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NY Choral Society Presents Mozart's Requiem & Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Carnegie Hall, 5/1

The New York Choral Society closes its 51st season with a performance of Mozart's Requiem, Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and James DeMars' Tito's Say, on May 1, 2010 at Carnegie Hall, 8:00 PM. The esteemed chorus performs with the Brooklyn Philharmonic under the baton of NYCS Music Director John Daly Goodwin, alongside soloists Joyce El Khoury, soprano, Elizabeth Batton, mezzo-soprano, Michele Angelini, tenor, and Daniel Mobbs, bass-baritone.

Mozart's Requiem is one of the most popular and beloved works in the choral repertoire. The work was commissioned by Count Franz Walsegg zu Stuppach (who had the intention of passing it off as his own) to honor the memory of his wife. At the time of his death, Mozart had completed the "Introit" and "Kyrie," leaving only the chorus parts and a bass line with occasional remarks to indicate the orchestration for the rest of the movements up through the beginning of the "Lacrymosa." His student Franz Xaver Süssmayr assumed the task of realizing the sketches and completing the work. There have been many debates and discussions surrounding the piece ever since; and although Mozart may have died in poverty, his musical legacy - and particularly his Requiem - has brought outstanding beauty and richness to Western culture like few other composers.

Described by The New York Times as "one of Mr. Bernstein's most irresistible works", Chichester Psalms is a piece of great strength and beauty. Commissioned in 1965 by the Dean of Chichester in England, the vibrant Chichester Psalms is one of the composer's most successful and accessible works on religious texts, contrasting spiritual austerity with impulsive rhythms in a contemplation of peace. Each of the three movements features a setting, in Hebrew, of one complete psalm, along with a verse or more of a second. Leonard Bernstein conducted the work's world premiere in Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) on July 15, 1965; it was followed by a performance in the Chichester Festival later the same month. The New York Choral Society performed the first movement of this piece under the baton of Bernstein himself at the opening of the New York City Ballet's American Music Festival in 1988.

James DeMars' Tito's Say is a four-movement cantata set to texts by Alberto "Tito" Rios. This engaging work was commissioned by the Arizona Choral Arts Society and received its world premiere in 1989 under the baton of New York Choral Society's Music Director, John Daly Goodwin. The final movement, "Ventura and Clemente," is a rollicking account of the courtship of two young Mexican lovers and is representative of the entire piece.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Joyce El-Khoury, soprano
Joyce El-Khoury is currently a member of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. A graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, Miss El-Khoury performed the roles of Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, the title role in Massenet's Manon, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, the title role in Puccini's Manon Lescaut (Act II), and Violetta in La Traviata. She was heard as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Lyra Ottawa in the fall of 2009 and performed in recital with the Metropolitan Opera "Met in the Parks" Recital Series 2009. In addition to performing Mozart's Requiem with the New York Choral Society, Miss El-Khoury will be making her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2009-2010 season with roles in Le nozze di Figaro, Suor Angelica and Simon Boccanegra conducted by James Levine. She also returns to the Castleton Festival to sing Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Maestro Lorin Maazel. In 2010-2011, she will return to the Metropolitan Opera as Frasquita in Carmen.

She is a First Prize winner of the George London Foundation; 2nd Prize winner in the Gerda Lissner International Voice Competition, International Semi-Finalist in Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition, Fourth Prize winner of the Giulio Gari International Competition, Fifth Prize winner of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition; and was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Eastern Region). She was also the First Prize winner in the Mario Lanza Vocal Competition, First Prize winner and WRTI Radio audience favorite in the Giargiari Bel Canto Competition. She was the recent Second Prize winner at the Palm Beach Atlantic Vocal Competition, and winner of the 2005 Brian Law Opera Scholarship. Miss El-Khoury was also the Third Prize winner of the Orchèstre Symphonique de Montréal National Competition, Galaxy Rising Star of the CBC Award, and the Vivian Asfar Memorial Award for Vocal Excellence from Opera Lyra Ottawa.

Elizabeth Batton, mezzo-soprano
One of the most promising young singers essaying the operatic repertoire, Elizabeth Batton was a grand winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2003, she was the first recipient of the Alton E. Peters Award, and was delighted to join the Metropolitan Opera roster in 2003 for Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron.

In 2008-2009 Ms. Batton was Sara in Roberto Devereux at the Dallas Opera, Charlotte in Werther with the Kentucky Opera, Maddalena in Rigoletto for the Arizona Opera, and debuted the roles of Principessa in Mascagni's Il Piccolo Marat at Avery Fisher Hall and Samiro in Ghost of Versailles in St. Louis. In 2009-2010 season and beyond Ms. Batton will make her at L'Opéra de Montréal debut as Sara in Roberto Devereux and she will make her New York Choral Society debut singing Mozart's Requiem and Chichester Psalms.

