Jul
13
Sat
Opening Night: In The Beginning @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 13 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Franz Joseph Haydn, The Creation, HOB XXI:2

Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, majestically opens the 82nd Carmel Bach Festival. The performances feature the Festival’s entire company of musicians and will be sung in a Haydn-approved English translation.

Haydn considered The Creation his masterwork. It is the culmination of his creative life that produced more than 100 symphonies, and a plethora of string quartets, operas, masses and other works.

Haydn’s musical setting of the creation story is one of the best-loved works in the choral repertoire because of its dramatic gestures, bold orchestral colors and imaginative word painting. From the creation of light to Adam and Eve’s love duet, Haydn brings to life the birds, beasts and angels as they rejoice in soaring, life-affirming music.

The radiance of The Creation is experienced through the overpowering majesty of the choruses.  Also, the composer’s tremendous word-painting skill with which he creates his descriptive canvasses, and the brilliant orchestration Haydn brought to his famous “London” symphonies and late Masses. Here the orchestration is employed to even more powerful effect, especially in some of the colorful writing for the winds. The orchestra in The Creation is every bit as much a protagonist as the soloists and chorus.

The work is part of the grand orchestral/choral tradition that is in the Festival’s DNA, as represented by such audience favorites such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the Bach Passions, and Carmina Burana.

The Creation’s enduring place in the repertory is because of its appeal on so many levels: It is complex and intricate, yet highly accessible. It is spiritual, but profoundly human. It’s is Haydn’s great expression of gratitude to God, but also a lasting gift to humankind.

“I have lived with Haydn’s Creation all my life,” said Festival Artistic Director Paul Goodwin. “In performances as a boy chorister, as a solo oboist and as a conductor, reveling in its ever-changing colors and glorious architecture. This piece means a lot to me; I hope it will to you too!”

Jul
14
Sun
Bach and Shakespeare – Week 1 @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 14 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Orchestra, Chorale, Chorus and Soloists conducted by Paul Goodwin

J.S. Bach, The Christmas Oratorio, Part I and II, BWV 248

Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Incidental Music, Op. 61

Francesca Faridany, actress

Two titans of Western culture—J.S. Bach and William Shakespeare—are paired in this program.

The first two cantatas of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio open the relaxing and pastoral afternoon. Trumpets and timpani herald the birth of Jesus to begin the first cantata, a celebration and reflection on the birth of Jesus. Similar to the Matthew and John passions, the Oratorio includes a tenor Evangelist who narrates the story of the birth of Christ. These recitatives introduce and connect lyrical solo arias. The cantatas feature the entire Festival choral ensemble—the professional Chorale and volunteer Chorus—sometimes intoning the well-known Passion choral, which links the birth of Christ with the Passion saga, and more often singing in praise accompanied by a full Baroque orchestra featuring some of Bach’s most brilliant writing.

This realization mirrors Bach’s intent with the Christmas Oratorio, which was created to be performed over several days in Leipzig.

The Sunday programs kick off the complete presentation of The Christmas Oratorio. Two of the remaining cantatas are scheduled for Monday afternoon at All Saints, with the Festival’s four vocal soloists and a small Baroque ensemble directed by Andrew Arthur, and the remaining two cantatas will be presented Wednesday night at the Carmel Mission Basilica by the Chorale accompanied by Baroque strings, brass, and timpani with Andrew Megill, conductor.

The second half of the program is Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with actress Francesca Faridany providing Shakespeare’s narration. Faridany is an international film, TV and theater actress who appears in the movie blockbuster, Black Panther, and also on TV in NBC’s Manifest. She is a past winner of a Tony Award for Best Play (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), a Helen Hayes Outstanding Lead Actress Awardand an Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Featured Actress nominee, among many other credits. She has many connections to the Festival. Her grandmother Nancy Morrow, was an early supporter; her mother, Nana, was a longtime Festival administrator, and her sister, pianist Lucy Faridany is the Festival’s Chorus accompanist. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect complement to a tranquil summer afternoon in Carmel.

