Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana
Saturday, April 13, 2019 2:00pm
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
In 1954, American audiences had their first encounter with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, which became an instant audience success. The composer, born in Munich in 1895 and living until 1982, considered that his true composing life began with the writing of this work in l935. After its phenomenal success around the world, he directed his publisher to destroy all of the plates of his earlier compositions still in print, and that was done.
The Carmina were songs of medieval goliards: traveling students and ex-monks who left universities and monasteries to pursue a roaring life of gambling, drinking and making love. The texts of the songs, in a mixture of 13th-century “low” Latin and “low” German, were discovered in a Bavarian monastery near Munich in the early 20th-century. Orff chose 24 of them to set for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, four-part mixed, male and female choruses, and instruments.
The effect of Orff’s music is often hypnotic, and includes repetitive chords, multiple stanzas of songs, and many ostinato patterns, coupled with extreme rhythmic repetition. The chorus stars in this work in an unusual way: singing in unison, octaves and parallel intervals, but always immersed in a sea of colorful and unusual instrumental sound. The work features three solo roles: the old Abbot, a roistering, gambling drinker and ex-monk; the Young Girl, who is the object of the Abbot’s intentions but hopes for springtime love with a young man; and the counter tenor Swan (Matthew Truss), who sings an actual “swan song” as he is being roasted to feed the hungry patrons of a tavern.
A rollicking celebration of the coming of Spring, Carmina Burana’s American popularity began with that performance 65 years ago and continues today.
This performance will include students from the Professional Performing Arts High School National Chorale Vocal Program and Alvin Ailey Dance Program.
Meet the Soloists:
Rochelle Bard, Soprano, has been described as an ‘exquisite singing actress.’ Specializing in bel canto and Verdi repertoire, Ms. Bard recently made her debut in the title role of Norma with Knoxville Opera, for which critics proclaimed her: ‘beautifully constructed and achingly gorgeous delivery, at times soft as a whisper, and at others thrilling in its altitude…she carried off the dramatic contrast between the grandeur of confident matriarchal strength and the rage of a spurned woman with as much believability as can be wrung out of the role.’
Upcoming performances include Abigaille in Nabucco with Sarasota Opera, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with Opera Tampa,the title role in Tosca with Opera Theater of Connecticut, and Carmina Burana with Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. The 2016/2017 season began with the ruthless Lady Macbeth in Macbeth in Vermont, then Micaëla in Carmen in Connecticut, the title role in Tosca with MidAtlantic Opera in NJ, and the ill-fated queen in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda with Knoxville Opera. For her debut as Lady Macbeth, critics expressed: ‘Her voice is rich and engaging, she is a wonder…This Lord and Lady engage each other with a sparkling intimacy that makes their ‘road to hell’ a very exciting one.’
The 2014/15 season included her debut as Leonora in Il Trovatore with Knoxville Opera, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux with the Opera Orchestra of New York, as the cover for Ms. Mariella Devia, and the title role of Tosca with the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. She performed Violetta in La Traviata twice this season with Shreveport Opera, under the baton of Joe Illick and directed by Bill Florescu, and the Opera Company of Middlebury. In Il Trovatore, ‘Bard brings a genuineness and confidence to the roles she sings, and in the case of Leonora, an intelligent and complex portrayal of substance. She has a winning combination of natural dramatic ability and captiving coloratura.’
On the concert stage, Ms. Bard made her mainstage Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Mozart’s Vespers, and returns to Carnegie as a soloist with MidAtlantic Opera this fall. She performed a concert of arias with the Opera Orchestra of New York and maestro Eve Queler at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. She has been recognized with prestigious awards and grants from the Classical Singer Competition, Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, George London Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards (San Francisco and Boston), the Seoul International Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition.
Ms. Bard’s recent performances include the four heroines Olympia/ Antonia/ Giulietta/ Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with West Bay Opera, Magda in La Rondine with Opera Tampa with Maestro Anton Coppola, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera Idaho, West Bay Opera and Opera San Jose, the title role in The Merry Widow with Opera Tampa, Utah Festival Opera, New England Light Opera, Altamura Center for the Arts, and St. Petersburg Opera, Mary Willis in Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Tree with Sugar Creek Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Utah Festival Opera, Violetta in La Traviata with Music by the Lake and Opera San Jose, Musetta in La Boheme with Sacramento Opera, Gilda in Rigoletto with Rockland Opera, Opera San Jose and Cape Cod Opera, Micaëla in Carmen with Ash Lawn Opera, and the Foreign Princess in Rusalka with Boston Lyric Opera, for which Opera News deemed her: ‘a deliciously evil enchantress.’
