the inception of a Choral Series in 2004, these fine singers have been featured on programs exploring over five centuries of choral music. To acknowledge this splendid work, the American Bach Soloists announced in 2006 a new name for their choral ensemble: American Bach Choir. Critics have acclaimed their “sounds of remarkable transparency and body.”
INAUGURAL SEASON 2013
In July 2010, the American Bach Soloists inaugurated North America’s newest annual professional training program in Historically Informed Performance Practice. Drawing on their distinguished roster of performers, the AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS ACADEMY offers unique opportunities to advanced conservatorylevel students and emerging professionals to study and perform Baroque music in a multi-disciplinary learning environment. The ACADEMY is held in the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s exquisite new facilities in the heart of the city’s arts district. RECORDINGS The American Bach Soloists have a discography of nineteen titles on the Koch International Classics, Delos International, and American Bach Soloists labels, including six volumes of Bach cantatas, many performed one on a part. The ensemble’s critically acclaimed disc of Bach’s Mass in B Minor has been called a benchmark recording and a “joyous new performance” (The Washington Post). One of their most popular offerings is an historically significant version of Handel’s Messiah, recorded live during performances in 2004 at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis, and released in November 2005 on the Delos International label. In 2007, ABS’ entire catalogue of critically acclaimed recordings of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, cantatas, and transcriptions of Italian music, Haydn Masses, choral and vocal works by Schütz, and other works was re-released on iTunes, Magnatune.com, Amazon, CDBaby, and ABS’ own excellent and resourceful web site, which features free streaming audio of most titles. The same year brought two new and much-anticipated releases: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. The most recent release, 1685 & The Art of Ian Howell, features the remarkable countertenor (and winner of the ABS Young Artist Competition) in works by Bach, Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti. The American Bach Soloists have been recipients of major grants from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, The Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Wallis Foundation, The AT&T Foundation Matching Gifts Program, The AXA Foundation Matching Gifts Program, Clorox Foundation, County of Marin, and The San Francisco Foundation. An administrative staff and Board of Trustees support ABS’ activities as a non-profit organization.
Yo Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott, St. Lawrence String Quartet, New York Polyphony, Midori & Özgür Aydin, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and many more!
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sunday, february 10, 2013 at 4:30pm
benefIt recItaL & Wine and cheese reception
Corey Jamason, harpsichord and Danielle Reutter-Harrah, mezzo-soprano Music by Scarlatti, F. Couperin, songs of Purcell, good food and good conversation At the historic Firehouse at Fort Mason Center
saturday, March 16, 8pM/ sunday, March17, 4pM
J.s. bach the complete Motets
Stunning masterworks for single and double choir Donâ€™t miss this rare opportunity to hear all six brilliant pieces in one program. Calvary Presbyterian Church, Fillmore & Jackson, SF
Go Green(er) with ABS | americanbach.org/giftshop Our online store carries a wide range of gifts perfect for friends and family. How about a tote bag for carrying groceries home instead of using plastic or paper? Many styles and colors are available. • • • •
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Where great music comes to life.
PHOTO © DF PHOTOGRAPHY
Romantic Passions Bay Area native and young virtuoso Nigel Armstrong offers a youthful take on Bruch’s ever-popular First Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky’s last symphony takes us on a hyper-emotionally charged journey that scales the heights and plumbs the depths like few other works in the repertoire. Glinka Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, “Pathétique”
Sonoma’s 22-year-old Nigel Armstrong reached international acclaim as Fourth Prize-winner in the 14th Tchaikovsky International Competition .
JAN 20 & 22
SUN @ 3PM
Subscribe to 4 or 5 concerts in 2013. Call 415. 479.8100 or purchase at marinsymphony.org. Single tickets for Romantic Passions and all season concerts are on sale now. Call the Marin Center Box Office, 415.473.6800, purchase in person or order online.
TUES @ 7:30PM
/marinsymphony • 415.479.8100 • marinsymphony.org
Concert Sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, Montecito Plaza Shopping Center
AMERICAN BACH SOLOISTS Violins
AMERICAN BACH CHOIR
Elizabeth Blumenstock (leader) ** Andrea Guarneri, Cermona, 1660.
Steven Lehning (continuo) ** Anonymous, Austria, circa 1830.
Tekla Cunningham (principal 2nd) Sanctus Seraphin, Venice, 1746.
Christopher Deppe Johann Neuner II & Cantius Hornsteiner, Mittenwald, circa 1880.
Andrew Davies Augustine Chauppy, Paris, 1749. Joseph Edelberg Jacob Stainer, Absam, Austria, 1673. Andrew Fouts * Anonymous, Paris, 18th century. Rachelle Hurwitz Anonymous, Mittenwald, circa 1730. Katherine Kyme Johann Gottlob Pfretzchner, Mittenwald, 1791. Tyler Lewis Timothy Johnson, Hewitt, TX, 2009; after Stradivari, Cremona, 18th century. Carla Moore Johann Georg Thir, Vienna, Austria, 1754. Maxine Nemerovski Timothy Johnson, Bloomington, IN, 1999; after Stradivari, Cremona, 18th century. David Wilson Timothy Johnson, Hewitt, TX, 2007; after Stradivari, Cremona, 18th century. Janet Worsley Strauss Matthias Joannes Koldiz, Munich, 1733. The 1660 Andrea Guarneri violin played by Elizabeth Blumenstock is made available to her though the generosity of the Philharmonia Baroque Period Instrument Trust.
Violas Jason Pyszkowski (principal) * Jay Haide, El Cerrito, CA, 2008; after Giovanni Paolo Maggini, Brescia, circa 1580. Cynthia Albers Jacob Stainer, Absam, Austria, 1673. Daria d’Andrea School of Gioffredo Cappa, Turin, 1758. Clio Tilton * Eric Lourme, Le Havre, France, 2009; after Brothers Amati, Cremona, 16th century. Violoncellos William Skeen (continuo) ** Anonymous, Italy, circa 1680. Gretchen Claassen * Anonymous, North America, early 18th century. David Morris John Morrison, London, circa 1780.
Joshua Lee John Pickering, Greenmont, NH, 1783.
Tonia D’Amelio Susan Judy Clare Kirk Rita Lilly Allison Z. Lloyd
Harpsichord Corey Jamason * ** Willard Martin, Bethlehem, PA, 1990; after François Blanchet, Paris, circa 1730. /
Organ Steven Bailey John Brombaugh & Associates, Oregon, 1980.
Diana Pray Cheryl Sumsion Altos James Apgar Dan Cromeenes Elisabeth Eliassen Katherine E. McKee William Sauerland
Oboes John Abberger H. A. Vas Dias, Decatur, GA; after Thomas Stanesby, Sr., London, circa 1700. Debra Nagy * / ** Randall Cook, Basel, 2004; after Jonathan Bradbury, London, circa 1720. Bassoons Charles Koster Paul Hailperin, Zell im Wiesental, Germany, circa 1990; after M. Deper, Vienna, circa 1725. Thomas Hill * Guntram Wolf, Kronach, Germany, 2008; after HKICW (maker’s mark), circa 1700. Trumpets
Amelia Triest Delia Voitoff-Bauman Celeste Winant Tenors Edward Betts John Davey-Hatcher Daniel Harper Andrew Morgan Colby Roberts John Rouse Sigmund Siegel Sam Smith Basses Johan Andreasson John Kendall Bailey
Caleb Hudson (solo) Rainer Egger, Basel, 2009; after Johann Leonhard Ehe III, Nuremberg, 1746.
Nathan Botts Rainer Egger, Basel, 2007; after Johann Leonhard Ehe II, Nuremburg, circa 1700.
Timpani Kent Reed Anonymous, England, circa 1840.