“This concert begins the 2019 Christmas Oratorio journey,” said Paul Goodwin, “creating maximum variety with three concerts in three venues with three conductors and three formations. This concert places Bach’s most colorful and pastoral cantatas alongside Mendelssohn’s magical masterpiece, a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  A concert that encapsulates the beauty of Carmel-by-the-Sea, looking both to the spirit and to nature.”

Jul
16
Tue
Saints and Sinners – Week 1 @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 16 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Orchestra, Chorale, Chorus, Soloists conducted by Paul Goodwin
Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone; Francesca Faridany, actress-narrator

George Frideric Handel        Acis and Galatea

Overture

Chorus : Oh the pleasure of the plains

Tenor Aria (Acis): Love in her eyes

Soprano Aria (Galatea): As when the dove

Bass-Baritone Aria (Polephemus) : I Rage –  /  O Ruddier than the cherry

Trio : The flocks shall leave the mountains

Tenor Aria: Help, Galatea, Help!

Chorus : Galatea Dry thy tears

Igor Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress

Instrumental Introduction

Tenor Aria:  Here I stand

Chorus and Bass Solo:  The Sun is Bright

Soprano – cabaletta:  I go, I go to him

Mezzo-Soprano Aria : Come, sweet, come; Scorned, Abused

Chorus : Ruin, Disaster. Shame

Tenor aria :  I Burn, I burn! I freeze; With roses crowned

Chorus:  Mourn for Adonis

Epilogue

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  The Marriage of Figaro

Overture

Soprano and Bass-Baritone Duet: Cinque, Dieci, Venti

Bass-Baritone Aria:  Se vuol ballare

Mezzo-Soprano Aria: Voi che sapete

Tenor Aria: In quagl’anni

Soprano, Tenor, Bass-Baritone Trio: Cosa sento

Chorus : Gio Vani liete

Georges Bizet  Highlights from Carmen

Overture

Mezzo-Soprano Aria: Gypsy song

Tenor Aria: La fleur que tu m’avais

Mezzo-Soprano and Chorus: Habanera

Soprano Aria: Je dis que rien

Bass-Baritone and Chorus: Toreadors Song

“All opera is about saints, sinners, seducers, victims and death! In this evening of drama and excitement we present four contrasting operas that show elements of all these traits that make opera so compelling,” said Paul Goodwin

The Tuesday evening performances explore the saint and sinner characters as depicted by four major opera composers. The evening begins with the story of the beautiful Galatea’s (Mhairi Lawson) love for the shepherd Acis (Thomas Cooley), and of the monstrous giant Polyphemus (Dashon Burton) jealousy and desire for Galatea.

Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress is a neo-Baroque work, and is nothing like you might have heard before from the Russian master. The story tells of Tom Rakewell (Thomas Cooley), an impressionable young man who jilts his fiancée, Anne Trulove (Mhairi Lawson), for the get-rich-quick promises made by the sinister Nick Shadow (Dashon Burton), who really is the Devil. After several misadventures, all initiated by the devious Shadow, Tom ends up in Bedlam, an insane asylum. In true devotion to Tom, Anne Trulove rescues his soul at the opera’s conclusion.

Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro beings with one of the shortest but most memorable overtures in the repertory. The opera tells the story of the servants Figaro and Susanna, who get married. This spoils the efforts of their philandering employer, Count Almaviva to seduce Susanna, teaching the sinner Count a lesson in fidelity. Marriage of Figaro’s lighthearted and melodic sensibility has made it an audience favorite since its debut in 1786.

The evening concludes with Carmen, which has everything that makes for a beloved opera: passionate drama, great characters, a love story, and some of the best known and loved music. Bizet’s work is packed with great and instantly familiar melodies including the Habanera and the Gypsy Song—sung by the title character as performed by Meg Bragle— and concluding with the Toreador’s Song, as performed by our Toreador, Dashon Burton. The character of Carmen is both saint and sinner and serves as the perfect capstone for the evening. She is a seducer, yet is also a fragile victim and strong feminist.

