HARRIS THEATER FOR MUSIC AND DANCE AND BELLA VOCE CHAMBER CHOIR TO COMMEMERATE THE 400TH ANNIVERSAY OF MONTEVERDI’S SACRED VESPERS OF 1610 WITH HISTORIC PERFORMANCE, MARCH 29, 2010
Renowned Violinists Rachel Barton Pine and Martin Davids, along with The Callipygian Players chamber ensemble, to accompany Bella Voce in the momentous performance
CHICAGO (December 1, 2009) – In commemoration of its remarkable 400th Anniversary, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and Chicago’s acclaimed a cappella vocal ensemble, Bella Voce Chamber Choir, will present one of Western music’s most celebrated masterworks, Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine (1610) on Monday, March 29, 2010 at 7:30 pm.
The Vespers engagement is a significant addition to the Harris Theater spring season line-up not only for its historical context, but also for the caliber of the musicians who will accompany Bella Voce in the performance, including world-renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine, hailed as “an exciting, boundary-defying performer,” by The Washington Post, Baroque violin virtuoso Martin Davids and the Baroque chamber ensemble The Callipygian Players.
In celebration of this extraordinary occasion, and in order to ensure Harris Theater patrons don’t miss this noteworthy performance, the Harris is offering subscribers to its Harris Theater Presents series one ticket to the Vespers performance at no additional cost.
Considered one of the most important composers in Western classical music, Monteverdi’s work led the transition from the Renaissance to Baroque periods of music. In addition to his religious-based pieces, Monteverdi is credited with composing one of the earliest operas, L’Orfeo, and is believed to have written at least 17 more operas in his lifetime. By the age of 50, Monteverdi was the most celebrated composer in his native country, Italy.
As praised by NPR, “sacred music has never danced like” Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. Monteverdi presented his Vespers, written in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Pope Paul V himself in Rome in 1610; it was printed in Venice later that same year. The monumental work is significant for two reasons: it calls for a choir large enough to perform up to 10 vocal parts that must also be split into separate choirs and incorporate several solo performances throughout the piece; and unique to Monteverdi’s other works, the Vespers incorporate significant instrumental accompaniment, including solo parts for both violin and cornetto, a wind instrument from the Baroque period. Monteverdi’s Vespers are built around Biblical texts traditionally used as part of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic church and include five psalms, the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise, and the hymn Ave maris stella. Of great debate over the centuries is Monteverdi’s inclusion of several other pieces to his Vespers, leading some scholars to believe the piece was not intended to be performed liturgically; many also question whether or not the piece was indeed intended to be a tribute to the Virgin Mary.
A testament to the significance of the piece both in the 17th Century and across the ages, Monteverdi’s Vespers have been credited with influencing Baroque masters Handel and J.S. Bach, and are even considered precursors of the Rock & Roll genre of music and most popular music today. With his Vespers, Monteverdi organized the music by functional harmony (chords), rather than counterpart (individual lines); today’s classic rock chord progression of one -- four -- five -- one (tonic -- subdominant -- dominant -- tonic) is derived straight from Monteverdi’s Vespers and early opera work.
Tickets to the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 performance are $35 each; subscribers to Harris Theater Presents events will receive one ticket to the Vespers performance at no additional cost. Tickets are available at the Harris Theater box office located in Millennium Park at 205 E. Randolph Dr., by calling 312-334-7777 or by visiting www.HarrisTheaterChicago.org.
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All programs, prices and dates are subject to change.
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The mission of Bella Voce is to entertain, inspire, and educate through the performance of choral chamber music. Bella Voce is committed to giving historically informed, professionally polished performances in original languages, and to keeping the art of polyphonic, a cappella singing alive and flourishing. The ensemble places a special emphasis on bringing little-known pieces and neglected composers to its audiences and its wide-ranging repertoire includes a cappella literature of the mid- and late-twentieth century, works commissioned from American composers, and sacred music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Opened in 2003, the Harris Theater’s mission is to partner and collaborate with an array of Chicago’s emerging and mid-sized performing arts organizations to help them build the resources and infrastructure necessary to achieve artistic growth and long-term organizational sustainability. The Harris Theater for Music and Dance was the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929 and today the Theater continues to host the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, featuring the city’s world-renowned music and dance institutions and the Harris Theater Presents series of acclaimed national and international companies. To learn more about the season at the Harris Theater, visit www.HarrisTheaterChicago.org or call the box office at 312-334-7777 to request a brochure.
For additional information about the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago’s state-of-the art 1,470 seat performance venue, please visit www.HarrisTheaterChicago.org.
For high-res images please contact Betsy Shea, Harris Theater for Music and Dance at 312.334.2459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Harris Theater is pleased to announce that UBS is serving as the 2009-2010 Season Sponsor.
William Blair is the Fall Season Sponsor.
The Harris Theater gratefully acknowledges the Irving Harris Foundation for its leadership support of the Presenting Fund.
United Airlines is the Official Airline of the Harris Theater.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is the Lead Underwriter of the Harris Theater’s Rental Subsidy Program.
The Harris Theater gratefully acknowledges The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s support of the theater’s collaborative partnerships.
