Handel’s Semele George Frideric Handel / Composer
The English Concert
Harry Bicket / Director and Harpsichord
Brenda Rae / Soprano (Semele)
Elizabeth DeShong / Mezzo-soprano (Juno/Ino) Benjamin Hulett / Tenor (Jupiter)
Soloman Howard / Bass (Cadmus/Somnus) Ailish Tynan / Soprano (Iris)
Christopher Lowrey / Countertenor (Athamas)
The Clarion Choir
Steven Fox / Artistic Director
Brian Giebler / Tenor (Apollo)
Joseph Beutel / Bass-baritone (Priest)
Friday Evening, April 12, 2019 at 7:30 Hill Auditorium
46th Performance of the 140th Annual Season 140th Annual Choral Union Series
This evening’s performance is supported by the William R. Kinney Endowment Fund and Jim Toy. Media partnership provided by WGTE 91.3 FM, WRCJ 90.9 FM, and Between the Lines.
Special thanks to Tom Thompson of Tom Thompson Flowers, Ann Arbor, for his generous contribution of lobby oral art for this evening’s concert.
The edition of Semele used in tonight’s performance is published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, Kassel. By arrangement with Faber Music Ltd, London.
In consideration of 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.
George Frideric Handel
This evening’s performance is approximately three and a half hours in duration, including two intermissions.
George Frideric Handel
Born February 23, 1685 in Halle, Germany Died April 14, 1759 in London
UMS premiere: This opera has never been performed under UMS auspices.
Snapshots of History...In 1743:
· Thomas Jefferson is born
· Coordinated scienti c observations of the transit of the planet Mercury
are organized by Joseph-Nicolas Delisle
· Henry Pelham becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain
It was no small surprise for the audience when Handel presented his newest work, The Story of Semele,
at Covent Garden on February 10, 1744. After the end of his career as a composer of Italian operas, Handel turned to sacred oratorios in English, producing Messiah (1741) and Samson (1742). London musical circles expected him to continue working in that genre, especially since he had adamantly refused to collaborate with an opera company that had been actively courting him. Handel’s new work was presented as an oratorio, without staging, but few people were fooled as to its operatic nature. The mythological (as opposed to Biblical) subject and the virtuoso singing style immediately gave The Story of Semele away. The frank sensuality of William Congreve’s libretto and of Handel’s music only added fuel to the re. Semele was given just six times: there were four performances in February and two more in December 1744.
The work was never revived during Handel’s lifetime.
The libretto was not written for Handel; Congreve (1670–1729) had
originally penned it in back in 1706 for composer John Eccles (1668–1735), whose setting was never performed. The text was revised for Handel, with some additional numbers added
by contemporary poets, including Alexander Pope (1688–1744).
The plot, which drew on Book III
of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, revolves around the hubris of a mortal woman who must pay for her boundless ambition with her life. Semele, the daughter of King Cadmus of Thebes,
is in love with Jupiter (Zeus). Spurning her of cial ancé, Athamas (with whom her sister Ino is in love), she lets herself be whisked away by the king of the gods to a heavenly abode where she enjoys “endless pleasure,” as she sings in one of her celebrated arias. Yet it is not long before Juno (Hera), Jupiter’s long-suffering wife, learns of the affair and vows terrible revenge. It takes an elaborate ruse to disrupt the great love between these two unequal partners, but Juno immediately nds Semele’s weak point: the mortal woman’s sense of inferiority, which she compensates for by being extremely demanding of her divine lover. Juno
wins Semele’s con dence by taking
on Ino’s shape and, as her false sister, gives her fatal advice: Semele should rst make Jupiter swear that he would grant her wish, whatever it may be, and then tell him to show himself in his true form as the god of thunder. Juno and Jupiter both know that Semele will be struck dead by his splendor that no mortal can withstand, but bound by his oath, Jupiter must grant Semele’s wish, causing Semele’s immediate demise. At the time of her death, she was pregnant with Jupiter’s child, whom the god managed to save. That child is none other than Dionysus (Bacchus), the god of wine — making Semele the only mortal woman in Greek mythology to have a god for an offspring.
