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A CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS
Saturday, December 1, 2018
8:00 PM - The Cathedral of Christ the King
Music makes the holidays bright! Saturday, December 1st, 2018 at 8:00 pm, join LexPhil at the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the King for this Lexington holiday tradition.
The Lexington Chamber Chorale, led by Dr. Gary Anderson, and Ecco Chamber Choir, led by Dr. Vicki Bell, join LexPhil to present an array of sacred repertoire, including Vivaldi's Concerto for 2 Trumpets featuring LexPhil trumpets Joseph Van Fleet and Stephen Campbell, and two works by Vaughan Williams; Fantasia on Christmas Carols and The First Nowell: A Nativity Play.
Concerto for 2 Trumpets
Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Excerpts from "Retablo de Navidad"
Warlock (Arr. Lane)
The First Nowell: A Nativity Play
with support from
THE BLUEGRASS COMPLEX OF WELLS FARGO ADVISORS, LLC, MEMBER SIPC
and HILLIARD LYONS
ABOUT THE CHOIRS
THE LEXINGTON CHAMBER CHORALE
DR. GARY ANDERSON, DIRECTOR
The Lexington Chamber Chorale brings a rich and unique choral repertoire to Central Kentucky audiences. Since its humble beginning as the Sine Nomine Singers, the Chorale has enjoyed celebrating the art of choral singing through performing interesting and challenging pieces of music. Chamber Chorale concerts also enrich our cultural community through creative collaborations with guest artists and musicians. The passion for singing and the continued pursuit of musical excellence inspire the singers to present quality programs that touch both mind and spirit.
ECCO CHAMBER CHOIR DR. VICKI BELL, DIRECTOR
ECCO is an a cappella chamber choir based in Lexington, KY, and conducted by Dr. Vicki Bell. The choir, established in 2008, is comprised of 24 singers, and the group’s name comes from the Italian word meaning “behold” or “listen”. In an area lled with university and professional choral ensembles, ECCO has carved a niche by focusing on Renaissance sacred a cappella music, although members are also attracted to modern choral repertoire, leading to the inclusion of music from all style periods in the group’s programs.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Mezzo-Soprano Megan Mikailovna Samarin was featured at Houston Grand Opera for the fourth consecutive season to sing the role of Sesto in Julius Caesar, opening at the Resilience Theatre in the George R. Brown Convention Center, and Carla Mae in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The House Without a Christmas Tree. Ms. Samarin was featured at Wolf Trap Opera as Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo. Concert highlights included Wolf Trap Opera’s Aria Jukebox Concert, Wolf Trap Opera's Vocal Colors Recital at the Philips Collection, and The Richard Tucker Music Foundation Rising Stars Concert in Vail, Colorado.
Last season at Houston Grand Opera included Siébel in Faust, Second Secretary in Nixon in China, and Wellgunde (cover) in Götterdämmerung, as well as a recital at the Rienzi Mansion where she performed the Norwegian song cycle "Haugtussa" by Edvard Grieg. Ms. Samarin also performed at Wolf Trap Opera as Baronessa Aspasia in La pietra del paragone, and Son in Glass/Moran’s The Juniper Tree.
Highlights from the 2015-16 season included singing Olga in Eugene Onegin, Lady Columbia in the world premiere of O Columbia, Third Wood Nymph in Rusalka, Lady Maresvale and Mistress Revels in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, and covered Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Fox in The Little Prince, and Julie Jordan in Carousel. Ms. Samarin made her Glimmerglass Festival debut as Marzia in the American premier of Vivaldi’s Cato in Utica. During the 2014-15 season Ms. Samarin made her Houston Grand Opera debut as Second Lady in The Magic Flute and Johanna in Sweeney Todd, also covering Dorabella in Così fan tutte as well as Suzukiin Madame Butterfly. Ms. Samarin also performed Angelina in Houston Grand Opera’s 60th Anniversary Concert featuring Joyce DiDonato as well as Romeoin a concert version of I Capuleti e I Montecchi at Aspen Music Festival. The 2012-13 season included singing La Marchande in Les mamelles de Tirésias at Wolf Trap Opera.
Ms. Samarin is a 2017 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition Second Place winner, and performed at Carnegie Hall for the Gerda Lissner Foundation Winners Concert. She is a 2016 Sara Tucker Study Grant Award Winner as well as a 2017 District Award winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She was also a finalist in HGO’s Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias. Ms. Samarin is a Shoshana Foundation Richard F. Gold Career Grant recipient for both 2014 and 2016.
