The “Big Baroque Four” of Houston team up to showcase Houston’s innovative Early Music programming in March, setting the stage for an annual state-wide festival
On one weekend in March 2013, all four of the “Big Baroque” organizations in Houston – Mercury (formerly Mercury Baroque), Ars Lyrica, Da Camera and Houston Early Music – will have back-to-back early music programs.
This “lunar eclipse” of Houston’s early music leaders is an opportunity for the early music scene that cannot be passed up. The leaders of Mercury, Ars Lyrica and Houston Early Music have created a special promotion – the Houston Baroque Marathon weekend - and have set the stage for a Houston-based, Texas Early Music Festival in spring 2014.
The first Houston Baroque Marathon weekend will take place March 8, 9 and 10, 2013, setting the stage for a full-on Texas Early Music Festival the following season (Spring 2014). Houstonians are invited to sample the dynamic repertoire each of these organizations has to offer in March 2013, including
- Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (Mercury – The Orchestra Redefined) Wortham Center, Cullen Theater
A program of dramatic and intimate vocal compositions featuring three of the Baroque era’s finest sacred works. Soprano Amanda Forsythe and countertenor Tim Mead join Mercury for an evocative evening at the Cullen.
- Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Le Poéme Harmonique: Venezia (Da Camera and Houston Early Music) Link to Da Camera / Link to Houston Early Music
Wortham Center, Cullen Theater
In its Houston debut, the award-winning ensemble performs music from 17th-century Venice.
- Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Acis & Galatea (Ars Lyrica)
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts Link to Ars Lyrica
Ars Lyrica performs Handel’s pastoral masterpiece Acis and Galatea, directed by Tara Faircloth and featuring a vibrant cast: soprano Blair Doerge, countertenor Ryland Angel, tenor Derek Chester, baritone Michael Kelly, and bass-baritone Timothy Jones.
Houstonians will be able to go to all three performances at the best available seating for only $90. To purchase this deal, please click here or call the Mercury Box Office at 713-533-0080. Current patrons and ticket holders are invited to upgrade with two concerts for $60. An official website and logo for the Texas Early Music Festival will be launched in early 2013.
Classical 91.7 KUHA-FM is the Official Media Sponsor for the Texas Early Music Festival
A longtime aspiration of Matthew Dirst (Ars Lyrica) and Antoine Plante (Mercury), the Texas Early Music Festival will showcase the city’s diverse arts economy, attracting tourism dollars to the local industry and providing national exposure to the Houston early music scene. With the stars aligned, 2013 is the perfect year to dip the proverbial toe in the water, with a Houston Baroque Marathon weekend!
The initiative of Mercury, Ars Lyrica, Da Camera and Houston Early Music will greatly benefit Houston and the state of Texas. The often-cited and reputable Houston Arts Survey conducted by Dr. Klineberg of Rice University projects that Houston will become a beacon for the arts nationally; currently it is second only to New York City in the number of seats sold in the Theater District. With a Texas Early Music Festival in the works, it’s sure to only accelerate Houston’s notoriety as a cultural arts hub!
Call 713-533-0080 or email email@example.com for media inquiries.
MORE INFORMATION - Purchase tickets
Friday, March 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm
PERGOLESI’S STABAT MATER
Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center
Join Mercury at the Downtown Wortham Center, Cullen Theater for a program of dramatic and intimate vocal compositions featuring three of the Baroque era’s finest sacred works. Soprano Amanda Forsythe and countertenor Tim Mead join Mercury for an evocative evening.
Amanda Forsythe, soprano and Tim Mead, countertenor
Vivaldi Nisi Dominus
Vivaldi Nulla in mundo pax sincera
Pergolesi Stabat Mater
More information: www.MercuryHouston.org (713) 533-0080.
Twelve years ago, Antoine Plante, Jonathan Godfrey, Ana Treviňo-Godfrey and Lori Muratta aspired to enchant and educate Houston audiences with a broad repertoire of music on period instruments. Gathered over pizza in Montrose, the four established Mercury Baroque, an intimate chamber ensemble. Today, that ensemble has blossomed into a chamber orchestra playing music from the Baroque era and beyond, reaching thousands across Houston and garnering critical acclaim around the world.
Through its innovative and accessible performances, domestic and international tours, and groundbreaking music education outreach programs, Mercury has redefined the role of music in the Houston community by emphasizing accessibility and education. Mercury performs over fifty concerts each year, including its flagship series at the Wortham Center, Cullen Theater, concerts in neighborhood venues across the city, and chamber music performances in more intimate settings.
Mercury is also dedicated to educating future audiences and training the city’s future musicians. The Orchestra’s educational outreach programs have reached more than 10,000 children in the past five years alone, fostering a love for classical music in our next generation, as well as providing them with a meaningful opportunity for personal growth.
