Bernard Labadie Conducts NY Phil in Mozart's Requiem, Works by J.S. Bach and Handel, Now thru 11/9
Bernard Labadie will return to the New York Philharmonic to conduct Mozart's Requiem; J.S. Bach's Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!; and Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim" from Samson. The program's soloists will include soprano Miah Persson, mezzo- soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Frédéric Antoun in his Philharmonic debut, bass AnDrew Foster- Williams, Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Philip Smith, and the New York Choral Artists directed by Joseph Flummerfelt. The concerts will take place tonight, November 7, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, November 8 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m.
Mr. Labadie is a leading specialist in the Baroque and Classical repertoire. He was one of four conductors spotlighted in last season's The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival, and in his Philharmonic debut in December 2006 he led works by J.S. Bach, Corelli, and Handel. He led a performance of Mozart's Requiem shortly after September 11, 2001, that The New York Times praised as "brisk, passionate." Mr. Labadie's subsequent recording of the work with Les Violins du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec - both of which he founded and serves as music director - won the 2002 Juno Award for Best Classical Album: Vocal or Choral Performance.
- Pre-Concert Talks
New York Philharmonic Program Annotator James M. Keller, The Leni and Peter May Chair, will introduce the program. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts available for multiple concerts, students, and groups. They take place one hour before each performance in the Helen Hull Room, unless otherwise noted. Attendance is limited to 90 people. Information: nyphil.org or (212) 875-5656.
- National and International Radio Broadcast
The program will be broadcast the week of December 1, 2013,* on The New York Philharmonic This Week, a radio concert series syndicated weekly to more than 300 stations nationally, and to 122 outlets internationally, by the WFMT Radio Network.
The 52-week series, hosted by actor Alec Baldwin, is generously underwritten by The Kaplen Brothers Fund, the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Philharmonic's corporate partner, MetLife Foundation. The broadcast will be available on the Philharmonic's Website, nyphil.org. The program is broadcast locally in the New York metropolitan area on 105.9 FM WQXR on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m.
*Check local listings for broadcast and program information.
Bernard Labadie is a noted specialist in Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which he founded and continues to lead as music director. With these two ensembles he regularly tours Canada, the United States, and Europe, having made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, London's Barbican, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival. Highlights of Mr. Labadie's 2013-14 season include re-engagements with the New York and Malaysian Philharmonic orchestras; Kansas City, St. Louis, New World, Chicago, Melbourne, Swedish Radio, and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras; and the Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, NDR Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as a European tour with Les Violons du Roy. He made his Minnesota Orchestra debut in 1999, and regularly appears with North American orchestras including the Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Montreal, St. Louis, San Francisco, Toronto, Utah, and Vancouver symphony orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Handel & Haydn Society; and Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic orchestras. Internationally Mr. Labadie has conducted the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Hamburger Symphony, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Labadie has served as artistic director of L'Opéra de Québec and L'Opéra de Montréal. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2009-10 season with Mozart's The Magic Flute, which he also led at the Cincinnati Opera in 2011. He has also conducted Handel's Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart's Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Labadie's extensive discography includes recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel's Apollo e Dafne and a collaborative recording of Mozart's Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec (both of which received Canada's Juno Award). The Canadian government has honored him as Officer of the Order of Canada, and his home province named him Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Québec. Bernard Labadie made his Philharmonic debut in December 2006 leading works by J.S. Bach, Corelli, and Handel. He last appeared with the Philharmonic in March 2013 during The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival, when he led Bach's Orchestral Suites Nos. 3 and 4 and Bach's Violin Concertos in E major and A minor, with Isabelle Faust as soloist.
Swedish soprano Miah Persson's 2012-13 season included the roles of Pamina in Mozart's The Magic Flute on a concert tour of Europe with the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin, conducted by Rene Jacobs, and the Countess in concerts of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra; Brahms's A German Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Grieg's Peer Gynt at the Grafenegg Festival and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other concert engagements includEd Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Mahler's Second Symphony with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel in Salzburg and for the Proms in London (televised and broadcast by the BBC); and recitals at London's Wigmore Hall, Vienna's Konzerthaus, and Zurich's Tonhalle. She also performed Haydn's The Seasons for the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Mahler's Second Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra; Bach's B-minor Mass at Teatro La Fenice; Mahler's Second and Fourth Symphonies with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Persson has appeared in many of the world's leading opera houses, including as Sophie in R. Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Gretel in Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and Mozart roles at The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Vienna Staatsoper, Glundebourne Festival, and Theatre des Champs-Elysees, as well as Anne Trulove in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival. She has also appeared at the Aix en Provence Festival, Paris Opéra, Frankfurt Opera, and New National Theatre Tokyo. Mia Persson made her Philharmonic debut in September 2011 during A Concert for New York, performing Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, with Alan Gilbert conducting.
