Gloria Musicae Presents
“Old and New”
With Adam Bielamowicz, tenor
James Shaffran, bass
Gloria Musicae Singers
State College of Florida Chamber Singers
April 12 < First United Methodist Church
Ultra romantic Puccini and contemporary wunderkind Ola Gjeilo unite for a stunning combination of Mass settings.
“Whether working with opera, oratorio, lieder, or chanson, Giacomo Puccini and Ola Gjeilo compose with a deep understanding of both text and voice to create some of the most dramatic and sublime works of western musical art.”
‑‑Dr. Joseph Holt
(Sarasota, FL) Gloria Musicae continues its 36th anniversary season with “Old and New,” a concert featuring Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria” and Ola Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass,” stunning early choral works by two master composers, Sunday, April 12, 7 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 104 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota. The concert features the Gloria Musicae Singers, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, in collaboration with the State College of Florida Chamber Singers. The singers will be accompanied by musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra, and joined by soloists Adam Bielamowicz, tenor, and James Shaffran, bass. Tickets are $35; student tickets (available at the door with student ID) are $15. To purchase tickets, visit www.gloriamusicae.org or call the Van Wezel box office at 941-953-3368.
“Whether working with opera, oratorio, lieder, or chanson, Giacomo Puccini and Ola Gjeilo compose with a deep understanding of both text and voice to create some of the most dramatic and sublime works of western musical art,” says Joseph Holt, Gloria Musicae’s artistic director. “These two diverse composers, working an ocean and more than 120 years apart, share a knack for penning compositions that reflect their own intense, personal devotion to the beautiful sound of the voice, while also understanding the nature of the text they are setting.”
Holt adds that both of the Masses to be performed at “Old and New,” Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria” and Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass,” were composed and premiered when the composers were relatively young. Puccini was just 22 when his “Messa di Gloria,” a graduation exercise from the Istituto Musicale Pacini, premiered in Lucca, Italy, in 1880. His Mass met with instant critical acclaim and anticipated Puccini’s later career as an operatic composer, offering glimpses of the dramatic power he would soon unleash on the stage in such well-known operas as “La Boheme,” “Tosca,” and “Madama Butterfly.” The contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo was a more mature 30 when his “Sunrise Mass” premiered in 2008, the result of a commission from several chamber choirs in his native Norway.
Inspired by the Ordinary of the traditional Latin Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), both composers create, within the realm of their disparate backgrounds and unique musical language, beautiful and highly contrasting works of aural art.
“Puccini composes in an uber romantic fashion, highlighting the text with a variety of vocal and orchestral colors, including two soloists,” says Holt. “What is unusual is that the two soloists are both men–a tenor and a bass. Typically a composer of the romantic genre included both soprano and alto soloists in mass composition. Gjeilo, on the other hand, writes completely for the choral medium–no soloists are employed in his 21st-century composition. And the musical language is one of our time; both atmospheric and tonally resonant, reflecting a more contemplative approach to the idiom.”
The Puccini score will be performed in a reduced orchestration, created by Ingo Shulz at Musik Art in Germany specifically for chamber choir performances.
Accompanying the performance will be musicians from the Sarasota Orchestra and soloists Adam Bielamowicz, tenor, and James Shaffran, bass. Adam Bielamowicz has appeared throughout the United States with such prestigious companies as Glimmerglass Festival Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the Sarasota Opera. He recently made his Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra. James Shaffran has performed regularly with the National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Washington Bach Consort, the Fairfax, Williamsburg, Alexandria and Lynchburg symphonies, the Washington National Opera, and the Wolf Trap Opera. His major label debut, as baritone soloist with Leonard Slatkin and the NSO on John Corigliano’s “Of Rage And Remembrance,” earned him a 1997 Grammy for Best Classical Recording. Shaffran’s career achievements have garnered Wammie (Washington Area Music Association) nominations for Best Classical Vocal Soloist the past two seasons.
The State College of Florida Chamber Singers is a select student vocal ensemble under the direction of Melodie Dickerson that performs a broad range of choral literature at concerts on and off campus throughout the region.
The Gloria Musicae Singers is a professional vocal ensemble that performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes major works with orchestra, intimate madrigals, church motets, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Holt. The ensemble specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works, particularly those works by living American composers.
Gloria Musicae’s 2014-2015 season will conclude with its signature July 4th concert, celebrating Independence Day with a rousing tribute to American composers and to the American spirit in “An American Tapestry,” on Saturday, July 4, 4:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church.
The Gloria Musicae Singers will also be partnering with the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota in “A Romp with Gilbert & Sullivan,” May 9 and 10, at the Historic Asolo Theater in Sarasota.
For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit www.GloriaMusicae.org.
About the Gloria Musicae Singers
The Gloria Musicae Singers is a professional vocal ensemble that celebrates choral music through innovative performances. The critically acclaimed group, under the artistic direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, performs a repertoire spanning four centuries, and includes orchestral works, intimate madrigals, church motets, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works, particularly music by living American composers. The Gloria Musicae Singers has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker, and James Grant, along with the premiere of a new edition of a rarely heard score by Rossini. For more information about Gloria Musicae, visit www.gloriamusicae.org.