Hugh Davies Thomas Hart Jefferson Packer Chad Runyon Jere Torkelsen * ABS Academy Alumnus or Competition winner ** ABS Academy Faculty
JEFFREY THOMAS • MUSIC DIRECTOR
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) Mary Wilson, soprano • Ian Howell, countertenor • Wesley Rogers, tenor • Jesse Blumberg, baritone American Bach Choir • Jeffrey Thomas, conductor These performances are generously sponsored by Kim & Judith Maxwell and Citi Wealth Management. PART THE FIRST SINFONY SCENE I RECITATIVE, accompanied – Comfort ye, comfort ye my People ARIA – Ev’ry Valley shall be exalted CHORUS - And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied – Thus saith the Lord of Hosts ARIA – But who may abide the Day of his coming? CHORUS - And he shall purify the Sons of Levi SCENE III RECITATIVE – Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son ARIA & CHORUS – O thou that tellest good Tidings to Zion RECITATIVE, accompanied – For behold, Darkness shall cover the Earth ARIA – The People that walked in Darkness have seen a great Light CHORUS - For unto us a Child is born SCENE IV PIFA RECITATIVE – There were Shepherds abiding in the Field ARIOSO – And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them RECITATIVE – And the Angel said unto them, Fear not RECITATIVE, accompanied – And suddenly there was with the Angel a Multitude CHORUS - Glory to God
(Scene I continued) RECITATIVE, accompanied – Thy Rebuke hath broken his Heart ARIA – Behold, and see SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied – He was cut off out of the Land of the Living ARIA – But Thou didst not leave his Soul in Hell SCENE III SEMICHORUS - Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates SCENE IV RECITATIVE – Unto which of the Angels said He at any time CHORUS - Let all the Angels of God worship Him SCENE V ARIA – Thou art gone up on High CHORUS - The Lord gave the Word DUET & CHORUS – How beautiful are the Feet of Him…Break forth into Joy SCENE VI ARIA – Why do the Nations so furiously rage together? CHORUS - Let us break their Bonds asunder SCENE VII RECITATIVE – He that dwelleth in Heaven shall laugh them to scorn ARIA – Thou shalt break them with a Rod of Iron CHORUS - Hallelujah! PART THE THIRD
SCENE V ARIA – Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Sion RECITATIVE – Then shall the Eyes of the Blind be open’d DUET – He shall feed his Flock like a shepherd CHORUS - His Yoke is easy
SCENE I ARIA – I know that my Redeemer liveth CHORUS - Since by Man came Death
SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied – Behold, I tell you a Mystery ARIA – The Trumpet shall sound
PART THE SECOND SCENE I CHORUS - Behold the Lamb of God ARIA – He was despised and rejected of Men CHORUS - Surely he hath borne our Griefs CHORUS - And with His Stripes we are healed CHORUS - All we, like Sheep, have gone astray RECITATIVE, accompanied – All they that see him laugh him to scorn CHORUS - He trusted in God, that he would deliver him
SCENE III RECITATIVE – Then shall be brought to pass DUET – O Death, where is thy Sting? CHORUS - But Thanks be to God ARIA – If God is for us, who can be against us? SCENE IV CHORUS - Worthy is the Lamb that was slain CHORUS - Amen. 9
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San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker (© Erik Tomasson)
—Los Angeles Times
JULY 12–21 2013 SAN FRANCISCO’S SUMMER BACH FESTIVAL
Johann Sebastian Bach
MASS IN B MINOR
George Frideric Handel
Heinrich Ignaz von Biber
MISSA SALISBURGENSIS americanbach.org • (415) 621-7900 11
ithin the decade that followed Handel’s composition of Messiah in 1741, nearly a dozen different casts and configurations of vocal soloists were employed by the composer during those first ten years of what would become a neverending history of performances worldwide. In each case, and for the remaining years of Handel’s life, he made revisions to his score that made the best use of the particular talents of his solo singers. While it is certainly true that Handel’s last-minute arrangements and transcriptions of arias that were employed for the work’s premiere in Dublin (1742) were due to the inadequacy of some of the singers at his disposal there, all subsequent revisions sought to show both the artists and the work in their best light. Customizing a musical work for the sake of the performers was not uncommon. In fact, it was not unheard of for an operatic vocalist (of necessarily considerable reputation) to carry along his or her favorite arias from city to city, insisting that they be incorporated into otherwise intact and absolutely conceived musical works for the stage. This indulgence was not as unreasonable as one might first assume. The operatic style during Handel’s day has since become known as opera seria, a term that literally means “serious” opera and that was devised to mark the differences between those works and opera buffa, comic operas that were the outgrowth of commedia dell’arte. There were strict conventions within opera seria, including the utilization of the da capo, or A-B-A, format for arias. Secco recitatives, accompanied only by continuo (usually harpsichord and violoncello, and probably with contrabass), were used to reveal plot details and to introduce the arias (or, rarely, duets) that would illuminate the emotions of whichever character would sing them. But there were also non-musical conventions of equally practical importance. In most cases the singer would exit at the end of an aria; hence the term “exit aria.” Of course, the primary reason for this theatrical device was to solicit applause from the audience for the singer (although some of the approval might just as well have been intended for the composer). And each principal singer would fully expect to sing a number of arias in a variety of moods; lamentation, revenge, defiance, melancholy, anger, and heroic virtue were common sentiments. The texts of the arias were rarely longer than four or eight lines, and rather generic, so it was more or less reasonable that a singer could substitute a favorite aria from another work so long as the general emotion was appropriate. HANDEL’S PLIANT SCORE Other traditions further supported this kind of expected artistic license. In most cases, final arias within any opera of the period were always awarded to the most important singer, not necessarily the most important character. This sort of deference to the talent made a great deal of sense as, during Handel’s day, the singers themselves were as much of an attraction to the audience, if not more so, as the composers and their works might have been. So, in Handel’s implementations of various casts of Messiah soloists, he made redistributions of the workload to be fair or, in some cases, to be flattering to the members of any particular roster. When surveying all of the versions of Messiah, it is very interesting to look first at the assignment of the final aria, “If God be for us.” Although originally composed for soprano, even for the premiere he altered the key so that it could be sung by the contralto, Susanna Cibber, a singing actress whom Handel found to be tremendously compelling. Over the next few years he continued to assign that “status” aria to her until 1749, the year before the first performance of Messiah in London’s Foundling Hospital. In this case it was awarded to a treble, or boy soprano, perhaps as a prescient indication of discussions that were underway to bring the oratorio into that venue, a home for abandoned 12