This season, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe returns to The Metropolitan Opera as Mistress Quickly in Verdi's Falstaff, and makes her San Diego Opera debut as Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in Maschera. She also tours the United States with Les Violons du Roy, and gives recitals in San Francisco and Princeton. Ms. Blythe has appeared in the great opera houses of the world, including The Met, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Paris Opéra. She has appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic; Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco symphony orchestras; Philadelphia, Met Opera, Halle, and Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw orchestras; and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She has also sung at the Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart festivals and at the BBC Proms. In recital, she has been presented by Carnegie Hall in both Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall, and has appeared at Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Vocal Arts Society in Washington D.C., Cleveland Art Song Festival, University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and Ravinia Festival. Ms. Blythe starred in The Met's Live in HD broadcasts of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, Pucinni's Il trittico, Handel's Rodelinda, and Wagner's complete Ring Cycle. She also appeared in PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic's performance of Carousel (from the performance in February 2013) and her own acclaimed show, We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith. Her recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and J.S. Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label. Stephanie Blythe made her New York Philharmonic debut performing Hans Werner Henze's arrangement of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder, conducted by James Conlon in May 2001.
Tenor Frédéric Antoun studied voice at The Curtis Institute of Music. The Quebec native's repertoire extends from Rameau to Stravinsky, with a preference for French Opera (Delibes's Lakmé, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and Bizet's The Pearl Fishers), Mozart (Così fan tutte, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and The Magic Flute), and belcanto (Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Rossini's La Cenerentola, and Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment). Mr. Antoun has been heard internationally at New York City Opera (Massenet's Cendrillon), Lincoln Center (Lalo's Le Roi d'Ys), Toronto's Canadian Opera Company (The Magic Flute, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites), Charleston Festival (Gounod's Roméo et Juliette), Montréal Opera House (Delibes's Lakmé, The Barber of Seville), Florida Grand Opera (La Cenerentola, The Barber of Seville), La Monnaie in Brussels (Cendrillon), Amsterdam Opera (Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide), Theater an der Wien (Thomas's Hamlet), and on French stages such as Théâtre du Châtelet (The Magic Flute), Opéra Comique (Grétry's L'Amant Jaloux), in Toulouse (The Abduction from the Seraglio, Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie), Montpellier (The Magic Flute, Lakmé), and Nice (Dialogues des Carmélites). In concert, he performs J.S. Bach's Magnificat and passions, the Mozart and Berlioz Requiems, Handel's Messiah, and Orff's Carmina burana. Recently he could be heard in Thomas Adès's The Tempest at Quebec Festival, Lakmé in Montpellier, Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri in Marseilles, Ravel's l'Heure espagnole with the Orchestre National de Lyon, and Lully's Armide in Amsterdam. During the coming seasons, he will sing Lakmé and Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus in Paris, Così fan tutte in Marseille, Falstaff in Toronto, and he will make his debut at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment, and return for Thomas Adès's new opera Exterminating Angel. This performance marks Frédéric Antoun's New York Philharmonic debut.
