HOUSTON (Dec. 10, 2018) –The Houston Symphony celebrates the holiday season with what is arguably the greatest oratorio ever written: the spiritual, Baroque-era masterpiece, Handel’s Messiah, at 8 p.m. Dec. 21-22 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23 in Jones Hall. Baroque specialist Jane Glover leads the orchestra, a stellar quartet of soloists and the Houston Symphony Chorus (prepared by director Dr. Betsy Cook Weber).
Conductor, scholar and specialist in Baroque-era repertoire, Glover returns to the Houston Symphony to celebrate the holiday season. Considered the best-known English-language oratorio primarily on the strength of its most famous number, the universally beloved “Hallelujah Chorus,” Messiah has become a Houston Symphony holiday tradition. Through its brilliant arias and choruses, Messiah tells the story of Jesus Christ’s life from prophecy to death and resurrection. From “Comfort ye, my people” to the final “Amen” chorus, Messiah gets listeners into the spirit of the holiday, reminding its listeners of the original Christmas story.
The chorus will join the orchestra and soloists Ying Fang (soprano), Elizabeth Deshong (mezzo-soprano), Thomas Cooley (tenor) and Christòpheren Nomura (baritone) for this unforgettable performance. Fang and Nomura will make their Houston Symphony debuts with returning guest artists Deshong and Cooley.
Handel’s Messiah takes place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.
Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, 2:30 p.m.
Jane Glover, conductor
Ying Fang, soprano
Elizabeth Deshong, mezzo-soprano
Thomas Cooley, tenor
Christòpheren Nomura, baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus
Betsy Cook Weber, director
About Jane Glover
British conductor Jane Glover has been Music of the Baroque’s music director since 2002. After making her professional debut at the Wexford Festival in 1975, she joined Glyndebourne in 1979 and was music director of Glyndebourne Touring Opera from 1981 to 1985. Other posts have included artistic director of the London Mozart Players (1984-1991), director of opera at the Royal Academy of Music (2009-2016) and principal conductor of the Huddersfield and the London Choral Societies.
Jane has conducted all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain, as well as orchestras in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia. Jane has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Glyndebourne, Berlin Staatsoper, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opera Australia, Chicago Opera Theater, Opéra national du Rhin, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Luminato, Madrid’s Teatro Real and Teatro La Fenice. She has regularly conducted all of Mozart’s operas all over the world since she first performed them at Glyndebourne in the 1980s. Her core operatic repertoire also includes Monteverdi, Handel and Britten.
Current and future engagements include Così fan tutte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; continuing seasons with Music of the Baroque in Chicago; and concert appearances with the Cleveland, Minnesota and BBC Concert Orchestras, the San Francisco Symphony and the Oregon Bach and Aspen Music Festivals.
Jane’s discography includes recordings of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Britten and Walton with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Players and the BBC Singers. She has authored two critically acclaimed books, Mozartʼs Women (2005) and Handel in London (2018). Jane holds a doctorate from St. Hugh’s College, several honorary degrees, a personal professorship at the University of London, a fellowship of the Royal College of Music and an honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music, where she is now the Felix Mendelssohn Visiting Professor. She is a visiting professor of opera at the University of Oxford. She was created a Commander of the British Empire in the 2003 New Year’s Honours.
About Ying Fang
Soprano Ying Fang has been hailed by The New York Times for her “pure and moving soprano.” During the 2018-19 season, Ying will make her debut at the Salzburger Festspiele in Idomeneo and also return to the Metropolitan Opera for a role debut as Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito. She also appears here and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Malaysian Philharmonic with conductors Jaap van Zweden, Franz Welser-Möst, Andris Nelsons and Susanna Mälkki, among others.
Ying’s previous seasons have included performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Washington National Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Lille, Opera Philadelphia, Wolf Trap Opera Company and Aspen Opera Theater Center in such varied operas as Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), L’Elisir d’Amore (Adina), Alcina (Morgana), Le Nozze di Figaro (Susanna), Falstaff (Nannetta), Don Giovanni (Zerlina), L’Italiana in Algeri (Elvira), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Konstanze), Iphigénie en Aulide (Iphigénie), Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra), The Nose (Madame Podtochina’s Daughter) and others. Her career has included collaborations with distinguished conductors such as James Levine, Sir Andrew Davis, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Carlo Rizzi, Alan Gilbert, William Christie, Emmanuelle Haïm, Mark Minkowski, Jesús López Cobos, Bernard Labadie, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Manfred Honeck. Ying has worked with such luminary stage directors as Peter Sellars and Laurent Pelly.
Concert engagements have included appearances with the Philadelphia, Music of the Baroque and National Symphony Orchestras; the Pittsburgh and New World Symphonies and the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble in works by Mahler, Handel, Schumann, Fauré, Bernstein and more. Ying has given performances at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, and Alice Tully Hall, as well as with the Verbier, Aix-en-Provence and Ravinia Festivals.
A native of Ningbo, China, Ying holds a Master’s degree and an Artist Diploma in Opera Study from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She is a former member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
About Elizabeth Deshong
When Elizabeth DeShong sang in Rossini’s rarely-performed Maometto II at the Canadian Opera Company, the National Post wrote, “Even more impressive was Elizabeth DeShong as Calbo, a bellicose Venetian general with a human side. . . there could be no better demonstration of the viability of a woman in a heroic male role. Vibrant tone, pyrotechnic technique, intense stage presence, spot-on-diction: this American mezzosoprano has it all.”