Supreme musical dramatist that he was, Handel portrayed the dramatis personae in a highly nuanced way, with profound psychological insight. Every character is multidimensional: even Athamas, whose part is relatively minor, can, in one second, plunge “from love, from hope...in deep despair.” Semele’s sister Ino is a forsaken lover in Act I and, in Act II, a wide-eyed traveler between worlds as an unwitting yet happy tool of Juno’s revenge. Jupiter, the fearsome thunder god, is at the same time a lover who
is put on the defensive by the highly assertive Semele, and even reaches the limits of his own omnipotence when he realizes that he is bound by his oath and cannot avoid the tragic outcome. Hera is able to place an impressive emotional range, from fury to feigned kindness to exuberant joy, in the service of her obsession with revenge. The title character, the most complex of all, is despondent, exultant, menacing, seductive, and her on-
stage death is one of the most heart- wrenching death scenes in all opera. Handel employed a whole gamut
of musical devices to render such diverse emotions. Some of these devices form part of the general vocabulary of opera seria, which Handel had practiced for over 30 years before writing Semele. The “da capo” aria form, in which the opening music returns after a contrasting middle section, has the built-in capacity to express two complementary states
of mind. The many dance forms we encounter in the score (gavotte, hornpipe, siciliana, etc.) all come with their own connotations (happy or sad) with which the audience was familiar; they served as important orientation points indicating what was happening in the plot at any given moment. But in Semele, Handel went far beyond these standard elements. He was particularly attentive to dynamics, using the marking pianissimo, not very often found in scores of the period, on more than one occasion. He used many astonishing “special effects”
to depict the forces of nature or supernatural events of many kinds. And last but not least, he introduced ensembles — vocal numbers for more than one singer — which are rather untypical in opera seria. There are three duets in Semele: the rst (Act
I) between Ino and Athamas, in which the young man tries in vain to assuage the heartbroken girl; the second (Act II) between Semele and Ino, where the sisters marvel at the wonders
of Zeus’s heavenly abode; and the third (Act III) between Juno and the slumber-god Somnus, aroused much against his will to be pressed into service for Juno’s revenge. And most
unusually, there is a quartet in Act I, where an unexpected situation — Ino’s confession that she is in love with her sister’s ancé — elicits four simultaneous reactions from the
four people present (King Cadmus, Semele, Ino, and Athamas), almost as in later operatic practice.
Several excerpts from Semele (such as Juno’s “Hence, Iris, hence away”
or Jupiter’s “Where’er you walk”) have become popular recital items, but they only take their full meaning if they are left in their original context. It is only then that we realize how carefully Handel planned the dramatic function of every single detail in this fascinating score.
Program notes by Peter Laki.
Scene 1. King Cadmus and the people of Thebes are getting ready to celebrate the wedding of Cadmus’s daughter Semele to the young Prince Athamas. Juno has already accepted the ritual sacri ce, but a scandal breaks out: Semele refuses to go through with the wedding, and her sister Ino announces that she is in love with the groom. The sacri cial re is extinguished, signaling that Jupiter, for his part, has rejected the sacri ce.
Scene 2. Ino voices her distress at being spurned by Athamas, who is helpless to assuage her sorrow.
Scene 3. Cadmus relates how Semele has been snatched away by an eagle “of mighty size, on purple wings descending...” While Athamas’s hopes to wed Semele are dashed, Ino sees a glimmer of hope for herself.
Scene 4. While a chorus of priests pays homage to King Cadmus, Semele sings of the “endless pleasures”
she enjoys at Jupiter’s side. (This
aria was originally intended for a nameless soloist. Handel assigned it to the protagonist, which causes no problems in a concert performance.)
Scene 1. Juno has dispatched her attendant Iris to nd Jupiter and Semele’s love nest. Upon hearing that it is guarded by “two erce dragons” with “a thousand ery eyes that never know repose,” they take off to nd Somnus, the god of slumber, whom
Juno will order to put the dragons to sleep.
Scene 2. Semele, surrounded by gentle “Loves and Zephyrs” in the palace that Jupiter has given her, wakes up to nd that her lover is not there.
Scene 3. Jupiter enters. Semele reproaches him for being absent. Jupiter defends himself by saying
that he was there even if Semele didn’t see him: “While Love was with thee, I was present; Love and I are one.” Semele immediately retorts
that “not you alone but Love and I
are one” — thus claiming to be the god’s equal. Or not entirely, since “I am mortal, still a woman.” Anticipating his lover’s request to be made immortal — a request that cannot be granted — Jupiter distracts Semele
by announcing that he is bringing her sister Ino to visit the heavenly palace.
