UMS Concert Program, January 20, 2019 - Lagrime di San Pietro
Lagrime di San Pietro
Orlando di Lasso / Composer Los Angeles Master Chorale
Grant Gershon / Artistic Director
Grant Gershon / Conductor
Peter Sellars / Director
James F. Ingalls / Lighting Designer Danielle Domingue / Costume Designer Pamela Salling / Stage Manager
Sunday Evening, January 20, 2019 at 7:00 Hill Auditorium
25th Performance of the 140th Annual Season 140th Annual Choral Union Series
Choral Music Series
This evening’s performance is supported by Carl and Charlene Herstein. Media partnership provided by WGTE 91.3 FM.
Special thanks to Matthew Ozawa for his participation in events surrounding this evening’s performance.
Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson Flowers, Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby oral art for this evening’s performance.
Lagrime di San Pietro appears by arrangement with David Lieberman Artists’ Representatives.
In consideration for the artists and the audience, please refrain from the use of electronic devices
during the performance.
The photography, sound recording, or videotaping of this performance is prohibited.
Orlando di Lasso
Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter)
I. Il Magnanimo Pietro (When the generous Peter)
II. Ma gli archi (The bows, however)
III. Tre volte haveva (Three times already)
IV. Qual a l’incontro (No one should boast)
V. Giovane donna (Never did a young lady)
VI. Cosi talhor (As it happens)
VII. Ogni occhio del Signor (The eyes of the Lord)
VIII. Nessun fedel trovai (I found none faithful)
IX. Chi ad una ad una (If one could retell one by one)
X. Come falda di neve (Like a snowbank)
XI. E non fu il pianot suo (And his crying)
XII. Quel volto (That face)
XIII. Veduto il miser (Realizing that he felt)
XIV. E vago d’incontrar (wishing to nd someone)
XV. Vattene vita va (Go, life, go away)
XVI. O vita troppo rea (O life, too guilty)
XVII. A quanti giàfelici (To how many)
XVIII. Non trovava mia fé (My faith would have not failed)
XIX. Queste opre e più (These events)
XX. Negando il mio Signor (By denying my Lord)
XXI. Vide homo (See, O man)
This evening’s performance runs approximately 80 minutes in duration and will be performed without intermission.
LAGRIME DI SAN PIETRO (TEARS OF ST. PETER) (1594)
Orlando di Lasso
Born January 1, 1532 in Mons, Habsburg Netherlands (now Belgium) Died June 14, 1594 in Munich, Germany
UMS premiere: This piece has never been performed on a UMS concert.
Snapshots of History...In 1594:
· Henry IV enters his capital of Paris for the rst time
· Tulip bulbs planted by Carolus Clusius in the Hortus Botanicus Leiden in
Holland ower for the rst time
· The city of Groningen submits to Dutch troops, bringing the whole
northern Netherlands under the Dutch Republic
A Saint’s Remorse: Lasso’s High Renaissance Masterpiece
What’s the correct way to refer to one of the most extraordinary musical minds in history: Orlande/Orlando/ Roland de Lassus/di Lasso? There’s
a Franco-Flemish form and an Italianized one; sometimes the two get mixed together. There’s even a Latin option intended to standardize the situation. The very profusion of variants points to the internationalism and cross-pollination across borders that marked the era of the High Renaissance in Europe.
This was a time in which a young musician born in the Netherlandish part of the Habsburg Empire (in
what is nowadays Belgium) could nd himself posted to positions at major courts and churches in Italy while still in his early 20s, travel back north for a brief spell (possibly in France and even England), and then be lured at around age 26 to join the ambitious court of an aristocrat in Munich (the Duke of Bavaria), where he happily settled for almost four decades until his death in 1594 —
while still undertaking trips to Vienna and Italy and picking up on the latest developments in musical style.
