Chestnut Hill’s two Episcopal parishes, St. Paul’s and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, will combine forces for the final Choral Evensong of the season Sunday, April 30.
Chestnut Hill’s two Episcopal parishes, St. Paul’s and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, will combine forces for the final Choral Evensong of the season Sunday, April 30, at 5 p.m. St. Paul’s music director, Andrew Kotylo, and St. Martin’s director of music and arts, Tyrone Whiting will conduct and accompany their joint choirs at St. Paul’s.
The musical program features the “Responses” of Erik Meyer, former music director at St. Martin’s. The principal works of the evening will be the “Magnificat” and “Nunc dimittis” from Herbert Brewer’s “Evening Service in D,” Joseph Rheinberger’s anthem, “Abendlied” (“Evening Song”), at the Offertory, and Jeffrey Smith’s setting of “Psalm 23” near the start of the service.
Whiting and Kotylo have been planning this joint venture for some time. It will be followed with another in the fall, at the start of the 2023-24 Anglican liturgical season, this time at St. Martin’s.
The April 30 Evensong will be offered in support of the parishioners of Our Mother of Consolation Roman Catholic Church, as that parish’s century-old school building was recently destroyed by a devastating fire.
At Chestnut Hill College
Chestnut Hill College will host a recital by cellist Eric Coyne and composer-pianist Michael Stambaugh Sunday, May 21, at 3 p.m. The performance will take place in the East Parlor of St. Joseph’s Hall. The program includes music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Gabriel Faure, Sergei Rachmaninoff, a set of improvisations, and several works composed by Stambaugh. For ticket information visit chc.edu.
Two Italian Operas
Both the Academy of Vocal Arts and the Curtis Opera Theater will end their seasons with productions of 18th century Italian-language operas. AVA will present Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Don Giovanni;” Curtis will perform George Frideric Handel’s “Ariodante.”
During the Baroque and Classical periods of the 17th and 18th centuries, only one of the three greatest composers of Italian opera was Italian. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) is often credited with having closed out the Renaissance style and ushered in the Baroque. For Monteverdi, Baroque opera was the revival of ancient Greek drama, which was sung by soloists and chanted by choruses.
Two other titans of opera were both German or Austrian born – Handel (1685-1759) and Mozart (1756-91).
After early studies in Germany, Handel continued his musical education in Italy, where he composed several works of sacred choral music, such as his “Roman Vespers.” It was in Italy that Handel first encountered Italian opera.
Handel was engaged by the German city of Hanover’s prince elector, George of Saxe-Gotha, who became King George I of England upon the death of “Good Queen Anne.” Handel followed him to London, eventually becoming a British subject.
It was in Great Britain that Handel launched one of the most successful careers in classical music history, composing works such as the “Water Music Suites” and “Music for the Royal Fireworks.” He also composed 42 music dramas between 1705 and 1741, and the English-language oratorio for which he is best known, “Messiah,” in 1742.
‘Ariodante” premiered January 8, 1735. As was the custom in Handel’s time, several of the male dramatic leads were sung by castrati. The cast also included female sopranos and mezzos as well as tenors and basses.
When castrati fell totally out of favor, so too did Handel’s operas. It wasn’t until the 20th century that they returned to the repertoire, with castrati roles being sung by baritones pitched an octave below the written pitch, then mezzos as in “trouser roles,” and nowadays by countertenors.
Upon moving to Vienna from his native Salzburg,
Mozart encountered Italian opera afer moving to Vienna from his native Salzburg, as it was popular with the Habsburgs. He was one of the first to stop using castrati in his operas, frequently casting baritones for the male leads.
“Don Giovanni” premiered October 29, 1787, in Prague, to a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It is based on the “Don Juan” legend of a rapacious Spanish count who meets a fiery end.
For ticket information visit curtis.edu for “Ariodante” and avaopera.org for “Don Giovanni.”
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