Susanna Cibber by Thomas Hudson or orphaned children. And the following year, in 1750, it was again transposed down a few keys so that it could be sung by the most recently arrived operatic star, the great Italian castrato, Gaetano Guadagni (1728-1792). Only for the last performance of Messiah conducted by Handel in 1754 was the final aria heard as it was first composed, for soprano (and we shall hear that version tonight!). AN EPOCH OF CHARITY London’s Foundling Hospital, a home “for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children,” was established in 1739 in the Bloomsbury area. Its founder, Thomas Coram (1668-1751), was a sea captain who had spent a number of his early years in the American colonies. Following a career as a successful London merchant, he turned his attention to philanthropy and, in particular, rescuing homeless, abandoned children. At that time, charity and philanthropy had become not only critically essential to the survival of Londoners as a whole, but it had also gained an oddly self-serving functionality as part of the fantastic expansion of London and the greater English empire. The rate of growth of London during the 18th century was exponential. About three-fourths of Londoners had been born elsewhere. Its culture was as diverse as the most modern 21st-century city. London offered opportunities and wealth to the industrious and ambitious, as well as a thriving underworld, anonymity, and meager subsistence to criminals and the unskilled. Its hierarchical systems of social status were ingrained, accepted, and treasured, despite the fact that the 18th century offered all Londoners the chance to upgrade their places and stations within that cosmopolis. Ironically, though, even those who were able to buy into higher levels of society through their successes as merchants were as eager as the blue-blooded aristocracy to maintain whatever distinctions of social status could be maintained. The wealthy typically lived in five-story townhouses while the lower classes (those not housed as servants in the top floors of the elite’s homes)
often lived in terribly unhealthy and cramped hovels. During most of the 1700s, Londoners were subjected to dreadful pollution, reprehensibly unsanitary conditions, and mostly unbridled crime. Many of those poor conditions were the result of the preponderance of manufacturing industries within London’s commercial organism. About a third of London’s population were employed by manufacturing ventures, and the resulting pollution had turned the Thames River into, literally, a sewer. Still, this flourishing business culture helped increase overseas trade at least threefold during the century, and the spoils were global political power and domestic wealth. But the victims of all this were the children. Many lived only a few short years, and still others were abandoned to live on their own in the filth, smoke, and mire of London’s poorer quarters. In the face of such undeniable misery, the wealthy could hardly turn a blind eye. During an era of destitution, depravity, and victimization, the beliefs of the Latitudinarian branch of the Church of England were timely assertions that benevolent and charitable deeds, rather than (or at least in addition to) the formalities of church worship, were essential to the quality of the moral state of the individual. Only by engaging in acts of compassion and by the establishment of a supporting relationship with the less fortunate could their plights, their suffering, and the terrible waste of human life be acceptably mitigated and tolerated. Thus, charity became fashionable. Merchants supported charities that in turn supported the working class. Businesses needed healthy workers in great numbers to keep their machines well oiled and their industries thriving. Consumers were needed on the other side of the coin, so to speak, so the maintenance of the lower classes was in the best interest of those entrepreneurs. The kingdom itself needed to be defended at sea and abroad, so healthy battalions had to be provided. By supporting the less fortunate and encouraging their strength and independence, to a degree, those who had newly acquired wealth could gain prestige and propriety while nurturing their economic self-interests. To have a “bleeding heart” was especially in vogue among London’s upper-class women. Their ever-increasing opportunities to fashion socially relevant activities led quite naturally to their involvement in charities, which
London’s Foundling Hospital in turn substantiated their refinement, respectability, and moral rank. William Hogarth (1697-1764), the great English painter, satirist, and cartoonist, called this transformative time “a golden age of English philanthropy” and one of the greatest results of it was the Foundling Hospital. In 18th-century London, the term “hospital” was applied to institutions for the physically ill as well as for the mentally ill, and to organizations that, through hospitality, supported particular factions of London’s population including sailors, refugees, penitent prostitutes, and destitute children. To a great degree, the efforts of Coram, assisted by Hogarth and Handel, firmly established the Foundling Hospital as one of England’s most long-lived and admirable benevolent institutions. Even before the buildings were completed—a process that took ten years from 1742 to 1752— children were first admitted to temporary housing in March, 1741. No questions were asked, but overcrowding quickly led to the establishment of rules for acceptance. The requirement that children be aged no more than two months was relaxed by the House of Commons in 1756 so that children up to twelve months would be accepted. During the next few years, more than 15,000 infants were left at its doors. Even within the Hospital, though, more than two thirds of them would not survive long enough to be apprenticed during their teenage years. THE GENESIS AND FIRST PERFORMANCES OF MESSIAH Coincidentally, in the same year that the Foundling Hospital accepted its first charges, Handel composed Messiah. Charles Jennens, the librettist for Messiah, had probably made the suggestion to Handel that the premiere of the work might take place in Dublin as a charity event. In fact, on March 27, 1742, Faulkner’s Dublin Journal published an announcement that: “For Relief of the Prisoners in the several Gaols, and for the Support of Mercer’s Hospital in Stephen’s Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inns Quay, on Monday the 12th of April, will be performed at the Musick Hall in Fishamble Street, Mr. Handel’s new Grand Oratorio, call’d the Messiah…”
Thomas Coram by William Hogarth
The previous decade or so had been quite unpleasant for Handel. He had begun to suffer financial difficulties, and by the early 1730s his professional life was simply unraveling. He was nearly bankrupt and had fallen very much out of the critical favor of the aristocratic public for whom he had composed his Italian operas. They were expensive to produce and not accessible enough for his audience. But, in fact, Handel himself was the object of what must have felt like brutal betrayal by his patrons, his audience, and even his musicians. 13
of vocal and instrumental music to help in the completion of the hospital’s chapel. The hospital reciprocated with an invitation to Handel, which he declined, to become one of its governors. On May 27th, Handel directed a performance (in the unfinished chapel) of excerpts from his Fireworks Music, Solomon, and the newly composed Foundling Hospital Anthem, “Blessed are they that considereth the poor and needy.” (The Foundling Hospital Anthem was Handel’s last work of English church music.) The “Hallelujah” chorus from Messiah was the final work, a premonition of what was in store for the following year. Royalty were in attendance.
Neal’s Music Hall on Fishamble Street in Dublin For the first half of his life, Handel had led a charmed existence. He seems to have waltzed into one happy situation after another, in which he enjoyed the patronage of royalty, the aristocracy, and the culture-seeking population at large. He was unexaggeratedly a national hero, despite his non-domestic origins. He had lived in extravagant estates, kept the most celebrated artists, writers, and musicians in his closest circles, and profited—although, not necessarily financially—from the tremendous favor that was bestowed upon him by an entire empire. His unprecedented success was so irreproachable that he was, without a doubt, completely unprepared for what amounted to a staggering fall from grace. But what emerged in 1741-42 was a work that would transcend the boundaries of musical forms, subject matter, social and cultural expectations, and, eventually, the bitterness of his rivals. And it would restore “the great Mr. Handel” to the revered status that he had enjoyed decades before.
