St. John Passion
By Johann Sebastian Bach
Featuring Michael Slattery, Jesse Blumberg, Adam Lau, Latonia Moore, Tamara Mumford, Ben Bliss, and Daniel Okulitch
With MasterVoices and New York Baroque Incorporated
Ted Sperling, Conductor
February 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale), celebrating its 75th anniversary during the 2016-2017 season, presents St. John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach on February 9, 2017 at 7pm at Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall (57th Street and 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019). The production will be conducted by MasterVoices’ Artistic Director Ted Sperling and will feature the MasterVoices chorus, Michael Slattery, Jesse Blumberg, Adam Lau, Latonia Moore, Tamara Mumford, Ben Bliss, and Daniel Okulitch, with New York Baroque Incorporated.
Bach’s magnificent choral masterpiece St. John Passion is considered by many to be more dramatic and expressive than his popular St. Matthew Passion. MasterVoices’ presentation will feature its 150 voice chorus, an impressive cast of rising stars, and an ensemble of period instruments. To pay tribute to MasterVoices’ founder Robert Shaw, who held the belief that the Passions should speak directly to audiences in English, and that these concerts should be communal experiences, the performance will be given in a modern-day English translation written by Michael Slattery (who will also sing the role of the Evangelist). MasterVoices invites all audience members to sing along with the chorales, and will provide ticket buyers with practice materials in advance.
“In looking for a major choral work for MasterVoices to perform as part of its 75th Anniversary Season, I was drawn to the St. John Passion not only because of its vivid storytelling, but also because it has been a personal favorite of mine from the time I was a teenager. I wanted to perform the work in English, as its original audience would have understood every word, and I’d like ours to do the same. I look forward to inviting our audience to learn and join us in singing the chorales, filling Carnegie Hall with music from all directions.” – Ted Sperling, Artistic Director
St. John Passion tickets ($20-$130) on sale now at Carnegie Hall (carnegiehall.org | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th and Seventh). MasterVoices Members are entitled to pre-sale access and discounts now. For tickets and more information, visit mastervoices.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ted Sperling is the artistic director of MasterVoices and principal conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, My Favorite Year, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off- Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, A New Brain, Saturn Returns and Floyd Collins. Opera work includes two NYC premieres by composer Ricky Ian Gordon: 27 starring Stephanie Blythe, and The Grapes of Wrath, starring Nathan Gunn; Dido and Aeneas starring Kelli O’Hara and Victoria Clark; and La Voix Humaine starring Audra McDonald. Mr. Sperling’s work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Striking 12, and Charlotte: Life? Or Theater?, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Recent gala performances include Show Boat with Vanessa Williams and Julian Ovenden, The Making of A Chorus Line with Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff, The Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, Glenn Close and Martin Short, Cabaret with Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, Song of Norway with Judy Kaye, She Loves Me with Santino Fontana, and The Mikado with Christopher Fitzgerald. Mr. Sperling received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, headed the Music Theater Initiative at the Public Theater, and is Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals. For more, visit tedsperling.net.
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by the legendary American choral conductor Robert Shaw, and is currently under the artistic direction of Ted Sperling. For 75 years, the organization has presented varied programming, with emphasis in three areas: choral masterpieces, operas in concert, and musical theater. Choral classics performed by MasterVoices have included Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Brahms’ Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem. The company has presented several important premieres, including the U.S. premieres of Dvorak’s Dmitri and Handel’s Jupiter in Argos, and the NY premieres of Respighi’s La Fiamma, Glass’s The Juniper Tree, and Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. Other rarely heard operas presented in concert have included Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Joplin’s Treemonisha.Throughout its history, MasterVoices has specialized in presenting rarely heard works of musical theater and standard works with a fresh approach, including Bernstein’s A White House Cantata,Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday,and the world premiere of a concert version of The Road of Promise.
MasterVoices has performed in prominent NYC concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Geffen Hall, under the batons of many esteemed conductors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Alan Gilbert. The company has also attracted many world-class soloists, including Bryn Terfel, René Pape, Stephanie Blythe, Deborah Voigt, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson, Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot and Victoria Clark. Because of its reputation of excellence, MasterVoices has been hired to perform with many top orchestras over the years, including the NBC Symphony, The New York Philharmonic and The Israel Philharmonic, and has been invited to appear abroad, in Israel and at the Verbier and Salzburg festivals.
