Handel & Haydn Announce 2012-2013 Season, To Include Bach’s Magnificat

Handel & Haydn Announce 2012-2013 Season, To Include Bach’s Magnificat

The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) and Artistic Director Harry Christophers announce the 2012–2013 Season, featuring the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus performing works of the masters of the Baroque and Classical. The 2012–2013 Season continues H&H's exploration of historically significant works introduced and premiered in the US by the Handel and Haydn Society as part of the preparations for the Bicentennial celebrations in 2015. The cornerstone of the upcoming season is Handel's Jephtha, premiered in America by H&H in 1855 and last performed in 1867.

"I take great pride in revisiting H&H's repertoire and bringing back gems that have not been heard by audiences in several years - Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 - alongside works that have not been performed, such as Haydn's G Major Violin Concerto and Henri-Joseph Rigel's Symphony in C Minor. I'm also gratified to highlight works that are connected to our Bicentennial celebrations. This is reflected in our performances of two great Handel oratorios next season: in addition to our 159th annual performances of Messiah (which we premiered in 1818), we will present our first performances of Jephtha in over 150 years. The work is as dramatic as Messiah and exemplifies the genius of Handel's writing. It particularly pleases me to have the chance to present Purcell's The Indian Queen, one of my personal favorites by the greatest English composer." – Harry Christophers

The season will showcase a wealth of established artists such as Bernard Labadie and Richard Egarr, frequent guest conductors at H&H; H&H harpsichordist Ian Watson and Associate Conductor and Chorusmaster John Finney; and an impressive list of established guests, emerging artists, and H&H musicians featured in solo performances. With Christophers remaining at the helm through the Bicentennial in 2015, the Handel and Haydn Society continues to flourish under his leadership; it is expanding its musical and education efforts, growing its Boston community partnerships, and increasing audience development. Partnerships include a chamber music series at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; lectures at Boston Public Library branches; academic programs and performances at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a conducting fellowship with the New England Conservatory's Master's program in Orchestral Conducting. The Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program brings a comprehensive music education program to students in grades 3 through 12 through four distinctive program components, including school visits, the Vocal Apprenticeship Program (encompassing the Singers, Youth Choir, Young Men's and Young Women's Choruses, and High School Soloists), Collaborative Youth Concerts, and masterclasses. The program brings Baroque and Classical music to well over 10,000 children each year in underserved communities in Greater Boston.

2012–2013 Season Highlights:

H&H opens the 12–13 Season with Harry Christophers conducting the resplendent Bach Magnificat, featuring the Handel and Haydn Society's Chorus, considered one of the finest in New England. Among other works by the master composer featured on the program are the Orchestral Suite No. 3, which contains the "Air on a G String," and Sinfonias from Cantatas 18 and 75, never before performed by H&H. The program closes with Cantata 71, the first of Bach's cantatas to use trumpets and timpani. "This will undoubtedly prove to be an uplifting opening to a truly enlightening season and one that showcases the collective and individual qualities of both of our Orchestra and Chorus alike," said Christophers.

Bernard Labadie, who last conducted H&H in 2010, returns to conduct Mozart's towering Symphony No. 41, Jupiter ­-his final symphony. Considered one of the greatest works of the 18th century, Jupiter foreshadows the work of Beethoven. The program pairs Mozart with another German composer, Henri-Joseph Rigel, who spent most of his adult life in France composing symphonies, string quartets, concertos, and 14 operas.

December brings the return of two H&H holiday favorites. Harry Christophers conducts the Chorus, Period Instrument Orchestra, and internationally acclaimed soloists in the 159th annual performance of Handel's dramatic Messiah. Canadian superstars soprano Karina Gauvin and countertenor Daniel Taylor, British tenor extraordinaire James Gilchrist, and local baritone Sumner Thompson will be featured in this season's unique rendition of the Boston holiday tradition. Later in the month, Associate Conductor and ChorusmasterJohn Finney leads Cantatas I, II, and VI from Bach's inspiring Christmas Oratorio.