From its humble beginnings over pizza, Mercury is now firmly established as a musical icon of Houston’s vibrant culture. The Orchestra continues to reach out to new audiences with an approachable, fresh interpretation of classical music. The Orchestra invites you to become a part of its legacy, and loyal patronage.
Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Da Camera and Houston Early Music present
LE POÈME HARMONIQUE: VENEZIA
Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center
Works of Claudio Monteverdi, Biagio Marini, Francesco Manelli and Benedetto Ferrari
In its Houston debut, the award-winning early music group from France performs music from the melting pot of 17th-century Venice. Semi-staged in candlelight, the program is a celebration of Venice in the Golden Age, when art music and popular forms came together and mingled, before emotion and language were restrained by rules and codes.
“People listened attentively, laughed out loud during raucous songs and cheered the excellent performers at the end of the 90-minute program...After the program concluded with a beguiling account of a Manelli lament, the audience broke into a sustained ovation. When the group repeated Monteverdi’s ‘Lamento Della Ninfa’ as an encore (the first of two), it was like hearing an old favorite.” -- New York Times
“a program that touches heart and soul alike” — Classica
“This is total art, refined in the extreme, and wonderfully alive.” — Le Monde
ABOUT DA CAMERA
Da Camera of Houston, founded in 1987, was created with the intention to produce a series of thematically programmed concerts designed to attract new listeners to the concert hall. By bringing together leading American and international musicians, specifically selected for each program, Da Camera concerts offer a broad range of repertoire and musical styles while ensuring a product of outstanding musical excellence. Members of the Houston Symphony and faculty of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, University of Houston’s Moores School and others are often included in Da Camera programs, expanding the opportunities for locally based musicians of national acclaim and enriching our community by enhancing the musical life of artists who choose to live here.
Da Camera’s approach to programming concerts of musical substance that offer a wide range of repertoire and styles as well as relate music to other art forms and relevant topics is succeeding in building new concert audiences. This strategy is supported by a personalized approach to constituency development that includes a strong commitment to education and outreach activities. National and international attention toward Da Camera productions on tour enhances local awareness and pride in the organization while generating important earned revenues from performance fees. This integrated approach to organizational development has propelled Da Camera of Houston’s stature as an essential Houston institution of national and international importance.
ABOUT HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC
As the city’s only presenting organization dedicated to covering the large historical span of early music in all of its forms, Houston Early Music epitomizes a movement that has swept the world of classical music: HEM offers performances of vocal, instrumental, and chamber music from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century using historically appropriate instruments.
The organization also expanded its concert repertoire to include performances ranging from Gregorian chant to presentations on original instruments of the music of the 19thcentury; in particular, its concerts of the music of Beethoven represented the first time Houstonians had the opportunity to hear Beethoven’s music as he would have heard it. In recognition of this evolution, the organization changed its name in 1997 to Houston Early Music.
Houston Early Music is a chartered, non-profit, organization whose purpose is to present historically-informed performances of early music from the European traditions and other world cultures in concerts featuring internationally renowned vocal, instrumental, and chamber musicians. In addition, we reach out to new and diverse audiences through a cross-disciplinary educational program on the elementary, secondary, college, and community levels that reflects the issues and concerns of the community as a whole.
Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Ars Lyrica presents
ACIS & GALATEA
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston presents a new production of Handel’s pastoral masterpiece Acis and Galatea, directed by Tara Faircloth and featuring a vibrant cast: soprano Blair Doerge, countertenor Ryland Angel, tenor Derek Chester, baritone Michael Kelly, and bass-baritone Timothy Jones.
“Lively, well-rehearsed production by Tara Faircloth.” — The New Yorker
“beautifully shaped and carefully nuanced singing” — New York Times
“delivered exquisitely self-effacing performances” — San Francisco Chronicle
ABOUT ARS LYRICA
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston offers world-class performances of music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. The ensemble’s distinctive programming favors little-known Baroque dramatic and chamber works that merit revival, and its Zilkha Hall series “sets the agenda for imaginative period-instrument programming in Houston,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Ars Lyrica’s numerous premières include the first American performance of Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità and Houston premières of Jacopo Peri’s Euridice, John Blow’s Venus and Adonis,Handel’s Flavio, and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, among other works. These pioneering efforts have begun to attract international attention: the ensemble’s world première recording of Johann Adolf Hasse’sMarc’Antonio e Cleopatra (on the Sono Luminus label) features rising opera stars Jamie Barton and Ava Pine was nominated for a Grammy Award® for Best Opera 2011. This CD was also hailed recently by Early Music America as “a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality,” Ars Lyrica’s latest Sono Luminus recording, of Domenico Scarlatti’s comic intermezzo La Dirindina and his chamber cantata Pur nel sonno, has just been released and is available anywhere CDs are sold. All Ars Lyrica Houston CDs are also available directly from Ars Lyrica, either online or in the Zilkha Hall lobby at performances. Visit us at www.arslyricahouston.org.