The Worcester Chorus performance of Handel's Messiah, with Christopher Shepard, Artistic Director, special guest Soloists, and Festival Orchestra
a Worcester Holiday Tradition
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Mechanics Hall - Performance Saturday Night at 8:00 PM
Tickets: $37, $34, students $20 advance/$15 door. Call for discounts, groups
"A dazzling, elegant performance. The Worcester Chorus brings Messiah to glorious life." - Telegram & Gazette
George Frederick Handel's masterwork, The Messiah, has ushered in the holiday season in Central Massachusetts for well over 100 years! Performed in the elegance and acoustic perfection of Worcester's Mechanics Hall, which is always decorated for a festive atmosphere, with the full experience of the 100+ voices of The Worcester Chorus, accompanied by a full orchestra, and featuring some of the best vocal soloists: Susan Consoli, Soprano; Ryland Angel, Alto; Stanley Wilson, Tenor; Steven Small, Baritone - this concert has meant the spirit of the season to many for generations.
Students from Worcester singing portions of Handel's Messiah:
Sopranos - Chery Goodney-Rios, University Park Campus School, Karlie Fitzgerald, Bancroft School, Aimee Renihan, home-schooled
Alto - Ruth Dibuono, Bancroft School
Start your own holiday tradition this year!! Treat yourself; treat your family. This is some of the most beautiful music ever written for the human voice. Join the throng and be moved.
About the Artists
In recent years, Artistic Director/Conductor Chris Shepard has been most associated with the choral music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He founded the Sydneian Bach Choir and Orchestra in Sydney, Australia, and was the music director of BACH 2010, a project to perform all of Bach’s choral cantatas. Under his direction, the ensemble performed over seventy-five cantatas, as well as the two Passions, B Minor Mass, and Christmas Oratorio. A Sydney reviewer wrote of the cantata series that “these well-attended events, using a fine choir and perceptive soloists, are high points in our musical terrain.”
In addition to the music of J.S. Bach, Chris has conducted many staples of the choral-orchestral repertoire, and he has commissioned and premiered a number of new choral works in both Australia and America. Chris was recently named Music Director of the Dessoff Choirs, one of New York City’s most venerable choral organizations. They perform regularly with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and have long had a commitment to new music. Since returning to America, Chris has also been a guest conductor at Emmanuel Church in Boston, a church renowned for its three-decade Bach cantata project. He currently serves as Music Director of the First Congregational Church in Watertown, CT. He has conducted avocational choirs for more than two decades, including the Stamford MasterSingers, Greater Middletown Chorale and Waterbury Chorale in Connecticut.
Resident in Sydney from 1996 to 2008, Chris served as Director of Music at Sydney Grammar School, one of Australia’s most prominent high schools. Music education has been a major focus of his career; before moving to Sydney, Chris led the choral program at the Taft School in Connecticut, where his Collegium Musicum appeared at the 1994 ACDA Eastern Division convention. The Litchfield County Children’s Choir, which he founded in 1990, continues to thrive after nearly two decades. Since 2004, Chris has been Music Director of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Chamber Music Program, an intensive chamber music program for advanced young players and singers from around the world. He conducts the chamber orchestra and choir, serving on the faculty alongside such guest ensembles as the Shanghai Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet and Cantus. Over the last two decades, Chris has given several presentations for the American Choral Directors’ Association and has conducted several high school regional festival choirs in New England.
With SBS-TV, an Australian national public television network, Chris presented two documentaries: Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and From Mozart to Morrison with eminent Australian jazz musician James Morrison. The Melbourne Age recommended the Mozart documentary as a “novel, thoughtfully produced hour”. In 2000, Chris was chorusmaster with the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for their performance in the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Throughout his years in Sydney, Chris worked with a wide range of school and community choirs as conductor and clinician.
Chris holds degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale School of Music, where he studied choral conducting with Marguerite Brooks. He is currently completing his PhD in Musicology at the University of Sydney, researching the performance history of Bach’s B Minor Mass in 20th century America.
updated June 2010
The Worcester Chorus is under the sponsorship of Music Worcester, Inc., and has the unique distinction of being one of the most outstanding ongoing choral groups in the United States, having been founded in 1858 to sing in the first annual Worcester Music Festival in the newly built Mechanics Hall. The 120-member chorus includes singers from Worcester County, northern Connecticut and the Boston area. Its repertoire includes not only the Western world's finest choral masterpieces, but also contemporary literature and arrangements of American folk songs and classics from the musical theater, as well as commissioned works. Each year the chorus performs with orchestra and soloists in Mechanics Hall as part of The Worcester Music Festival, including an annual performance of Handel's Messiah, a Spring Choral Concert, and in guest appearances throughout the Northeast and overseas.