Jul
17
Wed
Christmas at the Mission – Week 1 @ Carmel Mission Basilica
Jul 17 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Orchestra and Chorale conducted by Andrew Megill

J.S. Bach, The Christmas Oratorio, Part III and VI, BWV 248
Arvo Pärt, Seven Magnificat Antiphons

The Christmas Oratorio’s third and final cantatas comprise the major portion of the annual Carmel Mission Basilica concerts. Interlaced with the two cantatas are Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Seven Magnificat Antiphons, a stunning a capella work with texts that would normally be sung individually as antiphons to the Magnificat at Vespers on the seven evenings preceding Christmas Eve. Pärt’s composition is hauntingly beautiful and is a perfect suited for the Carmel Mission Basilica.

The fifth cantata depicts the journey of the Magi, and was meant for performance on the first Sunday after the  New Year and tells a story about unifying heaven and earth. All the elements of Bach’s great Passions are here, including an tenor evangelist to tell the story, beautiful chorales, and solo arias, all performed by members of the remarkable Festival Chorale.

The final cantata of The Christmas Oratorio was composed for the Feast of the Epiphany, or the final day of the Feast of Christmas. The work is one of joyful optimism, with a brilliant and festive chorus accompanied by an orchestra that continues the vivid and celebratory tone of the first cantata presented on the Sunday afternoon concerts. Trumpets and timpani close the Oratorio in a blaze of glory.

“This concert is the final chapter of the Christmas Oratorio journey, coupled with a set of beautiful a cappella works by Arvo Pärt, the great Estonian ‘spiritual minimalist.’ His Seven Magnificat Antiphons, sprinkled throughout the program, are meditative, trance-like, and transcendent,” said associate conductor Andrew Megill.

Andrew Megill is the artistic director of Fuma Sacra and serves as chorusmaster for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He is also music director of Masterwork Chorus and professor and director of choral activities at the University of Illinois. He is in his 12th season as associate conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival and director of the chorale and chorus.

Jul
20
Sat
In The Beginning – Week 2 @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 20 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Franz Joseph Haydn, The Creation, HOB XXI:2

Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Haydn’s masterpiece, The Creation, majestically opens the 82nd Carmel Bach Festival. The performances feature the Festival’s entire company of musicians and will be sung in a Haydn-approved English translation.

Haydn considered The Creation his masterwork. It is the culmination of his creative life that produced more than 100 symphonies, and a plethora of string quartets, operas, masses and other works.

Haydn’s musical setting of the creation story is one of the best-loved works in the choral repertoire because of its dramatic gestures, bold orchestral colors and imaginative word painting. From the creation of light to Adam and Eve’s love duet, Haydn brings to life the birds, beasts and angels as they rejoice in soaring, life-affirming music.

The radiance of The Creation is experienced through the overpowering majesty of the choruses.  Also, the composer’s tremendous word-painting skill with which he creates his descriptive canvasses, and the brilliant orchestration Haydn brought to his famous “London” symphonies and late Masses. Here the orchestration is employed to even more powerful effect, especially in some of the colorful writing for the winds. The orchestra in The Creation is every bit as much a protagonist as the soloists and chorus.

The work is part of the grand orchestral/choral tradition that is in the Festival’s DNA, as represented by such audience favorites such as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the Bach Passions, and Carmina Burana.

The Creation’s enduring place in the repertory is because of its appeal on so many levels: It is complex and intricate, yet highly accessible. It is spiritual, but profoundly human. It’s is Haydn’s great expression of gratitude to God, but also a lasting gift to humankind.

“I have lived with Haydn’s Creation all my life,” said Festival Artistic Director Paul Goodwin. “In performances as a boy chorister, as a solo oboist and as a conductor, reveling in its ever-changing colors and glorious architecture. This piece means a lot to me; I hope it will to you too!”

Jul
21
Sun
Bach and Shakespeare – Week 2 @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 21 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Orchestra, Chorale, Chorus and Soloists conducted by Paul Goodwin

J.S. Bach, The Christmas Oratorio, Part I and II, BWV 248

Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Incidental Music, Op. 61

Francesca Faridany, actress

Two titans of Western culture—J.S. Bach and William Shakespeare—are paired in this program.