Nearly one year later, on May 1, 1750, Handel performed Messiah in the (still not quite finished) chapel. That day marked what can be seen as the most significant day in Handel’s career. The benefit concert’s success was extraordinary. More than 1,000 people crowded into the space, and more were turned away. Massive public attention to the event, coupled with unequivocal approbation for the oratorio, served Handel well and generated new commitment on the part of the London audience to uphold Handel and his oratorios as the great beacons of English music that they are. He became a governor of the hospital; since more than £1,000 had been raised by his performances, the fee required of governors was waived. Due to the overcrowded conditions on May 1, a second performance was offered on May 15, especially to those who were turned away a fortnight before, that resulted in the first documentation of an entire audience standing for the “Hallelujah” chorus. For the 1750 performances, Handel employed London’s newest vocal superstar, Gaetano Guadagni, who had arrived two years before in 1748 at the age of twenty, as part of an Italian opera company. The music historian Charles Burney (1726-1814) wrote about Guadagni: “His voice was then a full and well toned counter-tenor…the excellence of his voice attracted the notice of Handel, who assigned him the parts in his oratorios of the Messiah and Samson, which had been originally composed for Mrs. Cibber…”
The first performance of Messiah took place on April 13, 1742, in Dublin’s new music hall on Fishamble Street, and was a tremendous success. The review that appeared in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal proclaimed: “Words are wanting to express the exquisite Delight it afforded to the admiring crowded Audience. The Sublime, the Grand, and the Tender, adapted to the most elevated, majestick and moving Words, conspired to transport and charm the ravished Heart and Ear.” Performances in subsequent years took place in London, but those were met with less enthusiastic receptions. Messiah had blurred the distinctions between opera, oratorio, passion, and cantata, and perhaps some Londoners found this to be a fundamental fault. So it is fascinating to note that when the function of Messiah was returned to that of a work presented for the benefit of charities, and when the venue became an ecclesiastical structure rather than a theatre, the oratorio took hold of its permanent place in the hearts of audiences, then in London and now throughout the world. For at least one year before the first Foundling Hospital performance of Messiah in 1750, Handel was involved with the charity, probably drawn to it through his associations with Hogarth and the music publisher John Walsh (1709-1766) who had been elected a governor in 1748. On May 4, 1749, Handel had made an offer, which was gratefully accepted, to present a benefit concert 14
Chapel of London’s Foundling Hospital TOTAL ECLIPSE In subsequent years, the Foundling Hospital continued to rely upon annual performances of Messiah for significant income. But Handel’s life was approaching its very real twilight. The great colleague whom Handel never met, Johann Sebastian Bach, had undergone two operations on his eyes, both unsuccessful, the second of which led within months to Bach’s death in 1750. By the next year, Handel’s own eyesight was deteriorating rapidly. By March 1751, he was blind in one eye
Soon, though, the Foundling Hospital Chapel was due for its official opening. Messiah was performed in April of 1753 in the Covent Garden theatre, and three days later the Chapel was dedicated at a performance of the Foundling Hospital Anthem. The last report of any public performance conducted by the blind Handel comes from the May 1 revival of Messiah for the benefit of the Hospital, although Handel almost certainly led Messiah one final time in 1754. Ironically, for that performance Handel reassigned a substantial number of arias to the voice types that he had in mind when he composed the work 13 years before. Annual performances to benefit the charity continued until his death in 1759 and beyond, leading to more than 250 years of performances throughout the world, having reached millions upon millions of listeners. Messiah always shines brightest when graced by historically informed performance practices. It is especially then that the true splendor of Handel’s sublime eloquence triumphs. While Messiah is certainly considered by any audience to be a “Grand Musical Entertainment”—as it was sometimes called in Handel’s day—the composer is purported to have said, “I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better.” © Jeffrey Thomas, 2012
everal decades ago, a movement began in the classical music industry to perform music on the instruments that were used during the composer’s lifetime. Unquestionably advanced by the advent of CD recordings in the early 1980s, this marriage of scholarship and style became known as “historically informed performance practice” or “HIPP” for short. But it encompasses more than just the proper choice of instruments for the performance of music from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras. Fine points of expression, articulation, and even the way instruments are tuned play a large role in what you are hearing tonight. Probably for most of us it is the use of these beautiful and, in most cases, truly antique and priceless instruments that brings the most special quality to these performances. Rather than cataloguing all the well-founded and essential reasons to use period instruments for this music, it is even more compelling to consider why the use of modern instruments would cheat us of part of the experience a composer like Handel meant to give to us. Instruments have evolved and grown over the centuries, mostly because composers would present new challenges to instrumentalists, and therefore to those who built their instruments. When a composer like Bach or Beethoven would write the most difficult passages that would tax the limits of an instrument’s responsiveness, within a decade or so instrument builders found a way to accommodate the challenges. In the Baroque period, musical phrases were made up of strong and weak notes, falling on strong and weak beats within a bar. When a violinist would move the bow in a downward stroke across a string, the sound was stronger than when the bow would be moved in an upward direction. But eventually the lengths of musical phrases grew, and more notes were meant to be played in a connected way, leading much further down the musical line to a phrase’s focal point. Accordingly, the bows for stringed instruments were then made to create the same amount of sound whether the bow was moving up or down. And, of course, concert halls grew in size, so instruments were made to play louder. In the 20th century, some composers required sounds that acoustic instruments simply could not produce; hence the genre of electronic music.
Handel—blind and with his score to Messiah on the desk—by Thomas Hudson, 1756
A short note about antiques versus reproductions: While it is not uncommon to find violins and violoncellos (or ‘cellos, as they are known today) that are more than 300 years old being played in orchestras like ours, very few surviving antique wind instruments are still playable. Consequently, period wind instruments are almost always copies of originals. 15
About Early Instruments
but nevertheless directed two performances of Messiah (in the still unfinished chapel) and even played voluntaries on the organ. 1752 brought more performances of Messiah, still under the composer’s direction, but his eyesight continued to deteriorate despite various treatments and an operation. On August 17 a London newspaper reported that Handel had been “seiz’d a few days ago with a Paralytick [sic] Disorder in his Head which has deprived him of Sight,” and in March of 1753 Handel’s dear and longtime friend, Lady (Susan) Shaftesbury, reported that (at a performance) “it was such a melancholy pleasure, as drew tears of sorrow, to see the great though unhappy Handel, dejected, wan and dark, sitting by, not playing on the harpsichord, and to think how his light had been spent by being overplied in music’s cause.”
The following libretto is adapted from the printed word-book for the first London performances of Messiah in 1743, and incorporates many of Handel’s own designations of part headings, scenes, and movement headings.
MESSIAH AN ORATORIO
shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy Light, and Kings to the Brightness of thy Rising. (Isaiah 60:2-3) AIR - Bass The People that walked in Darkness have seen a great Light; And they that dwell in the Land of the Shadow of Death, upon them hath the Light shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
Set to Musick by George Frideric Handel, Esq.
PART THE FIRST
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the Government shall be upon his Shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
SINFONY SCENE I RECITATIVE, accompanied - Tenor Comfort ye, comfort ye my People, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her Warfare is accomplish’d, that her Iniquity is pardon’d. The Voice of him that crieth in the Wilderness, prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make straight in the Desert a Highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:1-3) AIR - Tenor Ev’ry Valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry Mountain and Hill made low, the Crooked straight, and the rough Places plain. (Isaiah 40:4) CHORUS And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all Flesh shall see it together; for the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5) SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied - Bass Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once a little while, and I will shake the Heav’ns and the Earth; the Sea and the dry Land: And I will shake all Nations; and the Desire of all Nations shall come. (Haggai 2:6-7) The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple, ev’n the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
SCENE IV PIFA RECITATIVE - Soprano There were Shepherds abiding in the Field, keeping Watch over their Flock by Night. (Luke 2:8) ARIOSO - Soprano And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the Glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2:9) RECITATIVE - Soprano And the Angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good Tidings of great Joy, which shall be to all People. For unto you is born this Day, in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11) RECITATIVE, accompanied - Soprano And suddenly there was with the Angel a Multitude of the heav’nly Host, praising God, and saying ... (Luke 2:13) CHORUS Glory to God in the Highest, and Peace on Earth, Good Will towards Men. (Luke 2:14)
AIR – Countertenor
But who may abide the Day of his coming? And who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a Refiner’s Fire. (Malachi 3:2)
AIR - Soprano
CHORUS And he shall purify the Sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an Offering in Righteousness. (Malachi 3:3) SCENE III RECITATIVE - Countertenor Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his Name Emmanuel, GOD WITH US. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) AIR - Countertenor & CHORUS O thou that tellest good Tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high Mountain: O thou that tellest good Tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy Voice with Strength; lift it up, be not afraid: Say unto the Cities of Judah, Behold your God. O thou that tellest good Tidings to Zion, Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 60:1) RECITATIVE, accompanied - Bass For behold, Darkness shall cover the Earth, and gross Darkness the People: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his Glory 16
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Sion, shout, O Daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is the righteous Saviour; and He shall speak Peace unto the Heathen. (Zechariah 9:9-10) RECITATIVE - Soprano Then shall the Eyes of the Blind be open’d, and the Ears of the Deaf unstopped; then shall the lame Man leap as an Hart, and the Tongue of the Dumb shall sing. (Zechariah 35:5-6) DUET – Soprano & Countertenor He shall feed his Flock like a shepherd: and He shall gather the Lambs with his Arm, and carry them in his Bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Come unto Him all ye that labour, come unto Him all ye that are heavy laden, and He will give you Rest. Take his Yoke upon you and learn of Him; for He is meek and lowly of Heart: and ye shall find Rest unto your souls. (Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 11:28-29) CHORUS His Yoke is easy, his Burthen is light. (Matthew 11:30) —INTERMISSION—
Tonight’s music & Selections for the Holidays ... Available at Intermission and after the performance.