Such, in brief outline, is the life story of Lasso. (Let’s simplify and stick to the Italian spelling, the one used on the title page of many of his published works, including the rst edition of Lagrime di San Pietro.) During his long, productive years in Munich, he became an international celebrity. Lasso was born at just the right time to bene t from the new technology
of printing, which disseminated his proli c output at an astonishing rate (about two publications of his music
a year). Hopeful young composers traveled far and wide to learn from him — the Gabrielis from Venice may have been among them — and Lasso was honored by emperor and pope alike.
“What you have is the iTunes of the High Renaissance: Everyone is hearing each other’s releases, in different languages, some in pirate versions, and mixing them together,” says director Peter Sellars. “All these versions of Orlando’s name evolved because he was active in different
music centers. It feels like today, when there isn’t a single way music has to happen, and everyone is listening to everyone else.”
Lasso was particularly revered for the variety and extent of his output across vocal genres (curiously, instrumental music is missing from his vast extant oeuvre), as well as for the depth of his knowledge of the grand tradition of Renaissance polyphony that was just about to reach its end. In the century that dawned a few years after Lasso’s death, the new genre of opera would ourish, and its champion Claudio Monteverdi would pioneer
a dramatically different musical language — a language from which modern Western music emerged.
Another contemporary artist, the French poet Pierre de Ronsard raved: “The more-than-divine Orlando...
like a bee has sipped all the most beautiful owers of the ancients
and moreover seems alone to have stolen the harmony of the heavens to delight us with it on earth, surpassing the ancients and making himself the unique wonder of our time.”
Visualizing the Polyphony
Into his swan song, Lagrime di San Pietro, Lasso distilled all of that wisdom, experience, and complexity. “Polyphony of this kind of depth and detail is totally sculptural,” observes Mr. Sellars. He notes that Lagrime was composed only 30 years after the death of another towering artist of the High Renaissance: Michelangelo.
“You also get this muscular intensity in Lasso’s writing that is reminiscent of this expressive language we know so well, visually, from Michelangelo.” Both artists convey visions of an
“embodied spirituality: the muscle of spiritual energy and striving against pain to achieve self-transformation.”
“The genesis of this project began in 2011 when Peter and I were working together on Vivaldi’s Griselda at the Santa Fe Opera,” recalls Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Kiki & David Gindler Artistic Director Grant Gershon. “I’ve always been especially moved by the way that he guides singers to connect their deepest and most complex emotions to the music.” Mr. Gershon imagined the potential that could be tapped by having Mr. Sellars stage an entirely a cappella work, “where there is no buffer between the singers and the audience. The pure sound of the human voice would convey all of the structure, the colors, the textures, and the feeling of a major work.”
And Lagrime di San Pietro presented “the perfect piece” with which to try out this approach — but also a set
of formidable challenges. Explains Gershon: “The problem that the piece has had over the years is that this highly emotional, even anguished music has historically been performed in a very buttoned down, extremely reverential style. (Frankly, there are several perfectly lovely recordings of the work that are also unbelievably dull.) Peter and I felt that the truth
of this music could be unlocked with movement and with an intense focus on the poetry.”
Lasso’s creation of this complex vocal cycle clearly stands apart within his oeuvre with regard to chronology and purpose. Widely admired and imitated by his contemporaries, that oeuvre encompasses on one side sacred works that are both traditional (masses) and wildly original (the
celebrated motet cycle Prophetiae Sibyllarum) and, on the other, heartily profane compositions in multiple languages.
Lagrime di San Pietro comes at the very end — he completed the score with a dedication to Pope Clement VIII on May 24, 1594, and died in Munich on June 14. In that dedication, Lasso remarks that “these tears of Saint Peter...have been clothed in harmony by me for my personal devotion in my burdensome old age.”
A Special Kind of Madrigal
In terms of genre, the numbers comprising Lagrime are classi ed
not as motets but as madrigale spirituali — a term that straddles
the usual distinction between vocal compositions for the sacred (motet) and secular (madrigal) spheres. Motets, composed in Latin, were suitable for use in liturgy; madrigals set words in the vernacular language, frequently involving erotic and pastoral topics, and were intended
for private courtly or academic gatherings (much as the rst, court- produced operas) or, when the topic related to a public gure or occasion, for ceremonial contexts. Yet while taking advantage of the innovations (and lack of restrictions) of the secular madrigal, “spiritual madrigals” were devoted to religious topics. They were not suitable for liturgical usage, however — by de nition, such madrigals set vernacular rather than Latin texts.