Previously an Artist in Residence with Opera San José, Ms. Bard performed Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, and Juliette in Roméo et Juliette. Ms. Bard was also engaged as a Studio Artist with Baltimore Opera, where she sang Giannetta in L’Elisir d’Amore, Barbarina and Countess (cover) in Le Nozze di Figaro, and covered Antonia and Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. As a fellow at Tanglewood, Ms. Bard created the role of Juana in the world premiere opera Rage d’Amours, commissioned by the Boston Symphony.
A recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater, The College of the Holy Cross, and a Master’s Degree in voice from the New England Conservatory, Ms. Bard is a sought-after concert artist as well. Recent appearances include the Mozart Requiem with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Wilmington Symphony and Cambridge Symphony, Handel’s Messiah with the Hartford Symphony, Rachmaninoff Vocalise, Exsultate Jubilate, Carmina Burana, Lord Nelson Mass, Elijah, Bachianas Brasileiras, Poulenc’s Gloria, Beethoven’s Mass in C, and the Brahms Requiem.
Matthew Truss, Countertenor, has garnered critical acclaim both nationally and internationally on the concert and opera stage. Praised for his “mellifluous voice and ebullient manner,” Matthew continues to make his mark as a countertenor whose “precocious” voice “boasts both beauty and volume.”
Recent performances include international and national tours with the American Spiritual Ensemble (Lexington, KY), concerts with The National Chorale (New York, NY), Coro Lutero King (São Paulo, Brazil), the Lexington Symphony (Lexington, MA) and the Orchestra of Indian Hill (Littleton, MA).
To his credit are the opera roles of Akhnaten (Glass), Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten), Belize in Angels in America (Eötvös), and the premiere roles of Rev. Eli Hunt in We Are Sons (Rojahn), and The Miller in Rumpelstiltskin (Epstein).
Matthew has been the recipient of many awards including the Jerry Hadley Awardin the Elardo International Opera Competition (Bruges, Belgium) and being a two-time finalist in the New England Regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
An alumnus of Boston Conservatory, Matthew joined the roster of teaching artists at The National Chorale and The Metropolitan Opera Guild in 2016.
Ricardo Rivera, Baritone — who was a semi-finalist in the Met Opera National Council Auditions in Spring 2015 — made major debuts at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and San Diego Opera in the world premiere of El pasado nunca se termina, directed by Broadway and opera director Leonard Foglia, in the leading role of Acalán which he will perform in 2019 with Ft. Worth Opera.
In the 2018/2019 season, Ricardo will perform as Lt. Gordon in Silent Night with Arizona Opera, as Acalán in El pasado nunca se termina with Fort Worth Opera, and as Don Giovanni in Don Giovanni in New York at the renowned Bay Street Theater.
Engagements from the past two seasons include performances as Hérode in Hérodiade with Washington Concert Opera with Michael Fabiano and Joyce El-Khoury; as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor and as Lt. Audebert in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night with Opera San José; as Escamillo in Carmen with Musica Viva Hong Kong and Heartbeat Opera; as Schaunard in La bohème with Musica Viva Hong Kong; as El payador in María de Buenos Aires with Des Moines Metro Opera; and as Germont in La traviata with the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra
Operatic performance highlights, of recent past seasons, include: Orsini in Rienzi and Mathieu in Andrea Chenier with the Opera Orchestra of NY in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall; Moralès and Escamillo (cover) in Stephen Wadsworth’s new production of Carmen, Thomas Martin and the Hotel Managers in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison’s Oscar, and Germont (cover) in La traviata at Santa Fe Opera; Marcello in La bohème and Escamillo in Carmen with El Paso Opera; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with the Opera Company of Middlebury; Thomas Martin and the Hotel Managers in Oscar with Opera Philadelphia; Le chat in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Castleton Festival with the late conductor Lorin Maazel; Moralès in Carmen and Fiorello/L’Ufficiale in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera North; Ashby in La fanciulla del West with Knoxville Opera; and the baritone soloist in both Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Fauré’s Requiem with the Pioneer Valley Symphony.