Scene 4. Ino appears, and the two sisters admire the mysterious beauty of this magical place, surrounded by a chorus of “Nymphs and Swains.”
Scene 1. Juno awakens the slumber god Somnus and promises him the favors of a beautiful nymph named Pasithea if he helps her with her plan.
Scene 2. Semele, once again alone, awakens from a bad dream.
Scene 3. Juno enters, having taken on Ino’s shape. Semele believes she is talking to her sister. Juno gives her a mirror, in which Semele admires her own beauty. Juno urges her to demand that Jupiter appear before her in his divine form. Juno exits.
Scene 4. Jupiter enters, and Semele does as she was told. The god warns his lover not to make this demand, but Semele won’t take no for an answer and ies into a rage.
Scene 5. Jupiter, “pensive and dejected,” laments the doom that Semele has brought upon herself.
Scene 6. Meanwhile, Juno rejoices in her victory.
Scene 7. Semele sees “Jupiter descending in a cloud” and immediately collapses. Her last words are: “Oh help, oh help, I can no more...”
Scene 8. We are back in Thebes, where the opera began. Cadmus, Athamas, Ino, and the chorus mourn the death of Semele, but the mourning turns into celebration as Athamas and Ino are now united in marriage.
Final scene. The god Apollo descends from heaven and announces that “from Semele’s ashes a phoenix
will rise,” and the chorus solemnly proclaims that the newborn god Bacchus will “crown the joys of love.”
The English Concert is an outstanding orchestra: exceptional, in the world- renowned quality, ambition, and variety of its live and recorded output; unique, in the zeal of its players for working and performing together; and unwavering, in its desire to connect with its audience throughout the world. Under the artistic direction of Harry Bicket and principal guest Kristian Bezuidenhout, The English Concert has earned a reputation for combining urgency, passion, and re with precision, delicacy, and beauty.
The artistic partners they collaborate with re ect and enhance their pursuit for new ways to bring their music to life. Joyce DiDonato, Dame Sarah Connolly, Iestyn Davies, Alison Balsom, Trevor Pinnock, Dominic Dromgoole, Tom Morris, and
many others have not only brought their extraordinary skills to individual projects, but continue to help The English Concert to shape the way the orchestra performs.
One cornerstone of the orchestra’s annual cycle is its international Handel opera tour. Blossoming from an ongoing relationship with Carnegie Hall, the itinerary now regularly takes in the Theater an der Wien, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Elbphilharmonie, and Barbican Centre, and the roster of great halls continues to grow. Meanwhile, the orchestra’s regular London series allows them to explore
a radically different path, presenting programs to their home audience that challenge, inspire, and re them. The English Concert launches its partnership with Garsington Opera this year with performances of Monterverdi’s Vespers of 1610, and looks forward to future seasons of stunning opera productions.
Internationally renowned as an opera
and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket (director and harpsichord)
is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and
in 2007 became artistic director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s nest period orchestras. He became chief conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013 and assumed the music directorship in 2018. Productions at Santa Fe in recent seasons have included Fidelio, La Finta Giardiniera, Romeo et Juliette, Alcina, and Candide. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University.
The current season includes return visits to the Metropolitan Opera (The Magic Flute), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ariodante), Cleveland Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera
(Cosi Fan Tutte and Strauss’s Four Last Songs with Renée Fleming), and Prague Philharmonia featuring Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, and while in Chicago, he also conducts Music of the Baroque. Plans with The English Concert include his own arrangements of Mozart works for mechanical clockwork organ, Bach Cantatas for Advent, and Wayne Eagling’s Remembrance ballet, set to Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia’s Day at the English National Ballet Theatre. The orchestra continues its Handel opera series with performances of Semele in Europe and the US, including Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Barbican Centre, and Carnegie Hall.
Highlights of recent seasons include acclaimed productions in the US and Canada for Lyric Opera of Chicago (Orphée et Eurydice, Carmen, Rinaldo), Santa
Fe Opera (Bernstein’s Candide, Alcina, Fidelio), Houston Grand Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Rusalka), Canadian Opera Company
(Maometto II, Hercules), and Metropolitan Opera (Le Nozze di Figaro, Rodelinda, La clemenza di Tito, Giulio Cesare); and guest conducting with the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (including Cincinnati May Festival), Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, NACO Ottawa, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Messiah with the New York Philharmonic. He has also led master classes with The Juilliard School.
