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Cast to feature Karina Gauvin, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; James Gilchrist, tenor; Sumner Thompson, baritone.
159th annual performance to be broadcast by Classical New England.
Friday, November 30, 2012 at 7.30pm
Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 3pm
Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
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.
Artistic Director Harry Christophers returns to Symphony Hall to lead the Handel and Haydn Society’s Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in Handel’s Messiah in the 159th continuous year of performance since H&H began programming the work annually in 1854. This season features a stellar collection of guest artists, each of whom has appeared with H&H in the past. H&H eagerly anticipates the return of exceptional soloists soprano Karina Gauvin, countertenor Daniel Taylor, tenor James Gilchrist, and baritone Sumner Thompson.
The Handel and Haydn Society’s performances of Messiah have been met with both audience and critical acclaim; Keith Powers of the Boston Herald called it “a work that deserves its place on everyone’s holiday wish list,” and Jeremy Eichler observed the “singing of superb suppleness and grace” in his Boston Globe review.
The Handel and Haydn Society first performed selections from Messiahat its inaugural concert on December 25, 1815, and gave the first complete performance in the United States three years later in 1818. Originally composed by Handel for Easter, the work has since become synonymous with the Christmas season, and has become a Boston tradition. Handel and Haydn will observe its Bicentennial in 2015, which will coincide with its 162nd annual performances of Messiah. In December 2014, when the first season of Bicentennial celebrations begin, H&H will also celebrate 400 total performances of Messiah. Harry Christophers says, “For most people Messiah is the chorus. Every time I get to the end, when the sopranos and tenors hit the top note in the last “amen” chorus, it just sends a shiver through my spine. It’s fantastic — a great moment. That’s what keeps Messiah fresh for me.”
Prior to each Messiah performance, members of H&H’s Vocal Apprenticeship Program (a component of the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program) will carol throughout the Symphony Hall corridors. Students in grades 3 through 12 participate in the program, in which they receive vocal training and study music theory and musicianship.
The 2012 performance of Messiah will be recorded and broadcast both locally and nationally by WGBH’s Classical New England, with dates and times to be announced
Harry Christophers 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, ambitious education programming and community outreach activities and partnerships and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO 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.
Soprano Karina Gauvin last performed with the Handel and Haydn Society in Haydn’s The Seasons at Royal Albert Hall in London in 2007. Gauvin has impressed audiences and critics the world over with her luscious timbre, profound musicality and wide vocal range. Her repertoire ranges from the music of Johann Sebastian Bach to Luciano Berio and she has sung with many major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Musica Antiqua Köln, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, and Les Violons du Roy.
Among her many career highlights figure Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s Magnificat with the Chicago Symphony under Helmuth Rilling, and her Carnegie Hall debut in Bach’s B minor Mass under the baton of Peter Schreier. She also was Iole in Handel’s Hercules with Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Euridice in Gluck’s Orphée with Les Violons du Roy and Alcina in Handel’s eponymous opera with the Gabrieli Consort at the Beaune Festival in France.
A prolific recording artist with nineteen releases to her credit, Karina Gauvin has won the Juno award for recordings of Handel’s Silete Venti/Apollo e Daphne and Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy. Among her other impressive projects are debut recordings with Deutsche Grammophon of Handel’s operas Tolomeo, Alcina, Ezio, and Agrippina with Alan Curtis and Complesso Barocco.
Gauvin won First Prize at the CBC Young Performers Competition and received the Lieder and Public’s prize at the s’Hertogenbosch International Vocal Competition in the Netherlands. In 2000 she was honored with the Opus Award as “Performer of the Year.” A graduate of the Montreal Conservatory of Music, Gauvin studied with Marie Daveluy and pursued her postgraduate study with Pamela Bowden at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow.
Countertenor Daniel Taylor last performed with the Handel and Haydn Society in Handel’s Messiah in 2009. An exclusive recording artist for Sony Classical Masterworks, Taylor is one of the most sought-after countertenors in the world and recognized as Canada's finest. He appears on more than 100 recordings on Sony, DG Archiv, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, BIS, Analekta, Teldec, Erato and Universal. Taylor has performed with the New York Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, Rome Opera, San Francisco Opera, Welsh National Opera, Montreal Opera, Canadian Opera, at the Edinburgh Festival and at the Royal Albert Hall/BBC Proms. He recently took a role in the world premiere of the Robert Lepage staging of Ades The Tempest. He works with the Tonhalle Zurich, Toronto, Gothenburg, Rotterdam, St. Louis, and Cleveland Orchestras. In recital, he has sung at the Wigmore Hall, in Beijing, Barcelona, and across North America. He sang on Parliament Hill for Queen Elizabeth and the Prime Minister of Canada.