Ricardo is a graduate of Mannes College the New School for Music where his B.M. M.M. and PDPL were conferred. Ricardo was an apprentice singer with Santa Fe Opera, a young artist with Opera North, and an Eva and Marc Stern Fellow at SongFest.
Ricardo won 1st Prize in the Eastern Region of the 2012 Met Opera National Council Auditions (MONC) which led him to the semi-finals of that competition. He received two awards upon graduating from Mannes College: the Richard F. Gold Career Grant in 2008 and the Michael Sisca Memorial Opera Award in 2012. He was awarded 3rd Prize in the Gerda Lissner Competition, a Career Grant from the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, 1st and Audience Prizes in the NY Lyric Opera Competition, and Encouragement Awards from the Opera Index, Career Bridges, and Connecticut Opera Guild Competitions.
ition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition, Mr. Smith has won first place in the National Opera Association Competition: Scholarship Division, Orpheus Vocal Competition: Young Artist Division, George London Vocal Competition: Top Prize (George London Award), Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition: Top Prize, received a 2015 Sarah Tucker Study Grant, and he has received a 2016 Career Grant from the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation.
Johannes Brahms, Liebeslieder Waltzes, Op. 24
Liebeslieder Waltzes (Liebeslieder-Walzer) are distributed across two opus numbers: Op. 52 and Op. 65 (Neue Liebeslieder). The waltzes are a collection of love songs in Ländler style for voices and piano four hands. The lyrics for the Liebeslieder come from Georg Friedrich Daumer‘s Polydora, a collection of folk songs and love poems. While there is no concrete record indicating the exact inspiration for the Waltzes, there is speculation that Brahms’ motivation for the songs was his frustrated love for pianist Clara Schumann, composer Robert Schumann’s wife.
One composer in particular who influenced Brahms, specifically within the Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52 was Franz Schubert. Brahms’s admiration of Schubert becomes apparent when looking at early performances of Schubert’s pieces and the tendency to study, at length, the composer’s works. According to Brodbeck, Schubert influenced Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52 through similarities to the Twenty Ländler. First, Brahms sought to have his waltzes performed in informal musical evening settings similar to those intended for Schubert’s dances. Another reference to Schubert is the “Im ländler tempo” marking in Op. 52, alluding to the Twenty Ländler directly. Furthermore, the date of composition of the Liebeslieder Walzer’s composition suggests that Brahms had completed the editing of the Twenty Ländler before starting his work on his own waltzes. Also, a specific request by Brahms to have each of his movements copied onto a separate sheet of paper demonstrates, to an extent, his uncertainty of how to order such seemingly unrelated pieces. This suggestion reflects a struggle similar to that which he faced in establishing an order for Schubert’s dances.
In his lifetime, Brahms was well respected, which is particularly due to his works composed between 1863 and 1871, or his “unsettled years,” before he established his residence in Vienna. The Liebeslieder Waltzes were completed in 1869 and were first performed January 5, 1870. One of the earlier reviews from London in 1877 suggest that the audience greatly enjoyed Brahms’ work. Although there were initial criticisms regarding the “ad libitum” of voices and “lack of melodic flow” through the eighteen movements, the London concert of the Liebeslieder Waltzes went on to be among one of the most liked performances of the year One aspect of the Liebeslieder Waltzes that possibly contributed to the work’s reception was that Brahms composed them with reference to Johann Strauss who was considered the “Waltz King.” With such another well-known composer attached to the work the audience would have enjoyed the tribute. To some, Brahms revived chamber music. Liebeslieder exemplifies this in both Op. 52 and Brahms’ later arrangement for four-hand piano, Op. 52a, written and premiered in 1874. Other arrangements of the Liebeslieder Waltzes appear in 1870 when Brahms was pressured by Ernst Rudorff to create an orchestral arrangement, which he premiered on March 19, 1870. It contained eight pieces from Op. 52 and one piece that was later included in the Neue Liebeslieder, Op. 65. The orchestral version was not published until 1938. Brahms referred to the Liebeslieder as “pretty concert numbers” in a letter written to his publisher, Fritz Simrock, in 1870.