American soprano Brenda Rae’s (soprano/ Semele) outstanding qualities in the lyric coloratura repertoire have been acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. This season includes her debut at Opernhaus Zürich as Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) under Riccardo Minasi, her rst operatic appearance at Teatro alla Scala as Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), her
rst return as a guest to Oper Frankfurt
as Elvira (I puritani), and a return to Opera Philadelphia as Lucia di Lammermoor, following her star turn in the role for Santa Fe Opera. She also gives her debut recital at Wigmore Hall in a program of Strauss, Liszt, Debussy, Schubert, and Fanny Mendelssohn.
Recent notable debuts include Lucia
at the Wiener Staatsoper, Zerbinetta in both Hamburg and Berlin, Anne Trulove (The Rake’s Progress) at Opéra national de Paris, and, in new repertoire, Berg’s Lulu for English National Opera. Ms. Rae appears
as Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo on Opus Arte DVD from the Glyndebourne Festival, and sings Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) on
the Oehms label CD release, recorded live from Oper Frankfurt. Future projects include debuts with the Metropolitan Opera and Teatro Real Madrid.
This season, Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo- soprano/Juno/Ino) performed Adalgisa in Norma with the North Carolina Opera, gave a recital for Vocal Arts DC, sang John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Adams, and joined the San Francisco and Houston symphonies for Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Jane Glover.
Ms. DeShong made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Rossini’s Stabat Mater conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and portrayed Sesto in a new production of La Clemenza di Tito with the Los Angeles Opera. Later this season she will sing
the Verdi Requiem with the Minnesota Orchestra, and returns to the Glyndebourne Festival in the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo. Engagements next season include Suzuki in Madama Butter y at the Metropolitan Opera, and Hansel in a concert performance of Hansel and Gretel with the Melbourne Symphony conducted by Andrew Davis.
Last season, Ms. DeShong returned
to Washington National Opera to sing Ruggiero in Alcina, and to the Metropolitan Opera as Arsace in Semiramide. She
made her debut with 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. She also sang Suzuki in a new production of Madama Butter y at the Glyndebourne Festival, made her debuts with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and at the Proms in Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 (“Jeremiah”) under the direction of Antonio Pappano. She also sang Hansel in a concert version of Hansel and Gretel conducted by Andrew Davis at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Benjamin Hulett (tenor/Jupiter) graduated from New College Oxford and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and studies
with David Pollard. He has appeared in concert with Jeffrey Tate, Sir Andrew Davis, Peter Oundjian, Frans Brüggen, Thomas Zehetmair, Christopher Hogwood, and Harry Bicket; at the Vienna Musikverein and Salzburg Mozartwoche with Ivor Bolton;
at the BBC Proms and Edinburgh Festival with Sir Roger Norrington; and on tour with Emmanuelle Haim. He sang Tamino in Die Zauber öte with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle. His recordings have received BBC Music magazine, Gramophone, Grammy, L’Orfee d’Or, and Diapason nominations and awards. His many roles for the Hamburg Opera included Tamino, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, and Narraboth in Salome. He
sang his rst Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress in Caen, Limoges, Reims, Rouen, and Luxembourg. He has also performed with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Opera North, Theater an der Wien, and Welsh National Opera, and for the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Glyndebourne, and Baden-Baden festivals. Recent highlights include his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in L’heure Espagnole (with Charles Dutoit), Andres
in Wozzeck for the Theater and der Wien, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni for the Welsh National Opera, and a return to the 2018 BBC Proms as Septimius in Theodora (with Jonathan Cohen). Engagements for the current season and beyond include Jupiter in Semele at Carnegie Hall, Rodelinda for the Opera de Lille (with Emmanuelle Haim), Arbace in Idomeneo at Teatro Real Madrid, Jonathan in Saul at the Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Rome (with Antonio Pappano), and a return to Covent Garden as Tamino.
Soloman Howard’s (bass/Cadmus/Somnus) voice is described as “sonorous” by the New
York Times, “superhuman” by The Denver Post, and “a triumph” by The Guardian.
His current season features performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Santa Fe Opera, and Washington National Opera, and on the concert stage, he appears with Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society as well as on an international tour with Harry Bicket leading The English Concert.
