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Italian Baroque specialist to conduct, play harpsichord
Friday, October 28, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 3pm
NEC's Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso in E Minor, Op. 3 No. 3
J.S. Bach: Harpsichord Concerto in D Major, BWV 1054
Pergolesi: Salve Regina
Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
Rinaldo Alessandrini, conductor and harpsichord
Liesbeth Devos, soprano
Emily Righter, mezzo-soprano
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F 10am–6pm). Single tickets range from $20 to $75. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Italian Baroque specialist Rinaldo Alessandrini leads a program of Baroque jewels, with Pergolesi’s achingly beautiful Stabat Mater at the heart of the concert. Alessandrini will also perform Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Major. The evening will feature the Handel and Haydn Society debuts of soprano Liesbeth Devos and mezzo-soprano Emily Righter.
Harry Christophers said, “Rinaldo Alessandrini not only has a wonderful reputation as a conductor, but also as a harpsichordist. His performance of Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto is going to make this program very, very special.”
The 18th-century French writer Charles de Brosses described Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, completed as the composer lay dying, as “the master work of Latin music.” While the piece features music of great tenderness and somber beauty, the work also includes chromatic sequences, sighing passages, and dramatic dissonance straight out of the operatic style that first made Pergolesi famous.
Rounding out the program is Francesco Geminiani’s Concerto Grosso, Op. 3, No. 3. An 18th-century Italian violinist and composer, Geminiani is best known for his three sets of concerti grossi, Op. 2, Op. 3, and Op. 7. His work in the genre was notable for its inclusion of the viola among the solo instrumentalists.
Rinaldo Alessandrini returns to Handel and Haydn Society after an appearance in 2001. Alessandrini is founder of the Concerto Italiano ensemble and for over twenty years has specialized in Italian repertoire, trying to restore expressiveness and the cantabile Italian style of the 17th and 18th centuries. With Concerto Italiano, he has led acclaimed performances in Utrecht, London, Vienna, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Oslo, Paris, Rome, New York, and Washington, DC.
Alessandrini is a frequent guest conductor of the world’s great orchestras, such as the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Freiburg Baroque. In January 2007, he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of Norske National Opera in Oslo.
His recent opera engagements include Handel’s Semele (Festival di Spoleto), Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Welsh National Opera, Frankfurt Oper, Teatro Valli di Reggio Emilia, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Opera du Rhin), Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona (Freiburg Konzerthaus), Handel’s Alcina (Liceu di Barcellona), Le nozze di Figaro (Welsh National Opera), and Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Norske National Opera).
In the 2009–10 Season, Alessandrini conducted Orfeo on the podium of the Teatro alla Scala, followed by Die Entführung aus dem Serail at the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Appearances in 2010–2011 included Handel’s Messiah at the Portland Baroque Orchestra, the Den Norske Opera of Oslo, and National Symphony Orchestra in Washingon. He also led the Concerto Italiano in performances in France and Spain.
His discography, which includes Italian and German repertoire, has won numerous awards, such as the Grand Prix du Disque and three Gramophone Awards. His recording of Monteverdi’s Orfeo (Naïve) has won the Diapason d’or prize and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In 2003, Alessandrini was named “Chevalier” in the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic, and he has won the “Premio Abbiati” for his outstanding activity with Concerto Italiano.
Rinaldo Alessandrini is the editor of the critical edition of Claudio Monteverdi’s main works, L'Orfeo, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610) for Bärenreiter. His book, Monteverdiana, is published in France by Actes Sud editon (2004) and in Italy by L’Epos edition (2006).
Soprano Liesbeth Devos, making her Handel and Haydn Society debut, studied at the music academy of Beveren-Waas where she graduated with degrees in theatre, diction, and oboe. She studied voice with Lieve Suys and with Stephanie Friede at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp, where she also attended the Lied courses of Lucienne Van Deyck and Jozef De Beenhouwer as well as the opera course of Guy Joosten.
Past opera performances have included Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring with Operastudio Flanders, Dido and Æneas at the Flanders Festival in Brussels, and her debut at La Monnaie (Brussels) as Despina in Così fan tutte. In 2007, La Monnaie invited her to return in the world premiere of Frühlings Erwachen (Ilse) by Benoît Mernier and in Die Zauberflöte (Papagena). Recent concert performances include Carmina Burana at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste and Nelsonmesse with the Academy of Ancient Music in Beijing and at the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp. In 2007, she sang Bach’s St. John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music.
Future engagements include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Brussels and Antwerp, Lully’s Atys (Melpomène) with Les Arts Florissants in Versailles and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Guillaume Tell at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie de Liège.
Mezzo-soprano Emily Righter, making her Handel and Haydn Society debut, studied at Carnegie Mellon University (BFA) and Yale University (Master’s degree). Upon graduation from Yale she was awarded the Phyllis Curtin Career Prize. The winner of several vocal competitions, Righter’s operatic repertory includes the roles Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Larina (Eugene Onegin), Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette), Ruggiero (Alcina), Concepción (L’heure éspagnole), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Erika (Vanessa), and Romeo (I Capuleti e i Montecchi).
In 2008, she performed the role of Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. In 2009, Righter repeated the role with Opera Circle Cleveland and also took part in the “Apprentice Program” at the Santa Fe Opera Festival. In summer 2010, Righter was a Resident Artist at the Salzburg Summer Opera Festival and covered the roles of Stephano in Romeo et Juliette and Die Garderobiere/Der Gymnasiast in Lulu. Later in 2010, she was chosen to sing in the Marcello Giordani Fundraising Gala Concert in New York City.
Future plans include a production of Eugene Onegin (Olga) at the Opera Carolina in Charlotte.
Teresa Neff received her PhD 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.
Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, he has conducted Handel and Haydn each season and, following his appointment in 2008, Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009-2010 season. Christophers and Handel and Haydn have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is 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 Sixteen’s “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, 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, and The Sixteen 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.
Friday, October 28, 2011 at 7pm
Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 2pm
Jordan Hall at NEC, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.
H2 Young Professionals Reception
Friday, October 28, 2011, post-concert
Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Join us after the concert at Lucca Back Bay for cocktails, conversation, and making connections. We invite you to meet staff, musicians, and other young arts enthusiasts to experience Baroque and Classical music in new and exciting ways.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H 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). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, 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. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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