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Friday, January 25, 2013 at 8pm
Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 3pm
NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA (Friday)
Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA (Sunday)
Purcell: "The scene of the drunken poet" from The Fairy Queen
Daniel Purcell: "The Masque of Hymen" from The Indian Queen
Purcell: "The Frost Scene" from King Arthur
Purcell: The Indian Queen (Music for Acts I–V)
Harry Christophers, conductor
Jonathan Best, baritone
Zachary Wilder, tenor
Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn (H&H) 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 $78. Student rush is available starting one hour before the performance: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Henry Purcell’s last major work, The Indian Queen, receives special treatment in this compelling interpretation by Harry Christophers and the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus. Last performed by H&H in 1995, this semi-opera surrounds Queen Zempoalla of Mexico and focuses on her resistance against Montezuma’s invading Peruvian army. Adapted from John Dryden and Sir Robert Howard’s 1664 play, the opera was completed by Henry’s son Daniel after his death.
Purcell, born in Westminster in 1659, is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers. With a style incorporating Italian and French elements, he developed a uniquely English form of Baroque music. In addition to influencing his contemporaries, Purcell’s music has had lasting impact over the years, influencing musicians ranging from Benjamin Britten to The Who’s Pete Townshend.
The performances will be lead by Artistic Director Harry Christophers and will feature British baritone Jonathan Best and Boston-based tenor Zachary Wilder, each making their Handel and Haydn Society debut. Additional solos will be performed by members of the H&H chorus.
“Purcell’s music is always inventive – it’s full of extraordinary harmonies. And of course this is going to be another occasion where all the smaller roles are going to be sung by members of our own chorus,” said Harry Christophers.
Harry Christophers, CBE, enters his fourth season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2012–2013 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and 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 H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey towards H&H’s 2015 Bicentennial with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society since 1815, education programming, community outreach activities and partnerships, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on the CORO label leading to the 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. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama and was awarded a CBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Jonathan Best makes his Handel and Haydn Society debut with Purcell The Indian Queen. Best studied at St John’s College‚ Cambridge, and the Guildhall School of Music, London. Most recent and future engagements include Sarastro, The Magic Flute, and Le Bailli, Werther (Scottish Opera); Judge, Sweeney Todd (Châtelet, Paris, and Munich Rundfunkorchester); title role, Saul‚ Zebul, Jephtha, and Notary, Intermezzo (Buxton Festival, UK); Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norway), Saul with the Sixteen; Quince, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Speaker, The Magic Flute (Garsington, UK), The Portrait and Achilla, Giulio Cesare (Opera North); Pastor Oberlin, Jakob Lenz and Bartolo (English National Opera); The Adventures of Mr. Broucek (ON and Scottish Opera); Arthur, The Lighthouse‚ The Soldier’s Tale, and the world premiere of The Sins (Psappha).
Regular engagements abroad include appearances in Strasbourg, Barcelona, the Salzburg Festival‚ Maggio Musicale-Florence, la Monnaie, Netherlands Opera, and Brooklyn Academy of Music‚ New York.
Best appears regularly in concert throughout the UK and abroad and has made many recordings for television and radio. Appearances include Uberto, La Serva Padrona (Gabrieli Consort); Mozart’s Requiem (Harrogate and Cork); Verdi’s Requiem and Christus, St. John Passion (Bach Choir); Jesus, St. Matthew Passion (Sheffield); and L’enfance du Christ with BOCO.
Zachary Wilder makes his Handel and Haydn Society debut with Purcell The Indian Queen. Described as possessing a “remarkably clear, flexible lyric tenor,” and a “radiant tone,” Wilder is a much sought-after performer on both the operatic and concert stage. He has performed with numerous groups across the United States, including Apollo’s Fire, Ars Lyrica Houston, Back Bay Chorale, Boston Early Music Festival, Camerata Ventepane, Emmanuel Music, Harvard Baroque Orchestra, Houston Bach Society, Mark Morris Dance Group, Mercury Baroque, Pacific Musicworks, Portland Baroque Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and Seraphic Fire. He recently made his European debut with Mercury Baroque as Renaud in Lully’s Armide at the Théâtre de Gennevilliers. He returned to France in summer 2011 to perform as Coridon in Handel’s Acis and Galatea at Festival D’Aix en Provence and again at La Fenice in Venice in fall. He was named a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music, a former Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, as well as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. He can be heard on Boston Early Music Festival's Grammy-nominated recording of Lully's Psyché, as well as their recordings of Charpentier's Actéon and John Blow's Venus and Adonis on the CPO label. He will be joining the cast of Le Jardin des Voix in an international tour with William Christie in 2013.
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. Artaria will publish Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies 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.
Friday, January 25, 2013 at 7pm
Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 2pm
Conversations will take place in the concert hall
Free with concert tickets
Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.
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 considered 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 is to enrich life and influence culture by performing Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence, and by providing engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education and training activities. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical New England 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. Since the release of its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label in September 2010, it has made available three live commercial recordings of works by Mozart – Mass in C Minor (2010), Requiem (2011) and Coronation Mass (2012) and is planning the release of a Haydn project (2013) and of an a capella program with its professional choir for the 2013 holiday season. 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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