For Lagrime, Lasso found his text
in a devotional epic by the Italian Renaissance poet Luigi Tansillo (1510 –1568), who came out of the great Petrarchan tradition. (Like Lasso,
incidentally, the humanist Petrarch devoted his art to secular and
sacred causes — his poetry praising the Virgin Mary inspired Lasso’s contemporary Palestrina to write a famous set of madrigale spirituali.) Tansillo, curiously, had been on the Vatican’s Forbidden Index. His Lagrime obtained an of cial pardon from the Pope. Although Tansillo died before managing to complete the epic,
the published Lagrime is a lengthy collection of eight-line stanzas in ottava rima (the rhyming scheme ABABABCC), from which Lasso chose 20 for his madrigal cycle.
Peter’s Threefold Denial
The dramatic content centers around a topic that will be familiar to anyone who knows J.S. Bach’s Passions, where it occurs as just one episode within the long sequence of the Passion story (though it inspires one of the most moving moments in the St. Matthew Passion — the alto aria “Erbarme dich”). It’s the topic of several masterpieces in painting as well, by such artists as Rembrandt and Caravaggio. The Gospel narratives of the Passion recount the Apostle Peter’s fearful reaction to the
terror of the night of Jesus’ arrest. Three times he denies knowing the accused — exactly as Jesus during the Last Supper had predicted Peter would do, “this very night, before the rooster crows.” This is of course the very Peter who would be claimed as the founder of the Catholic Church, the rst in its succession of popes. Tansillo’s poem unfolds as a highly wrought, emotional sequence of self- accusation and remorse for what cannot be undone, as the elderly Peter
attempts to come to terms with his anguish. The imagery is elaborate, its references to mirrors and re ections revealing a characteristic Renaissance preoccupation, and boldly gures what transpires in the central image — the communication through Jesus’ trans xing glance
on the Cross — to the unspoken knowledge shared by lovers.
The cycle Lasso fashions from this resembles a psychodrama, a kind of psychological Stations of the Cross Peter endures internally: the eternally present moment of betrayal and the recollections of a man approaching and longing for death intersect as he seeks reconciliation, realizing he can never forgive himself but can rely only on divine grace. Lasso gives Peter — and us — no easy answers, and no easy way out. He concludes the cycle of 20 stanzas from Tansillo’s poem with a 21st number [madrigal] from another source: a Latin motet by the 13th-century French poet Philippe de Greve representing the nal word from Jesus himself (“Vide Homo, quae pro te patior” [See, O man, how I suffer
for you]). Here Jesus only reaf rms what has been tormenting Peter:
the knowledge that his betrayal has caused more “inner agony” for the savior than his outward suffering on the cross. Even the repetitive rhyme scheme for all eight lines enhances the sense of recursive entrapment. Through his overall tonal scheme using the old church (i.e., Gregorian) modes, Lasso further underscores the sense of irresolution by omitting some of those eight modes as he progressively cycles through them; for this nal motet he shifts to a mode outside the normal system. You don’t
have to understand the musicological jargon to hear the remarkably austere impact of the nal number.
Structurally, Lagrime also re ects the kind of theological numerological symbolism that is so all-pervasive in Bach’s masterpieces. Each stanza
is written for seven separate parts. (Some performers opt to complement the voices with instruments, citing performance practice of Lasso’s era.) Seven is the number of perfection and creation, but also a number with a dark side, as in the Seven Deadly Sins. Three is the number of the Trinity,
but it, too, has a negative shadow in the three times Peter denies Jesus. Lasso’s overall cycle comprises 3 x 7 stanzas (yielding 168 lines of poetry, a sum evenly divisible by 7).
Pared Down Simplicity
For this staging, Mr. Gershon and
Mr. Sellars decided to perform with three singers on a part resulting in an ensemble of 21. “We wanted the size of the ensemble to balance the need for clarity and transparency of the individual voices with the idea of this also being a community coming together,” explains Mr. Gershon.
