Nicholas Phan Headlines Bernstein’s Candide at Tanglewood and Returns to Oregon Bach Festival This Summer

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Nicholas Phan Headlines Bernstein’s Candide at Tanglewood 

 

and Returns to Oregon Bach Festival This Summer

 

 

 

This summer, Nicholas Phan – “an artist who must be heard” (National Public Radio) – returns to his roots, joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood to sing the title role in Bernstein’s Candide, the work that first inspired him to pursue a career in opera (Aug 16). In his third consecutive residency at the Oregon Bach Festival (June 26–July 10), the tenor takes part in performances of Vespers by Monteverdi and Rachmaninoff; Mozart’s Requiem, led by Festival Director Emeritus Helmuth Rilling; an evening of Strauss Lieder; and after proving himself “the standout among the vocal soloists” (New York Times) in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at Carnegie Hall last month, a reconstruction of the Baroque master’s St. Mark Passion. Phan also makes his Seattle Chamber Music Festival debut with Vaughan Williams and Brahms (July 18 & 21), and returns to New York’s Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, to sing Schubert in recital and with members of the American Symphony Orchestra (Aug 8 & 10).

 

 

 

In title role of Candide with Boston Symphony

 

Based on Voltaire’s satirical novella of the same name, Leonard Bernstein’s Candide holds personal significance for Phan. He explains:

 

 

 

Candide is a very important piece to me, because of two definitive and transformative experiences in student productions – the first at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Camp, the second with the University of Michigan’s renowned Musical Theater program. It was actually during that first experience that I decided I wanted to become an opera singer.

 

        “During both productions, which were theatrical productions, I was pushed far outside my comfort zone as an opera singer, and I learned some extremely important lessons about the demands of being on stage and what it takes to act. Every time I revisit the piece (most recently a few summers ago with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia), I’m reminded of those powerfully life-changing experiences, which makes this upcoming debut at Tanglewood all the more poignant for me.”

 

 

 

At this year’s Tanglewood Music Festival, the tenor headlines a concert performance of Bernstein’s operetta that also features soprano Anna Christy and legendary mezzo Frederica von Stade, with the Boston Symphony and English conductor Bramwell Tovey (Aug 16).

 

 

 

Oregon Bach Festival residency

 

Another highlight of the tenor’s summer is his two-week residency at the 2014 Oregon Bach Festival, which marks the inaugural season for incoming Artistic Director Matthew Halls. Phan says:

 

 

 

“It’s my third time in residence there, and (as in past summers) I will be exploring a wide-range of amazing repertoire in programs in both Eugene and Portland. Having spent the past two summers celebrating the end of Helmuth Rilling’s tenure as Artistic Director, I’m looking forward to being part of the beginning of the festival’s next chapter.”

 

 

 

Under Halls’s leadership, the tenor sings in Monteverdi’s monumental 1610 Vespers (Eugene, June 26; Portland, June 27); joins mezzo Jamie Barton for the Rachmaninoff Vespers, which draw on Russia’s liturgical legacy (Eugene, July 10); and takes part in the conductor’s reconstruction of Bach’s lost setting of the St. Mark Passion (Eugene, July 1; Portland, July 2). In the St. Matthew Passion with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall this past May, New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini reported:

 

 

 

Phan…brought his youthful, tender yet penetrating voice, as well as flawless German diction and affecting immediacy, to the long, challenging part of the Evangelist, the narrator. He has impressive control of his vibrato, sometimes singing high-lying, plaintive phrases with focused sound and choirboy purity. He was so invested in the narrative, you would have thought he was telling us the passion story for the first time.

 

 

 

The tenor’s Oregon residency also sees him reunite with Director Emeritus and preeminent choral conductor Helmuth Rilling for Mozart’s Requiem, another cornerstone of the sacred choral canon (Eugene, July 8), and join soprano Tamara Wilson and baritone Tyler Duncan for a “Strauss Soirée”: a program of Richard Strauss’s Lieder to honor the 150th anniversary of the late Romantic composer’s birth (Eugene, July 6).

 

 

 

Seattle Chamber Music Festival debut, and Schubert at 25th Bard Music Festival

 

For his Seattle Chamber Music Festival debut, Phan sings Vaughan Williams’s On Wenlock Edge with a stellar ensemble comprised of violinists James Ehnes and Stephen Rose, San Francisco Symphony principal violist Jonathan Vinocour, cellist Bion Tsang, and pianist Orion Weiss (July 18), before undertaking Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes for soprano, mezzo, tenor, baritone, and piano four-hands, three days later (July 21).

