50th Season Finale: Glory, Praise, and Peace

We close our 50th anniversary season with the big wonderful sound of the Chorale and the Chamber Orchestra performing YOUR requests! From our five-decade history, you’ve chosen works by Bruckner, Jenkins, and Dan Forrest, among others. We’re inviting back singers who’ve been members of the Chorale over the years to help blow out the candles on the cake and celebrate half a century of bringing music to Annapolis!

Soloist Bios

Emily Casey

Soprano Emily Casey, hailed as a “red-haired vixen with a sparkling voice” by Opera Canada, commands stages in the US and abroad with her dramatic coloratura. Renowned for collaborations with opera companies worldwide, her vocal artistry and compelling dramatics have earned universal acclaim. This season brought about a series of role debuts including Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), and Michaëla (Carmen). Reviewed as a triple-threat to look out for, Casey also shines in musical theater and concert work. Recent highlights include Gianetta in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, where critics praised her for her musical lyricism, poignancy and power. Explore her dynamic schedule at www.emilycaseysoprano.com.

 

Catrin Davies

Described as having “…bright vocalism and flawless diction…” by the Baltimore Sun, mezzo-soprano Catrin Rowenna Davies has had a long history as a soloist with Live Arts Maryland, with some of her favorite performances including Bach’s St. John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. She has been a soloist with Handel Choir of Baltimore, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Prince William Symphony Orchestra, and Peabody Symphony Orchestra. Recently, she debuted with the Washington Chorus in Corigliano’s Fern Hill. Ms. Davies specializes in Welsh repertoire and three times has won the first prize at the North American Festival of Wales. She has also competed at the National Festival in Wales, winning the mezzo-soprano competition. Ms Davies has performed roles with Baltimore Opera, Lyric Opera of Cleveland, Annapolis Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Live Arts Maryland, Young Victorian Theatre Company , Summer Garden Opera, and Baltimore Concert Opera. For one of her favorite roles, Carmen, she had the great pleasure of coaching with the inimitable Denyce Graves. She is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, at which she is currently adjunct faculty, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She also holds degrees from McGill University and Oxford University.

 

Nathan Létourneau

Hailed as a “gorgeous tenor voice” by Broadway World, Nathan Létourneau’s favorite roles include Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marco in The Gondoliers, and Orphée in Orphée aux enfers. Nathan has performed roles in Baltimore, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Toronto, and Montréal, with companies including the Washington National Opera, NEMPAC Opera, Bronx Opera, The Garden State Opera, Amore Opera, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Young Victorian Theatre Company, Utopia Opera, and Opera NOVA. Further, Nathan has performed in the Washington National Opera chorus since 2018 and was a semi-finalist in the 31st Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition. Nathan’s solo tenor concert performances include the Kennedy Center’s Messiah Sing-Along, Beethoven 9 with the Georgetown University Orchestra, Carmina Burana with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, as well as performances with Orpheus Choir, Goran Bregovic, and recitals with the Vernon Proms, Church of the Epiphany recital series, and at NYU’s Maison Française. Nathan holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Toronto and a Master of Music from New York University. Website: www.nathanletourneau.ca.

 

Spencer Adamson

Spencer Adamson’s recent performances include leading and comprimario roles in local  and national opera houses as well as many other classical music venues. In 2021,  Mr. Adamson debuted the role of Prince Charles in the U.S. premiere of the new  musical, Queen of the People’s Hearts. He reprised his role in its subsequent international debut in Istanbul, Turkey. Last summer, he made his role debut as  Giuseppe in The Gondoliers with the Young Victorian Theater Company. His recent  engagements include roles on two grand opera stages: The Lyric Opera House,  Baltimore, MD and The Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C. singing the  roles of Fiorello in LOB’s production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Doganiere in  Washington National Opera’s production of La Bohème, and as The Confederate Soldier WNO’s premiere of Philip Glass’ newly-written production of Appomattox.  Previous season highlights include the roles of Marquis d’Obigny in La Traviata with  Summer Garden Theater and Baltimore Concert Opera, Prince Yamadori in  Annapolis Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly, Marco in Opera Susquehanna’s  production of Gianni Schicchi, Timur in their concert production of Turandot, Tonio in Pagliacci, and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with HUB Opera Ensemble. Upcoming  engagements include his role debut of Despard in YVTC’s production of Ruddigore this summer. 