“We also talked about keeping a real simplicity to the whole look and feel, without any set or props or extra performers. Peter’s work with the singers would be complemented by Jim Ingalls’s lighting and some chairs onstage; the wardrobe is basically shades of grey — clothes that look like they could come out of anyone’s closet.”
“This is music that has a real austerity,” Mr. Gershon adds. “Lagrime is old composer’s music, like the
late Beethoven string quartets or
the ‘Adagio’ from Mahler’s Ninth or Tenth. Things are stripped away, until there is nothing extraneous: there are very few melismatic passages.” For Mr. Sellars, Lagrime is composed “with an incredible concision, with sheer essence and focus. There’s
a harmonic density but at the same time it’s stated as simply as possible, without a single extra note.”
We know that in his nal years Lasso had been ailing, seeking
relief for a condition described as “melancholy,” and he even dedicated one set of his madrigals to the court physician who took care of him. “At this point in his life,” according to Mr. Sellars, Lasso “does not need to prove anything to anyone. He is [composing Lagrime] because this is something he has to get off his chest to purify his own soul as he leaves the world. It’s a private, devotional act of writing, but these thoughts are now shared by a community — by people singing to and for each other.”
While the Lagrime project represents his rst time staging an entirely a cappella performance, Mr. Sellars considers it a continuation
of themes he has been recently revisiting in his collaborations with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen involving choral works by Igor Stravinsky. For the conclusion of
Mr. Salonen’s tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009, Mr. Sellars staged Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Oedipus Rex as a double-bill, and the conductor and director reprised it in February 2018 to crown a Stravinsky series with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.
As in the Stravinsky double- bill, in Lagrime the chorus “carries
the drama forward” — drama according to the ancient Greek understanding of tragedy, says Mr. Sellars, “which I could also call an African understanding, where an individual crisis is also a crisis of the community. Even though we hear one man’s thoughts, it is the community that absorbs them and has to take responsibility: a collective takes on this weight of longing and hope.”
Inner Dialogue, Light, and Darkness
That interplay between the individual and the collective has suggested thrilling possibilities for staging.
For Mr. Sellars, “the voice is not something disembodied but is part
of the body which is testifying. The sheer physical intensity of the singing joins with this collective dawning through the inner dialogue of the composition, as these voices have their moments of revelation.”
And beyond the Stravinsky, Lagrime can be viewed as a continuation of Mr. Sellars’ engagements with the Passion story, from his acclaimed stagings of the classic Bach Passions to his work on contemporary variants by John Adams (The Gospel According to the Other Mary, in whose world premiere the Master Chorale and Mr. Gershon took part) and Kaija Saariaho (La Passion de Simone, recently reintroduced in a chamber version as part of the 2016 Ojai Festival).
“Lagrime has one foot in this world and one foot in the next world — it’s music written by somebody who is
in pain,” says Mr. Sellars. “It shares the giant discovery of lighting in Renaissance painting that was echoed in poetry and music: this understanding that light and darkness
are deeply intertwined in God’s creation and are necessary for each other. Taken together, they create chiaroscuro. That’s how we perceive depth.”
Through all of its pain, says Mr. Sellars, the challenge in Lagrime “is directed towards oneself. Instead of challenging the world, you challenge yourself — that is the real meaning of jihad in Islam, the war within yourself. In an analogous act to Michelangelo’s and Rembrandt’s self-portraits, Lasso has created this host of recording angels who can detail the uctuations and razor-edge re nements of his art, his moral quandaries, and lifelong regret for failed moments. That crystal-clear, relentlessly honest moment is a crisis known to every human being on earth. In the case of Lasso, he can’t forgive himself, but the music is suffused with a divine compassion and illumination that reaches the very heart of hell.”