Carols for Christmas Handel’s Messiah Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto” MASTERWORKS SERIES Bach Brandenburg Concertos Bach Harpsichord Concertos Bach Italian Transcriptions Bach Mass in B Minor Bach St. Matthew Passion Beethoven Ninth Symphony Corelli Concerti Grossi Handel Messiah Haydn Masses Schütz Choral & Vocal Works Carols for Christmas The Art of Ian Howell BACH CANTATA SERIES Solo Cantatas Trauerode Mühlhausen Cantatas Cantatas for Easter Weimar Cantatas Favorite Cantatas
PART THE SECOND
RECITATIVE - Tenor
Unto which of the Angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten thee? (Hebrews 1:5)
Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the Sin of the World. (John 1:29) AIR - Countertenor He was despised and rejected of Men, a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with Grief. He gave his Back to the Smiters, and his Cheeks to them that plucked off the Hair: He hid not his Face from Shame and Spitting. (Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 50:6) CHORUS Surely he hath borne our Griefs and carried our Sorrows: He was wounded for our Transgressions, He was bruised for our Iniquities; the Chastisement of our Peace was upon Him. (Isaiah 53:4-5) CHORUS And with His Stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) CHORUS All we, like Sheep, have gone astray, we have turned evâ€™ry one to his own Way, and the Lord hath laid on Him the Iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6) RECITATIVE, accompanied - Tenor All they that see him laugh him to scorn; they shoot out their Lips, and shake their Heads, saying ... (Psalm 22:7) CHORUS He trusted in God, that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, if he delight in him. (Psalm 22:8) RECITATIVE, accompanied - Tenor Thy Rebuke hath broken his Heart; He is full of Heaviness: He looked for some to have Pity on him, but there was no Man, neither found he any to comfort him. (Psalm 69:21) AIR - Tenor Behold, and see, if there be any Sorrow like unto his Sorrow! (Lamentations 1:12) SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied - Tenor He was cut off out of the Land of the Living: For the Transgression of thy People was He stricken. (Isaiah 53:8) AIR - Tenor But Thou didst not leave his Soul in Hell, nor didst Thou suffer thy Holy One to see Corruption. (Psalm 16:10) SCENE III SEMICHORUS Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting Doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord Strong and Mighty; the Lord Mighty in Battle. Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting Doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts: he is the King of Glory. (Psalm 24:7-10)
CHORUS Let all the Angels of God worship Him. (Hebrews 1:6) SCENE V AIR - Bass Thou art gone up on High; Thou has led Captivity captive, and received Gifts for Men, yea, even for thine Enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalm 68:18) CHORUS The Lord gave the Word: Great was the Company of the Preachers. (Psalm 68:11) DUET - Soprano & Countertenor - & CHORUS How beautiful are the Feet of him that bringeth glad Tidings, Tidings of Salvation, that saith unto Sion: Thy God reigneth! Break forth into joy! (Isaiah 52:7 and 9) SCENE VI AIR - Bass Why do the Nations so furiously rage together? and why do the People imagine a vain Thing? The Kings of the Earth rise up, and the Rulers take Counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed. (Psalm 2:1-2) CHORUS Let us break their Bonds asunder, and cast away their Yokes from us. (Psalm 2:3) SCENE VII RECITATIVE - Tenor He that dwelleth in Heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in Derision. (Psalm 2:4) AIR - Tenor Thou shalt break them with a Rod of Iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a Potterâ€™s Vessel. (Psalm 2:9) CHORUS Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The Kingdom of this World is become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah! (Revelation 19:6; 11:15; 19:16) (no intermission)
PART THE THIRD SCENE I
Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus: To Stand or Not To Stand… Perhaps the best-known and widely accepted concert “tradition” is standing for the Hallelujah chorus. Legend has it that King George II leapt to his feet when he heard it during one of the work’s first performances in London. Because no person could remain seated while the King stood, the entire audience rose with him. Some credit this anecdote as the origin of the “standing ovation”. But a closer look at the facts reveals that there is no evidence that the King ever attended such a performance. The first written account of the story appeared in 1780, more than 35 years after the cited performance, and it was written by someone who admits to not having witnessed the King’s presence himself. However, the King was known to attend such events incognito. So he, in fact, at least might have been there. If he was in attendance, there is much speculation as to why he stood at all. Theories range from the reverent to the simply unflattering: he might have been stretching his legs, relieving his gout, leaving for the bathroom, or suddenly awakened by the chorus’ forte entrance. But the general opinion is that his own sense of obeisance compelled him to stand upon hearing the majestic and undeniably enthralling music of the Hallelujah chorus. The custom is common in English speaking countries, but essentially unknown in all others. Many have objected, in more contemporary eras, to the distastefully imperialistic implications of following the King’s lead in this manner. After all, the general audience only stood because they had to do so. But others are quick and well justified to point out that Handel’s Messiah is certainly the most well known and universally enjoyed major work in the Baroque oratorio genre—if not among all “classical” music works—and that standing as a group, in the name of tradition, unites the audience with the performers for a few minutes in a most energizing way. No matter how convincingly some can argue that this “tradition” is rooted in untrustworthy hearsay, you have only to look at the performers when you stand at that wondrous, thrilling moment: you will see their smiles and their spirits lifted even higher, knowing that millions upon millions of people have stood at that very same moment in music, and in virtually every corner of the world. Even Haydn stood with the crowd at a performance in Westminster Abbey. It is said that he wept and proclaimed of George Frideric Handel, “He is the master of us all.”