The Liebeslieder Waltzes are a collection of love songs written in a popular style that do not lose Brahms’ compositional complexity. Scored for piano four hands and voices ad libitum, the piece can easily accommodate many different sized ensembles. Although today they are part of the standard choral repertoire, Brahms more likely intended them to be played in parlors or informal home gatherings rather than in concert halls. Immediately successful, these waltzes were responsible for much of his personal wealth, and solidified his reputation with the general music-buying public in Vienna and Europe.
Bill Heigen, They That Wait Upon The Lord
They That Wait Upon The Lord is a piece for Choir and Orchestra composed by Bill Heigen in 2018 and dedicated to National Chorale. The piece is based on the biblical text extracted from the book of Isaiah chapter 40 verses 26, 29, 30 and 31. The main musical theme was taken from a previous choral piece composed by Mr. Heigen in 2015, and by adding more musical materials and more voice parts, Mr. Heigen is thrilled to have this piece premiered at such a renowned venue as David Geffen Hall. Also, Mr. Heigen is thankful to National Chorale for giving such a great performance of his work.
Bill Heigen, is a choral musician of extraordinary ability, who has carved a niche for himself in the choral music industry by virtue of his technical and artistic versatility. He is an internationally renowned choral musician, with expertise as a choral singer, arranger, musical director, composer, vocal coach and Music Teacher. In this regard, Mr. Heigen has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards in Brazil (Vocal Brasil CCBB 2012 and Nona Mostra FIL). In the US, he was chosen for the prestigious The Tallis Scholars Workshop at Carnegie Hall, a highly selective professional level workshop for the world’s elite professional choral musicians; MCE Composer Competition 2015-2016, and Chorus America/ASCAP Award, among others.
Mr. Heigen has performed his own original compositions including Ave Verum Corpus; Nunc Dimittis; Bubbles; Psalm 23 and Set me as a Seal, as well as choral compositions composed by others, at prestigious venues across the United States, France, and Brazil, and has had numerous contracts to write and perform original compositions for various prestigious churches, universities, and choral music venues such as Central Presbyterian Church of Nova Friburgo in Brazil; The Church of the Transfiguration in New York, NY; Hunter College in New York, Wesley United Methodist Church in Vienna, VA; Lincoln Center, in New York, NY; Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France; and Cathedrale Sainte Croix in Orleans, France. Furthermore, Mr. Heigen’s original compositions have been performed by ensembles across the US, France, Brazil, Portugal, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Lebanon, Japan and Poland.
Mr. Heigen’s musical endeavors have been showcased through his performances with renowned choral ensembles such as the award winning Choral Chameleon, the award winning C4, The Salvatones and New York Holiday Choristers, in addition to working as a professional choral singer by many renowned church choirs and community choirs including at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in New York, NY where he is a soloist and section leader. Mr. Heigen is a highly sought after freelance composer. He has performed in critical roles for distinguished productions and organizations such as Tenor for the National Chorale performances at Lincoln Center.
In February of 2019, Mr. Heigen released his first EP Songs of Sorrow featuring four of his a cappella choral pieces. The EP is available for streaming in all the main music streaming platforms worldwide.
Mr. Heigen has also received significant recognition for his achievements from experts in the field, and has been featured and has received acclaim in the industry and world’s major press, including CBS Sunday Morning, Project Encore, Allegro Magazine, Paraclete Press, and TheaterScene.net, among others. Mr. Heigen has established himself and is widely recognized as a leader in contemporary choral composition and performance.
Handel’s Messiah Sing-In
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 7:30pm
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
The annual Handel’s Messiah Sing-In at Lincoln Center was created as a celebration of choral singing and is today New York City’s most popular Holiday Season Community Music Event.
The Sing-In audience-chorus includes 3,000 singers of all backgrounds who come from throughout New York City, the greater New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area, across the United States and from countries around the world. It includes choral singers who sing in church and temple choirs, community choral organizations, high school, college and alumni choruses, people who formerly sang in choirs and many vocal music lovers who want to spend this one special evening singing and being surrounded by thousands of stereophonic voices, all singing Handel’s great choral masterpiece together.