The result of this powerful collaboration turned out to make
a milestone in the history of the Master Chorale. “What neither Peter nor I could fully anticipate was the overwhelming emotional vulnerability that our singers would bring to
this project,” says Mr. Gershon. “Ostensibly this piece is about
Peter the Apostle and his lifelong sense of remorse over denying
Jesus before the cruci xion. What
we came to realize as we all worked together is that Lasso was delving into much more universal themes surrounding growing old, losing the things and people that we care about,
experiencing extreme shame and regret, but also some possibility of benediction. We all came away from the initial performances of this work convinced of two things: that Lagrime di San Pietro is one of the towering masterpieces of Western music, and that this project represents for each of us some of the most important work that we have ever embarked upon. This is a piece that people need to hear, to see, and to experience.”
Program note by Thomas May, program annotator for the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Thomas May writes about
the arts and blog at memeteria.com. Reprinted with permission.
Artwork (next spread): El Greco’s The Penitent Saint Peter (ca. 1590–95).
OUR SWEET HEREAFTER
by Doyle Armbrust
Do you ever have this experience, where a companion asks you what restaurants or books or music you love most, and your brain instantly empties with the velocity of an airplane toilet? The one artist who reliably clings to my brain, when these discussions involve lm, is the Canadian director Atom Egoyan. It is likely because I
rst encountered his work during
my undergrad years, when my brain could still retain information, but in any case, his 1997 movie The Sweet Hereafter is one of those under-the- radar (despite winning the Grand Prix at Cannes) gems that is my go-to in these scenarios.
To tell you that the story involves a school bus careening off an icy road and into a frigid lake — an accident
in which many children die — is de nitively not a spoiler. And you should certainly seek this one out once you get home, in part because Ian Holm gives one of the most extraordinarily nuanced performances of any actor, ever.
The tragedy in this story is not the accident. It is the catastrophe of being left behind.
The dead, though desperately missed, are nevertheless gone and not participating in our anguish. Don’t tell the Vatican, but I think
this is where Saint Peter’s remorse lives, after betraying Jesus not once but thrice. Let’s be honest, all of these scenes were inevitably (see: prophecies) going to include one
guy who rats out The Son of Man’s location for a bag of silver, some guys falling asleep on the most climactic
night of their lives, and of course one guy who would deny ever knowing his spiritual captain. Peter just drew the short straw on his role in this play. The tripartite deed itself is not really the cause of his pain. It’s knowing that he expedited the death of a friend, even though that death was preordained. He is left behind, and this is gutting.
Wait, this is a program essay...what are we talking about, exactly?
Right. What you’re here to see is one of the most luminous musical entries from the High Renaissance, Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro, or “Tears of Saint Peter.” I’m not sure about you, but when I hear music of this era — and speci cally
a cappella numbers — it taps into something that feels primordial, or at the very least, elemental. Even though this piece would never have been allowed as part of a liturgy, it is sacred, and so was required to work within certain constraints. No frivolous, virtuosic singing allowed. But as
any of you who have encountered
a painting by Mondrian or a play by Beckett know, it is often the existence of severe constraints that produce some of the most elevating or thought-provoking art.
Much has been written about how Orlando di Lasso strips his Lagrime score down to only the essential elements, with nary an extraneous note to be found. To my mind, this
is at best hyperbolic and at worst idiotic, because who is to say what notes are super uous? But I get the sentiment. What you’ll inevitably experience today is music in which
the text is never obscured, and
from which any vocal ourishes are completely absent. Notice how the composer captures the inescapability of regret, and the unique tone of each segment’s text. Leaning primarily on harmony and rhythm alone, how does he inhabit this psychological labyrinth Saint Peter nds himself trapped in?
A few notable examples stand
out to me. In the second movement, “Ma gli archi,” we get the double- down. Not only is Peter’s guilt going
to haunt him — no lesser force than God will keep this wound owing
— as though newly cut open, each day FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. It is
a fantastic allegory illuminating the fallacy of “closure.” There are some moments that we will never escape, no matter how much therapy or apologizing or pharmaceuticals we attempt. Again, the betrayal of Jesus was a dire mistake attributed to the more or less preordained human
trait of self-preservation. Peter’s
life was in danger, and his animal instincts kicked in to gear. The real catastrophe, even after his friend rises from the dead, is having to wake up each morning to that regret. To be left behind, even as the world soldiers on.