The Worcester Chorus is a major community chorus that includes both amateur singers and professional musicians. It endeavors to foster the choral arts and to enhance the cultural life of Worcester and the surrounding area through the highest level of musicianship and artistry, resulting in enriching and emotional experiences for audience and singer alike.
Soprano, Susan Consoli’s active career in oratorio, opera and recital have led her throughout the United States and abroad. She has worked under such notable conductors as Craig Smith, John Harbison, Bruno Weil, Grant Llewellyn, Laurence Cummings, John Finney, William Jon Gray, Tom Hall and Ryan Turner as well as director/choreographer Chen Shi-Zheng and choreographer Tero Saarinen. She has been a soloist in Emmanuel Music’s Bach Cantata Series since 2005 as well as soloist with the Carmel Bach Festival since 2004.
Stanley Wilson, tenor, has a background in both classical music and musical theatre. He has a Master of Music from The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA in Opera Performance and is currently studying with Deborah Birnbaum of New York City. He has traveled to the Jarvis Conservatory in Napa, CA to be involved in their production of Dona Francisquita , a Spanish Zaruela. Stanley has sung with the Bel Canto Music Festival of New Hampshire for their in school production of The Magic Flute singing the role of Tamino. He has worked with John Davies and the New England Opera Theatre
Stanley’s concert work includes performances of the Finzi Intimations of Immortality, Bach Christmas Oratorio, CPE Bach Magnificat, Handel Messiah, Judas Maccabaeus, and Israel in Egypt, Mozart Requiem, Mozart Great Mass in c minor and Coronation Mass, Elijah, Haydn Mass in the Time of War, Vivaldi Dixit Dominus, Beethoven Choral Fantasy, the premier of Gwenyth Walkers’ Come Life, Shaker Life, Bach St. John Passion, Schubert Mass in B-flat and Mass in E-flat, Puccini Messa di Gloria, Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio, and Ives The Celestial Country.
He has sung with the Boston Classical Orchestra, New Bedford Symphony, the Salisbury Singers and Arcadia Orchestra, the Arlington Philharmonic, the Concord Chorus and Orchestra, the Manchester Chorale and Orchestra, the Master Singers of Worcester, the Oratorio Choir of New Haven and the Concert Singers of Greater Lynn. Stanley was a Resident Artist with the Natchez Opera Festival during May of '08. He participated in Solfest, a month long festival for children and adults, which is sponsored by the Key West Symphony Orchestra. He was a finalist in the Boston Region of the NATS Competition in 2002.
Stanley has performed multiple full recitals with pianist Malcolm Halliday. The programs include songs by Schumann, Faure, Quilter, Bridge, Vaughn Williams and many others.
Stanley has worked with the Provincetown Repertory Theatre in their productions of The Trip to Bountiful and Amphoragorey which is an original musical based on the drawings and stories of Edward Gorey. He traveled to New York City with the Repertory Theatre’s workshop production of The Trip to Bountiful at the West Beth Theater. Some musical theatre roles which he has performed include Eddie Ryan in Funny Girl, the MC in Cabaret and Sasha in Fiddler on the Roof.
Stanley is currently teaching voice at The Groton School in Groton, MA as well as privately from his home in Worcester. He is currently accepting new students and can be reached by his website at www.stanleywilsontenor.com.
Born on St. Cecilia's Day, Countertenor Ryland Angel was a chorister at Bristol Cathedral and a lay-clerk at Chester Cathedral. He trained as a lawyer before deciding to pursue a professional career as a singer in 1991 when he started studying with David Mason. Since then, Mr. Angel has received a Grammy nomination and has performed with William Christie, Rene Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Roy Goodman, Christophe Rousset, Philippe Herreweghe, Christophe Coin, Gabriel Garrido, Cantus Köln, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Parlement de Musique, the Ensemble of Early Music of New York and Ensemble La Fenice.
Recently he performed The Fairy Queen with Boston Baroque as well as performances of Venus and Adonis by Desmarest conducted by Christophe Rousset at Opera de Nancy and a return engagement with the William Byrd Ensemble in Paris joining them additionally at the Boston Early Music Festival. Other recent engagements have included: Tolomeo Giulio Cesare with Opera Colorado and Boston Baroque and concerts with the New York Collegium and Messiah with Musica Sacra in a Carnegie Hall debut; plus Adrasto in Sant Alessio with Les Arts Florissants at Lincoln Center, Barbican (UK), Caen, Luxembourg, Theatre des Champs Elysées (Paris) (DVD on EMI/Virgin Veritas). He sang on the movie Henry IV and also sang in Le Petit Prince. He performed Giove in The Return of Ulysses Monteverdi -Christophe Rousset -Toulouse opera, Paris Cite de la Musique, and the Leipzig festival.