Ms. Samarin holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She is alumna of the Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artists Vocal Academy and is a fellowship recipient of the Aspen Music Festival. Ms. Samarin is a former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
Praised for his “commanding sonority” (Opera News) and described as “handsome, agile and with a voice to match” (Boulder Daily Camera), Bass-Baritone Christopher Job is a “rising star on the American opera scene” (Grand Junction Free Press).
A house favorite at the Metropolitan Opera since the beginning of his career, he has been featured in six of their “Live in HD” broadcasts, and has appeared in numerous other productions such as Tosca, Der Rosenkavalier, Roberto Devereux, Werther, Macbeth, and The Nose; among others. He was also featured on their 50th Anniversary Lincoln Center Gala last May.
After his debut in Shostakovich’s The Nose under the baton of Valery Gergiev, he has been featured in some of the Metropolitan Opera's newest and most stirring productions: most recently as Sciarrone in Sir David McVicar's gripping new Tosca, and previously as Sir Walter Raleigh in their first-ever production of Roberto Devereux directed by Sir David McVicar, the role of Brühlmann in the newest production of Werther, and the role of Servo in Macbeth (recently released on DVD). Additional Met credits include productions of Verdi's Don Carlo, Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, Massenet's Cendrillon, Berg's Lulu, Puccini's La Rondine, Janacek's From the House of the Dead, the baroque "pastiche" of Enchanted Island and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
He returns to the Met in the 2018-19 season for productions of Tosca, La Fanciulla del West and La Clemenza di Tito. He debuted with the Los Angeles Philharmonic this February under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, and returns to make his Hollywood Bowl debut in July, under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel.
Other career highlights include creating the role of Senator Thomas Jordan in the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Kevin Puts with Minnesota Opera; his debut with Ash Lawn Opera as Olin Blitch in Susannah, a role he also performed at Opera Idaho (where he returned in 2017 as Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore); the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with Fargo-Moorhead Opera; and the roles of Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Virginia Opera; Colline in La Bohème at Lyric Opera Baltimore; the 5th Jew in Salome at Palm Beach Opera; the High Priest of Baal in Nabucco with Lyric Opera Baltimore; Escamillo in Carmen with Lyric Opera Virginia; Ashby in La fanciulla del West, Kilian in Der Freischütz and Angelotti in Tosca at Des Moines Metro Opera; and Caronte in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo ed Euridice, the Poet in Philip Glass’ Orphée, and Capellio in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchiat Glimmerglass Opera.
Mr. Job made his Italian debut at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Sparafucile in Rigoletto and Il Podestà in Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra. He made his French debut as Alidoro in La Cenerentola with Le Festival Lyrique de Belle-Île En Mer.
Spanning into the musical theater repertoire, Mr. Job was featured as the opening workman soloist in the pre-Broadway production of Bernstein’s On The Town at Barrington Stage Company under the direction of Tony-Award winning director John Rando and Emmy-Award winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse. Under the baton of Rob Fisher, he has performed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with the New York Philharmonic, where he was featured in the Cockney Quartet in My Fair Lady, sharing the stage with Kelsey Grammer and Brian Dennehy. This summer he takes on the dynamic roles of the Wolf and Prince in Sondheim's Into the Woods with Charlottesville Opera.
His concert appearances have included the Verdi and Mozart Requiems at Carnegie Hall and Barcelona's Palau de la Musica Catalana, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony at Avery Fisher Hall, Haydn’s Creation with the Greeley Philharmonic and Concord Symphony, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and multiple performances of Handel’s Messiah at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, and additionally with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic.
Other engagements have included the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni with Bar Harbor Festival, Hobson in Peter Grimes with Princeton Festival, Baron Douphol in La Traviata at both Syracuse Opera and Lyric Opera Virginia; singing Frère Laurent in Romeo et Juliette and Count Horn in Un Ballo in Maschera at Minnesota Opera; and the roles of Dr. Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore, Zuniga in Carmen, and Count Ribbing in Un Ballo in Maschera, as well as creating the role of General Godofredo de la Barca in the world premiere of La Curandera by Robert Xavier Rodriguez at Opera Colorado. Mr. Job has also been seen with Aspen Opera Theatre, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Fort Collins, Opera Omaha, Opera Pacific, and Opera Theatre of the Rockies, as well as numerous other opera and concert appearances in France, Italy, Israel, Austria, the UK, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Mr. Job is a Grand Prize Winner of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and a second place winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions for both the Upper Midwest Region and the Rocky Mountain Region. He received his Masters degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance from Cal State Fullerton.