It is intriguing that Lasso penned this opus at the very end of his life.
I don’t think that it’s projecting irresponsibly to say that if this was his swan song, Orlando was grappling with a deep regret as he neared
the end. Why not a song of thanks,
or a celebration of God’s creation
for his nal number? Perhaps he’s generously offering us the chance to
reckon with our regret long before we reach the end. A possibility to know that a fault may never be forgiven, but that by taking ownership of it, we might not cower under its shadow for the rest of our lives.
Another example of the many- faceted nature of this story — which is perhaps universal — arrives with the 10th movement, “Come falda di neve.” Both the text and the music pivot to some degree here. There is a glimmer of sunshine, literally, as Peter’s
fear “like a snow ake” melts in the springtime of his Master’s mercy. It’s not total absolution that is given, but
a kind of beautiful balance offered in which the betrayal lives in a space of sadness, rather than self-hatred. The relief is massive, even if the best-case scenario is lifelong heartache.
Do you hear the turn in the music? There is a compassion in the harmonies of the ninth movement, “Chi ad uno raconntár potesse,”
but something lifts in “Come falda di neve.” Using only harmony and
a gentler approach to the text, we — and Peter — realize that not all is lost. There may just be a reason to persevere.
One reason I love The Sweet Hereafter so devotedly is that it is patient, and doesn’t hinge on any one dramatic reveal. Lasso’s masterpiece has, until its nal movement, mined the poetry of Luigi Tansillo. But in
the magni cent outro, the composer exercises his editorial prerogative by writing a motet — a distinctly sacred form — and it is here that I believe the music becomes universal, and not just
about the plight of Saint Peter. It is an invitation to all of us to a reprieve, if not absolution. Christ may have had nails brutally hammered into his hands and feet, but this was a pain measured in hours. It pales in comparison to years of self-condemnation.
The music that we are left with is so spare. It’s as if Lasso desires for us to lean forward: this is the moment, that more than any other, we should ponder. It feels like a rendezvous with the divine, whatever that means to you. Whether your transgression caused a bus to plunge beneath
the ice, or your lot was to ful ll a prophecy...or perhaps something altogether less sensational: hope
is still within the grasp of those left behind.
Doyle Armbrust is a Chicago-based violist and member of the Spektral Quartet. He is a contributing writer
for WQXR’s Q2 Music, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and formerly, Time Out Chicago.
The Los Angeles Master Chorale is widely recognized as the country’s leading professional choir and one of Southern California’s most vibrant cultural treasures. Hailed for its powerful performances, technical precision, and artistic daring,
the Master Chorale is led by artistic director Grant Gershon and Jean Davidson, president and CEO. Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre currently serves as the ensemble’s Swan Family Artist- in-Residence. Created by legendary conductor Roger Wagner in 1964, it is a founding resident company of The Music Center and choir-in-residence at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Chorister positions are highly sought after, and the fully professional choir is a diverse and vocally dynamic group showcasing the many voices of Los Angeles.
Presenting its own concert series each season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale performs choral music from the earliest writings to contemporary compositions striking a balance between innovation and tradition. It also frequently performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. The Master Chorale has been awarded three ASCAP/ Chorus America Awards for Adventurous Programming as well as Chorus America’s prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence. In 2017 it was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame. The Master Chorale has an esteemed recording catalog and has appeared frequently on lm scores and soundtracks, most recently Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Committed to community engagement and fostering music education in schools, the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s education programs include Voices Within residencies that encourage students to
write and perform their own songs, and an expansive Oratorio Project for high school students. The Master Chorale presents an annual High School Choir Festival bringing teenagers from around the Southland to perform in Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Festival celebrates its 30th year in 2019.
In June 2016, the Master Chorale hosted Big Sing L.A., bringing people of all ages and abilities to Grand Park for a communal singing event. In July 2018 the Master Chorale presented Big Sing California, the largest group singing event in state history, encompassing a concert in Disney Hall that was broadcast live to venues in ve other cities in California and livestreamed worldwide online.