AIR - Soprano I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter Day upon the Earth: And tho’ Worms destroy this Body, yet in my Flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the Dead, the First-Fruits of them that sleep. (Job 19:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:20) CHORUS Since by Man came Death, by Man came also the Resurrection of the Dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) SCENE II RECITATIVE, accompanied - Bass Behold, I tell you a Mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be chang’d, in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye, at the last Trumpet. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) AIR - Bass The Trumpet shall sound, and the Dead shall be rais’d incorruptible, and We shall be chang’d. For this corruptible must put on Incorruption, and this Mortal must put on Immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:52-54) SCENE III RECITATIVE - Alto Then shall be brought to pass the Saying that is written; Death is swallow’d up in Victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54) DUET - Countertenor & Tenor O Death, where is thy Sting? O Grave, where is thy Victory? The Sting of Death is Sin, and the Strength of Sin is the Law. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56) CHORUS But Thanks be to God, who giveth Us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) AIR - Soprano If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the Charge of God’s Elect? It is God that justifieth; Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again; who is at the Right Hand of God, who maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:31 and 33-34) SCENE IV CHORUS Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His Blood, to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing. Blessing and Honour, Glory and Pow’r be unto Him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:12-14) CHORUS Amen. 19
About the Artists
JEFFREY THOMAS has brought thoughtful, meaningful, and informed perspectives to his performances as Artistic and Music Director of the American Bach Soloists for more than two decades. Recognized worldwide as one of the foremost interpreters of the music of Bach and the Baroque, he continues to inspire audiences and performers alike through his keen insights into the passions behind musical expression. He has directed and conducted recordings of more than 25 cantatas, the Mass in B Minor, Brandenburg Concertos, St. Matthew Passion, various concertos, and works by Schütz, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Beethoven. Fanfare magazine has praised his series of Bach recordings, stating that “Thomas’ direction seems just right, capturing the humanity of the music…there is no higher praise for Bach performance.” Before devoting all of his time to conducting, he was one of the first recipients of the San Francisco Opera Company’s prestigious Adler Fellowships. Cited by The Wall Street Journal as “a superstar among oratorio tenors,” Mr. Thomas’ extensive discography of vocal music includes dozens of recordings of major works for Decca, EMI, Erato, Koch International Classics, Denon, Harmonia Mundi, Smithsonian, Newport Classics, and Arabesque. Mr. Thomas is an avid exponent of contemporary music, and has conducted the premieres of new operas, including David Conte’s Gift of the Magi and Firebird Motel, and premiered song cycles of several composers, including two cycles written especially for him. He has performed lieder recitals at the Smithsonian, song recitals at various universities, and appeared with his own vocal chamber music ensemble, L’Aria Viva. He has appeared with the Baltimore, Berkeley, Boston, Detroit, Houston, National, Rochester, Minnesota, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; with the Vienna Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic; with virtually every American baroque orchestra; and in Austria, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Mexico. He has performed at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Ravinia Festival, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, Boston Early Music Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Göttingen Festival, Tage Alte Musik Festival in Regensburg, E. Nakamichi Baroque Festival in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s “Next Wave Festival,” and he has collaborated on several occasions as conductor with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Educated at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School of Music, with further studies in English literature at Cambridge University, he has taught at the Amherst Early Music Workshop, Oberlin College Conservatory Baroque Performance Institute, San Francisco Early Music Society, and Southern Utah Early Music Workshops, presented master classes at the New England Conservatory of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SUNY at Buffalo, Swarthmore College, and Washington University, been on the faculty of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and was artist-in-residence at the University of California, where he is now professor of music (Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Choral Conducting) and 20
director of choral ensembles in the Department of Music at UC Davis. He was a UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow from 2001 to 2006; and the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a prestigious Residency at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center at Villa Serbelloni for April 2007, to work on his manuscript, “Handel’s Messiah: A Life of Its Own.” Mr. Thomas serves on the board of Early Music America and hosts two public radio programs on Classical KDFC. MARY WILSON (soprano) is acknowledged as one of today’s most exciting young artists. Cultivating a wide-ranging career singing chamber music, oratorio, and operatic repertoire; her “bright soprano seems to know no terrors, wrapping itself seductively around every phrase” (Dallas Morning News). Receiving consistent critical acclaim from coast to coast, “she proves why many in the opera world are heralding her as an emerging star. She is simply amazing, with a voice that induces goose bumps and a stage presence that is mesmerizing. She literally stole the spotlight…” (Arizona Daily Star). An exciting interpreter of Baroque repertoire, especially Handel, she has appeared with the American Bach Soloists, Bach Society of St. Louis, Baltimore Handel Choir, Boston Baroque, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Musica Angelica, Philharmonia Baroque, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Casals Festival, Florida Bach Festival, and the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. In high demand on the concert stage, she has most recently appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Detroit Symphony, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Dayton Philharmonic, VocalEssence, and at the Hollywood Bowl. She has worked with conductors including Jeffrey Thomas, Bernard Labadie, Martin Pearlman, Martin Haselböck, Nicholas McGegan, JoAnn Falletta, and Leonard Slatkin. On the opera stage, she is especially noted for her portrayals of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Gilda in Rigoletto. She has created leading roles in North American and World premiere performances of Dove’s Flight, Glass’ Galileo Galilei, and Petitgirard’s Joseph Merrick dit L’Elephant Man. She has appeared most recently with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Dayton Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera, Mississippi Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Goodman Theatre. With the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, she sang the world premiere of the song cycle “Songs Old and New” written especially for her by Ned Rorem. An accomplished pianist, Ms. Wilson holds performance degrees from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She was named an Emerging Artist by Symphony Magazine in 2004 in the publication’s first ever presentation of promising classical soloists on the rise. She currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and son.
IAN HOWELL (countertenor) has been praised by The New York Times for his “clear voice and attractive timbre,” by San Francisco Classical Voice for the “heart at the core of his soulful sound,” and by Classical Voice of North Carolina for his “lovely, supple, and crystal clear” voice. A GRAMMY award winner, he sings with a warm and seamless tone rarely heard from countertenors. In 2006, Mr. Howell won First Prize at The American Bach Soloists International Solo Competition with an acclaimed performance of Bach’s Cantata BWV 170, Vergnügte Ruh, and Third Prize at the Oratorio Society of New York’s Vocal Competition. Ian Howell’s debut solo CD, 1685 and the Art of Ian Howell with American Bach Soloists was released in March 2009 and features repertory by D. Scarlatti, J. S. Bach, and Handel. He can also be heard with Chanticleer on one DVD and eight CDs. Equally at home on opera and concert stages, Mr. Howell’s 2011-2012 season included performances of Messiah with both American Bach Soloists and the Choir of St Thomas Fifth Ave (NYC), a featured concert for the American Bach Soloists Summer Bach Festival, and Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Tolomeo) with Florentine Opera. Mr. Howell’s 2010-11 season included debut performances with Florentine Opera of Blow’s Venus & Adonis (Cupid) and Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas (Spirit), Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Seattle Baroque, and Bach’s Weinachts Oratorium with the New Mexico Symphony. He returned for engagements with Chatham Baroque in Bach’s St. John Passion, New York’s St. Ignatius Loyola’s presentation of Handel’s Jephtha (Hamor), and the UC Davis University Chorus singing in Bernstein’s Missa Brevis and Chichester Psalms, and in a new work by Pablo Ortiz under the baton of Jeffrey Thomas. In his 2009-2010 season, Mr. Howell debuted with Canada’s Orchestra London/ Opera London as Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, for which critics called his portrayal “chilling,” “remarkable,” and “heart-rending,” and noted that he “handled the intricacies of Handel’s vocal writing with ease.” Mr. Howell also debuted as a featured soloist on the Ravinia Festival’s Rising Stars Series, with the St. Louis Symphony singing in P.D.Q. Bach’s Iphigenia in Brooklyn, Messiah with The Handel Choir of Baltimore, Handel’s Susanna (Joachim) with The Hudson Valley Singers, Chatham Baroque’s performances of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and J.C. Bach’s Lamento, Musica Angelica performance of Bach’s St. John Passion, and in recital with the Columbus (Ohio) Guitar Society in their “The New Music: 1602 – Present” series. Ian Howell holds a Master of Music Degree in Voice conferred jointly by the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale School of Music. WESLEY ROGERS (tenor) has been hailed by San Francisco Classical Voice as possessing the “kind of tenor that pours forth powerfully, effortlessly, seemingly for any length of time,” making his mark on the international operatic and concert stages. In the spring of 2011, Mr. Rogers made an important debut as Belmonte at the Semperoper Dresden, followed by performances of the Berlioz Te Deum at the UC Davis Mondavi Center, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Evangelist) with Orchestra Seattle, and an appearance in concert at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris also as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In the 2011-2012
season, he sang the role of Don Ottavio in a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the National Theatre Opera Prague. The current season finds him as Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail with L’Opéra National de Montpellier and Opéra de Liège in Belgium, and in a debut with Madison Opera. As a recent member of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program, he performed the role of Peter Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw. Performances on the Seattle Opera mainstage include: Maintop in Billy Budd, Trin in Fanciulla del West, Fourth Jew in Salome, and the Commanding Officer in the premiere of Hagen’s Amelia. Also with the company, Mr. Rogers understudied the roles of Pylade in Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Froh in Das Rheingold, the Steersman and Melot in Tristan und Isolde, and Dodge and Icarus in Hagen’s Amelia. Recent concert engagements include Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the American Bach Soloists, Britten’s War Requiem with Orchestra Seattle, Mozart’s “Coronation” Mass with EOS Orchestra, Bruckner’s Te Deum and Rossini’s Stabat Mater at the Mondavi Center, and a recital including Louis Gruenberg’s The Daniel Jazz at the Bard Festival. Recent collaborations have included groups such as Mark Morris Dance Company, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival, Capella Romano, The Tudor Choir, Opera Memphis, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Lake Chelan Bach Festival, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. JESSE BLUMBERG (baritone) is an artist equally at home on opera, concert, and recital stages. His recent engagements include Niobe, Regina di Tebe at Boston Early Music Festival, Bernstein’s Mass at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and performances with the New York Festival of Song. In 2007 he created the role of Connie Rivers in The Grapes of Wrath (recorded by P.S. Classics) at the Minnesota Opera, and later made his Utah and Pittsburgh Opera debuts in the same production. Since then, he has made debuts in leading and featured roles at Boston Lyric Opera, Annapolis Opera, Opera Delaware, Opera Vivente, and the Boston Early Music Festival. In concert, Mr. Blumberg has been a featured soloist with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Charlotte Symphony, Clarion Society, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. He has also given the world premieres of two important chamber works: Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers (recorded by Blue Griffin Recording) and Lisa Bielawa’s The Lay of the Love and Death, the former at the Vail Valley Music Festival, and the latter at Alice Tully Hall. He has toured with the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Waverly Consort, and given recitals for the Marilyn Horne Foundation. Last season, he and pianist Martin Katz performed Schubert’s two monumental song cycles, Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, over one weekend at Bargemusic in New York City, and will soon repeat this pairing in Chicago. Mr. Blumberg has been recognized in many song and opera competitions, and in 2008 was awarded Third Prize at the International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. His 2011-2012 engagements included song recitals in New York, Boston, and Paris, performances with New York Festival of Song, Green Mountain Project, and Apollo’s Fire, and debuts at Anchorage Opera and Urban Arias in Washington, D.C. He received a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and undergraduate degrees in History and Music from the University of Michigan. Mr. Blumberg is also the founder and artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City. 21
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FRIEND $25-$99 Acknowledgment in ABS programs for one year
STEWARD $100-249 - the above, plus Opportunity to purchase single tickets to special concerts before they go on sale to the general public
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Contributors & Acknowledgments
The American Bach Soloists gratefully acknowledge the generous support received from
This list represents contributions received between November 13, 2011 and November 12, 2012. We sincerely regret any errors or omissions.
