The New York Choral Society To Honor Mezzo-Soprano Stephanie Blythe At Spring Gala
The New York Choral Society (NYCHORAL) will hold its annual Spring Gala at New York's Metropolitan Club (1 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022) on Thursday evening, April 5, 2018, starting at 6:00 pm.
The organization will honor renowned opera singer and recitalist Stephanie Blythe with the NYCHORAL Music Excellence Award for her contributions to the musical profession, as well as Sylvia R. Hoisington who is celebrating her 50th season with the chorus.
Produced in partnership with the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the evening's showcase performance will feature soprano Amanda Majeski and tenor Ben Bliss, both of whom will be participating in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Cosi fan tutte from March 15 to April 9, 2018. Members of the NYCHORAL Chamber Ensemble will also perform. The evening will feature a silent auction of unique items and experiences. The program is as follows:
6:00 pm Cocktail Reception
7:00 pm Dinner and Awards
8:30 pm Gala Entertainment Showcase
9:00 pm Dancing and Silent Auction
Proceeds from NYCHORAL's Spring Gala serve as a source of key financial support, helping the organization bring Great Performances of choral music to New York audiences.
Individual tickets starting at $350 and tables starting at $3,500 are available for purchase at https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E12999&id=32.
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation.
Ms. Blythe has sung in renowned opera houses throughout the United States and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opéra National de Paris. Her many roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila , Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, andGiulio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Il Trittico, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress, Jeibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites; Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Ino/Juno in Semele. She also created the role of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27 at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Ms. Blythe has also appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras: the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at the BBC Proms. The distinguished conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alan Gilbert, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
A frequent solo performer, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall in Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall; Lincoln Center in both its Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room; Town Hall; the 92nd Street Y; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presented by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances.
A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg, Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Smith, which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Alan Smith, which was featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones.
Ms Blythe starred in the Metropolitan Opera's live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice, Il Trittico, Rodelinda, and the complete Richard Wagner Ring Cycle. She also appeared in PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic's performance of Carousel and her acclaimed show, We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith. Her recordings include her solo album, as long as there are songs (Innova), and works by Mahler, Brahms, Wagner, Handel, and Bach (Virgin Classics).
Ms. Blythe's many engagements have also included her return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Rake's Progress, the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Il Trovatore, the Seattle Opera for Semele, Samson et Dalilah with the Atlanta Symphony and Carnegie Hall for a recital in Stern Auditorium. Last season she performed with the San Francisco Opera as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and the Houston Grand Opera as Nettie Fowler in Carousel. She also performed her new program, Sing, America! at Carnegie Hall. Next season she returns to Opera Philadelphia for the title role in Tancredi, brings her acclaimed performance of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27 to New York's City Center, and returns to Palm Beach as Ruth in performances of The Pirates of Penzance.
Ms. Blythe was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award. She is also the Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at the Crane School of Music.
American lyric soprano Amanda Majeski is rapidly garnering critical acclaim for a voice of "silvery beauty" (Musical America), "ample and expressive" (The New York Times) with "the ability to soar above the staff in long, arching lines and fine down to a thread of pianissimo with seeming effortlessness" (Opera News).
Ms. Majeski's 2017-18 season will see her return to the Metropolitan Opera as Fiordiligi in the new production of Mozart's Così fan tutte under David Robertson and to Santa Fe Opera for her first performances as the Composer in Richard Strauss' comic and enchanting Ariadne auf Naxos.
Ms. Majeski will also make three high-profile debuts, first bringing her Mozartean expertise to the Paris Opera as Vitellia in Willy Decker's acclaimed production of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. She then makes her debut with the Hong Kong Philharmonic as Gutrune in Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung conducted by Jaap van Zweden, which will be released commercially on Naxos Records as the final installment of their Ring Cycle. She makes her debut at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China as Eva in Kasper Holten's new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg conducted by Myung-Whun Chung. In concert, she returns to Philadelphia for her first performances of Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder at Verizon Hall with the Curtis Orchestra conducted by Karina Canellakis.
Highlights from last season included Ms. Majeski's appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with conductor Gustavo Dudamel, as well as performances as the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at Washington National Opera, Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and as the title role in Stanis?aw Moniuszko's Halka at the Bard Music Festival.
Ms. Majeski made her Metropolitan Opera debut on the opening night of the 2014/15 season as Countess Almaviva in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro conducted by James Levine, which was broadcast in HD around the world and on PBS across the United States. An alumna of the Ryan Opera Center, she made her mainstage Lyric debut with only a few hours' notice as Countess Almaviva conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Named "Best Breakout Star" by Chicago magazine, she has continued her relationship with Lyric audiences as Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and as Marta in The Passenger, hailed as a "shattering, star-making performance" by the Chicago Classical Review.
She made her critically acclaimed role debut as the Marschallin in Claus Guth's new production of Der Rosenkavalier at Oper Frankfurt, where she has also been seen as the Goose-Girl in Humperdinck's Königskinder, Vreli in Delius's A Village Romeo and Juliet, and the title role in Dvo?ák's Rusalka. Ms. Majeski made her European debut at the Semperoper Dresden where her performances included new productions of Alcina and La clemenza di Tito, as well as revivals of Le nozze di Figaro and Capriccio. Her significant international debuts include the Glyndebourne Festival as Countess Almaviva, Opernhaus Zürich as Marguerite in a new production of Faust, and Teatro Real in Madrid as Vitellia in the much-acclaimed Herrmann production of La clemenza di Tito. In addition to her work in New York and Chicago, she has appeared at Opera Philadelphia as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Pittsburgh Opera as Blanche de la Force in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, and Santa Fe Opera in Vivaldi's Griselda as Ottone in a production by Peter Sellars.
On the concert stage, Ms. Majeski debuted with Sinfonieorchester Aachen singing Berg's Sieben frühe Lieder and Mozart's Requiem. She has been heard in concert singing Agathe's arias from Der Freischütz with conductor Erik Nielsen and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the soprano solo in Mahler's 4th Symphony with the Quad City Symphony. She also sang Gounod's Marguerite in concert with Washington Concert Opera, ach's Magnificat under Sir Gilbert Levine in Chicago, and Mahler's 4th Symphony with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. She made her New York City recital debut at Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and returned for her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2014.
Ms. Majeski holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Northwestern University. She was a member of San Francisco Opera's Merola Program, the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and the Steans Institute at Ravinia. Awards include the George London Foundation Award, First Prize of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, and a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation.
American tenor Ben Bliss is a 2016 recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award at Lincoln Center, awarded by the Metropolitan Opera. He was also the recipient of the Mozart and Plácido Domingo awards at the 2015 Francisco Viñas International Competition in Barcelona, receiving 2nd place overall, first prize in the 2014 Gerda Lissner and Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation competitions, as well as a Sara Tucker and Sullivan Foundation grant. Mr. Bliss is also the 2013 Operalia Don Plácido Domingo Sr. Zarzuela prizewinner.
In the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Bliss will sing the role of Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, and Oper Frankfurt. He will also make his house debut at Opera Philadelphia as Tamino in The Magic Flute, and sing the role of Cassio in Otello with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he will return to Santa Fe Opera to make his role debut as Robert Wilson in Dr. Atomic in a production directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Matthew Aucoin. Concert appearances will include singing Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic in December.
Ben Bliss's 2016-2017 season included a US recital tour with pianist Lachlan Glen, with stops at Carnegie Hall, the Folly Theater in Kansas City as part of the Harriman-Jewell series, Theater of the Arts at the University of District of Columbia as part of the Vocal Arts DC Emerging Artists series, Hahn Hall at Music Academy of the West as part of the University of California, Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures series, and in Cincinnati with Matinée Musicale. Operatic appearances for Mr. Bliss included a return to the Metropolitan Opera, first as Tamino in The Magic Flute and then as Steuermann in Der Fliegende Höllander, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other opera appearances included Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Atlanta Opera, Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress for a role and house debut with Boston Lyric Opera and Camille, Count de Rosillon in Die lustige Witwe in concert for his house and role debut with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.
Highlights of Mr. Bliss' recent seasons include a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, conducted by James Levine, where the The Opera Critic heralded him as, "marvelous" and a "true Mozart tenor." He also made his European debut in the same role with Glyndebourne Festival on tour. Returning as a principal artist to Los Angeles Opera, the artist appeared as Tamino under the baton of James Conlon, as well as to Des Moines Metro Opera as Belmonte. On the concert stage, Mr. Bliss debuted with the New York Philharmonic singing Tony in Bernstein's West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1 with Alan Gilbert, Haydn's Creation and Cassio in Otello at the Cincinnati May Festival with James Conlon, and in holiday concerts with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Lexington Philharmonic. Mr. Bliss has also performed in Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Recital series with pianist Lachlan Glen, and with the New York Choral Society in Handel's Israel in Egypt at Carnegie Hall. He made his company and role debut at Santa Fe Opera as Flamand in a new production of Capriccio directed by Tim Albery.
While in the Lindemann Program, Mr. Bliss made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut as Vogelgesang in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, conducted by James Levine. In May 2014, he was tapped to fill in as Ferrando in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's production of Cosi fan tutte under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. As a member of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Mr. Bliss appeared as Benvolio in Roméo et Juliette, Barbarigo in I Due Foscari, and the Male Chorus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia with the Colburn Orchestra under James Conlon. He has been the tenor soloist for Bach's Magnificat with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the La Jolla Symphony and made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut singing Bach under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.
An essential force in the New York choral scene since its founding in 1958, The New York Choral Society (NYCHORAL) is widely known for the outstanding artistic quality of its performances of choral masterworks as well as rarely performed and new compositions. In addition to its regular season appearances at Carnegie Hall, the 185-voice strong New York Choral Society has appeared at every major venue in the New York City area, including Avery Fisher Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, Madison Square Garden, NJPAC, and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Under the visionary artistic leadership of Music Director David Hayes since the 2012-2013 season, the New York Choral Society has expanded its artistic mission to present a wide variety of choral repertory alongside masterworks of the 20th and 21st century, including John Adams's On The Transmigration of Souls, Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, and the New York premiere of Jennifer Higdon's The Singing Rooms, featuring noted violinist Jennifer Koh. Dedicated to carrying its tradition of musical excellence and community engagement beyond the Manhattan cultural centers, the New York Choral Society launched Christmas Around New York in December 2014, bringing family-friendly Christmas concerts to new audiences in all the boroughs of New York City.
In the 2017-18 season, The New York Choral Society opened with Roads Less Travelled, a program of works by Schubert and Thompson featuring soprano Gabriela Reyes de Ramírez and pianist Zalman Kelber of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Of the performance, Vishnu Bachani of New York Classical Review wrote: "David Hayes and the New York Choral Society performed an exquisite program...The entire performance was tightly controlled in all senses, from crisp articulation to idiomatic phrasing and shaping to clear enunciation and dynamic contrast." (Vishnu Bachani, November 19, 2017). NYCHORAL continued its long association with the Richard Tucker Foundation, performing at the annual Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie Hall on December 10, 2017 alongside renowned soprano Nadine Sierra. The choir also returned to its traditional December engagement of singing in Andrea Bocelli's Madison Square Garden concert with conductor Eugene Kohn, soprano Larisa Martinez, and Broadway sensation Heather Headley. February brought the choir back to Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium joined by noted baritone Jarrett Ott for a program that includes Sir Charles Stanford's Songs of the Fleet, Op. 117 and the East Coast premiere of American composer Frank Ticheli's Symphony No. 3 "The Shore." Still to come, the season will close in May 2018 with a performance of J.S Bach's choral masterwork Mass in B Minor at Carnegie Hall.
In the 2016-17 season, NYCHORAL gave the New York City Premiere to James MacMillan's St. Luke Passion at the St. Bartholomew's Church, performed Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Maurice Duruflé's Requiem at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, and returned to Lincoln Center for Christmas at Alice Tully Hall. The choir took part in the American Premiere of Joseph Vella's The Hyland Mass: A Prayer for Unity in Diversity at St. Patrick's Cathedral in a performance presented by the Order of Malta, American Association.
Highlights of previous seasons include performances of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's 1985 Te Deum, Beethoven's Mass in C Op. 86, Handel's oratorio Israel in Egypt, Mendelssohn's St. Paul, Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ, Vaughan Williams' A Sea Symphony, Holst's rarely- performed Hymn of Jesus, and Beethoven's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, all at Carnegie Hall conducted by Music Director David Hayes. The 2011-2012 season marked the 25th and final season of Music Director John Daly Goodwin and included world premieres of two compositions commissioned by the New York Choral Society, Robert De Cormier's Legacy and Morton Gould's Quotations, as part of an all-American program at Carnegie Hall.
A sought-after guest artist in New York City for many decades, the New York Choral Society has collaborated with the Lincoln Center Festival, Cirque de Soleil, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York Youth Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Juilliard Symphony, and the Opera Orchestra of New York and has performed with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sergiu Comissiona, Dennis Russell Davies, Placido Domingo, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Yehudi Menuhin, Julius Rudel, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
International tours have included the Chinese premiere of Mahler's Eighth Symphony in Beijing in 2002; performances of Mahler's Symphonies No. 2 and 8 in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto in 2010 and 2011; a return to Beijing for performances at the Olympic Cultural Festival in 2008; and several European tours with appearances in France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Israel.
Each summer since 1960 NYCHORAL has produced a popular series of NYCHORALSings, participatory performances of choral music that are open to the public and feature emerging soloists from the New York area.