- With a full baroque orchestra plus trumpets and tympani, and soloists from the worlds of opera and oratorio, the Choral Society of the Hamptons
will present two concerts featuring Parts I and II of Bach's celebratory "Christmas Oratorio" at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church on Sunday, December 12, at 3 or 5:30 p.m.
The program will also include the well-known "choral fantasy" on familiar carols by Gustav Holst
, and carol singing by the audience.
The Choral Society's winter program is bracketed this year by a benefit brunch preceding the 3 p.m. performance, at Pierre's
restaurant across the street from the church, and an annual complimentary reception following the 5:30 p.m. performance at the Bridgehampton Community House
. The reception will include a raffle, silent auction, food and drink, and caroling.
Conducting the choristers and the South Fork Chamber Orchestra
will be Mark Mangini
, the Choral Society's music director. The soloists are Maria D'Amato
, soprano, Suzanne Schwing
, mezzo-soprano, Nils Neubert
, tenor, and Mischa Bouvier
Oboes, Horns, And Soloists
Adapted from secular choruses and arias that Bach composed to celebrate the grandeur of birthdays of a prince of Saxony and a queen of Poland, the Oratorio is one of Bach's most joyous and appealing works. It contains the famous chorale "Break Forth, Oh Beauteous Heavenly Light," dance-like choruses, and rich, four-part writing for the oboe family, which includes two English horns.
The soprano, Maria D'Amato, was recently hailed by The Wall Street Journal for her "affecting...warm-toned soprano" after her recent performance with the Sarasota Opera, and as a "gem" by classicalsource.com for her portrayal of Mimi in La Bohème with the Dicapo Opera. Trained at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, she debuted with the Seattle Symphony under Maestro Gerard Schwarz
as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem.
Suzanne Schwing, the mezzo-soprano soloist, performed with the Choral Society of the Hamptons in 2007 and 2008. Trained at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art and the Manhattan School of Music, her repertoire ranges from early music to modern composers. She has performed at New York City
Opera, Carnegie Hall
, Avery Fisher Hall, Boston's Symphony Hall, and in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, and as a Fellow of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
The tenor, Nils Neubert, a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, is a rising opera and oratorio soloist who has performed with the Opera Company of Brooklyn, Pocket Opera New York, Amore Opera, Queens College Choral Society, and 4x4 Baroque Music Festival. When he played the title role in Rameau's "Pygmalion" with the Underworld Productions Opera Ensemble, The New York Times
wrote that "his attractive tenor, beautifully controlled vibrato and amusing, flexible portrayal of Pygmalion carried the evening."
Noted by The New York Times for his "rich timbre" and "fine sense of line," the baritone, Mischa Bouvier, has been cast and conducted at Tanglewood by James Levine
in Kurt Weill's
The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and performed as bass soloist and Pilate in Bach's St Matthew Passion under the baton of Kent Tritle. Also a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he has performed numerous opera roles and given recitals in this country and in Europe.
Adult concert tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door; youth (under 18) tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets, brunch reservations, and information can be obtained at www.choralsocietyofthehamptons.org
, 631-204-9402, or at the Kramoris Gallery in Sag Harbor. Reservations for the brunch can be made until Wednesday, December 8, as sponsors, at $150, or benefactors, at $250 per person.
In announcing this performance, the society calls listeners' attention to the text of one of the arias from the Oratorio. It says: "Go, and refresh heart and mind."