Mr. Angel has performed with the English National Opera in Monteverdi's Orfeo, Buggen in Purcell's The Fairy Queen and Fritz in the world premiere of Gavin Bryars' Doctor Ox’s Experiment, directed by Atom Egoyan. He sang the title role in Handel's Amadigi di Gaula in Karlsruhe with Roy Goodman, Bertarido Rodelinda with Il Combattimento in the Carre Theatre Amsterdam and Zephyr Apollo and Hyacinth with the Classical Opera Company in London.
Other opera engagements include the title role in Gluck's Orfeo in Koblenz, the title role in Marazzoli's San Tomaso with Cantus Köln, Venus and Adonis at Flanders Opera with René Jacobs, Dido and Aeneas at the Opera Comique in Paris, King Arthur and Acis and Galatea with Deller Consort, Peri's Euridice with Opéra Normandie, The Play of Daniel in Paris and Tokyo, Jupiter in Ballet Comique de La Royne in Geneva and "Love Divine" in a staged version of Caldara's Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin at Le Louvre, Paris.
He has performed Monteverdi's Selva Morale with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, the world premiere of Doux Mensonges at the Opéra National de Paris Palais Garnier with Jiri Kylian and William Christie, as well as an appearance at London's South Bank Centre in Carmina Burana conducted by Mark Ermler.
Mr. Angel sang in Tolomeo with Muziektheater Transparant in Antwerp, the title role in Radamisto for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, in concert performances of Handel's Israel in Egypt with Graeme Jenkins in Dallas, The Play of Daniel for the Spoleto Festival in Italy and Athamas Semele for Oper Köln.
He has also appeared inAgrippina with New York City Opera, and as Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Florentine Opera under Steuart Bedford. He recently returned to English National Opera as Buggen The Fairy Queen, a part he has also sung for the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona.
Other engagements include recordings of Charpentier Te Deum with Le Concert Spirituel, Scarlatti Cantatas with Les Folies Francaises, works of Clarke and Purcell with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan and Messiah with both the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lim Yau.
He has sung Tolomeo Guilio Cesare for Utah Opera, and Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and made his debut with the Philharmonia Baroque of San Francisco in a Scarlatti program conducted by Nicholas McGegan.
Recordings include: "Counter-tenor Duets and Song" -Purcell (Deux-elles); Te Deum - Charpentier (Glossa); The Cecilian Vespers -D. Scarlatti (Avie); "Totus Amore" -Solo Cantatas of Scarlatti, Stradella and Bassani (Deux Elles); Ballet Comique de La Royne -Beaujoyeaux (K317); Messe des Morts -Charpentier (Naxos); "Motets of Lorenzani" (Naxos); "A Baroque Christmas" (Ex Cathedra); "A Bohemian Christmas" (Ex Cathedra); Polish Baroque -Pekiel and his contemporaries (Ambronay editions); Recital CD with Fort Worth Early Music (now Texas Camerata);Venus and Adonis -Desmarest (Ambroisie); O magnum Mysterium -Tiffany Consort (MSR Classics - Grammy nominated); "In Sure and Certain Hope" -N. White (MSR classics); "Ryland Angel" -Ryland Angel (EMI) (appearances on 'Good Morning America' and PBS); "The New Voice of Christmas" (KOCH). DVD's and Films: Sant' Alessio (EMI/Virgin); Le Petit Prince (IMax); The Fairy Queen (Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona); Etoiles -Dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet; "Heavenly Voices" (EMI/PBS TV special).
Plus, coming soon: a new CD of Buxtehude and Bach for Countertenor with Rick Erickson and the Bach Players.
Steven Small has been critically hailed as one of New England’s outstanding soloists and has enjoyed a distinguished career in oratorio and recital throughout New England and beyond. A lyric baritone, Small has been acclaimed for the beauty and flexibility of his voice, as well as his dramatic and interpretive capacity. He made his professional debut in the title role of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. A noted interpreter of Baroque music, Small also includes many 20th century and contemporary works in his repertoire.
Recently he has performed The Mozart Grand Mass, Bach's Cantata 62 and 140 and Handel's Messiah. Upcoming performances include Mendelssohn's St Paul, Messiah, Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors and the B Minor Mass of Bach, as well as several solo recitals. Small is a vocal student of Hazel O’Donnell. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in West Boylston, Massachusetts, where he resides.