The Harris Theater is partially supported by the CityArts Program 4 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
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Posted by: Bella Voce
Posted on: Feb 17th, 2010, 5:24am
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fri., Feb. 12, 2010
Bella Voce, c/o Department of Performing Arts College of Architecture and the Arts University of Illinois at Chicago 1040 West Harrison St., Rm. L018, MC255 Chicago IL 60607-7130
Bella Voce ends its 27th season with historic performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.
Chicago’s premier a cappella choral ensemble joins forces with Martin Davids, Rachel Barton Pine, and the Callipygian Players to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of this landmark work
Saturday, March 27, 7:30 at Glenview Community Church
1000 Elm St., Glenview
Sunday, March 28, 7:30 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel
Bella Voce, Chicago’s premier a cappella choral ensemble, will end its 27th season by presenting historically informed performances with the brilliant period-instrument ensemble, the Callipygian Players, of Claudio Monteverdi’s (1567-1643) groundbreaking masterpiece, Vespro della beata Vergine, or more commonly called the “Vespers of 1610.”
Under the baton of artistic director Andrew Lewis, the combined ensembles will give concerts in Glenview, Hyde Park, and downtown Chicago on March 27, 28, & 29.
“A composer of astonishing creativity, Claudio Monteverdi forever changed the way we think about music. Renaissance polyphony, based on the Church Modes, made way for functional harmony -- an innovation to which even rock 'n' roll owes its existence,” says Lewis. “Monteverdi’s masterpiece is super-charged with rhythmic and spiritual intensity.”
Bella Voce, Chicago’s premiere professional chamber choir, is renowned for performing traditional and contemporary, sacred and secular choral music that inspires and exhilarates its audiences. It continues to honor the traditions that won this stellar choral group so many admirers and supporters over the years while also exploring new repertoire.
The choral ensemble began the season in October with “requiem aeternam, featuring works by Spanish Renaissance composer Cristobal de Morales and 20th-century English composer Herbert Howells.” The challenging program was lauded by audiences and critics:
“Under the skillful and sensitive direction of Andrew Lewis, the Bella Voce singers distinguished themselves in glowing, responsive performances of music that deserves to be much better known… “Lewis and his singers provided a radiant, deeply moving account of the Morales with striking bell-like purity….and gave Howells’ Requiem masterful advocacy with superb solo singing in a scrupulously blended and affecting performance.” (ChicagoClassicalReview.com)
“Chicago’s scintillating a cappella choral ensemble [delivered] a program of requiem repertory that…revealed some dazzling aural scenery to the listener while gently spiriting one on through a journey of love, mourning, and celestial grace….Bella Voce achieved exquisite vocal blend…the technical accomplishment of the entire ensemble consistently impressed throughout, particularly in the skillful dynamic control displayed…in a meltingly beautiful fining away of delicate sound…” (ConcertoNet.com)
The Callipygian Players are an ensemble of Chicago's finest period instrument musicians and singers under the leadership of Director and Baroque Violinist Martin Davids. They present innovative and exciting concerts of music from the Baroque era (approximately 1600-1750). Known for their interesting programming, their concerts feature music of well known composers as well as lesser known masterpieces.
Says Lewis, “With the Vespers of 1610, Bella Voce continues and expands upon its tradition of historically informed performances of Renaissance and early Baroque music by teaming up with the brilliant Baroque violinist Martin Davids as well as Chicago’s own virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine. It is also an opportunity for our singers to display their unparalleled vocal virtuosity and suitability for this challenging repertoire.”
The performances, Lewis adds, are the only in Chicago commemorating the 400th anniversary of this landmark work – something that is getting major attention worldwide.
Andrew Lewis is artistic director of Bella Voce, music director of the Elgin Choral Union, founder and artistic director of The Janus Ensemble, a professional chamber orchestra specializing in Baroque and new music, director of the Chancel Choir at Glenview Community Church, and is on the conducting faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also artistic director emeritus of the Lutheran Choir of Chicago and formerly taught conducting at DePaul University. Lewis has been a guest lecturer at Concordia University Chicago, the nationally recognized Lectures in Church Music series, Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, and has appeared as a guest conductor with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Lewis’s performances have been heard live on 98.7WFMT.He is a former ensemble member of Bella Voce. He holds a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University. He has studied with conductors Helmuth Rilling, Robert Shaw, Robert Spano, James Paul, Gustav Meier, Stephen Cleobury, Duain Wolf, Dale Warland, Michel Tapachnik, and Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
Since its founding in 1982 as His Majestie's Clerkes, Bella Voce has delighted Chicago audiences with performances of the classic a cappella repertoire, soon branching out into early music of the Americas, and then into folk songs from all over the world and commissioned works by contemporary composers, eventually performing in more than two dozen different languages. The change of name to Bella Voce took place in 2001, in order for the ensemble's moniker to truly reflect the breadth of its repertoire.
Bella Voce received the prestigious Alice Parker ASCAP Chorus America Award in 2004 for programming that was "an adventurous stretch" for both singers and audience, notably the 2002 Midwest premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara's “Vigilia.” The ensemble has recorded for Centaur, Harmonia Mundi, Narada, and Cedille Records. It has three self-produced CDs in release.
For more information about Bella Voce and upcoming performances, and to make reservations, please call 312-479-1096, or go to www.bellavoce.org
For more information about Callipygian Players, visit www.calplayers.org