Mr. Adamson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Westminster  Choir College, and graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington. 

 

MEDIA AND INTERVIEWS

50th Season Finale: Glory, Praise, and Peace Promotional Video

The fourth movement of the Jenkins Gloria is entitled I’ll Make Music. Like the second movement, Laudamus te, (which I talked about in an earlier post) this is a moment of calm. This movement, however, is a reflection about what we as musicians and performers do – we make music to share with you.
Sung entirely by the soprano soloist, in this case the amazing Emily Casey, this movement ends with this text:

I’ll make music
I shall make new music
I shall make music, music…
For you.

To me, that’s what it’s all about and exactly what I try to do with my life and the Chorale’s mission – make music for YOU.
Take a listen to the link below and then come and see this live!

Jenkins: Gloria - IV. The Song: I'll make music

Have you ever heard a piece that starts with the singers making “breathing noises? Dan Forrest’s the breath of life, which we’ll perform during our season finale on June 1, begins exactly that way, with the chorus making breathy “sweeps” as the orchestra gradually comes in. Sounds crazy, right? But the effect is mesmerizing as the beautiful breathing sounds are taken over and combined with the voices as they begin singing.

I’m a huge fan of Dan’s writing because his music is very current and often reminds me of a film score with all the ways it brings imagery to mind.
Did I mention that the chorus is accompanied by a solo cello that is slightly amplified and mixed to make the sound more atmospheric?

You’ve got to hear this! Take a listen to this recording of the first movement of the breath of life.

the breath of life - Dan Forrest - Premiere Performance

I’m fascinated by the way works written by composers from one era connect and inform pieces by other composers separated by centuries. This kind of connection is at the heart of the two pieces we’ll perform on our June 1 concert by Bruckner and Jenkins – two of my favorites that perfectly illustrate this concept.

Both pieces – the Te Deum and Gloria – are “songs of praise” with text that dates from around the 4th century. Both are unmitigated expressions of joy and praise and have a very similar “mirrored” construction, meaning the last movement quotes and reminds us of the first.

What I most love about these two works is the musical energy and drive in each one. From the opening moments of the Bruckner, you know this is going to be a powerful journey, and it doesn’t let up until the end as Bruckner celebrates the glory of creation!

With similar exuberance, Jenkins calls on the same power from the chorus and orchestra, but makes his brilliant and effusive cries of praise globally understood by inserting non-traditional texts into the established language of the Gloria. In short, he’s putting “new wine in old skins,” and the result is spectacular!

Here’s a link to the Bruckner Te Deum to give you sample.

Bruckner - Te Deum

Psalm 150 is a joyous proclamation of praise. In fact, virtually every English translation of this psalm begins with the word “Praise” – except for the final verse, which says “Let everything that has breath praise…” Jenkins sets this text in Hebrew and it is a wild and enthusiastic ride for the chorus and the orchestra!

Jenkins: Gloria - III. The Psalm: Tehillim - Psalm 150

This movement offers a beautiful moment of calm around the text “Laudamus te” (We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify you). Instead of pushing the limits of orchestra and singers, composer Jenkins instead chooses to give us a quiet moment to pause and think.

Jenkins: Gloria - II. The Prayer: Laudamus Te

I have always loved the music of Karl Jenkins. It is unabashedly melodic and dramatic! The first movement of his Gloria starts with a huge introduction from the orchestra before the chorus enters with the first cry of “Gloria” (Glory). This is followed by a journey through musical time as the chorus sings a melody that reminds us of monastic chant heard in the early church. Before ending with a frenetic return to the opening “Gloria” and then on the word “Deo” (God), Jenkins compresses the rhythm to give this movement incredible energy. To me, this is one of the best openings in modern choral music!

Jenkins: Gloria - I. The Proclamation: Gloria in excelsis Deo

Annapolis Chorale Performs "Kyrie" from Requiem for the Living by Dan Forrest

June 1 @ 7:30 pm
7:30 pm

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

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