Musica Sacra Announces MESSIAH Performances At Carnegie Hall

Musica Sacra Announces MESSIAH Performances At Carnegie Hall

For over 45 years, Musica Sacra has delighted audiences with its annual performances of Handel's Messiah. On Tuesday, December 20, and Wednesday, December 21, both at 8 pm at Carnegie Hall, Musica Sacra performs Handel's masterpiece once again with music director Kent Tritle conducting the luminous Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra and vocal soloists Leslie Fagan, soprano, Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, Kevin Deas, bass, and Cullen Gandy, tenor, in his Carnegie Hall debut.

Vivien Schweitzer of the New York Times called Musica Sacra’s 2010 performances of Messiah “wholly satisfying… The orchestra performed beautifully throughout the evening, with transparent textures, a buoyant pulse and expressive phrasing…aptly matched by the fleet, cleanly enunciated and radiant singing of the chorus.”

Musica Sacra’s long tradition of presenting Messiah in New York began in the 1960s under the choir’s founder and Music Director Richard Westenburg, and its annual concerts represent the longest-running performances of Messiah by a professional chorus in New York City’s history.

For its two 2011 performances Musica Sacra is joined by four soloists:

? Soprano, Leslie Fagan, has performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Hans Graf, Sir David Willcocks, Jukke Pekk Saraste, Kent Tritle and Daniel Lipton, and at such halls as Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Bordeaux Opera House, Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. Of her Carnegie appearances in Spring 2011, Opera News acclaimed her Poulenc’s Gloria (Oratorio Society of New York) as managed “with stunning precision and musicality” and, “one of the most memorable performances of the season” and of her Israel in Egypt (Musica Sacra) lauded: “Soprano Leslie Fagan sang effortlessly, with clear shimmering tone”.

? Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano, returns this season to Carnegie Hall with Robert Spano and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Bach’s Magnificat; sings Debussy’s Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; and makes her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of Ji?í B?lohlávek in John Harbison’s Fifth Symphony. She also debuts with Leonard Slatkin and the Lyon Symphony in Mahler’s Second, sings Beethoven’s Ninth with the Houston and Kansas City symphonies, appears in recital with Marilyn Horne’s “The Song Continues” at Zankel Hall, and sings Bernstein and Berlioz with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. A former member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, she was acclaimed for her portrayal of Kitty Oppenheimer in the Met’s premiere of Doctor Atomic, which was also broadcast live in high definition to cinemas around the world.

? Cullen Gandy, tenor, is currently pursuing his master’s degree, in voice, at the Juilliard School. This season at Juilliard he will be performing the role of Edoardo Milfort in Rossini’s Il Cambiale di Matrimonio. During Juilliard’s last season, Cullen performed the roles of Gherardo in Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as Soldato I in Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (under the baton of Harry Bicket); while concurrently performing ‘Liederabend’ recitals of Hugo Wolf Selected Mörike Lieder and songs by Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka. On the opera stage, Cullen has performed such roles as: Don José in Bizet’s Carmen (Peach State Opera), the title role in Bernstein’s Candide, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Steve in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Nathanael/Franz/Cochinille in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffman (In conjunction with Georgia State University Opera Theater and The Harrower Opera Workshop).

? Kevin Deas, bass, marks this season with repeat visits to the National Philharmonic, return engagements with Boston Baroque, Musica Sacra, Oratorio Society of New York, and Princeton Pro Musica, as well as the Requiem by both Fauré and Mozart with the Vermont Symphony and a Dvo?ák program with the Buffalo Philharmonic and North Carolina Symphony. He is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, having sung it with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore and Montreal symphonies, and at the Ravinia and Saratoga festivals.

Ticket prices range from $25-$128, and are available through Carnegie Hall online (, by phone (CarnegieCharge, 212-247-7800); or in person (Carnegie Hall Box Office, 57th Street & 7th Avenue).

For Press Tickets, please contact Mary Bullard at or (212) 330-7684.

For information, visit Musica Sacra online ( or call (212) 330-7684.