The first two cantatas of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio open the relaxing and pastoral afternoon. Trumpets and timpani herald the birth of Jesus to begin the first cantata, a celebration and reflection on the birth of Jesus. Similar to the Matthew and John passions, the Oratorio includes a tenor Evangelist who narrates the story of the birth of Christ. These recitatives introduce and connect lyrical solo arias. The cantatas feature the entire Festival choral ensemble—the professional Chorale and volunteer Chorus—sometimes intoning the well-known Passion choral, which links the birth of Christ with the Passion saga, and more often singing in praise accompanied by a full Baroque orchestra featuring some of Bach’s most brilliant writing.

This realization mirrors Bach’s intent with the Christmas Oratorio, which was created to be performed over several days in Leipzig.

The Sunday programs kick off the complete presentation of The Christmas Oratorio. Two of the remaining cantatas are scheduled for Monday afternoon at All Saints, with the Festival’s four vocal soloists and a small Baroque ensemble directed by Andrew Arthur, and the remaining two cantatas will be presented Wednesday night at the Carmel Mission Basilica by the Chorale accompanied by Baroque strings, brass, and timpani with Andrew Megill, conductor.

The second half of the program is Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with actress Francesca Faridany providing Shakespeare’s narration. Faridany is an international film, TV and theater actress who appears in the movie blockbuster, Black Panther, and also on TV in NBC’s Manifest. She is a past winner of a Tony Award for Best Play (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), a Helen Hayes Outstanding Lead Actress Award and an Outer Critics Circle Outstanding Featured Actress nominee, among many other credits. She has many connections to the Festival. Her grandmother Nancy Morrow, was an early supporter; her mother, Nana, was a longtime Festival administrator, and her sister, pianist Lucy Faridany is the Festival’s Chorus accompanist. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect complement to a tranquil summer afternoon in Carmel.

“This concert begins the 2019 Christmas Oratorio journey,” said Paul Goodwin, “creating maximum variety with three concerts in three venues with three conductors and three formations. This concert places Bach’s most colorful and pastoral cantatas alongside Mendelssohn’s magical masterpiece, a Midsummer Night’s Dream.  A concert that encapsulates the beauty of Carmel-by-the-Sea, looking both to the spirit and to nature.”

Jul
23
Tue
Saints and Sinners – Week 2 @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 23 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Orchestra, Chorale, Chorus, Soloists conducted by Paul Goodwin
Mhairi Lawson, soprano; Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Dashon Burton, bass-baritone; Francesca Faridany, actress-narrator

George Frideric Handel        Acis and Galatea

 Overture

Chorus : Oh the pleasure of the plains

Tenor Aria (Acis): Love in her eyes

Soprano Aria (Galatea): As when the dove

Bass-Baritone Aria (Polephemus) : I Rage –  /  O Ruddier than the cherry

Trio : The flocks shall leave the mountains

Tenor Aria: Help, Galatea, Help!

Chorus : Galatea Dry thy tears

Igor Stravinsky  The Rake’s Progress

Instrumental Introduction

Tenor Aria:  Here I stand

Chorus and Bass Solo:  The Sun is Bright

Soprano – cabaletta:  I go, I go to him

Mezzo-Soprano Aria : Come, sweet, come; Scorned, Abused

Chorus : Ruin, Disaster. Shame

Tenor aria :  I Burn, I burn! I freeze; With roses crowned

Chorus:  Mourn for Adonis

Epilogue

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  The Marriage of Figaro

Overture

Soprano and Bass-Baritone Duet: Cinque, Dieci, Venti

Bass-Baritone Aria:  Se vuol ballare

Mezzo-Soprano Aria: Voi che sapete

Tenor Aria: In quagl’anni

Soprano, Tenor, Bass-Baritone Trio: Cosa sento

Chorus : Gio Vani liete

Georges Bizet  Highlights from Carmen

Overture

Mezzo-Soprano Aria: Gypsy song

Tenor Aria: La fleur que tu m’avais

Mezzo-Soprano and Chorus: Habanera

Soprano Aria: Je dis que rien

Bass-Baritone and Chorus: Toreadors Song

“All opera is about saints, sinners, seducers, victims and death! In this evening of drama and excitement we present four contrasting operas that show elements of all these traits that make opera so compelling,” said Paul Goodwin

The Tuesday evening performances explore the saint and sinner characters as depicted by four major opera composers. The evening begins with the story of the beautiful Galatea’s (Mhairi Lawson) love for the shepherd Acis (Thomas Cooley), and of the monstrous giant Polyphemus (Dashon Burton) jealousy and desire for Galatea.

Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress is a neo-Baroque work, and is nothing like you might have heard before from the Russian master. The story tells of Tom Rakewell (Thomas Cooley), an impressionable young man who jilts his fiancée, Anne Trulove (Mhairi Lawson), for the get-rich-quick promises made by the sinister Nick Shadow (Dashon Burton), who really is the Devil. After several misadventures, all initiated by the devious Shadow, Tom ends up in Bedlam, an insane asylum. In true devotion to Tom, Anne Trulove rescues his soul at the opera’s conclusion.

Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro beings with one of the shortest but most memorable overtures in the repertory. The opera tells the story of the servants Figaro and Susanna, who get married. This spoils the efforts of their philandering employer, Count Almaviva to seduce Susanna, teaching the sinner Count a lesson in fidelity. Marriage of Figaro’s lighthearted and melodic sensibility has made it an audience favorite since its debut in 1786.

The evening concludes with Carmen, which has everything that makes for a beloved opera: passionate drama, great characters, a love story, and some of the best known and loved music. Bizet’s work is packed with great and instantly familiar melodies including the Habanera and the Gypsy Song—sung by the title character as performed by Meg Bragle— and concluding with the Toreador’s Song, as performed by our Toreador, Dashon Burton. The character of Carmen is both saint and sinner and serves as the perfect capstone for the evening. She is a seducer, yet is also a fragile victim and strong feminist.

Jul
24
Wed
Christmas at the Mission – Week 2 @ Carmel Mission Basilica
Jul 24 @ 8:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Orchestra and Chorale conducted by Andrew Megill

J.S. Bach, The Christmas Oratorio, Part III and VI, BWV 248
Arvo Pärt, Seven Magnificat Antiphons

The Christmas Oratorio’s third and final cantatas comprise the major portion of the annual Carmel Mission Basilica concerts. Interlaced with the two cantatas are Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s Seven Magnificat Antiphons, a stunning a capella work with texts that would normally be sung individually as antiphons to the Magnificat at Vespers on the seven evenings preceding Christmas Eve. Pärt’s composition is hauntingly beautiful and is a perfect suited for the Carmel Mission Basilica.

The fifth cantata depicts the journey of the Magi, and was meant for performance on the first Sunday after the  New Year and tells a story about unifying heaven and earth. All the elements of Bach’s great Passions are here, including an tenor evangelist to tell the story, beautiful chorales, and solo arias, all performed by members of the remarkable Festival Chorale.

The final cantata of The Christmas Oratorio was composed for the Feast of the Epiphany, or the final day of the Feast of Christmas. The work is one of joyful optimism, with a brilliant and festive chorus accompanied by an orchestra that continues the vivid and celebratory tone of the first cantata presented on the Sunday afternoon concerts. Trumpets and timpani close the Oratorio in a blaze of glory.

“This concert is the final chapter of the Christmas Oratorio journey, coupled with a set of beautiful a cappella works by Arvo Pärt, the great Estonian ‘spiritual minimalist.’ His Seven Magnificat Antiphons, sprinkled throughout the program, are meditative, trance-like, and transcendent,” said associate conductor Andrew Megill.

Andrew Megill is the artistic director of Fuma Sacra and serves as chorusmaster for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He is also music director of Masterwork Chorus and professor and director of choral activities at the University of Illinois. He is in his 12th season as associate conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival and director of the chorale and chorus.

Jul
27
Sat
Best of the Fest @ Sunset Center Theater
Jul 27 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Favorite selections from the Festival are performed in this closing night concert that celebrates music, Carmel, the musicians of the Bach Festival, and the Festival’s loyal patrons. The program is a sampler of musician and audience favorites from throughout the two-week Festival.

The concert is sponsored by the former presidents of the Carmel Bach Festival, and is followed by a celebratory reception on the Sunset Center Terrace toasting the conclusion of the 82nd Festival.

Best of the Fest is a special, not-to-be-missed party that commemorates and honors music, the enduring legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach, the tradition of the Carmel Bach Festival, and the special and mystical setting of Carmel-by-the Sea.