Miss Batton made her concert debut at Lincoln Center in 1998 with the American Symphony Orchestra as Ruth in the North American revival of The Eternal Road by Kurt Weill. In recent seasons, Miss Batton has been heard with the American Symphony Orchestra in their recording of Die Agyptische Helena and Bruckner's Mass in F Minor at Avery Fisher Hall. She has performed with Opera Pacific and Opera North as Olga in productions of Eugene Onegin, and with the National Opera du Rhin in Strasbourg as Die Dritte Dame in Die Zauberflöte, which was telecast throughout Europe, and was heard with the American Composers Orchestra as Iras in Barber's Antony and Cleopatra at Carnegie Hall. Miss Batton made her debut at the New York City Opera as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly which was followed by Maddalena in Rigoletto and Linetta in Love for Three Oranges.

Michele Angelini, tenor
Mr. Angelini made his European debut in 2006 as Conte di Liebenskoff in Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims at the prestigious Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy. In addition to this performance of Mozart's Requiem at Carnegie Hall with the NY Choral Society, his upcoming engagements include Genova's Teatro Carlo Felice as Almaviva in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Firenze's Teatro del Maggio Musicale as Conte Liebenskoff in Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims, Don Narciso in Turco in Italia with Deutsche Opera am Rhein, Handel's Messiah with the National Symphony Orchestra, and his Opera Colorado debut in La Cenerentola. In 2007, he made his debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York with Eve Queler in the role of Rodrigo in Rossini's Otello, which was followed by his debut at the Théåtre de la Monnaie in Brussels in the world premiere of Benoît Mernier's Frühlings Erwachen in the role of Hänschen Rilow and his debut as Lindoro in L'Italiana in Algeri at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna. He opened the 2007-2008 season at the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome as Ferrando in Così fan tutte, followed by Ramiro in La Cenerentola at the Connecticut Opera, and Handel's Judas Maccabeus with the LA Opera under the baton of James Conlon.

Daniel Mobbs, bass
American bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs has won both roles and praise internationally, performing repertory with major opera companies all over the world. A native of Louisville, Kentucky and a graduate of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts, he counts the Mario Lanza Scholarship and a Puccini Foundation grant among his many honors. Recent performances include his debut as Escamillo in Carmen (Boston Lyric Opera), a soloist in Stravinsky's Pulcinella (New York City Opera), the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro (Palm Beach Opera), and Leporello in Don Giovanni (New Orleans Opera). Mr. Mobbs made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2003-04 season as Cascada in performances of The Merry Widow followed by Yamadori in Madama Butterfly.

Mr. Mobbs has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Caramoor International Music Festival, where he has performed in eleven opera productions; he most recently sang the part of Assur in their accolade-winning summer 2009 production of Rossini's Semiramide.

On the concert stage, Mr. Mobbs has performed as a soloist in Bard Music Festival's "Wagner and his World" concerts with the American Symphony Orchestra; Brahms' Requiem at Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter; Finzi's In terra pax with the New York Choral Society; the Fauré Requiem with the Pacific Symphony; and Carmina Burana with the symphonies of Kalamazoo, Nashville, Knoxville and Grand Rapids; among others.


ABOUT NEW YORK CHORAL SOCIETY
The New York Choral Society (NYCS), founded in 1958, has become known by audiences and critics for the quality of its performances and the diversity of its repertoire, which encompasses well-known choral masterworks as well as many compositions rarely heard in concert halls. The NYCS has presented eleven world premieres and has commissioned works by Paul Alan Levi, Morton Gould, Stephen Paulus, and Robert De Cormier.

John Daly Goodwin, Music Director of the New York Choral Society, has built on the ensemble's tradition of excellence over the past 23 seasons to make it the chorus of choice for American Ballet Theatre, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the September Concert Foundation, and the Shanghai Symphony Broadcasting Orchestra. Under his direction, the chorus has performed in China, the Czech Republic, Israel, Austria, France, Italy, and Greece. His performances of such works as Mahler's 8th Symphony, Beethoven's Missa solemnis, and the Requiems of Verdi, Mozart, and Brahms have achieved much critical acclaim. He has conducted more than 90 concerts around New York City, including 40 in Carnegie Hall and 7 at Lincoln Center, and has prepared choruses for Leonard Bernstein, Dennis Russell Davies, Asher Fisch, Yong Yan Hu, Yehudi Menuhin, Eve Queler, Julius Rudel, Gerard Schwarz, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert Spano and for 17 telecasts.

Goodwin serves on the music faculty at New York University, where he teaches and conducts the Choral Arts Society. His strong personal commitment to music education has led him to do extensive volunteer work with aspiring young musicians. Through Young Audiences, Artsgenesis, and the New York Choral Society's Mini Maestros program, he has brought the gift of music to thousands of children in New York City public schools.

TICKETS $30 - $80; to purchase, visit the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th St & 7th Ave, call 212-247-7800 or visit www.carnegiehall.org

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