 

 

 

To round out the summer, he returns to the Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its silver jubilee with an exploration of “Schubert and His World,” where he impressed the New York Times with his “committed presence and rich tone” last season. This year, besides singing selected Schubert Lieder (Aug 8), Phan takes part in semi-staged performances of a double-bill of rarities: Schubert’s one-act Singspiel Die Verschworenen (“The Conspirators”) and the U.S. premiere of another long-forgotten Viennese favorite, Franz von Suppé’s one-act operetta Franz Schubert. With Leon Botstein leading members of the American Symphony Orchestra, Phan joins a first-rate cast with soprano Deanna Breiwick and tenor Paul Appleby (Aug 10).

 

 

 

Highlights of Britten centennial

 

These summer engagements crown a banner year for the tenor. Hailed as “a major new Britten interpreter” by the New York Times, he was a prime mover in centennial celebrations for the English composer. In his first performances of the War Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony, “Phan sang with a poignant, plangent tone as he communicated the haunted and haunting imagery,” affecting the Baltimore Sun with his “mesmerizing tenderness.” After he stepped in at the eleventh hour to sing Britten’s orchestral song cycle Les Illuminations with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch concluded:

 

 

 

“Phan has a gorgeous instrument, intelligently and effectively used. Singing from memory, he conveyed dramatic meaning, in what was effectively an operatic scene for one.”

 

 

 

Similarly, in the tenor’s Boston Celebrity Series recital debut, the Boston Globe found his Schubert “passionate and scrupulously paced, the final two stanzas almost unbearably intense,” while his account of Britten’s song cycle Winter Words was “astonishingly powerful”: 

 

 

 

“His diction was precise and his phrasing unerringly right. But what he conveyed so completely in this music is its mixture of knowingness and wonder.”

 

 

 

As Artistic Director of the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Phan presided over the 2013 Collaborative Works Festival, which presented “The Heart of the Matter: 100 Years of Benjamin Britten,” with special guests including countertenor David Daniels and new-music sextet eighth blackbird. In a Chicago Tribune review titled “Chicago group revitalizes art song tradition with compelling recitals,” John von Rhein noted:

 

 

 

“With an interpretive manner not unlike that of [Peter] Pears, but with much clearer diction, Phan had one hanging on every word. His power and authority were undeniable.”

 

 

 

Now, to kick off a new season that also takes him from the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Houston Grand Opera to Vancouver, Madrid, Istanbul and more, the tenor returns to Chicago for the 2014 Collaborative Works Festival. Turning to the core vocal chamber repertoire, this year’s festival will explore the close and complicated relationships between Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, with guest artists to include singers Susanna Phillips, Kelley O’Connor, Joshua Hopkins, and multiple Grammy Award-winner Michelle DeYoung, who will give the Festival’s annual solo recital. Besides serving once again as Artistic Director, Phan will himself give two performances, singing programs of Lieder by Schumann and Brahms on September 11 & 14.

 

 

 

Details of Nicholas Phan’s upcoming engagements are provided below, and more information is available at the artist’s web site: www.nicholas-phan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Phan: summer engagements

 

 

 

June 26

 

Eugene, OR

 

Silva Hall

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Matthew Halls

 

Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610

 

 

 

June 27

 

Portland, OR

 

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Matthew Halls

 

Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610

 

 

 

July 1

 

Eugene, OR

 

Beall Hall

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Matthew Halls

 

Bach: St. Mark Passion

 

 

 

July 2

 

Portland, OR

 

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Matthew Halls

 

Bach: St. Mark Passion

 

 

 

July 6

 

Eugene, OR

 

Beall Hall

 

Oregon Bach Festival 

 

R. Strauss: selected Lieder

 

 

 

July 8

 

Eugene, OR

 

Silva Hall

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Helmuth Rilling

 

Mozart: Requiem

 

 

 

July 10

 

Eugene, OR

 

First United Methodist Church

 

Oregon Bach Festival / Matthew Halls

 

Rachmaninoff: Vespers

 

 

 

July 18

 

Seattle, WA

 

Benaroya Hall

 

Seattle Chamber Music Festival

 

Vaughan Williams: On Wenlock Edge

 

 

 

July 21

 

Seattle, WA

 

Benaroya Hall

 

Seattle Chamber Music Festival

 

Brahms: Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52

 

 

 

Aug 8

 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

 

Bard Music Festival

 

Schubert: Selected songs

 

 

 

Aug 10

 

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

 

Bard Music Festival

 

American Symphony Orchestra / Leon Botstein

 

Schubert: Die Verschworenen

 

Suppé: Franz Schubert

 

 

 

Aug 16

 

Lenox, MA

 

Tanglewood Music Festival

 

Boston Symphony Orchestra / Bramwell Tovey

 

Bernstein: Candide (title role)

 

 

 

www.nicholas-phan.com

 

 

 

www.facebook.com/nicholasphantenor

 

 

 

www.twitter.com/grecchinois

 

 

 

www.grecchinois.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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© 21C Media Group, June 2014

 

 

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Louise Barder
21C Media Group
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New York, NY 10019
www.21cmediagroup.com 
 
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