The audience is the chorus—there is no chorus on stage. Rather than being seated in block SATB sections, the audience is seated “scrambled” so that attending choral groups and participating singers can sit with those whom they came with. Each participant brings a Messiah vocal score, and the sound of the massed mixed vocal parts in a tapestry of song throughout the hall is glorious.
There are 17 distinguished choral conductors, each of whom, in turn, conducts one chorus accompanied by the Sing-In organist at the Avery Fisher Hall organ. (Almost every well-known choral conductor in the Greater New York Area and beyond either participates or has participated in the Chorale’s annual Sing-In.) There also are 4 splendid professional soloists singing some of the best known solos and providing additional musical inspiration. Everett McCorvey, Artistic Director of the National Chorale and the Sing-In, is the host for the performance.
The Messiah Sing-In was conceived and developed in 1967 by Mr. Josman, the Chorale’s Board and a group of New York City choral conductors to celebrate choral singing on a community-wide basis. It was agreed by all that the best way to achieve this was to invite the choral singing community to gather one evening annually during a traditional singing time of the year and to sing a great choral work in a major concert hall under the shared leadership of a team of prominent choral conductors. As a result, the name Messiah Sing-In was created. The December Holiday Season was determined to be the best time of year for the event and Handel’s Messiah was selected as the great choral work with which most singers were familiar. Avery Fisher Hall, the exciting new concert hall in the City in the 1960’s was chosen to be the Sing-In location. The plan attracted the enthusiastic interest of New York’s choral community and the public, and the first Messiah Sing-In took place on Friday evening, December 13, 1967. It was an immediate success and has continued as a joyous, traditional choral community singing event every year since then.
The National Chorale has also presented Handel’s Messiah Sing-In in Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, Rochester, NY, Phoenix, Tulsa, Lawrence, WI, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Amphitheater and the Ocean Grove Auditorium, NJ.
This year is the eagerly looked forward to 51st Anniversary of the New York Messiah Sing-In.
2018 Messiah Sing-In Soloists
Brittany Renee Robinson, Sopranois hailed by the South Florida Classical for her “luminous tones” and “lush voice,” soprano Brittany Renee Robinson amazes audiences with her finesse and shimmering stage presence. In 2018-2019 Ms. Robinson brings her Konstanze to Opera Orlando, for her house debut in the new Josh Shaw production of The Abduction from the Seraglio, and to California where she debuts with Opera San Jose. She also returns to Knoxville Opera to debut the role of Madame Herz and Nella in a double bill production of Mozart’s Impresario and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as Lucia in Knoxville’s Education/Outreach Production of Lucia di Lammermoor. After great success with her first concert series, Ms. Robinson will travel back to Minnesota to perform at the University of Minnesota’s Monday Guest Artist Series at the Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall, as well as make her Lincoln Center debut at the David Geffen Hall in New York City!
Recent appearances have included her international debuts at the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsches Theater München, The Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy in the role of Bess and Clara with the New York Harlem Theatre World Tour of Porgy & Bess and Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s riveting production of Dead Man Walking with Opera on the Avalon in Canada. National debuts have included Konstanze with Salt Marsh Opera’s production of The Abduction from the Seraglio, Musetta in Knoxville Opera’s La Bohème, featured soloist with Out of Box Opera, The Handel Choir of Baltimore, Guelph Symphony Orchestra conducted by Judith Yan, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Dmitry Sitkovetsky, as well as was honored to be a part of Kathleen Battle: The Underground Railroad – A Spiritual Journey as an ensemble member and soloist.
Ms. Robinson has performed with other companies such as Piedmont Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Crested Butte Music Festival, Light Opera of New York, Sounds of South Dakota, The American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS), and the Baltimore Municipal Opera. Other career highlights include her debut with the Florida Grand Opera as Musetta in La Bohème, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Yvette in La Rondine, and the Page in Rigoletto. She has also performed the Queen of the Night (with the legendary Samuel Ramey as Sarastro) and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, as the title role of Lakmé with Opera Theatre of the Rockies, for which her performance was praised by The Gazette as “a performance which words can do no justice, her crystal clear yet sultry voice produced a sound and spirit that equals her sensual and artistic achievement.” Other roles include Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Sr. Constance in Dialogues des Carmelites, Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, Olympia & Antonia in Les Contes de Hoffmann, Alice Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music.