H&H begins 2013 with Henry Purcell, considered "quite simply the greatest English composer of all time" by Artistic Director Harry Christophers. Purcell's last major work, The Indian Queen, will receive specialtreatment in this dramatic interpretation. Last performed by H&H in 1995, this semi-opera surrounds Queen Zempoalla of Mexico and focuses on her resistance against Montezuma's invading Peruvian army. Adapted from John Dryden's and Sir RoBert Howard's 1664 play, Purcell's brother Daniel completed the opera after his brother's death. "In this concert we are presenting scenes from [Purcell's] major works for the London stage ­- the hilarity of the Drunken Poet, being tormented by two mischievous fairies, from The Fairy Queen; the pictorial tour de force of Cold Genius with its extraordinary dissonances and literal stammering from King Arthur; and the last major work he wrote for the stage, The Indian Queen, which includes the conjuror Ismeron's 'You twice ten hundred deities,' perhaps the greatest 20 bars of recitative ever written in Baroque music. If you have never encountered Purcell's music before, this is a must," said Christophers.

In February, Christophers infuses new energy into Haydn with a program that showcases one of his Paris Symphonies, The Bear, a festive and jubilant work commissioned by a Parisian orchestra in the 1780s. After the smashing success of her Vivaldi The Four Seasons performances in 2012, H&H's fiery and expressive Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky again takes the spotlight with Haydn's Violin Concerto in G Major, No. 4. The concert will be recorded for commercial release in September 2013.

Richard Egarr, returning after acclaimed sold out performances of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in 2011, takes Symphony Hall by storm in March with Beethoven's masterful Symphony No. 7. Renowned as one of the finest period clarinetists in the world, H&H principal Eric Hoeprich brings Mozart's playful clarinet concerto to life. Often considered the quintessential concerto for clarinet, Mozart wrote the piece for Anton Stadler, who premiered the work in 1791. Hoeprich will perform the concerto on a replica of the basset clarinet, the instrument that would have been used by Stadler for the premiere.

As spring arrives, H&H harpsichordist Ian Watson leads a dynamic program of Vivaldi and other Baroque luminaries.H&H's principal players demonstrate their virtuosity in a magnificent chamber concert of 18th-century music from Italian masters both at home andabroad. Each composer featured held a strong tie to Italy. Torelli, Locatelli, Durante, and Geminiani were all born in Italy; and Charles Avison based his 12 concerti grossi on music by the Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti.

The season culminates with Harry Christophers, considered one of the finest Handelians in the world, bringing Handel's Jephtha to Symphony Hall audiences for the first time since 1867. Premiered in the US by H&H in 1855, the Handel and Haydn Society's masterful Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus bring a legend to life: the oratorio tells the story of Jephtha, a commander for the Israelites against the Ammonites, and his daughter Iphis, who is betrothed to one of Jephtha's soldiers, Hamor. With a stellar cast, Christophers will enliven this dramatic story of passions and redemptions, and showcase the transformative powers of Handel's music. Robert Murray, tenor, will perform the title role. The cast also includes mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Storge), soprano Joélle Harvey (Iphis), and countertenor William Purefoy (Hamor).

Mozart Coronation Mass, the third in a trilogy of Mozart CDs, will be released on the CORO label in September2012. Recorded live at Symphony Hall at the final concert of the 2011–2012 Season, the Coronation Mass will join the live recordings of Mozart's Mass in C Minor (September 2010) and Requiem (September 2011). The CORO label was launched in 2001 to record conductor and founder Harry Christophers' UK-based ensemble The Sixteen.

2012–2013 Season Subscription Information:
Subscriptions to the 2012–2013 Season are now available. Options include nine- and six-concert series as well as "Choose Your Own" packages. Packages range from three to nine concerts; package prices begin at only $60. Subscriptions may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F 10am–6pm). Single tickets go on sale in August 2012.