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Young Opera Virtuosos Make Houston Symphony Debuts Under The Direction Of Former Music Director Christoph Eschenbach

HOUSTON (Feb. 17, 2017) – Former Houston Symphony Music Director, Christoph Eschenbach, returns to Houston to conduct a spiritually-uplifting program of works by Austrian composer Anton Bruckner at 8 p.m. March 3-4, and 2:30 p.m. March 5.

Eschenbach is best known by Houston audiences for heightening the orchestra’s national and international reputation in addition to broadening its repertoire during his time as music director from 1988-1999. Under his leadership, the orchestra toured Japan and Europe several times and made several recordings with Koch International Classics, Virgin Records, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, and Carlton Records. Eschenbach is credited with supporting young talented musicians and helping launch the careers of many of today’s most popular classical artists including pianist Lang Lang, cellist Claudio Bohórquez, and soprano Marisol Montalvo.

The Houston Symphony Chorus and young vocalists Lindsay Russel, Zoie Reams, Jack Swanson and Kyle Albertson will join Eschenbach and the orchestra to perform Bruckner’s grandiose first symphony and thunderous Te Deum, based on an ancient Latin text praising God. Making their Houston Symphony debuts, Russel, Reams, Swanson and Albertson are among the next generation of opera virtuosos who have already made a name for themselves in Houston.

Young Artists Make Their Houston Symphony Debuts
Soprano Lindsay Russell is quickly gaining recognition in the opera world for her strong acting ability and vocal versatility. Currently in her first season on the Houston Grand Opera’s roster, Russel has starred as Addie Mills in The House Without a Christmas Tree, appeared in its production of It’s a Wonderful Life and sang the roles of Bettie/Bea in the world premiere of David Hanlon’s new opera After the Storm with HGOco.

In her first year as a studio artist with the Houston Grand Opera, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams has been a featured artist in the world premieres of Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life and Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges, in addition toJohn Adam’s Nixon in China. Reams joined the Houston Grand Opera after competing with almost 600 young opera professionals from across the country for the opportunity to study and perform under the HGO’s highly respected staff of teachers and performers.

A graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, tenor Jack Swanson is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after voices in the opera world. He was a finalist in both Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum competition and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Competition. In 2015, Swanson made his debut at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in 2016, he performed scenes from Rossini’s La Cenerentola with HGO studio artists and world-renowned mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato, at the Houston Grand Opera’s 60th anniversary gala.

Bass-baritone Kyle Albertson is known for his versatile voice, confidence, style and ability to bring a character to life. After singing Mr. Rodriguez in Past the Checkpoints with HGOco, Albertson made his Houston Grand Opera main-stage debut as Sacristan in Tosca and most recently appeared in its two productions of Manon. Additionally, recent debut performances in Texas include roles as Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Fort Worth Opera and Zuniga in Carmen at the Dallas Opera. As a concert artist, Albertson’s solo performances include a concert version of Der Rosenkavalier with Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will take 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 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.

Eschenbach Conducts Bruckner

  • Friday, March 3, 2017, at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 2:30 p.m.

Christoph Eschenbach Conductor
Lindsay Russell, Soprano
Zoie Reams, Mezzo-Soprano
Jack Swanson, Tenor
Kyle Albertson, Bass-Baritone
Houston Symphony Chorus with Betsy Cook Weber, Director
Bruckner: Te Deum
Bruckner: Symphony No. 1
Tickets from $25

About Christoph Eschenbach

Music Director of the Houston Symphony from 1988 to 1999, Christoph Eschenbach is currently music director of the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Now in his seventh and final season with the NSO and Kennedy Center, he has taken the orchestra on three international tours and performed at Carnegie Hall. Later this month, they will perform in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, at the invitation of Olga Rostropovich, as part of the 2017 Rostropovich Festival, celebrating what would have been Mstislav Rostropovich’s 90th birthday. His season includes the East Coast premiere of an NSO co-commissioned Concerto in D (for Violin and Orchestra) by Wynton Marsalis and the conclusion of Mahler Explored.

Highlights of Eschenbach’s other engagements this season include a new production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and guest conducting throughout Europe, including the Vienna Philharmonic for the worldwide televised Summer Night Concert. In addition to this visit with the Houston Symphony, he returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Ravinia Festival and leads the Bamberg Symphony on a 10-concert American tour.

A prolific recording artist over five decades, Christoph has an impressive discography as conductor and pianist. With the NSO, he recorded Remembering JFK (Ondine). His discography includes recordings with the Philadelphia Orchestra (Ondine), the Orchestre de Paris (Ondine and Deutsche Grammophon), London Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI/LPO Live), London Symphony Orchestra (DG/BMG), Vienna Philharmonic (Decca), NDR Sinfonieorchester (BMG/Sony and Warner) and Houston Symphony (Koch). His recordings have received critical acclaim and many prestigious honors. His recording of the full cycle of Mahler symphonies with the Orchestre de Paris is available on his web site for free on-demand streaming; visit

Mentored by George Szell and Herbert von Karajan, Christoph Eschenbach has enjoyed a career which has included music directorships of the Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra), Ravinia Festival, NDR Sinfonieorchester and Houston Symphony. He has also served as artistic director of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and as chief conductor and artistic director of the Tonhalle Orchestra. His many honors include the 2015 Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, Légion d’Honneur, Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Officer’s Cross and Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding achievements. He received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director.

About Lindsay Russell

Soprano Lindsay Russell is quickly gaining recognition in the world of opera. Her vocal versatility and strong acting ability make her a strong cross-over artist in roles such as Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Maria in The Sound of Music, Anne in A Little Night Music and Cunégonde in Candide. This season, she sings the role of Marie in La Fille du Régiment with Intermountain Opera Bozeman and Leila in The Pearl Fishers with Opera in the Heights. She also joined the roster of Houston Grand Opera as Addie Mills in The House Without a Christmas Tree and appeared in its production of It’s a Wonderful Life.

In recent seasons, Lindsay made several role and company debuts, including the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte with Arizona Opera, Opera Roanoke and Opera Idaho; the Lady with a Hand Mirror in Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco with Portland Opera; Lisette in La Rondine at Skylark Opera; and Valencienne in The Merry Widow with the Northern Lights Music Festival. Additionally, she played Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel with Knoxville Opera and Adele in Die Fledermaus with Nashville Opera.

In concert, she débuted at Carnegie Hall in Schubert’s Mass in G major and Mozart’s Missa Brevis; sang the soprano solo in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Mozart’s Requiem with Yakima Symphony Orchestra; and sang the role of Musetta in La Bohème in her début with New Jersey Festival Orchestra. She also sang the roles of Bettie/Bea in the world première of David Hanlon’s new opera After the Storm with HGOco. As an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, she made main-stage performances as the First Bridesmaid in Le Nozze di Figaro and performed the “Bell Song” from Lakmé in the Apprentice Showcase. Lindsay Russell is the winner of the grand prize at Florida Grand Opera’s Young Patronesses of Opera Vocal Competition and second prize at the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where she performed the roles of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Gilda in Rigoletto.

About Zoie Reams

Mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, from Chicago, is in her first year as a studio artist with the Houston Grand Opera. Zoie received her bachelor of music degree from Lawrence University and her master of music degree from Louisiana State University. Her awards include first place in the emerging artist category of the 2015 Classical Singer Vocal Competition, second place at the 2016 regional Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and second prize at the 2016 Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers.

Some of Zoie’s past roles include Béatrice in Berlioz’ Béatrice et Bénédict, Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Isabella in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri. She made her Glimmerglass Festival debut in the summer of 2016 as Tituba in Robert Ward’s The Crucible. This past season at the Houston Grand Opera, Zoie was a part of both world premieres of Jake Heggie’s It’s a wonderful Life and Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges, as well asJohn Adam’s Nixon in China.

About Jack Swanson

With an affinity for high lyric repertoire and some of opera’s most acrobatic arias, young American tenor Jack Swanson is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after voices in the opera world. During his studies at the University of Oklahoma and The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Jack has performed roles such as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Conte Almaviva in Rossini’s Il Barbieri di Siviglia and Eurimaco in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria.

As a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony, Jack performed the title role in Britten’s comic opera Albert Herring, and subsequently spent two years as an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera. Last summer, he made his debut as Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff for Des Moines Metro Opera. Other roles include Tonio (Donizetti’s La fille du régiment) and Count Belfiore (Mozart’s La finta giardiniera). Equally comfortable on the concert and recital platforms, Jack Swanson has performed repertoire such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, as well as selections from Schumann’s Dichterliebe for his debut at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Jack has had great competition success and been the recipient of several prestigious awards in recent years, including first place in Florida Grand Opera’s Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition, The San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club Young Artists Competition, The National Opera Association Vocal Competition and The Hal Leonard Art Song Competition. He twice received the Richard Tucker Memorial award from Santa Fe Opera, and he was a finalist in both Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum competition and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Voice Competition.

About Kyle Albertson

Bass-baritone Kyle Albertson is renowned not only for his versatile voice, confidence, style and ability to bring a character to life. Of his recent role debut as Bartolo in Il Barbieri di Siviglia at Fort Worth Opera, The Dallas Morning News raved, “With a drop-dead gorgeous bass-baritone, Kyle Albertson is younger than the usual Dr. Bartolo, but he’s no less delightful an object of mockery. When he turns on his falsetto to demonstrate an aria from his youth, he sounds like the famously out-of-tune Florence Foster Jenkins.”

This season, Kyle will make quite a large number of debuts, including a role début of Sharpless in Madame Butterfly at Northern Lights Music Festival; a house début at Lyric Opera of Chicago for its production of Das Rheingold; plus role and house debuts as Donner in Minnesota Opera’s first production of Das Rheingold, in which he also covers Wotan; Lieutenant Horstmayer in Silent Night with Opera San José, Magnifico in La Cenerentola with El Paso Opera, and DeGuiche in Cyrano with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Recent operatic engagements include performances with The Metropolitan Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni and for productions of Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Dialogues des Carmélites, The Merry Widow and two productions of Manon; with Houston Grand Opera, he performed the role of A Sacristan in Tosca and Mr. Rodriguez in Past the Checkpoints; the Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance with Atlanta Opera; a Dallas Opera debut as Zuniga in Carmen; a Fort Worth Opera debut singing Bartolo in Il Barbieri di Siviglia and Lyndon B. Johnson in the workshop of David T. Little’s opera JFK; and the roles of the Prison Warden in Dead Man Walking, Hobson in Peter Grimes and The Duke in Roméo et Juliette, all with Des Moines Metro Opera.

A sought-after concert artist, recent highlights of his concert career include solos in Verdi’s Requiem with The Händel Society of Dartmouth College; Papageno in Boston Youth Symphony’s Die Zauberflöte at Symphony Hall; a Carnegie Hall debut in Rutter’s Mass of the Children and excerpts from Messiah; and a concert version of Der Rosenkavalier with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony.

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