MasterVoices considers education and outreach to be important aspects of its work. Its Side-by-Side program offers gifted high school students the opportunity to rehearse and perform with guidance from singing members and professional artists in New York and abroad. Additionally, MasterVoices gives complimentary tickets to hundreds of high school students and seniors from New York each season, and invites young soloists to perform at top venues as a part of the Faith Geier Artist Initiative. In June 2016, MasterVoices launched “Bridges: Connecting Communities Through Music”, a new outreach program that provides people in a New York community the opportunity to come together to make music with MasterVoices, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.
In August 2015, the organization transitioned from The Collegiate Chorale to MasterVoices, a name that better represents the current mission of the company as a performing arts organization that celebrates storytelling through the masterful voices of its chorus and world-class soloists, and the creative voices of composers, librettists, designers and directors. For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).
New York Baroque Incorporated (NYBI) is a conductorless orchestra on period instruments in New York City, bringing vital, informed, and fresh performances of a wide range of 17th and 18th-century repertoire, and creating a vibrant landscape for collaborations between historical performance and living composers. Since its creation, NYBI has received critical praise for its energy, virtuosity and entrepreneurship, and was lauded by The New York Times for its “do-it-yourself spirit.” For upcoming events and more information about NYBI, visit www.nybaroque.org.
Michael Slattery made his unforgettable New York Philharmonic debut in November 2013, stepping in at the last minute to sing the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings for the Philharmonic’s celebrations of Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday. “It could not have been more triumphant,” wrote The Examiner, “Brilliantly acted, his performance was bursting with spirit as he trumpeted his arrival. He took his bows to an enthusiastic audience who welcomed him with thunderous applause.” Slattery rejoined the Philharmonic in their 2014-15 season as the tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah. Career highlights include the title role in Bernstein’s Candide at Royal Festival Hall in London; The Very Best of Lerner & Loewe with Kelli O’Hara, Paolo Szot, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall; J.S. Bach’s B-minor Mass with Iván Fischer and the National Symphony Orchestra; Peter Sellars’ Tristan Project with Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Philip Glass’s Akhnaten with John Adams- both with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; and the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 at the Berlin Staatsoper. Mr. Slattery has performed at the Edinburgh, Spoleto, Holland, Athens, Aspen Music, Mostly Mozart, and Williamstown Theater Festivals; and has been a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestras, the Houston, Charlotte, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Pacific, and Kansas City Symphonies, among many others. For more, visit http://michaelslattery.com.
Baritone Jesse Blumberg enjoys a busy schedule of opera, concerts, and recitals, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. His performances have included the world premiere of The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Bernstein’s MASS at London’s Royal Festival Hall, various productions with Boston Early Music Festival, and featured roles with Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Recital highlights include appearances with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, New York Festival of Song, and Mirror Visions Ensemble. He has performed major concert works with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Boston Baroque, Oratorio Society of New York, Apollo’s Fire, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. His current season includes debuts at Arion Baroque, Early Music Vancouver, and Opera Atelier, guest appearances with the baroque string band ACRONYM, and leading roles at the 2017 Boston Early Music Festival. Jesse has been featured on a dozen commercial recordings, including the 2015 Grammy-winning Charpentier Chamber Operas with Boston Early Music Festival. He has been recognized in several competitions, and was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. Jesse holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is also the founder of Five Boroughs Music Festival, which brings chamber music of many genres to every corner of New York City. For more, visit www.jesseblumberg.com.
Highlights of bass Adam Lau’s 2016-17 season will include his debut with Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the title role of Le nozze di Figaro, followed by his debut at Carnegie Hall in Messiah with Oratorio Society on New York. In spring 2017, he will sing Mephistopheles in Damnation of Faust with Liverpool Philharmonic, conducted by John Nelson, and return to Seattle opera as The Speaker in The Magic Flute. In recent seasons, Mr. Lau has appeared with Dallas Opera, North Carolina Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Naples, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, Credo Chamber Music and in San Francisco Opera’s Schwabacher Debut Recital Series. Mr. Lau has been a member of some of the country’s most prestigious Young Artists programs, such as Aspen, Santa Fe, Merola and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. This past spring, Mr. Lau won First Prize in the Jensen Vocal Competition, having also won a Top Prize in the 2015 George London Foundation Competition. He was a finalist in the 2016 Dallas Opera Competition, as well as Finalist and Audience Choice Award in Houston Grand Opera’s 2011 Eleanor McCallum Competition. Mr. Lau received his Master of Music degree at Rice University, and he currently resides in San Francisco.