Mr. Howard frequently appears with such heralded conductors as James Conlon, Christoph Eschenbach, Gustavo Dudamel, Nicola Luisotti, and Gianandrea Noseda. He is the recipient of the 2019 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, which is given by Washington National Opera in recognition of a young American singer in opera, oratorio, or recital repertoire with outstanding promise for a signi cant career. The Anti-Defamation League presented Mr. Howard with its “Making
a Difference Award” in summer 2016 for raising awareness of voting rights though his performances of Appomattox at the Kennedy Center, and for bringing opera into the larger community. Mr. Howard is a proud graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and of Morgan State University.
Irish soprano Ailish Tynan (soprano/Iris) won the 2003 Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. She was a member of the prestigious Vilar Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden and a BBC New Generation Artist.
Ms. Tynan established herself with operatic roles including Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel (The Royal Opera, Welsh National Opera, and Scottish Opera); Madame Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims, Marzelline
in Fidelio, and Madame Podtotshina’s Daughter in The Nose (The Royal Opera);
Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen (Grange Park Opera); Tigrane in Radamisto
(English National Opera); Papagena in Die Zauber öte (Teatro alla Scala and The Royal Opera); Despina in Così fan tutte (Théâtre du Capitole); Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict (Houston Grand Opera and Opéra Comique); Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Nannetta
in Falstaff, and Atalanta in Xerxes (Royal Swedish Opera); and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring (Opéra Comique and Opéra de Rouen).
Notable concert appearances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 (Dresdner Philharmonie, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra); Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Hallé); Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Accademia Nazionale
di Santa Cecilia and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); Britten’s War Requiem (RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra); Handel’s Messiah (Academy of Ancient Music); and Haydn’s The Creation (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). She has also appeared regularly at the BBC Proms.
Ms. Tynan is a passionate recitalist performing internationally with pianists including Iain Burnside, James Baillieu, Graham Johnson, and Simon Lepper.
Her numerous recordings include Fauré Melodies (Opus Arte), Nacht und Träume (Delphian), An Irish Songbook (Signum), and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (LSO Live).
Christopher Lowrey (countertenor/ Athamas) is now emerging at the front rank of young countertenors on both the opera stage and the concert platform. Originally from the US, he is a winner of the Helpmann Awards, the Sullivan Foundation Award, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Michael Oliver Prize
at the London Handel Singing Competition, and the Keasbey Award.
He has worked with a variety of conductors, including William Christie, Vladimir Jurowski, Christophe Rousset, Laurence Cummings, Richard Egarr, Christian Curnyn, Stephen Layton, Masaaki Suzuki, Erin Helyard, David Bates, Roberto Abbado, Leonardo García-Alarcón, and Martin Pearlman.
Roles in the current season include Didymus in Theodora at Kammerakademie Potsdam, Marte in a new production of La divisione del mondo with Opéra national du Rhin and Opéra national de Lorraine, and Ruggiero in Orlando Generoso at the Boston Early Music Festival 2019. He will also sing a program of Bach and Vivaldi
in concert on tour with Arcangelo in
Hong Kong and with Les Talens Lyriques in Essen, with Sandrine Piau performing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater.
Recent operatic roles include Handel's Arminio (title role) for the Göttingen Handel Festival, Handel’s Rinaldo (Argante) with Kammerorchester Basel, Handel’s Orlando (Medoro) with La Nuova Musica at St. John’s Smith Square London, his English National Opera debut in Handel’s Rodelinda (Unulfo), Handel’s Tamerlano (title role) with Les Talens Lyriques for Ambronay Festival, and Dean in Hamlet (Guildenstern) at the Glyndebourne and Adelaide festivals.
The Clarion Choir of New York has performed on some of the great stages of North America and Europe. The group was featured on PBS’s NYC-Arts program in 2014, and their debut recording, released in August 2016, received a Grammy nomination for “Best Choral Performance,” a nomination for the BBC Music magazine Choral Award, and “5 Diapasons” in Diapason magazine in France. The Choir’s Lincoln Center debut, performing Bach
chorales at the 2011 White Light Festival, was described by the Wall Street Journal as “superb...the choristers sang with purity of tone and ensemble precision.” In 2014, the Choir gave the New York premiere of Passion Week by Maximilian Steinberg, praised as “a stunning performance”
by the New York Times. In October 2016, the Choir premiered this same work in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where it
was written in 1923, and in London. The Russian premiere, made possible by the US Department of State, took place at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall. The Clarion Choir performs regularly as part of the
Met Live Arts program in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On May 7, 2018, the Choir also performed Gregorian chant with Madonna at the Met Gala in a three-song set that included the world premiere of her new song “Beautiful Game.” This season, The Clarion Choir performs on tour with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Leonard Slatkin in the fall, and with The English Concert and Harry Bicket in the spring. The Choir has recently released their second recording, Memory Eternal, which was awarded “Editor’s Choice” in Gramophone and ve stars in BBC Music magazine.