Hailed for his adventurous and bold artistic leadership and for eliciting technically precise and expressive performances from musicians, Grant Gershon (conductor) is currently in his 17th season as the Kiki
& David Gindler Artistic Director of the
Los Angeles Master Chorale. The Los Angeles Times has said the Master Chorale “has become the most exciting chorus
in the country under Grant Gershon,” a re ection on both his programming and performances.
During his tenure, Mr. Gershon has
led more than 200 performances at
Walt Disney Concert Hall. A fervent champion of new music, he has led world- premiere performances of major works
by composers including John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Christopher Rouse, Steve Reich, Morten Lauridsen, Ricky Ian Gordon, Gabriela Lena Frank, Shawn Kirchner, Ellen Reid, and Chinary Ung.
Mr. Gershon is the resident conductor of LA Opera. He made his acclaimed debut
with the company with La Traviata in 2009 and has subsequently conducted Il Postino, Madame Butter y, Carmen, Florencia en
el Amazonas, Wonderful Town, The Tales
of Hoffmann, and The Pearl Fishers. He conducted the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha for LA Opera in fall 2018. In November 2017 he conducted the world premiere of John Adams’s Girls of the Golden West, directed by Peter Sellars, for San Francisco Opera with “rhythmic buoyancy and vigor” (Classical Voice
North America). In New York, Mr. Gershon has appeared at Carnegie Hall and at Trinity Wall Street, as well as on the Great Performers series at Lincoln Center. Other major appearances include performances at the Ravinia, Aspen, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Salzburg, and Vienna festivals. He has worked closely with numerous conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Gustavo Dudamel, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Simon Rattle, and his mentor, Esa-Pekka Salonen.
His discography includes two Grammy- nominated recordings: Sweeney Todd (New York Philharmonic Special Editions) and Ligeti’s Grand Macabre (Sony Classical); six commercial recordings with the Master Chorale; and two live performance albums. He has also led
the Master Chorale in performances for several major motion pictures’ soundtracks including Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the request of composer John Williams.
Peter Sellars (director) has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. He has staged operas at companies including the Canadian Opera Company, Dutch National Opera, English National Opera,
Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra National de Paris, and the Salzburg Festival.
He has collaborated on the creation of many works with composer John Adams, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, and The Gospel According to the Other Mary. Inspired by the compositions of Kaija Saariaho, Mr. Sellars has guided the creation of productions
of her work that have expanded the repertoire of modern opera.
Recent projects include an acclaimed production of La Clemenza di Tito at the 2017 Salzburg Festival, a concert staging of The Cunning Little Vixen with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the premiere of the latest Adams/Sellars collaboration, Girls of the Golden West, at San Francisco Opera. This summer, Mr. Sellars will create a new production of Doctor Atomic for the Santa Fe Opera.
Mr. Sellars has led several major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Arts Festival. In 2006 he was artistic director of New Crowned Hope, a month- long festival in Vienna for which he invited artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new work in the elds of music, theater, dance, lm, the visual arts, and architecture for the celebration of Mozart’s 250th birth anniversary. He served as the music director of the 2016 Ojai Music Festival.
He is a Distinguished Professor in the department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival, and was a mentor for the Rolex Arts Initiative. Mr. Sellars is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship,
the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he was awarded the
prestigious Polar Music Prize, and named Musical America’s 2014 “Artist of the Year.”
James F. Ingalls (lighting designer) made his Los Angeles Master Chorale debut with Lagrime. His other work in Los Angeles includes The Beauty Queen of Leenane
and The Price and A Parallelogram (Mark Taper Forum); The Gospel According
to the Other Mary, Cantata Criolla,
Oedipus Rex/Symphony of Psalms, and
El Niño (Los Angeles Philharmonic); Carmen de Lavallade’s As I Remember
It (Wallis Annenberg Center); and Tribu, choreographed by Melanie Rios Glaser (RedCat). Recent designs for dance include Concertiana, Half Life, and The Beauty in Gray (Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance); Giselle (Finnish National Ballet); and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Miami City Ballet). Recent design for opera includes the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains (Dutch National Opera and Paris Opera/Garnier) and La Clemenza di Tito (Salzburg Festival), both directed by Peter Sellars. Recent theater work includes Waiting for Godot, Sive, and King of the Castle, all directed by Garry Hynes (Druid Theatre/Galway). He often collaborates with The Wooden Floor dancers in Santa Ana, California.