Latonia Moore is an American soprano of African-American ancestry. She first studied gospel and jazz, until one of her teachers at the University of North Texas convinced her to study classical music. Moore made her debut in 1998 at the Palm Beach Opera in West Palm Beach, and was engaged as a student in the same year at the Houston Ebony Opera. In 2000 she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Moore attracted critical praise for her 2008 performance with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Puccini’s Edgar. In March 2012, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as a late replacement for Violeta Urmana on short notice as Aïda in a live broadcast. Moore is featured on commercial recordings of Mahler’sSymphony No. 2 (Deutsche Grammophon) and of Verdi’s Macbeth (sung in English, Chandos). In January 2016, Moore performed for the newly revived New York City Opera in Puccini’s Tosca at the Rose Theater in Lincoln Center. In April 2016, she sang the lead role of Cio-Cio San in San Diego Opera’s performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, garnering critical recognition for her acting, her “rich, supple and multi-octave soprano voice” and vocal interpretation.
This season, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford appears in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Kajia Saariaho’s L’amour de loin and appears in concert with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra on tour in Europe. A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. Mumford made her debut there as Laura in Luisa Miller, and has since appeared in more than 140 performances with the company. She has also appeared at the Dallas Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glyndebourne Opera Festival and the BBC Proms. In concert, she has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and Milwaukee symphony orchestras; the Hollywood Bowl, and the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Grand Teton, Vail, and La Jolla Summer Music festivals. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2005 as part of the Richard Goode and friends concert series in Zankel Hall, and has been presented in recital in New York by both the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
American tenor Ben Bliss is a 2016 recipient of the Martin E. Segal award at Lincoln Center, awarded by the Metropolitan Opera. He was also the recipient of the Mozart and Plácido Domingo awards at the 2015 Francisco Viñas International Competition in Barcelona, receiving 2nd place overall, first prize in the 2014 Gerda Lissner and Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation competitions, as well as a Sara Tucker and Sullivan Foundation grant. Mr. Bliss is also the 2013 Operalia Don Plácido Domingo Sr. Zarzuela prizewinner. Ben Bliss’ 2016-2017 season includes a US recital tour with pianist Lachlan Glen, with stops at Carnegie Hall, the Folly Theater in Kansas City as part of the Harriman-Jewell series, Theater of the Arts at the University of District of Columbia as part of the Vocal Arts DC Emerging Artists series, Hahn Hall at Music Academy of the West as part of the University of California, Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures series, and in Cincinnati with Matinée Musicale. Operatic appearances for Mr. Bliss include a return to the Metropolitan Opera, first as Tamino in The Magic Flute and then as Steuermann in Der Fliegende Höllander, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other opera appearances include Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Atlanta Opera,Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress for a role and house debut with Boston Lyric Opera and Camille, Count de Rosillon in Die lustige Witwe in concert for his house and role debut with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
Bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch has performed in some of the most prestigious opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe and North America, including Le Chatelet, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro Colon, Dallas, Washington, and Los Angeles. Most recently he debuted L’opera de Montreal as Lieutenant Horstmayer in Kevin Putt’s Silent Night, the role of Herman Broder in the world premiere of Enemies a Love Story with Palm Beach Opera, the role of Ennis Del Mar in the world premiere of Brokeback Mountain at Madrid’s Teatro Real the four villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with Edmonton Opera, and debuted Creonte in Medea in Geneva. He also joined the cast of the Metropolitan Opera for their production of Don Giovanni, and returned to Santa Fe Opera as the Count in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Engagements this past season included the title role of a new production of Don Giovanni at Santa Fe Opera and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the role of Lyndon B. Johnson in the world premiere of JFK with Fort Worth Opera. Future engagements include Leporello in Don Giovanni and a revival of JFK with L’opera de Montreal, his return to Vancouver Opera as Joseph de Rocher in Dead Man Walking, his debut with New Orleans Opera as Don Giovanni, and his debut with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro. In concert, he will perform Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, conducted by Maestro Nicholas McGegan, and Bach’s St. John’s Passion with MasterVoices at Carnegie Hall, and he returns to the Grant Park Music Festival to perform Frank Martin’s oratorio In Terra Pax.