A frequent recitalist, Ms. Robinson has toured with the Siena Chamber Orchestra in Italy and across the United States. Concert engagements include her performance as a featured artist with the Wynton Marsalis’ U.S. Tour of the Abyssinian Mass with Chorale Le Chateau and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and appearances with the critically acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble. While in Miami, Ms. Robinson was a guest soloist in the “Concert for a New Renaissance” and worked closely with the world-renowned jazz flutist Nestor Torres and the Miami Youth Symphony.
Ms. Robinson’s prestigious awards include, Senior Grand Prize Winner: Young Patronesses of the Opera, 3rd Place and Audience Favorite: Harlem Opera Theater Competition, 2nd Place and Scholarship Recipient: The Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition Award, Rosalind Jackson Memorial Award: Crested Butte Music Festival, The Miriam Goodman Award: Chautauqua Opera, and Regional Finalist: Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Erica Koehring, Mezzo Soprano, is Versatile in drama and comedy, mezzo-soprano Erica Koehring has recently portrayed Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore (Verdi), Carmen in La Tragédie de Carmen (Bizet/Brooke), Zulma in L’Italiana in Algeri (Rossini), and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart). Other roles include Cecilia and Alma March in Little Women (Adamo), Madame de Croissy in Les Dialogues des Carmélites (Poulenc), and Flora in La Traviata (Verdi). Equally at home in the concert setting, Erica often participates in Art Song recitals hosted by American soprano Lauren Flanigan featuring “unknown and unsung” works and composers.
Kirk Dougherty, Tenor, is one of the most exciting voices in opera today with a sound combining beauty, clarity and strength. His expressivity and commitment to both musical and dramatic interpretation has earned him continuous appearances as a leading tenor in opera throughout the United States and beyond. During the 2017-18 season, Kirk Dougherty made his Piedmont Opera debut as Nikolaus Sprink in their production of Kevin Puts’ and Mark Campbell’s, Silent Night. He also debuts at OperaDelaware as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and at Raylynmor Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. He returns to Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre as the Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and to Wichita Grand Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and as tenor soloist in their performance of Rossini’s Stabat Mater. He also sings two performances of Lucia di Lammermoor as Edgardo at Bob Jones University.Last season, Mr. Dougherty returned to Opera San Jose, performing the roles of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo in La bohème, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Sprink in the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell, Silent Night. He will also be performing Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra and the role of Rodolfo in La bohème with Wichita Grand Opera. He made his first appearance at Opera Las Vegas as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. He also sang the role of Tamino in a concert version of Die Zauberflöte at Glacier Symphony
Mr. Dougherty’s performances of Cavaradossi in Tosca marked his debut of the role, sung as part of the 2015-16 season at Opera San Jose, where he also performed the roles of Don José in Carmen and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. Other appearances that season included a return to Anchorage Opera as Don José in Carmen and the Verdi Requiem with the New Jersey Choral Society. Of his performances in Tosca, the San Jose Mercury News exclaimed, “Kirk Dougherty shined…The unique timbre and expression of his handsome voice, coupled with refined, satisfying phrasing, provided noteworthy, heartfelt performances of ‘Recondita armonia’ and ‘E lucevan le stelle,’ two of the treasured arias of the repertoire.
Dougherty’s first performances at Opera San Jose were part of their 2014-15 season, where he was seen as the Duke in Rigoletto, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and Philip in the world premiere of Where Angels Fear to Tread by Mark Weiser. Mid-season, he performed the role of Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Anchorage Opera, where he previously sang the roles of Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Joseph Treate in the world premiere of Victoria Bond’s Mrs. President.
Previous seasons include his company debuts with Sarasota Opera in the role of Manrico in Il Trovatore, the American Symphony Orchestra portraying Aaron in Bruch’s oratorio Moses at Carnegie Hall, the Glacier Symphony performing Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Salt Marsh Opera as Ernesto in Don Pasquale, and the title role in Faust for Opera Louisiane. Additional roles performed include Hoffman in The Tales of Hoffman, Alfredo in La traviata, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at Tri-Cities Opera. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, he has also participated in numerous young artist programs, such as Central City Opera and Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, among others.