Danielle Domingue Sumi (costume designer) is native to New Orleans, Louisiana, and a Los Angeles-based apparel artist and art psychotherapist.
Her artistic expression is inspired by spirituality and humility with elements of multi-cultural diversity and social justice. She is committed to promoting social well- being through expressive arts including increased understanding, recognition, and response to multi-ethnic heritage.
She is treasured for her creativity and leadership skills in theatrical costume production. Since 2005, she has worked on staff and independently with fashion, theaters, and opera companies including FIDM, Los Angeles Opera, Kirk Douglas Theater, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Perm Opera and Ballet Company, Teatro Real Madrid, English National Opera, and Music Academy of the West. She was previously assistant head of wardrobe with Los Angeles Opera.
She nds great joy in collaborating with director Peter Sellars including designing Lagrime di San Pietro with Los Angeles Master Chorale and bringing life to other projects including Desdemona at CAP UCLA, The Indian Queen, and The Gospel According to the Other Mary on tour with Los Angeles Philharmonic. Recently,
she was assistant costume designer for Los Angeles Philharmonic’s production
of Bernstein’s Mass and supervised Allegiance, a Broadway musical production with East West Players and the Japanese American Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
UMS welcomes the Los Angeles Master Chorale and conductor Grant Gershon as they make their UMS debuts this evening.
LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE
Grant Gershon / Artistic Director
Claire Fedoruk Elissa Johnston Anna Schubert
Hayden Eberhart Bethanie Peregrine Andrea Zomorodian
Shawn Kirchner Niké St. Clair Michele Hemmings
Callista Hoffman-Campbell Michael Lichtenauer Adriana Manfredi
Matthew Brown Luc Kleiner Adrien Redford
Jon Lee Keenan Brett McDermid Shuo Zhai
Scott Graff James Hayden Chung Uk Lee
The singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale are represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO.
Los Angeles Master Chorale
Touring Production Staff
Kevin Koelbl / Chief Production Of cer Susie McDermid / Senior Production
Robert Heath / Company Manager David Rakita / Production Assistant
The Los Angeles Master Chorale production of Lagrime di San Pietro is made possible with generous underwriting from the Lovelace Family Trust and is dedicated to the memory of Jon Lovelace in honor of the special friendship he shared with director Peter Sellars. The touring production is supported by Kiki and David Gindler, Philip A. Swan, Laney and Tom Techentin, Jerrie and Abbott Brown, Cindy and Gary Frischling, Marian H. and John Niles, Frederick J. Ruopp, and Eva and Marc Stern.
THIS EVENING'S VICTORS FOR UMS:
Carl and Charlene Herstein
Supporters of this evening’s performance of Lagrime di San Pietro.
MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND...
2/16 Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra and UMS Choral Union: Britten’s War Requiem
3/16 Benjamin Eric Owens and Lawrence Brownlee 4/12 The English Concert: Handel’s Semele
Tickets available at www.ums.org.
ON THE EDUCATION HORIZON...
1/26 You Can Dance: Camille A. Brown & Dancers
(Ann Arbor Y, 400 W. Washington Street, 1:30 pm) Registration opens 45 minutes prior to the start of the event.
1/26 Post-Performance Artist Q&A: Camille A. Brown & Dancers (Power Center, post-performance)
Must have a ticket to that evening’s performance by Camille A. Brown & Dancers to attend.
2/14 Master Class: Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor
(Britton Recital Hall, Moore Building, 1100 Baits Drive, 7:30 pm)
Educational events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
University Musical Society