Mercury Presents the Holidays in Houston Style
Five Acclaimed Singers
Four Days of Christmas Music
One orchestra experience
“An Early English Christmas”
Four concerts of favorite holiday songs and carols
“Corelli’s Christmas Concerto”
annual holiday performancefeaturing the elegant grandeur of a three-hundred-year-old tradition
Houston, TX – Celebrate the beauty and warmth of the holiday season with an enticing array of traditional carols and music with Houston’s premiere period instrument ensemble, Mercury, and their acclaimed guest singers – all with strong ties to the Houston area.
Artistic Director Antoine Plante has curated a lively hour-long concert for Mercury’s Neighborhood Concert Series set in four intimate venues across the city. Featuring traditional English Christmas carols, including the ever-popular “Greensleeves”; Elizabethan composer John Dowland’s “Awake, Sweet Love,” about the joys of requited love, and William Byrd’s “Lullaby, my sweet little baby” – a tender and moving work depicting Mary soothing the infant Jesus first published in 1588, “An Early English Christmas” sets a spirited holiday tone.
Guesting on the concert will be five talented Houston-based artists – soprano Hannah Celeste Lu a “pliable, floating voice”- Opera News; mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte, praised for her “intensity and conviction”- Houston Chronicle; the Houston Chronicle acclaimed “dashing” tenor Eduardo Tercero, and bass baritone Michael Kessler, a popular performer with local orchestras and choirs.Additional music on the program includes works by popular Baroque and Renaissance composers Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, Richard Pygott, and Anthony Holborne.
The jewel in the holiday crown takes place December 9, at Stude Concert Hall. The “rich-toned” -The Boston Globe soprano Lauren Snouffer, an audience favorite, returns to Mercury for the ensemble’s annual Christmas concert. This season, family and friends will revel in the elegant, baroque splendor of the sounds of an almost 300-year holiday tradition – Corelli’s famous “Christmas Concerto”. Recorded by Mercury on its 2015 Christmas Concertos CD, the engaging and beautiful work is renowned for its pastoral movement, a tableau vivant that conjures biblical shepherds at the Nativity – and is considered to be one of the best alongside Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah.
Of course, no holiday celebration would be complete without something from Mozart. The composer’s Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165 is a soprano showcase. Agnus Dei from Coronation Mass K. 317, so moving, is considered to augur the “Dove sono” aria from Le nozze di Figaro. Rounding out the evening are works by J.S. Bach, including his joyful “Wie lieblich klingt es…” from Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133 (How beautiful it rings… I rejoice in you) and the glorious Laudamus Te from his Mass in B minor, BWV 232. Mozart’s contemporary Henri-Joseph Rigel, adds a touch of Parisian splendor to the evening with the charming closing work, Symphony No. 8 in G minor.
Join in the holiday spirit with family and friends- tickets are available at www.mercuryhouston.org
AN EARLY ENGLISH CHRISTMAS- Neighborhood Concert Series
MATCH, Midtown Thursday, November 30, 2017, 8:00 PM
MDPC, Memorial Drive, Saturday, December 2, 2017, 2:30 PM
MFAH, Museum District Saturday, December 2, 2017, 7:00 PM
Dosey Doe, The Woodlands, Sunday, December 3, 2017, 7:00 PM
Tickets $19 -$35
O come, Emmanuel; Greensleeves; The Coventry Carol;
Lullaby, thou tiny little child; Gaudete
Awake, sweet love; Mr. Dowland’s Midnight
WILLIAM BYRD Lullaby, my sweet little baby
…and more by Baroque and Renaissance English composers including
Thomas Tallis, Henry Purcell, Richard Pygott, Anthony Holborne
Antoine Plante, conductor
Hannah Celeste Lu, soprano
Cecilia Duarte, mezzo-soprano
Eduardo Tercero, tenor
Michael Kessler, bass
CORELLI’S CHRISTMAS CONCERTO – Downtown Series
Tickets $19 – $70
CORELLI Concerto Gross in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 “Christmas Concerto”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165
Agnus Dei from Coronation Mass K. 317
Symphony No. 9 in C major, K. 73
Sinfonia from Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats,BWV 42
“Wie lieblich klingt es…” from Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133
Sinfonia from Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150
Laudamus Te from Mass in B minor, BWV 232
RIGEL Symphony No. 8 in G minor
Lauren Snouffer, soprano
Antoine Plante, conductor
Pre-Concert Lecture 7:15 PM Stude Concert Hall
This concert is made possible in part by the Houston Endowment and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.
Innovation, accessibility and dynamism are just three of the distinguishing characteristics of Mercury, the critically acclaimed Houston-based period instrument ensemble that continues to redefine the orchestra experience. Now in its 17th season, Mercury celebrates the power of music – from the Baroque period and more – serving the Houston community and beyond through teaching, sharing and performing with passion, intimacy and excellence.
In addition to performances in multiple venues throughout the Houston area, Mercury continues to invest in the community. It offers free community performances annually, including the community concert at The Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park, and the public concerts in the Crain Garden at Houston Methodist Hospital. Recognized for its award-winning education outreach programs comprising classroom music education and performances in Houston area schools, Mercury also presents master classes for school orchestras. Active in the recording scene, to date, Mercury has released eight albums on its own label, featuring works by Corelli, Mozart, Schubert, Rameau, Vivaldi, Piazzolla, and Handel.
Following Hurricane Harvey, Mercury’s 2017-18 Flagship Downtown Series takes place at Stude Concert Hall at Rice University while the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater is being renovated. Mercury’s Neighbor Series continues in the Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) Beck Building, MATCH, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, and Dosey Doe in The Woodlands.
Mercury gratefully acknowledges the following organizations and corporations for their ongoing support: the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment Inc., Texas Commission on the Arts, the Wyatt Foundation, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fung Chao Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.