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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2010
Contact: Kerry Israel, Dir. of Marketing & Communications
617 262 1815 or email@example.com
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Society to offer education and outreach initiatives to prepare audiences for this rarely performed historical work
Friday, February 18, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 3pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Handel: Israel in Egypt
Harry Christophers, conductor
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus and Period Instrument Orchestra
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at www.handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M-F 10:00am – 6:00pm). Single tickets range from $18 to $75. Student rush available: starting one hour before curtain, $10 cash only with valid ID, best seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
First premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1859 (and last performed by the Society in 1974), this monumental work vividly depicts the imaginative telling of the biblical story of Exodus. The Society will be observing its Bicentennial in 2015 and in celebration of this historic landmark is focusing on including works significant to its 200 year history in its repertoire. Israel in Egypt recounts in graphic detail the ten plagues, and celebrates the extraordinary parting and crossing of the Red Sea.
Scored for seven soloists, two choruses and, for its time, an unusually large orchestra, Israel in Egypt is unlike any other of Handel’s oratorios — it is one of only two taken from the Bible — in that it contains more choral movements than solo ones. With only a handful of arias, the soloist takes second place which, along with the large period-instrument orchestra, creates a richly-textured and distinctive sound found in few other baroque works. Through his unparalleled skill of storytelling through music, this dynamic tour de force — featuring songs of celebration, deliverance, and freedom — speaks to audiences today as powerfully as in Handel’s own time.
“Handel absolutely relishes the opportunity for word painting illustrating frogs, flies, lice, locusts, hailstones, and in the most imaginative chorus of all, darkness (He Sent a Thick Darkness Over all the Land),” explains Artistic Director Harry Christophers. “I guarantee you will find its strange tonality baffling to the ears even today!”
“The choruses overflow with more extensive word painting culminating in the superb chorus The Lord Shall Reign Forever and Ever. It is an experience of tremendous drama.”
The Society, in preparation for the Bicentennial and in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of its Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, has created special educational and outreach opportunities for the public. Outreach initiatives will include visits to Greater Boston public and private schools by chorus members, concerts with children singing alongside Handel and Haydn musicians, pre-concert lectures, post-concert question and answer sessions with Harry Christophers, and a traveling on-campus symposium geared towards college students.
Harry Christophers was appointed Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society in 2008 and began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season. He has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and the Society have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that begins with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the Society’s Bicentennial.
Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid.
In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
Teresa Neff received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th century Viennese patron and composer. Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies will be published by Artaria later this year. She has presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society and the Architecture/Music/Acoustics Conference. She presents concert preview lectures for Elderhostel and Boston Lyric Opera, and also teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Conservatory.
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- Pre-Concert Lecture
- Friday, February 18, 2011 at 7pm
Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 2pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Before the concert, ticket holders are invited to expand their experience with an illuminating discussion of the music, composers, and times, led by musicologist Teresa Neff.
- Post-concert Q&A with Harry Christophers
- Friday, February 18, 2011, post-concert, moderated by WGBH’s Brian Bell
Sunday, February 20, 2011, post-concert, moderator TBA
On stage at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
- MIT Symposium
- Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 2pm
Kresge Auditorium, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Free and open to the public
Moderated by Ellen T. Harris, Class of 1949 Professor of Music, the symposium will explore themes of liberation from authoritarianism and slavery in the story of Exodus through cross-disciplinary persectives. MIT Economics Professor Peter Temin will present the biblical and historical Exodus; MIT Literature Professor Sandy Alexandre will discuss the use of the Exodus story in modern America and the civil rights movement; Professor Harris will place Handel's setting of the story in the political context of 1738 England; and Artistic Director Harry Christophers will discuss the music.
- Collaborative Youth Concerts
- Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 8pm
(snow date: Thursday, February 17, 2011)
Boston Latin School and Boston Arts Academy choirs
Boston Latin School, 78 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA
Friday, February 11, 2011 at 11:30am
(snow date: Friday, February 18, 2011)
Lawrence High School and Brockton High School choirs
Lawrence High School, 71 North Parish Road, Lawrence, MA
As part of the 25th anniversary of the Society’s Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, students from Boston area school systems will join together to perform excerpts from Israel in Egypt in a 45-minute concert conducted by Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster John Finney with members of the Society’s orchestra. Contact the school directly to cover the concert.
- Traveling Symposium
- As part of the 25th anniversary of the Society’ Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, symposiums featuring Teresa Neff, musicologist, will be held at local universities, conservatories, and other cultural institutions. Dates and locations to be determined.
- In-school Performances
- As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, the Society’s Vocal Quartet will be performing a special Israel in Egypt program at the following schools:
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:15am
Jewish Community Day School, 57 Stanley Avenue, Watertown
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 9am
Brooks Elementary, 388 High St, Medford
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 9am
Brickett Elementary School, 123 Lewis Street, Lynn
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10:30am
Cobbett Elementary School, 40 Franklin Street, Lynn
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 8:50am
Solomon Schechter Day School, 125 Wells Ave, Newton
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 10am
MetroWest Jewish Day School, 29 Upper Joclyn Avenue, Framingham
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:10 am
Gann Academy, 333 Forest Street, Waltham
Contact the school directly to cover the performance.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
The Handel and Haydn Society is a professional chorus and period instrument orchestra that is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the time in which the music was composed. Founded in Boston in 1815, the Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878) and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). The Society today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, is committed to its mission “to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.” The Society is widely known through its local subscription concerts, tours, concert broadcasts on National Public Radio, and recordings. The Society’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2002 Grammy Award and two of its most recent CDs, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. The 2010-2011 Season marks the 25th Anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s educational programming. The award-winning Karen S. & George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program fosters the knowledge and performance of classical music among young people including in underserved schools and communities. Annually, the program brings music education and vocal training to more than 10,000 students in the Greater Boston area.
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