State Theatre and New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra to present G.F. Handel’s Messiah on Friday, December 2, 2011 at8pm. This Messiah performance features New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, an 80-member chorus including Christ Church Choir and Coro Lirico, conducted by Christ Church’s John Sheridan. The performance also features a brilliant line-up of soloists including soprano Marvis Martin (Metropolitan Opera, Porgy and Bess), alto Leah Summers (Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera), tenor Jorge Garza (Center City Opera Theater, Connecticut Grand Opera), andbaritone Keith Spencer (Carnegie Hall). Tickets are $32.
Conductor John Sheridan originally trained as an oboist and played with the Pasadena Symphony. He went on to earn graduate degrees in piano, musicology, and in organ performance. As an organist, he is not only active as a recitalist but also as a church musician. He is a harpist and is active as a performer and clinician at harp festivals on the eastern seaboard. Dr. Sheridan is currently the director of music at Christ Church in New Brunswick, where he oversees a long-established music outreach program currently comprised of four choirs singing regularly scheduled services and concerts during the academic year.
Soprano soloistMarvis Martin is a frequent guest soloist with various major orchestras throughout North America including Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Martin has earned much deserved critical praise for her operatic performances with the Metropolitan Opera in such roles as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Clara in the Met’s first production of Porgy and Bess, Almirena in Handel’s Rinaldo, Echo in Aridane auf Naxos, and the Princess in L’Enfant et les Sortileges.
Alto soloist Leah Summershas appeared extensively on both opera and concert stages throughout the U.S as well as abroad. A frequent presence at the New York City Opera, she has performed the roles of Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Page in R. Strauss’ Salome, Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, among many others. Outside of the New York City Opera, she has made appearances as other notable leading roles with the Vienna Staatsoper; where she made her debut as Grimgerde in Wagner’s Die Walküre. Summers has also performed leading roles with Opera Colorado, the Dallas Opera, the New Jersey Opera, Opera Naples, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Berkshire Opera, and the Opera Orchestra of New York.
Tenor soloist Jorge Garza’s professional training began with some of the most prestigious apprentice programs including Glimmerglass Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Wolftrap Opera, where he sang the roles of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Sesto in Giulio Césare. Garza continued with LA Opera, where he covered leading roles in Cosí fan Tutte and L’Élisir d’Amore. Garza also completed the Merola Opera Program in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. At the Grand Finals concert he received the Shoshana Foundation award. Returning to LA Opera, he made his mainstage debut in Audí’s much acclaimed production of Il Ritorno d’Ulysses. He soon followed in the world premiere opera, Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Baritone soloist Keith Spencer made his professional operatic debut in 1992 with the Virginia Opera Company and has appeared with numerous ensembles, including The Opera Company of Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, and many more. In 2009, Spencer made his Carnegie Hall solo debut singing two original compositions in Christmas Time in the City. Various operatic roles include Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Schaunard in La Boheme, and the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo. An accomplished concert singer, he has performed such orchestral works as Songs of Travel and Dona Nobis Pacem, Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé, Mozart’s Mass in C, Bach’s Mass in B minor, Handel’s Messiah, Saint Saens’ Christmas Oratorio, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Christ Church Choir
The Christ Church Parish Choir is part of a music outreach ministry at Christ Church that dates back as far as 1788, when the parish purchased its first pipe organ. There are records of a paid vocal quartet as early as 1860, which was later superseded by a choir of men and boys—an Anglican tradition—in the 1890’s. By 1974, that choir had been replaced by a semi-professional choir of men and women. Today, Christ Church continues to offer a substantial music ministry to the community, with as many as six choirs, its magnificent Richards-Fowkes organ, a concert series and special worship services.
Coro Lirico, under the direction of Warren Helms, is a New Jersey-based concert opera chorus performing in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. They were the first and only chorus of this kind in New Jersey, sparking renewed interest in both opera and the genre of concert opera. The chorus’ members represent diverse and far flung regions of the state, ranging from Barnegat Bay in the South to Bergen County in the North. Their repertoire
includes the Verdi Requiem, La Donna del Lago, Nabucco, Anna Bolena, Aida, The Magic Flute, Der Freischutz, Idomeneo, L’Amore dei tre Re, La Traviata, Turandot, Nabucco, La Messa de Gloria, Carmina Burana and Cavalleria Rusticana, American Opera choruses including the New Jersey premiere of John Adams’ Nixon in China, and opera choruses from most of the major operas in the canon. They have performed at Lincoln Center, the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Carnegie Hall, the Performing Arts Center at Drew University, the Performing Arts Center at the Delbarton School, The Ridge Performance Center, and in various churches in the New York/New Jersey area.
New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra
The New Brunswick Chamber was founded in 1960. Begun as a community ensemble, the orchestra has grown into a professional-level arts organization dedicated to presenting high-quality performances in a setting that provides an intimate relationship between musicians and audience. The orchestra consists of 20 to 28 musicians, and currently performs five concerts annually. The only chamber orchestra in the city and the only orchestra to carry the city’s name, the ensemble has presented a wide variety of literature throughout its more than 45 year career, including a number of commissions from New Jersey composers.
For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517.Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.
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