Chicago Sinfonietta Presents 'Dia De Los Muertos,' 11/9 & 11/11
The Chicago Sinfonietta continues its 2013-14 season of innovation and collaboration with Día de los Muertos, its annual holiday concert inspired by the Mexican holiday of The Day of the Dead. Sinfonietta Music Director Mei-Ann Chen with special guests, violinist Adé Williams, soprano Elizabeth Norman, theDePaul University Choir and collaborators Redmoon, lead a concert inspired by artistic expressions of grief and joy surrounding mortality. The Chicago Sinfonietta performs Día de los Muertos in two concerts only, Saturday, November 9 at 8 pm
at Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, 171 E. Chicago Avenue in Naperville, andMonday, November 11 at 7:30 pm at Orchestra Hall of Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
Sinfonietta audiences have a chance to both hear and taste the creative offerings of Día de los Muertos, as wine producer Diseño presents three wine tastings to accompany the program: Ruffino Italian Prosecco, Diseño Argentinean Malbec and Anderra Chilean Carmenere, each accompanied by tasting notes. Each wine is specifically selected because of its relation, in region and/or heritage, to the works on the program. This multisensory aspect deepens the musical and cultural experience of the European and South American-inspired concert. Wine tastings are included in the ticket price and for patrons 21+.
The first half of the Día de los Muertos concert draws from the traditionally European reaction to death and mortality, filled with somber drama and mournful melodies. With dramatic lighting to set the atmosphere, transforming the concert hall into a theater of sound and spectacle - an environment shaped by the creative forces of Chicago's Spectacle-driven theater company Redmoon - the concert opens with "Preludio" and "Balada" from Grammy Award-winning Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar ("Fountain of Tears"). The orchestra is joined by sopranoElizabeth Norman and the female voices of the DePaul University Choir. With a libretto in Spanish written by American playwright David Henry Hwang, Ainadamar tells the story of playwright Federico García Lorca and his opposition to, and subsequent murder by, the Spanish political party known as the Falange.
The full DePaul University Choir, heightening the drama with signature Redmoon masks, join their powerful voices with the orchestra for six sections of Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor, next on the program. Composed in Vienna in 1791 during the last years of Mozart's life, Requiem abounds with gothic-style drama and soaring, poignant vocals in one of Mozart's darkest, most powerful works.
The second half of the Sinfonietta's Día de los Muertos concert shifts to the jubilant, festive celebrations of death common in Latin and Mexican culture. Sphinx alum and violin virtuoso Adé Williams joins the orchestra for Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas), four tangos arranged by Leonid Desyatnikov. Composed in 1965 and drawing inspiration from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Piazzolla's work, originally composed as four separate pieces, colorfully evokes each season in Argentina's largest city and capital.
Spanish composer Manuel De Falla's The Three-Cornered Hat (El Sombrero de Tres Picos), Suite No. 2, completes the emotional journey. Originally composed as a two-act ballet for The Ballet Russe in 1919, de Falla infuses traditional Andalusian folk music into his score, where strings imitate guitars and the cheerful rhythms of dance shine through for an energetic, witty and bright work completing the Sinfonietta's spectacular holiday concert.
Single tickets range from $15-$54 for concerts at Symphony Center and $42-$54 for concerts at Wentz Concert Hall, with special $10 pricing available for students at both concerts. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-236-3681 ext. 2 or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org.
About the Artists
University Singers, DePaul's most select choral ensemble, is a 45-voice ensemble, dedicated to the rehearsal and performance of challenging choral literature of all historical periods in a variety of languages. Conducted by Steven Grives, the group meets three times a week and performs frequently both on and off campus. University Singers have been invited to perform at choral conventions, including the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Convention in 2010. Recent notable performances have included the Dvorak Te Deum, Bach Cantata #187, and Werner Jaegerhuber's Messe folklorique haitienne. University Singers has recorded two of their own CDs and also appear in Cedille Records' disc of the music of George Flynn and Earthsongs Publishing's "One World, Many Voices" series.
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Finals, Lynn Harvey, and Bel Canto Competitions, and The American Opera Society and Union League Civic & Arts Foundation Awards, soprano Elizabeth Norman appears annually with the Grant Park Orchestra as well as with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her active career ranges from solo recitals and chamber music performances to television and radio recordings. Norman has performed concerts and oratorios around the world on prestigious stages including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, the White House and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Chicago's Symphony Center and the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. She has also performed in Italy, Israel and the African Countries of Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda for the United States In-formation Agency. Norman has served as Music Consultant for the Chicago Public Schools and is currently a professor of voice at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts.