Handel and Haydn Society Presents 158th Annual Handel Messiah

Handel and Haydn Society Presents 158th Annual Handel Messiah, conducted by Artistic Director Harry Christophers.

The Stellar North American cast is to feature Sarah Coburn, soprano; Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor; Tom Randle, tenor; Tyler Duncan, baritone.

157th annual performance to be broadcast by Classical New England.

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 7.30pm
Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 3pm
Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 3pm

Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA

Handel Messiah

Harry Christophers, conductor

Sarah Coburn, soprano
Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor
Tom Randle, tenor
Tyler Duncan, baritone

Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M-F 10am-6pm). Single tickets range from $25 to $90. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.

Artistic Director Harry Christophers returns to Symphony Hall to lead the Handel and Haydn Society's Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus in Handel's Messiah in the 158th continuous year of performance since H&H began programming the work annually in 1854. H&H presented the work to sold-out audiences in 2010, and this season features a stellar collection of North American talents. H&H eagerly anticipates the return of soprano Sarah Coburn and tenor Tom Randle, and the Handel and Haydn debuts of countertenor Lawrence Zazzo and baritone Tyler Duncan. Harry Christophers says, "Handel described Messiah as ‘an entertainment' - I often remind myself of that when conducting this masterpiece. I'm delighted with this particular performance of Messiah; we have an all North-American cast, something we haven't had for many years, and they are an exceptional group of young vocalists." Performances in 2010 were met with both audience and critical acclaim; Keith Powers of the Boston Herald called it "a work that deserves its place on everyone's holiday wish list," and Jeremy Eichler observed the "singing of superb suppleness and grace" in his Boston Globe review.

The Handel and Haydn Society first performed selections from Messiah at its inaugural concert on December 25, 1815, and gave the first complete performance in the United States three years later in 1818. Handel and Haydn will observe its Bicentennial in 2015, which will coincide with its 162nd annual performances of Messiah. In December 2014, when the Bicentennial celebrations officially begin, H&H will also celebrate 400 total performances of Messiah.

Prior to each Messiah performance, members of H&H's Vocal Apprenticeship Program (a component of the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program) will carol throughout the Symphony Hall corridors. Students in grades 3 through 12 participate in the program, in which they receive vocal training and study music theory and musicianship.

On Sunday December 25, Classical New England, a service of WGBH Radio, will broadcast Handel and Haydn's 2010 performance of Messiah. Additional airings are scheduled for the first week of December, with dates and times to be announced.

Harry Christophers enters his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011-2012 Season. Since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, he has conducted Handel and Haydn each season and, following his appointment in 2008, Christophers' tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009-2010 season. Christophers and Handel and Haydn have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th-century music. In 2000, he instituted The Sixteen's "Choral Pilgrimage," a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, he has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009, he received one of classical music's highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award, and The Sixteen won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.

Sarah Coburn
Sarah Coburn returns to the Handel and Haydn Society after performing Euridice in Haydn's L'anima del filosofo (Orfeo) in 2009. Coburn's engagements for 2011-12 include Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia with both Tulsa Opera and Boston Lyric Opera; the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor with Washington National Opera; an opera gala appearance with the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow; and an evening of opera highlights with Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Recent memorable appearances include Amina in La sonnambula with Wiener Staatsoper; Gilda in Rigoletto with Los Angeles Opera, Welsh National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and Portland Opera; Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia with Seattle Opera; Handel's "L'allegro, il pensoroso, ed il moderato" and Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, both with Los Angeles Opera; in solo recital at the National Museum of Women in the Arts; in recital with Lawrence Brownlee for the Vocal Arts Society of Washington, DC; the title role in Linda di Chamounix at the Caramoor Festival; Elvira in I puritani with Washington Concert Opera; Euridice in Haydn's L'anima del filosofo with the Handel and Haydn Society, conducted by Sir Roger Norrington; Adele in Die Fledermaus with Seattle Opera; Princess Yue-Yang in Tan Dun's The First Emperor with The Metropolitan Opera; the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with Glimmerglass Opera and Cincinnati Opera; and Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Glimmerglass Opera. On the concert stage, Coburn has sung Bach's Mass in B Minor and Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Seattle Symphony; Carmina Burana with the New Jersey Symphony (released on CD); Messiah with both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony; and in concert with Bryn Terfel on Florida Grand Opera's Superstar Series.

Laurence Zazzo makes his Handel and Haydn Society debut with Messiah. A graduate of English and Music from Yale and King's College, Cambridge, Zazzo made his operatic debut as Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream while completing his studies at the Royal College of Music in London.

He has since appeared at many of the world's leading opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera (Giulio Cesare), Staatsoper unter den Linden (L'incoronazione di Poppea, Rinaldo, Griselda), Oper Frankfurt (Agrippina), the Royal Opera House (where he created the role of Trinculo in Thomas Ades' The Tempest), Opéra National de Paris (Liebermann's Medea), Bayerische Staatsoper (La Calisto, L'incoronazione di Poppea), and La Monnaie (Agrippina, Giulio Cesare, La Calisto, Eliogabalo); and has collaborated with some of the world's most distinguished conductors, including René Jacobs, William Christie, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Emanuelle Haim, Christophe Rousset, Ivor Bolton, and Trevor Pinnock.

Last season's highlights included David Alden's new production of Radamisto for English National Opera, Laurent Pelly's new production of Giulio Cesare for Opéra National de Paris, and David Bösch's new production of Mitridate, re di Ponto for Bayerische Staatsoper. In addition, he appeared in the Canadian Opera Company's revival of Robert Carsen's critically acclaimed Orfeo ed Euridice, and made his recital debut at the Wigmore Hall with a program of American song.

Highlights for the current season include Didymus (Theodora) under Hervé Niquet at La Monnaie, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, and Theater an der Wien; the title role in Alessandro in a new production for Karlsruhe Handelfestspiele, Ottone (Agrippina) under Eduardo Lopez Banzo at the Beaune Festival International d'Opera Baroque; and his company debut with Opera di Roma as Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream) in a new production by Paul Curran, conducted by James Conlon.

Tom RandLE
Tom Randle returns to perform Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society after performing the work with the group in 2009. Well known for his vivid and committed stage portrayals and a unique ability to embrace a wide variety of repertoire, Randle is one of the most versatile artists of his generation. Opera appearances include The Rake's Progress (Tom Rakewell) for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysees, Netherlands Opera, and Bordeaux; WNO's Beatrice and Benedict (Benedict); title role in Idomeneo for Scottish Opera and La Monnaie Brussels; Tippett's King Priam (Achilles) for ENO and the Reisopera; The Fairy Queen in Aix-en-Provence; Rheingold and Orfeo at ENO; Katya Kabanova and Khovanshchina at WNO; Tamerlano at Scottish Opera; Messiaen's St. François d'Asisse in Amsterdam and Madrid; Wozzeck at La Monnaie; and Monteverdi's Orfeo for the Handel and Haydn Society.

More recent appearances include Jenufa at Opera New Zealand (Laca) and ENO (Steva); the title role in Orlando Paladino with René Jacobs at the Staatsoper Berlin and the Innsbruck Festival; Idomeneo and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in Brussels; Die Soldaten (Desportes) at De Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam; and the title role in The Return of Ulisses for ENO.

Forthcoming opera engagements include the world premiere of Waiting for Miss Monroe (Joe di Maggio) at DNO Amsterdam, Lulu (Maler) in Brussels, and Steva for Opera de Lille. Tom Randle made his Royal Opera House début as Essex in Phyllida Lloyd's highly acclaimed production of Gloriana, which was later released as a feature film for BBC Television. Other appearances include Johnny Inkslinger/Paul Bunyan, and the Fool/Gawain.

Recordings include Handel's Samson with Harry Christophers (Collins Classics); Vaughan Williams' A Cotswold Romance with the London Symphony Orchestra and Hickox (Chandos); Molqui in the groundbreaking film version of John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer for Channel 4, released on DVD; and as Monostatos in Kenneth Branagh's The Magic Flute.

Tyler Duncan makes his Handel and Haydn Society debut with Messiah. British Columbia-born and New York-based baritone Duncan enjoys international renown for bringing consummate musicianship, vocal beauty, and interpretive insight to recital, concert, and-increasingly-operatic literature. He has sung Demetrius in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Princeton Festival; roles in Lully's Armide with Houston's Mercury Baroque; Purcell's The Faerie Queen with Early Music Vancouver; and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in Rotterdam and Utrecht. Forthcoming on the CPO label is his Boston Early Music Festival recording of the title role in John Blow's Venus and Adonis.

An excellent oratorio singer performing a remarkable range of repertoire, Mr. Duncan's concerts include Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Québec and Winnipeg Symphonies; Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten with the Calgary Philharmonic; Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Germany with the Philharmonie der Nationen under Justus Frantz; Handel's Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, Philharmonia Baroque, and Portland Baroque; Handel's La Resurrezione at Germany's Halle Handel Festival and the Vancouver Early Music Festival; Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Montreal Symphony and Kent Nagano; Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium with Tafelmusik; and Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs in Vancouver (Berkshire Choral Festival) and Carnegie Hall with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York. He has sung the title role of Mendelssohn's Elijah in Munich; Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius at Canada's Elora Festival; and made an extensive North American tour of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers with Tragicomedia and Concerto Palatino.

Frequently accompanied by pianist Erika Switzer, he has given acclaimed recitals in New York, Boston, Paris, and Montreal, as well as throughout Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, and South Africa. He holds music degrees from the University of British Columbia, and Germany's Hochschule für Musik (Augsburg) and Hochschule für Musik und Theater (Munich). He is a founding member on the faculty of the Vancouver International Song Institute.

Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognize­d leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer's time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel's Messiah (1818), Haydn's The Creation (1819), Verdi's Requiem (1878), and Bach's St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers' leadership, is committed to its mission to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener's Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine's classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart's Mass in C Minor-the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H's Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010-2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn's award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.

Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The media partner for Handel Messiah is The Boston Globe.

Related Articles View More Boston Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You