CORPORATE, GOVERNMENT, AND FOUNDATION SUPPORT $20,000 and above Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund $10,000-$19,999 Anonymous Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, Inc. Thomas J. and Gerd Perkins Foundation
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Patron ($2,500-$4,999) Wendy Buchen Milton & Carol Hollenberg Fraser & Helen Muirhead Paul & Sandra Ogden Martin & Elizabeth Secker Jim & Jennifer Steelquist
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SOLOISTS CIRCLE Benefactor ($20,000 and above) Anonymous The Estate of Philip Eisenberg Jan Goldberg Patricia & George Locke Royal Patrons ($10,000-$19,999) Anonymous Jose & Carol Alonso Hugh Davies & Kaneez Munjee Kwei & Michele Ü Bach Family Circle ($5,000-$9,999) Richard & Sharon Boyer John & Lois Crowe Judith Flynn Christopher J. Damon Haig James Meehan Angela Hilt & Blake Reinhardt Marie Hogan & Douglas Lutgen Jeffrey Thomas
Capellmeister ($1,500-$2,499) Peter & Claudia Brown Norman T. Larson Lamar Leland Paul Nettelman Robert Ripps & Steven Spector Edward Towne Cantor ($1,000-$1,499) Anonymous (3) John & Jane Buffington Lisa Capaldini Don Scott Carpenter
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Ernst & Hannah Biberstein Jesse Blumberg & Rita Donahue Matthew Bobinski Mary Bost Donald Buhman & Wray Humphrey Gary Chock Richard & Evelyn Clair Roy & Margaret Clarke Mendel Cohen & Julia Vestal Eric Collier & Joseph Newell Robert Coote Richard Cronin Tekla Cunningham & David Sawyer Garniss Curtis Chauncey & Emily DiLaura Mag Dimond Lester Dropkin Nancy Dubois Steven Edwards Norma Feldman Thomas & Mary Foote Dale Freeman Lowell & Nancy Froker John Frykman Charlene Renee Garbe Shellie Garrett Hinda Gilbert Mr. John Gosselin Allen Hackett Richard Halton David Hammer Teresa Hammond Margaret Harding Donna Heinle Daniel Hersh Philip & Ruth Hicks Bob Isaacson & Virginia Stearns Cary & Elaine James Peter Jensen Thomas Koster Ronald & Sharon Krauss William & Emily Leider Manjari & Michael Lewis Malcom Litwiller & Teri Dowling Deana Logan & Joseph C. Najpaver David & Kathleen Martin Jo Maxon & Karl Ruppenthal Noreen Mazelis Lee & Hannelore McCrumb Ray & Mary McDevitt John McKnight Sharon Menke Susan Morris Carol Mowbray Amy Mullen Shah & Mariam Munjee Mary Belle Oâ€™Brien & Georgia Heid Jefferson Packer Virginia Patterson Steven Peterson & Peter Jaret Patrizian Pollastrini
Sam Price Gail Riley & Moira Little Penelope Rink & Frederick Toth Rebecca Rishell Colby & Katherine Roberts Cynthia Sawtell Charles & Janet Seim Judd & Sherry Smith Aline Soules Bob & Betsy Stafford David Stein & William Stewart Francoise Stone Gerald & Sandra Swafford Karl & Marianne Thon Lynn Tilley and John Gruver Rick Trautner Mr. Curtis Vose Richard Wallis Judith Ward Kenneth & Kathryn Weeman Michael Weston Richard White Bernard Wishy Jerri Witt Rick Yoshimoto & Tamara Trussell Friend ($25-$99) Anonymous Albert & Julie Alden Collin Amick Mary Anderson Donald Andreini Sassan Aria Peter & Margaret Armstrong Adrienne Austin-Shapiro Merry & Mark Benard Beverly Benedum John Berg C L Best Robert Blumen Renee Boeche Anne Marie Borch Felix Braendel Ms. Deborah Brown Leslie Brown Lori Ellen Brown Helen Cagampang Suzi Cohen & Joel Wolfson Mary Cutchin Hubert & Genevieve Dreyfus Tony Drummond Philip T Durfee Bob & Margaret Eldred Judith Ets Hokin Marcella Fasso Elliott & Laurel Feigenbaum Cassandra Forth Margaret Fuerst Jeffery & Judy Gough Robyn Greene Helen Gunderson Patrick Gunning Carol Handelman Judith Hanks
William Hartrick David Heppner Ian Hinchliffe & Marjorie Shapiro Elizabeth Hoelter Peter Huson Laurence Jacobs Stephen & Helene Jaffe Herbert Jeong Elaine Johnson Margaret Johnson Pamela Jones Wolfram Jung Elizabeth Kaplan Carolyn Kennedy Isik Kizilyalli Joseph & Jeanne Klems George Knudson Barbara Koerber Gretchen Leavitt David Lecount Robert Levin Lirong Li Jay Linderman George Lundberg George Marchand Bonnie & Gene Martz Suzanne McCormick Thomas McElligott Susan Meister Kurt & Suzanne Melchior Katherine Mitchell Minako Miyazaki Hildegard M. Mohr Joanne Moldenhauer Michael & Jennifer Moran Christopher Motley Owen Mulholland Diane & John Musgrave June Nadler Alan B. Newman, M.D Eleanor Norris Joan Norton Crystal Olson Jerome Oremland Pat & Larry Pagendarm Claire Perry Joy Phoenix Dove Pierce Linda & Nelson Polsby Lawrence & Erica Posner Richard & Ellen Price Jean Radford Nancy Raney Janet Reider Eugene & Libby Renkin Carolyn Revelle Maria Reyes & Thomas Plumb Bruce L Roberts Wendy Robertson Lewis Robinson Thomas Robinson David Robinson Michael Rohan Jay Russell Walter & Ellen Sanford 25
William Senecal & Karen Roseland Lawrence Severino Douglas Shaker Douglas & Carole Sheft Nina Shoehalter Steve Siegelman Allegra Silberstein Harold Skilbred & Rochelle Matonich Sam W. Smith Robert & Ellen Spaethling Lisa Spencer Dan Stanley Judith Stanley Sharon Sterne Patricia Stiefer Mason & Sandra Stober Lorelei Tanji Christine Telleen Margaret Traylor Stephanie Trenck & Michael Witty Lyman P. Van Slyke George & Bay Westlake Mary Wildavsky Norman Williams Ron & Marlene Wizelman Robert Wohlsen, Jr Kurt Wootton & Ken Fulk Carolyn Yee & Bill L. Lee Bach Kids Richard & Sharon Boyer in honor of Jake D. Sutter Keira N. Sutter Alexander J. Sutter Leah G. Sutter Jan Goldberg, in honor of Cameron Gremmels Michael Goldberg Alexander Goldberg Tributes Anonymous in memory of Robert Volberg Donald & Claire Auslen in honor of Jan Goldberg Richard & Sharon Boyer in memory of Mamie F. Vercelli in memory of Edward T. Smithburn in memory of Rosemary Pollastrini Suzi Cohen & Joel Wolfson in honor of Jan Goldberg Jeffery & Judy Gough in honor of Don Scott Carpenter David, Dorli, & Diella Hanchette in memory of Dominique Sebastian Hanchette Stephen & Helene Jaffe in honor of Jan Goldberg
