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Hamptons Choral Society Happenings

Originally Posted: June 15, 2011


Choral Society of the Hamptons and the Greenwich Village Singers with the South Fork Chamber Orchestra and professional soloists from the worlds of opera and oratorio will perform in East Hampton. (Christine Newman)

East Hampton - A work marking a lifetime peak of Mozart's artistic achievement, the "Grand" Mass in C minor, will receive a fitting performance on Saturday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. by the combined choruses of the Choral Society of the Hamptons and the Greenwich Village Singers with the South Fork Chamber Orchestra and professional soloists from the worlds of opera and oratorio.

The music, known for being "joyous," "intense" and "impressive," will celebrate the Choral Society's 65th anniversary.

The performance will take place at a new venue for the society, the Most Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall, 79 Buell Lane, East Hampton. The society chose the hall for its "beautiful acoustics and perfect sightlines from every comfortable seat," according to a flyer. Tickets are $35 for adults, $15 for youth.

Mark Mangini, the society's music director, will conduct. The soloists, who have impressed audiences in earlier Choral Society concerts, are Darynn Zimmer, soprano, Cherry Duke, mezzo-soprano, Nils Neubert, tenor, and Mischa Bouvier, baritone.

A week later, on Saturday, June 25, at 6 p.m., the private garden park of a famous Gardiner family home on Main Street, East Hampton, will be magically illuminated for "Mozart by Moonlight," a fund-raising cocktail and dinner party for the Choral Society. Cocktails will be $100 per person, cocktails and dinner, $300 per person.

The benefit committee includes the Gardiner house's current owners, Shahab and Libby Karmely, Edward and Magda Bleier, Molly and Walter Channing, Marjorie Chester, Tim and Susan Davis, Barbaralee Diamonstein and Carl Spielvogel, Lois and Robert Geller, Cornelia Foss, Mac Griswold, Judith Hope and Tom Twomey, Patti Kenner, Jack Lenor Larsen, Ngaere Macray and David Seeler, Michelle Murphy and Robert Strada, Liliane Questel and Julie Ratner.

The Mozart Mass, K. 427, considered a masterwork of the choral repertoire, was written as a joyous musical celebration of Mozart's marriage. The critic Melvin Berger has called it "incredible," noting its "powerful impact and strong theatricality" and adding that "the solo sections are more akin to opera than liturgical music." It will be preceded by Haydn's Te Deum, a cheerful hymn of praise commissioned by Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa.

Standing in the allee of trees behind the Gardiner mansion in East Hampton, Joy Lewis, a committee member, discusses the Viennese-oriented menu for "Mozart by Moonlight," a benefit for the Choral Society of the Hamptons, with Janet O'Brien, the caterer. (Courtesy Photo: Choral Society Of The Hamptons)


Zimmer, the soprano, is making her sixth solo appearance with the Choral Society of the Hamptons - and reprising a role in Mozart's Mass with which she made her Carnegie Hall debut. Past appearances here included Orff's "Carmina Burana" and Poulenc's "Gloria." A 2010 recital for the Shelter Island Friends of Music moved a reviewer to call her work "luminous" and "beautifully focused." In her debut with the Miami Lyric Opera in the title role of "Lucia de Lammermoor," she was hailed for her "thrilling account" showing "dramatic range, pure tone, and polished technique." Her latest CD is of classic folk music from Spain, France and the U.S.

Duke's passionate charm was a highlight of the society's performance last July of "The Joys of Opera." in Sag Harbor. The versatile mezzo-soprano has been a soloist with orchestras from coast to coast and in major halls such as Avery Fisher Hall, in works such as Bach's B-Minor Mass and Mozart's "Vespers Solennes." She has played leading roles for the New York City Opera and in operas such as Carmen, Der Rosenkavalier, Le Nozze di Figaro, and Madama Butterfly

The tenor 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."

Bouvier, the baritone, 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. A graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, he has performed numerous opera roles and given recitals in this country and in Europe.

The Choral Society's six-plus decades have been marked by presenting concerts to local audiences at modest prices. A community organization with deep roots, its 100 members donate some 100 hours a year to rehearsal and performance. It counts 1,500 regulars at concerts. Although the chorus is comprised largely of amateurs, it engages outstanding professional soloists, and its repertory and technique have continued to grow under Mr. Mangini's leadership.

The group was founded by Charlotte Rodgers Smith, who for years was director of music at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. The society has sung at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and abroad, has commissioned one choral work and expects to commission another, and awards scholarships for vocal study to talented local high school students.

The 65th Anniversary gala benefit for the Choral Society of the Hamptons in the "secret garden" of the Gardiner Estate in East Hampton will be held on June 25. "Mozart by Moonlight," a party with a Viennese theme, will occur a week after the society performs Mozart's "Grand" Mass C minor on June 18 with Greenwich Village Singers, orchestra, and noted soloists.

The rarely-seen private garden of the Gardiner family's historic "white" house on Main Street, East Hampton, will be magically illuminated for "Mozart by Moonlight," a fund-raising cocktail and dinner party for the Choral Society of the Hamptons on Saturday, June 25, at 6 p.m. The property was owned by members of the Gardiner's Island family from the 18th century until the death of Robert David Lion Gardiner, who referred to himself as the Lord of the Manor in. Party-goers will be able to stroll in the garden's long allee through the last remaining colonial "home lot" in the Village of East Hampton. The land has been recreated as a park by its present owners, Shahab and Libby Karmely.

The guests will be serenaded with selections including Mozart trios, performed by the Dolce Strings, professional musicians based on the East End of Long Island who are members of the South Fork Chamber Orchestra, which accompanies the Choral Society. The trio's leader and first violin is Sarah Marceau. Its second violin is Julia Kim. The cello is Kristin Benson. All have studied with notable string players in the New York Metropolitan area.

Evoking Vienna, the city where Mozart did much of his work, the dinner will be preceded by cocktails. Appetizers such as a chicken schnitzel, Bavarian rye toasties with whitefish mousse, and potato pancakes with smoked salmon and apple relish will be served. The main course is a classic beef goulash, and the meal will be topped off with a Viennese buffet of desserts, including sacher and linzer tortes and mini apple strudels, among other sweets. Janet O'Brien is the caterer.

The benefit comes a week after the Choral Society's performance of Mozart's "Grand" Mass in C minor, a fitting work as the society culminates its 65th anniversary. The performance is at the Most Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall, 79 Buell Lane, East Hampton. Tickets are $35 for adults, $15 for youth.

The cost to attend the benefit for cocktails only is $100 per person; cocktails and dinner is $300 per person. Reservations and information are at 631-204-9402 or www.ChoralSocietyoftheHamptons.org as noted above for concert tickets.

The benefit committee includes Edward and Magda Bleier, Molly and Walter Channing, Marjorie Chester, Tim and Susan Davis, Barbaralee Diamonstein and Carl Spielvogel, Lois and Robert Geller, Cornelia Foss, Mac Griswold, Judith Hope and Tom Twomey, Patti Kenner, Jack Lenor Larsen, Joy Lewis, Ngaere Macray and David Seeler, Michelle Murphy and Robert Strada, Liliane Questel, Julie Ratner, and Helen Rattray. Mr. and Mrs. Karmely are honorary chairs.


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