This season, Elizabeth sang Adalgisa in Norma with the North Carolina Opera. She will tour with The English Concert performing Juno and Ino in Handel’s Semele and sing Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Los Angeles Opera. In addition to these Houston concerts, she performed in recital for Vocal Arts DC at the Kennedy Center and will perform in concert with Music of the Baroque. She debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic (as Ariel in Sibelius’ The Tempest) and with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the Rossini Stabat Mater under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In summer 2019, she will make her role debut in the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo at Glyndebourne.
Last season, she returned to Washington National Opera to sing Ruggiero in Alcina and Arsace in Semiramide at the Metropolitan Opera. In concert, she performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Music of the Baroque and debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schubert’s Mass No. 6 and the world premiere of Three Lisel Mueller Settings by Maxwell Raimi, both conducted by Riccardo Muti. In Europe, Elizabeth returned to Glyndebourne to perform Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and made her debut with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and at the Proms in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, followed by her debut at the Edinburgh Festival singing Hansel in Hansel and Gretel in a concert performance with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Elizabeth DeShong received Washington National Opera’s 2010 Artist of the Year award, as the Composer in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos. On DVD, she can be seen as Hermia in the Metropolitan Opera’s pastiche opera The Enchanted Island (Virgin) and as Maffio Orsini in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Lucrezia Borgia (EuroArts Music and Naxos of America). Her recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir Andrew Davis (Chandos) received two Grammy nominations in the Best Choral Performance and Producer of the Year, classical categories for 2018.
Thomas Cooley is a singer of great versatility, expressiveness and virtuosity, in demand internationally for a wide range of repertoire in concert, opera and chamber music.
His repertoire on the symphonic stage includes works such as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony; Berlioz’ Requiem, Les nuits d’été and L’enfance du Christ; Haydn’s The Seasons; Britten’s War Requiem and Serenade; Stravinsky’s Les Noces; Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang and Elijah; Mozart’s Requiem; Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius; Rihm’s Deus Passus; Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde; and Penderecki’s Credo. Recent concert highlights include the world premiere and recording of Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation/Creator with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus, Bruckner’s Te Deum and his first foray into Wagner with an excerpt from Parsifal with the St. Louis Symphony.
He has collaborated with internationally prominent conductors, including Helmuth Rilling, Donald Runnicles, Osmo Vänskä, Eiji Oue, Lan Shui, Michael Tilson Thomas, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Nicholas McGegan, Robert Spano, David Robertson, Markus Stenz, Carlo Rizzi, Franz Welser-Möst, Manfred Honeck and Bernard Labadie. He performs regularly with major orchestras and festivals such as the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival; Atlanta (including an appearance at Carnegie Hall), Pittsburgh, Baltimore, National and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras; St. Louis and Oregon Symphonies; the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Orchestre Symphonique de Québec; Coppenhagen Philharmonic; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ottawa’s National Arts Center Orchestra; the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; and the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra.
Particularly renowned for his agility and skill in Baroque music, Thomas is in demand as an interpreter of the works of Bach and Handel, most especially in the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions and in the great oratorios of Handel. He appears regularly with such historically informed groups as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Music of the Baroque, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Akadamie für Alte Musik Berlin, Boston Baroque, the Carmel and Oregon Bach Festivals, Les Violons du Roy and the Munich Bach Choir. Named artist-in-residence for the 2015-16 season at Music of the Baroque in Chicago, he performed Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, a program of Bach cantatas and the title role in Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus.
About Christòpheren Nomura
Baritone Christòpheren Nomura stands at the forefront of his generation of singers. He has performed throughout the world, hailed as one of classical music’s “rising stars” by The Wall Street Journal.
He has earned a prominent place on the operatic, concert and recital stages, appearing with orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra under conductors Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, James Conlon, Christopher Hogwood, Jane Glover and Nicholas McGegan, among others.
Christòpheren has been a regular guest with the Pacific Symphony, North Carolina Symphony and the National Philharmonic. He premiered Philip Glass’ The Passion of Ramakrishna for the Pacific Symphony, reprised and recorded it there and showcased it at Carnegie Hall in 2017. A noted Bach specialist, he has performed with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Oregon Bach Festival, Carmel Bach Festival, Music of the Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society and the Boston Early Music Festival.
In opera, Christòpheren is a noted Mozartean who has likewise had a strong association with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and was Prince Yamadori in the Scorsese / Mitterand film, conducted by James Conlon. In 2015, he debuted on Broadway in Allegiance with George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung, subsequently recorded and shown in HD video broadcasts throughout the world. He has collaborated with the Borromeo, Brentano and St. Lawrence String Quartets as well as Martin Katz, Charles Wadsworth, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and William Bolcom at leading music festivals: Santa Fe, Marlboro, Tanglewood, La Jolla, Spoleto, Music@Menlo and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Known for his commitment to art song, he has given hundreds of recitals throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. He has appeared at Lincoln Center, the Making Music series at Carnegie Hall, the Celebrity Series in Boston, Ravinia Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center and the Vancouver Recital Society. He was artist-in-residence with San Francisco Performances for four seasons.
Among many notable career highlights, he sang Bernstein’s Mass at the Vatican for the Jubilee Year in 2000 performing before an audience of 15,000 in the Sala Nervi, simulcast to some 200,000 people in Vatican Square. Christòpheren Nomura’s discography includes recordings on the Sony, Dorian, Teldec, London, Denon, TDK and l’Oiseau Lyre labels.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.
The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.
Eric Skelly: (713) 337-8560, firstname.lastname@example.org
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