Katherine McKee & Colby Roberts in memory of Pat Wolf Susan Morris in honor of Jan Goldberg Paul Nettelmann in honor of Rieko Nettelmann Tia Pollastrini in appreciation of Mom Sher Robert Ripps & Steven Spector in honor of Don Scott Carpenter Mr. & Mrs. Ned Rowe in memory of Perry Foster Douglas & Carole Sheft in honor of Jan Goldberg Lisa Spencer in honor of Ken Hoffman & Jan Goldberg in honor of Gordon & Sue Oehser Jeffrey Thomas & Barbara Thomas-Fexa in honor of the Hanchette Family Michael & Karen Traynor in honor of Professor Garniss Curtis
Nancy Quinn & Tom Driscoll Rich Table Rick Evans Walking Tours Colby Roberts Sam’s Anchor Cafe San Francisco Early Music Society San Francisco Giants San Francisco Girls Chorus San Francisco Opera – Andrew Morgan Marsha Silberstein Millicent Tomkins Kwei & Michele Ü Volti Rick Yoshimoto
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Vestry, Staff, and Parishioners: The Rev. Robert Gieselmann, Rector; John Karl Hirten, Organist Grace Cathedral Vestry, Staff, and Parishioners: The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Dean; Abby McKee, Director, Cultural Events Instrument Loans UC Davis Department of Music
IN-KIND SUPPORT Jose Alonso American Conservatory Theater Bellanico Restaurant & Wine Bar Berkeley Rep Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop Bistro Ginolina Elizabeth Blumenstock Richard J. Boyer California Shakespeare Robert Commanday Katharine Cook Hugh Davies & Kaneez Munjee Cynthia Foster Jan Goldberg Ken Hoffman Marie Hogan Ian Howell i love blue sea Jason’s Restaurant Kleid Design Group Kokkari Lark Theater Left Bank Parisian Brasserie Raymond Martinez Marin Symphony Marin Theatre Company Merola Opera Program Lissa Nicholas Helen Muirhead The Musical Offering Debra Nagy Oakland A’s Papas Taverna Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Diana Pray
SAN FRANCISCO RENAISSANCE VOICES FORSOOTH! –‘tis time for our…
Boar’s Head Festival & Mid-Winter
HER ROYAL MAJESTY GLORIANA
REQUESTS THE HONOR OF YOUR PRESENCE FOR A CELEBRATION OF TWELFTH NIGHT featuring entertainment by
SAN FRANCISCO RENAISSANCE VOICES, under the direction of CHOIR MISTRESS KATHERINE McKEE with
Phantom of the Opera’s LADY SUSAN GUNDUNAS,
LADY DIANA ROWAN (Celtic Harp), & MASTER ADAM COCKERHAM (Lute & Theorbo) Saturday, January 5, 6:30 PM (Concert at 7:30 PM)
7th Avenue Performances, 1329 – 7th Avenue, San Francisco
Sunday, January 6, 3:00 PM (Concert at 4:00 PM) First Lutheran Church, 600 Homer Street, Palo Alto
TICKETS - $35-30
Visit our website for more details & to buy tickets:
SFWeekly’s 2010 pick for “Best Classical Music”
650-485-1097 · www.calbach.org
Die Familie Bach
JS Bach and Family FEB 22–24, 2013
Heinrich Schütz Apr 26–28, 2013
Fridays at 8 pm — San Francisco · Saturdays at 8 pm — Palo Alto · Sundays at 4 pm — Berkeley
sonoma Bach presents
SAVE THE DATE(S) Feb 7-21
cOncertOs for a Winter’s Evening Music of ViValdi
15th SF Independent Film Festival A Film Festival with Parties, or a Two Week Party with Films?
Sun Feb 3: SUPER BOWL XLVII: MEN IN
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
TIGHTS, our “Sports Commentators” give the Big Game the MST3k treatment
Thu Feb 7: Opening Night Bash Sat Feb 9: Roller Disco Costume Party Thu Feb 14: Power Ballad Sing A Long Anti-Valentines Party
Sat Feb 16: 10th Annual Big Lebowski Party Thu Feb 21: Closing Night Bash
Live Oak BarOque Orchestra
saturday, January 5 8 PM united church of christ
Mission B.A.G. (Bad Art Gallery) Returns Feb 8, 9, 15, 16. Look for the schedule of films & events right after New Years!
to $ 20 www.sonomabach.org or call 877-914-2224 TickeTs $ 12
Next Concerts Bach ST. JOHN PASSION
BACH, HANDEL, & VIVALDI MARCH 1–4, 2013 Elizabeth Blumenstock viola d’amore Debra Nagy oboe d’amore Kathryn Mueller soprano Danielle Reutter-Harrah mezzo-soprano Eric Jurenas countertenor (debut) Robert Stafford baritone American Bach Choir Handel: Dixit Dominus Vivaldi: Beatus vir Bach: Concerto for Oboe d’amore Vivaldi: Concerto for Viola d’amore ABS presents two glorious choral works that represent the epitome of 18th-century Roman and Venetian traditions. Concertos for oboe d’amore and viola d’amore complete this evening of captivating music!
JANUARY 25–28 2013 Aaron Sheehan tenor (Evangelista) William Sharp baritone (Christus) Clara Rottsolk soprano Brennan Hall countertenor (debut) Derek Chester tenor Joshua Copeland baritone American Bach Choir
Handel APOLLO & DAFNE MAY 3–6 2013
Bach: St. John Passion
Mischa Bouvier baritone Mary Wilson soprano
The great Passions of J. S. Bach remain unparalleled in their dramatic impact and universally experienced emotional effects. Maestro Thomas, one of the Baroque music world’s most celebrated Evangelists, brings his unique and insightful perspectives to the podium in definitive performances that are profoundly beautiful and moving.
Bach: Arias for Bass Handel: Apollo & Dafne Handel: Silete venti Handel’s beautiful cantata Apollo & Dafne, written in Venice when the composer was just 24 years old, is paired with his bravura motet Silete venti, which expresses the soul’s desire for bliss, performed by coloratura soprano Mary Wilson. Baritone Mischa Bouvier—praised for his “immensely sympathetic, soulful voice”—will complete the program with a set of glorious arias by J. S. Bach.