AnDrew Foster-Williams studied at, and is now a fellow of, London's Royal Academy of Music. Upcoming operatic roles include Telramund in Wagner's Lohengrin at Québec's Lanaudière Festival with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Mercurio in Cavalli's La Calisto, in his debut at Bavarian Staatsoper; Pizarro in Beethoven's Fidelio with Le Cercle de L'Harmonie and Jérémie Rohrer; Hidraot, King of Damascus, in the new Barrie Kosky production of Gluck's Armide for Netherlands Opera; Balstrode in Britten's Peter Grimes for Lyon Opera; Handel's L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato at Madrid's Teatro Real with the Mark Morris Dance Group; and a new David Pountney production for Welsh National Opera. Future concert appearances include Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (as Christus) with Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Richard Egarr; Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Academy of Ancient Music; Father Joseph in Gounod's Cinq Mars with Munich Radio Orchestra and Ulf Schirmer; Beethoven's Missa solemnis for Lisbon's Gulbenkian Foundation with Paul McCreesh; and recitals at London's Wigmore Hall and in Venice with Simon Lepper. Mr. Foster-Williams has sung with the London and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and New York, Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, and Netherlands philharmonic orchestras. He has appeared with Berlin's German Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg's Mozarteum Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, L'Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Les Talens Lyriques, Washington National Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Opera National de Lyon, Netherlands Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival. Past roles include the title character in Rossini's William Tell; Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress; Fenice in Handel's Deidamia Pizarro Fidelio; the Count in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro; Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola; Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande; and four villains in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. AnDrew Foster-William made his Philharmonic debut performing Handel's Messiah led by Bernard Labadie in December 2010.
Philip Smith, Principal Trumpet, The Paula Levin Chair, of the New York Philharmonic, has been with the Orchestra since October 1978, when he was appointed Co-Principal Trumpet by then Music Director Zubin Mehta. His early training on the cornet was under the tutelage of his father, Derek Smith, himself a renowned cornet soloist. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, having studied with Edward Treutel and William Vacchianol. While there, he was appointed to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by Sir Georg Solti, in January 1975. He has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic on numerous occasions, as well as with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Edmonton, Newfoundland, Columbus (Indiana), Pensacola, Hartford, and Beaumont symphony orchestras. Mr. Smith has also appeared with many symphonic wind ensembles, including the United States "President's Own" Marine Band, La Philharmonie des Vents des Quebec, Hanover Wind Symphony, Ridgewood Concert Band, and many major university wind ensembles. An avid brass band enthusiast, Mr. Smith has been guest soloist with the United States Army Brass Band, Goteborg Brass (Sweden), Black Dyke Mills and Ridged Containers Bands (Britain), Hannaford Street Silver Band and Intrada Brass (Canada), and numerous American and Salvation Army Brass Bands. Mr. Smith has been on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, and has appeared as recitalist and clinician at Caramoor International Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, Swiss Brass Week, Bremen (Germany) Trumpet Days, Oslo (Norway) Trumpet Week, Harmony Ridge (Vermont) Festival, Scotia Festival of Music, and numerous International Trumpet Guild conferences. Mr. Smith enjoys performing with his Gospel ensemble, Resounding Praise, throughout North America. He last appeared with the Philharmonic as soloist in June 2009 performing Haydn's Concerto in E-flat major, led by then Music Director Lorin Maazel.
New York Choral Artists, a professional chorus founded and directed by Joseph Flummerfelt, has been heard with the New York Philharmonic in recent seasons performing repertoire ranging from Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time to Mozart's Requiem. The chorus opened the Philharmonic's 2002-03 subscription season performing the World Premiere of John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the Philharmonic with Lincoln Center's Great Performers. Other highlights of the group's history include the 1995 Philharmonic concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, and a televised performance of the 1986 Statue of Liberty Concert in Central Park. The chorus performed Britten's War Requiem and Mahler's Symphony No. 8 during Lorin Maazel's final weeks as Music Director, and over the past few years collaborated with Music Director Alan Gilbert on Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, and Bach's B-minor Mass. For more than 40 seasons Joseph Flummerfelt has been preparing choral performances for the New York Philharmonic. Named Conductor of the Year in 2004 by Musical America, he is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists and an artistic director of Spoleto Festival U.S.A. He was conductor of the Westminster Choir for 33 years. He has collaborated with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Barenboim, Bernstein, Boulez, Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Gilbert, Giulini, Maazel, Masur, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Sawallisch, Shaw, and Steinberg. His choirs have been featured on 45 recordings, including Grammy Award-winning versions of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Leonard Bernstein, Barber's Antony and Cleopatra, and John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls. He has also received two Grammy nominations, and his Delos recording of Brahms's choral works, Singing for Pleasure, with the Westminster Choir, was chosen by The New York Times as a favorite among Brahms recordings. Mr. Flummerfelt's honors include Le Prix du Président de la République from L'Académie du Disque Français and four honorary doctoral degrees. He is sought out as a guest conductor and master teacher of choral conducting. New York Choral Artists last appeared with the Philharmonic during The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival, performing Bach's Mass in B minor, led by Alan Gilbert, in March 2013.
Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen (Praise Ye God in All Nations), BWV 51 (1730) was composed for the 15th Sunday after Trinity in the church year, though the composer indicated it might be used for any joyful occasions ("In ogni Tempo"). It is a rare case of a Bach cantata that does not require chorus or additional voices. The work is technically challenging for both the soprano soloist and the obbligato trumpet, and questions remain about the identity of the original vocalist: a boy soprano at the St. Thomas School (a normal practice at the time), the castrato Giovanni Bindi, or soprano Faustina Bordoni, acclaimed in her day. The trumpet part was probably composed with Bach's friend, Gottfried Reiche, in mind. Beginning with a joyous exclamation for the featured artists, the work proceeds to expressions of faith and exhortations to be righteous. Soprano fireworks - with trumpet imitating the vocal line - proclaim a virtuosic "Alleluia" that brings this piece to its conclusion. Leonard Bernstein led the Philharmonic's first performance of the work in 1958, featuring soprano Maria Stader and trumpet player William Vacchiano; its most recent was in October 1995, led by Kurt Masur with soloists Harolyn Blackwell and Philip Smith.
George Frideric Handel finished Samson in 1741, barely one-and-a half months after he completed Messiah. Newburgh Hamilton provided the libretto, which he freely adapted from John Milton's Samson Agonistes (the familiar story of Samson versus the Philistines and the seductive Delilah taken from Chapter 16 of the Old Testament's Book of Judges). Neither the aria presented during this performance, "Let the Bright Seraphim," nor the concluding chorus, "Let their celestial concerts all unite," was included in the original score, but Handel's theatrical instinct told him not to send the audience home with mourning music in their ears, so before the first performance in 1743 he added both. In "Let the Bright Seraphim," an "Israelite woman" sings of Samson's great deeds, calling upon the heavenly host to celebrate the hero. Trumpet and soprano take turns, perform in unison, or harmonize, perfectly underscoring the text - "Let the bright Seraphim in burning row their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow." It remains Samson's most well-known excerpt. Carl Bergmann led soprano Maria S. Brainerd and trumpet player Frederick Dietz, Sr., in the Philharmonic's first performance of the aria in 1866; most recently, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang the aria in 1986, conducted by Zubin Mehta for a Pension Fund Benefit Concert.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's last composition, Requiem, is shrouded in mystery. In the summer of 1791 "a mysterious stranger cloaked in gray" presented a generous commission on behalf of an anonymous patron - who turned out to be Count Franz von Walsegg (1763-1827) - for a Requiem Mass to commemorate his recently deceased young wife. The Count was in the habit of making such commissions, which he would then claim to be his own. Mozart's schedule interrupted and delayed his work on the piece, and when Mozart died near 1:00 a.m. on December 5, he had finished only eight bars of the Lacrymosa, and left the other movements in various states of completion. The composer's wife, Constanze, hired two other composers to complete it, so that she could collect the balance of the payment, but it was Mozart's assistant Franz Xaver Süssmayr who finally carried out the job. The version presented in these performances was completed and edited by Robert D. Levin. Count Walsegg had the Requiem performed in 1793 with his name on the score, but years later Constanze asked him to acknowledge that Mozart was the real author of the work - a request to which he acquiesced. The Philharmonic first performed the Recordare in New York's Castle Garden in 1848 led by George Alexander Macfarren, but didn't present the complete work until 1941, conducted by Bruno Walter; its most recent performance was led by Kurt Masur in 2002.
Tickets for these concerts start at $30. Tickets for Open Rehearsals are $18. Pre-Concert Talks are $7; discounts are available for multiple concerts, students, and groups (visit nyphil.org/preconcert for more information). All other tickets may be purchased online at nyphil.org or by calling (212) 875-5656, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may also be purchased at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office. The Box Office opens at 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. On performance evenings, the Box Office closes one-half hour after performance time; other evenings it closes at 6:00 p.m. A limited number of $13.50 tickets for select concerts may be available through the Internet for students within 10 days of the performance, or in person the day of. Valid identification is required. To determine ticket availability, call the Philharmonic's Customer Relations Department at (212) 875-5656. [Ticket prices subject to change.]
Pictured: Bernard Labadie. Photo by Chris Lee.