Steven Fox (artistic director, Clarion Choir) is artistic director of The Clarion Choir and The Clarion Orchestra, and is in his rst season as music director of the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. He founded Musica Antiqua St. Petersburg as Russia’s rst period-instrument orchestra at the age of 21, and from 2008–2013 was an associate conductor at New York City Opera. He served as assistant conductor for the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program’s and Juilliard Opera’s production of Gluck’s Armide
in 2012. Since then, he has appeared
as a guest conductor with renowned orchestras and opera companies, such as Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, Juilliard415 at Lincoln Center, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, l’Opéra
de Québec, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His performances have also taken him to some of the most prestigious halls internationally, such as the Grand Philharmonic Hall and Hermitage Theater
in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow; the Duke’s Hall of London; and the Vatican. In 2017, he conducted Clarion’s rst fully staged opera production, Mozart’s Magic Flute. Staged by Alain Gauthier, the production was called “a deft reach across two centuries” by the New York Times and “a delight, on all fronts” by Opera magazine (UK). Mr. Fox was named an associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in 2010 and received a Grammy Award nomination for his debut recording with The Clarion Choir in 2016. He has given master classes and clinics
at Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School, and Yale University, where he served for two years as preparatory conductor of the Yale Schola Cantorum.
THE ENGLISH CONCERT
Harry Bicket / Director and Harpsichord
Nadja Zwiener / Leader Alice Evans
Tuomo Suni Kinga Ujszászi Jacek Kurzydło Diana Lee
Alfonso Leal del Ojo Oliver Wilson
Joseph Crouch Jonathan Byers
THE CLARION CHOIR Steven Fox / Artistic Director
Jessica Beebe Madeline Healey Linda Jones Anna Lenti
Molly Netter* Nacole Palmer Molly Quinn
Nola Richardson* Melanie Russell
Luthien Brackett* Roger Isaacs* Tim Keeler Marguerite Krull Timothy Parsons Mikki Sodergren
Marta Bławat Hilary Stock
Alberto Grazzi Zoe Shevlin
Ursula Paludan Monberg Martin Lawrence
Mark Bennett Stian Aareskjold
Andrew Fuchs Brian Giebler*
Tim Hodges Lawrence Jones Jonathan Ramseyer
Joseph Beutel Kelvin Chan Michael Hawes Tim Krol
Neil Netherly Jonathan Woody*
* indicates understudy
This evening’s performance marks The English Concert’s fth appearance under UMS auspices following its UMS debut in January 1986 in Rackham Auditorium with Trevor Pinnock conducting and on harpsichord. Harry Bicket makes his third UMS appearance and soprano Brenda Rae her fth UMS appearance this evening following their UMS debuts in February 2013 at
Hill Auditorium in a concert performance of Handel’s Radamisto with The English Concert. Mr. Bicket and The English Concert most recently appeared under UMS auspices in April 2017 in a performance of Handel’s Ariodante
in Hill Auditorium. Ms. Rae most recently appeared at UMS in performances
of Handel’s Messiah in December 2017 in Hill Auditorium. This evening’s performance marks mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong’s third performance under UMS auspices, following her UMS debut in December 2015 in performances of Handel’s Messiah in Hill Auditorium. UMS welcomes Benjamin Hulett, Soloman Howard, Ailish Tynan, Christopher Lowrey, the Clarion Choir, and Steven Fox as they make their UMS debuts this evening.
TONIGHT’S VICTORS FOR UMS:
William R. Kinney Endowment Fund —
Supporters of this evening’s performance of Handel’s Semele.
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Must have a ticket to that evening’s performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company to attend.
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Explore the 2019–20 UMS season online at www.ums.org.
Handel’s Semele George Frideric Handel / Composer