Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents
“My Favorite Things: The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein”
May 7 and 8 • Historic Asolo Theater
Four internationally acclaimed soloists join forces with the Gloria Musicae Singers for this rousing tribute to the legendary writing team credited with ushering in the golden age of American musical theater.
(Sarasota, Florida) Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota presents the Gloria Musicae Singers, with guest soloists, soprano Mara Bonde, mezzo soprano Katherine Pracht, tenor Aaron Blake and baritone Marcus De Loach in “My Favorite Things,” a celebration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the musical theater writing partnership considered to be the greatest of the 20th century, May 7, 7:30 p.m. and May 8, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at the Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Ticket prices range from $25 to $45 and are available at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org. Student tickets available at the door.
“Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music.” These are just a few of the many timeless musicals penned by the iconic team of Rodgers and Hammerstein. After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, composer Richard Rodgers and librettist/lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II joined forces in 1943 to form the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in American musical theater history. Collectively, the team garnered 34 Tony Awards, 16 Academy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammy Awards, with countless productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals still being performed in theaters around the world today.
Under the direction of Dr. Joseph Holt, the Gloria Musicae Singers join four renowned guest soloists—Mara Bonde, Katherine Pracht, Aaron Blake and Marcus DeLoach—to celebrate the musical legacy of this renowned partnership.
“The names Rodgers and Hammerstein are synonymous with musical theatre and their songwriting remains the epitome of a great American art form. I can’t think of a better way to conclude our 20th anniversary Pops Series than with this cast of outstanding singers paying tribute to these two musical legends,” says Holt.
Soprano Mara Bonde has entertained audiences throughout the United States and Europe with her electric stage presence and musical artistry. The Boston Herald described her voice as having a “sweet purity of tone,” while the Boston Globe called it simply “ravishing.” Equally at home in both classical and popular styles, Bonde has been the guest artist for the “Holiday Pops” with the Boston Pops, the Naples Philharmonic, the Syracuse Symphony, the New Haven Symphony and the Charlotte Symphony. She made her Boston Pops debut under the direction of Keith Lockhart in “Brush up your Shakespeare,” which was televised nationally on PBS’s “Evening at Pops.”
Lauded for her impressive dual singing and acting skills, mezzo-soprano Katherine Pracht has been hailed as having a voice that is, “an instrument of extraordinary beauty and boundless agility,” and her theatrical skills as creating, “a dimensional character, often speaking volumes with mere facial expressions.” Pracht has been a Metropolitan Opera Competition Regional finalist in San Antonio, Memphis, and twice in Minneapolis, where, in 2006, she won the Outstanding Mezzo Award. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as Alto Soloist in Verdi’s “Requiem” in 2013.
Touted as “a vocal powerhouse” by the Los Angeles Times for his elegant portrayal of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, tenor Aaron Blake is fast becoming known as a vibrant interpreter of many Mozart roles. In 2014, Blake returned to Carnegie Hall to appear as Uriel in Haydn’s “Creation” with the Oratorio Society of New York and also made his debut with the Lexington Philharmonic as the tenor soloist in the “Messiah.” This season he is performing at the New York Metropolitan Opera, as well as Opera Orchestra of New York, the Reno Philharmonic and the Cincinnati Opera.
The New York Times has hailed baritone Marcus DeLoach as “a fine baritone who puts words across with clarity and naturalness.” One of the leading performers of contemporary classical music today, he has established himself in the areas of opera, concert, and crossover. Of his singing, The London Times has written: “A well-groomed voice, a flair for programme shaping, a fervent desire to communicate, and, above all, that elusive fusion of instinct and understanding which sparks a quality of imagination transcending mere accomplishment.” DeLoach has also appeared regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and The Marilyn Horne Foundation. Adding to his cross-over credits, in 2004 DeLoach joined the acclaimed rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra for their rock opera “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” in a tour that included stops at Madison Square Garden and the Fleet Center, performing for an estimated one quarter million people.
The Gloria Musicae Singers, Sarasota’s professional vocal ensemble, celebrates the excellence of choral music through innovative, stimulating performances and educational outreach. The group is comprised of classically trained, auditioned singers performing music from a broad spectrum of the choral literature. Complementing the ensemble are eight apprentice singers—younger student singers ranging in age from 18 to 22. With repertoire spanning four centuries and including major works with orchestra, intimate madrigals, church motets, folk songs, close-harmony jazz, and Broadway show music, this highly versatile ensemble is a cultural jewel of southwest Florida. The ensemble also specializes in premiere performances of lesser-known choral works, particularly those works by living American composers. Gloria Musicae has performed premieres by René Clausen, Dick Hyman, Robert Levin, Gwyneth Walker, Sheridan Seyfried, and James Grant.
Since 1996, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has presented an ever-expanding annual season of concerts by globally renowned and celebrated emerging artists. The 2016-17 season will be announced soon.
For more information about the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota’s 2015-2016 season, visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org or call 941-306-1202.
The Remaining 2015-2016 Season at a Glance
Classical Recital Series
Saturday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Asolo Theater; 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets at 941-360-7399 or www.artistseriesconcerts.org.
- 20th Year Retrospective Celebration: As a close to the 20th anniversary season, Artist Series Concerts is bringing back favorites from past years. The performers that Sarasota audiences have loved before will be here again to entertain, celebrate and inspire. May 28 and 29, 7:30 p.m.
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was formed in 1996 as the Artist Series of Sarasota. The group is a non-profit corporation based in Sarasota, FL, that prides itself on presenting several major national and international varieties of concert, opera, orchestral, Broadway and film performances throughout their season. The majority of the performances are staged at the restored Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling.
Photos courtesy of the artists.