Brandon J. Coleman, Bass, has been praised for his “exotic vocal coloring” by Opera News and “wonderful resonance” by Classical Singer. He commands the stage with his confidence and lures the audience with his voice. Brandon’s 2016/2017 season included debuts with Hawaii Opera Theatre as Ferrando in Verdi’s Il Trovatore; two productions with Utah Opera Festival as Crown in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and as Joe in Kern’s Showboat, and returning back to Opera on the James to reprise the role of Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto.
He has performed with the Kentucky Opera, Sarasota Opera, Central City Opera, Chatauqua Opera, Utah Opera Festival, Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Connecticut Opera, Connecticut Concert Opera, Opera New Jersey, Tuscia Opera Festival, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Opera North, Toledo Opera, Opera on the James, Tri-Cities Opera, Middlebury Opera, and Syracuse Opera.
Mr. Coleman has been most recognized for role appearances as Mephistopheles in Faust, Ibn Hakia in Iolanta, Joe in Showboat, Jesus in The Seven Last Words, Crown in Porgy and Bess, Fred in Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
In 2011, he made his international debut as a guest artist singing the role of Sarastro in DieZauberflote with the Tuscia Opera Festival under the baton of Maestro Stefano Vignati.
Brandon Coleman resides in the New York City area. He received his Bachelors of Music degree from the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music. He currently studies with the remarkable Andrea Delgiudice.
James D. Wetzel, Organist, is the Director of Music and Organist of the Parish of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where he directs the professional Schola Cantorum in over 70 services annually. James served from 2010-2015 as the Organist and Choirmaster of midtown’s Church of Saint Agnes and from 2011-2016 was an adjunct lecturer in Hunter College’s music department. Since 2010, he has also been the Assistant Conductor for the Greenwich Choral Society in Connecticut. Additionally, he holds a post as Assisting Organist at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine where he formerly served as Organ Scholar under Bruce Neswick.
Mr. Wetzel is active as an organist and continuo player, having performed at the Berkshire Choral Festival and with the Collegiate Chorale, the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s, the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Classical Orchestra, the National Chorale, and the Paul Winter Consort. He is the sub-dean and chairman of the program committee of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, a board member of the Catholic Artists Society, and a member of the New York Purgatorial Society and the Society for Catholic Liturgy.
Born in Pittsburgh, James earned a bachelor’s degree in organ performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Paul Jacobs and was the first person ever to graduate with a master’s degree and a professional studies certificate in choral conducting from Manhattan School of Music under Kent Tritle. He also studied privately with Donald K. Fellows and Robert Page and spent a year reading Early Christianity and Apologetics at Columbia University.
2018 Messiah Sing-In Conductors
Joey Chancy, Broadway Conductor; Music Director; Independent Producer
Elizabeth Guglielmo, The New York City Department of Education Office of Arts and Special Projects, Director of Music
Gregory Hopkins, Convent Avenue Baptist Church, NYC, Minister of Music; Harlem Opera Theater, Harlem Jubilee Singers, Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir, Director
James John, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College CUNY, Director of Choral Activities; Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, Artistic Director
Darryl A. Jordan, Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts, Music Director
Thomas Juneau, Juneau Vocal Alliance, Founder and Director; Summit Chorale, Artistic Director; St. Joseph’s University, Director of Choral Activities
Robert Lanaghan, Fort Hamilton High School, Brooklyn, Director of Music
Vagarsgak Ohanyan, National Chorale Principal Conductor Music Education Programs
Everett McCorvey, National Chorale, Artistic Director; University of Kentucky Opera Theater, Director; The American Spiritual Ensemble, Founder and Director
John Palatucci, Orpheus Club Men’s Chorus, Ridgewood, NJ, Music Director
Kathryn Schneider, The New York City Bar Chorus, Music Director and Conductor
Deborah Simpkin King, Schola Cantorum on Hudson, Artistic Director; New York Choral Consortium, Chair
Michael Spierman, Bronx Opera, Founder and Director; Orchestra of the Bronx, Music Director
Jason Tramm, Seton Hall, Director of Choral Activities; Ocean Grove Choir, Artistic Director; Mid-Atlantic Opera Company, Founder
More Messiah Sing-In Conductors to follow…