Taylor is a Professor of Voice and Head of Early Music at the University of Toronto, Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa and Artist in Residence at the Opéra de Montréal. He is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Choir and Orchestra of the Theatre of Early Music. The Theatre of Early Music performs more than 30 concerts every year in concert halls all over the world. He is also Artistic Director of the Quebec International Festival of Sacred Music.
Tenor James Gilchrist last performed with the Handel and Haydn Society in Haydn’s The Seasons at Symphony Hall in 2007. Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. Recent highlights include St Matthew Passion (Rotterdam Philharmonic), and Die Jahreszeiten (Royal Flemish Phil), Britten Les Illuminations at Aldeburgh festival, La Finta Giardiniera (AAM), and Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (Amsterdam Sinfonietta). James also works regularly with the Academy of Ancient Music, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, the Sixteen, and the King’s Consort.
Gilchrist’s operatic roles include Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love(Barbican/Radio 3), and Purcell’s King Arthur for Mark Morris at English National Opera.
A prolific recitalist, Gilchrist enjoys successful relationships with accompanists Anna Tilbrook, Julius Drake, and the harpist Alison Nicholls. His many critically acclaimed recordings include Die Schöne Mullerin, Schwanengesang and Winterreise for Orchid, Handel Jephtha with Fabio Biondi (BIS), Intimations of Immortality for Naxos, title role Albert Herring and Vaughan William’s A Poisoned Kiss for Chandos, Leighton Earth, Sweet Earth, On Wenlock Edge, Britten’s Winter Words and My Beloved is Mine – Britten Song Cycles (Linn).
Forthcoming engagements include performances of Messiah with the Sixteen and with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. He will tour Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, and will sing Madwoman (Curlew River), Nebuchadnezzar (The Burning Fiery Furnace) and Tempter/Abbot (The Prodigal Son) in Britten’s Church Parables, with performances in St Petersburg, London, and at the Aldeburgh Festival.
Baritone Sumner Thompson last performed with the Handel and Haydn Society in Mozart Coronation Mass in April 2012. He has appeared as a soloist with many leading ensembles including the Britten-Pears Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Boston Early Music Festival, Apollo’s Fire, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Les Boreades de Montreal, Mercury Baroque, Les Voix Baroques, The Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and Tafelmusik.
Recent engagements included Mozart’s Coronation Mass and Handel’s Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society, Bach’s St. John Passionwith Orchestra Iowa and with Switzerland’s gliangeli baroque, Britten’s War Requiem with the New England Philharmonic, a return to Early Music Vancouver’s summer festival with Les Voix Baroques, Messiah with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with the critically acclaimed Green Mountain Project. Thompson can be heard on the Boston Early Music Festival’s Grammy nominated recording of Lully’s Psyché on the CPO label, and also with Les Voix Baroques on Canticum Canticorum, Carissimi Oratorios, and Humori, all on the ATMA label.
The Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program
Established in 1985, the Handel and Haydn Society’s Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program was created with strong ties to the organization’s early leaders. Lowell Mason, best known as the founding father of music education in American public schools, enjoyed a long association with Handel and Haydn, first as musical editor and later as President of H&H from 1827–1832. Mason taught classes at the Bowdoin Street Church and founded the Boston Academy of Music in 1833 to promote music education to the public. When H&H launched its official educational initiative in 1985, it focused on public education with its free school visits that now reach public schools in nine Massachusetts districts; the Collaborative Youth Concerts followed in 1987, in which students from different school districts and cultural backgrounds come together to perform for their communities alongside Handel and Haydn musicians. Collaborative Youth Concerts celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2012, and honor a rich history of providing students with a sense of achievement and musical ownership in ways that traditional youth concerts cannot.
In 1994, H&H started the Vocal Apprenticeship Program (VAP) with Youth Chorus (grades 6–8) and the High School Soloists pre-professional program, held at New England Conservatory. Later, VAP reached younger students with Singers (grades 3–5) and high school students with its Young Men’s (grades 8–12) and Young Women’s (grades 9–12) Choruses, so that students could grow with the program for several years, increasing their individual sense of accomplishment as they passed through each level. Students enrolled in VAP learn music theory and receive performance opportunities throughout each season. VAP classes take place in the state-of-the-art music division wing of the Boston Latin School, located in one of the most culturally accessible neighborhoods of Boston, next to Massachusetts College of Art; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Handel and Haydn Society is the only professional music organization in Massachusetts serving as a parent to its own youth ensemble program and regularly presenting them in conjunction with its professional series at Symphony Hall. VAP is also the only youth ensemble program in New England to include individualized scholarships for vocal instruction, diction, and other classes for potential music majors in collaboration with New England Conservatory.
Friday, November 30, 2012 at 6.30pm
Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 2pm
Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 2pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Students from the Vocal Apprenticeship Program will travel throughout the hall singing carols to welcome audiences to the concert.
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.
The media partner for Handel Messiah is The Boston Globe.
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