PROGRAM NOTES - By Daniel Chetel
The traditional story of Jesus’s birth is seeded with the theme of acceptance: while the innkeeper has no rooms left to rent, he accepts Mary and Joseph into his stable, unwilling to let them remain out in the elements; when the three magi from faraway lands arrive to offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn child their offerings are accepted as sincere, without concern for the seemingly unusual clothing, countenances, and cargo.
Tonight, the Lexington Philharmonic returns to the splendid setting of Cathedral of Christ the King to present an evening of Christmas storytelling, including two tellings of the nativity story from diverse perspectives.
We will hear Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo’s youthful Retablo de Navidad alongside Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Anglican-infused First Nowell. The political unrest of the early twentieth century—whether in the form of the Spanish Civil War or the Two World Wars—deeply impacted these artists, and yet they are both able to offer works of compassion and solace. The program is rounded out with additional carols and music from Vaughan Williams’s contemporary Peter Warlock and the Italian Baroque master, Antonio Vivaldi.
Antonio Vivaldi’s instrumental works highlight the majesty of Baroque splendor, setting the stage for a glorious evening of music. It is possible to imagine the regality of the trumpet soloists in the expanse of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, for which Vivaldi’s musical predecessors such as Giovanni Gabrieli had written antiphonal canzonas to ring throughout the rafters. The beautiful acoustic of the Cathedral of Christ the King here in Lexington is the perfect setting to enjoy the exuberance of the virtuosic Concerto for Two Trumpets.
Joaquín Rodrigo is likely best known for his flamenco-evoking guitar concertos, chiefly the Concierto des Aranjuez, which led to international fame for the Spanish composer in 1939. The Retablo de Navidad (Christmas Tableau), written in 1952, is one of Rodrigo’s most personal works: eight songs for soprano, bass, chorus, and orchestra, for which the composer’s wife, Victoria Kamhi—a pianist of Turkish and Sepharidic Jewish heritage— provided most of the poems. Over the course of this cycle of verse the singers describe the joy and elation of the townspeople of Bethlehem at the birth of the Christ child in Cantan por Belén pastores (Shepherds sing in Bethlehem), as well as the tenderness with which he is entreated to sleep and rest in the earthly world in Duérmete, niño (Sleep, Little one). In the touching La Espera, the soprano sings of the expectancy of waiting for the child’s arrival.
The carols of English composers Peter Warlock and Ralph Vaughan Williams enrich this evening of storytelling. Warlock’s most famous instrumental work is his Capriol Suite which highlights six different renaissance dance forms. In Bethlehem Down (1927), Warlock takes his deep familiarity with the English choral tradition and sets the writing of his friend Bruce Blunt on the arrival of the three majestic kings at the birth of Christ: “‘When He is King we will give him the King’s gifts / Myrrh for its sweetness, and gold for a crown / Beautiful robes,’ said the young girl to Joseph / Fair with her first-born on Bethlehem Down.” This instrumental version for string orchestra beautifully preserves the sense of mystery and wonder of the original choral anthem. Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols, also embedded in the ubiquitous British choral tradition, was writing originally for the Three Choirs Festival of 1912 held at Hereford Cathedral, which sits on the Wye River in the West Midlands. Vaughan Williams includes some familiar tunes, such as Come All You Worthy Gentleman and the Sussex Carol, in this lovely work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra.
Ralph Vaughan Williams’s nativity play The First Nowell was the composer’s last completed work before his death in August 1958, and the work was premiered posthumously during the Christmas season of that year. He had been approached to compose music for a fundraising event at the Drury Lane Theatre in London’s West End to bene t a charity that supported children who had come to the United Kingdom as refugees. It is hard to imagine a more poignant cause for a country that once evacuated its children and other civilians from city centers like London into the relative safety of the countryside during the extensive bombing of World War II. Separated from their parents, these children were accepted into the homes and schools of surrounding counties for extended periods of time. Vaughan Williams weaves together his own musical ideas along with some familiar Christmas tunes to present this heartwarming holiday offering.
From the expansive glory of St. Mark’s Basilica to a humble Bethlehem manger, from a London theatre to our own Cathedral of Christ the King, tonight’s program reminds us of the importance of acceptance in our lives, especially in this season of birth and welcoming.