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Special Ticket Discount to Hear Handel's Glorious Messiah With RPO

November 21, 2008

Four Renowned Soloists Join Forces with RPO and Rochester Oratorio Society

Rochester, NY – In recognition of some of the economic challenges that many people are facing this holiday season, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a limited time, 20% “Hallelujah” ticket discount for its performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, December 13 at 8:00 pm in the Eastman Theatre.  Music Director Christopher Seaman will conduct from the harpsichord with guest soloists soprano Arianna Zukerman; mezzo-soprano Anita Krause; tenor Christopher Pfund; and baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson, in addition to the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) under its director, Eric Townell

“We are very happy to be collaborating again on this production of Messiah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and its Music Director, Eric Townell,” says Seaman. “The work remains an absolute ‘evergreen’ for music-lovers, and Handel’s skill and keen sense of drama come into full play.” The RPO will perform the early part of Messiah associated with Christmas plus the most significant and popular sections from the latter part of the work.  

The RPO is proud to continue its long history with the Rochester Oratorio Society, which this year marks Music Director Eric Townell’s third season with the organization.  The ROS has grown to become Rochester’s premier large concert chorus.  In July 2008, the ROS performed in Beijing, China, as the keynote ensemble of the pre-Olympic Cultural Festival.  In addition, it has toured six European capitals and given numerous Rochester premieres of major works.  As only its third director, Mr. Townell is widely recognized as a versatile and dynamic conductor of choral, operatic and symphonic repertoire.  A two-time prize winner of the International Opera Conducting Course/Competition, he also leads the Master Singers of Milwaukee.

With a luminous yet dramatic voice, soprano Arianna Zukerman is equally in-demand for opera and concert performances, possessing a voice that “would make any soprano jealous” (The Washington Post).  This season, she returns to the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem; sings Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Nashville Symphony; and appears with the Springfield, Alabama, and Elgin symphonies.  She also performs in numerous recitals including one at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Career highlights include her debut with the Boston Symphony under James Levine, her first collaboration with Lorin Maazel for the Chateauville Foundation; Verdi’s Requiem with the NACO and numerous other appearances throughout North American and Europe.  In 2006, she performed with the RPO in Messiah.

Canadian mezzo-soprano Anita Krause is celebrated for her gorgeous voice and impeccable musicianship both in the concert hall and on the opera stage.  This season’s engagements include the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and Pacific Opera Victoria.  She has performed with many of North America’s leading orchestras including the Chicago, Baltimore and Toronto symphonies, and l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.  She has collaborated with conductors Christoph Eschenbach, Charles Dutoit, Ken Nagano, Paavo Järvi, and Bramwell Tovey, among many others.  Last summer, Ms. Krause performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis at the Grant Park Festival, and a concert of Vaughan Williams and Willan with the Berkshire Choral Festival in Vancouver.  She performed two years ago with the RPO in Mozart’s Requiem.

Making his RPO debut, tenor Christopher Pfund is universally recognized for his character portrayals of the Roasting Swan in Carmina Burana, performing it with countless orchestras in North America.  This season, he debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and also sings with the symphony orchestras of Hartford, Buffalo, Syracuse, Spokane, Jacksonville, Memphis, and San Diego, among many others.  His wide-ranging oratorio repertoire includes Haydn’s Creation; Mozart’s Requiem; Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; Britten’s War Reqiuem; and Kurt Weill’s Eternal Road

Most recently heard with the RPO in last season’s Carmina Burana, baritone Aaron St. Clair Nicholson has been praised for his superb vocal gifts and the dramatic integrity he brings to his performances.  He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2006-07 season in La Bohème conducted by Placido Domingo, followed by The Magic Flute conducted by James Levine.  This season, he appears with Pacific Opera Victoria, the Florida Grand Opera, and the Calgary Opera.  On the concert circuit, he will be heard in Britten’s War Requiem with the Vancouver Symphony and in a concert performance of The Merry Widow with Kitchener’s Grand Philharmonic Choir.

Special limited-time offer discounted tickets range from $16-$45 and are available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100), in-person from the RPO Box Office, and at area Wegmans.  RPO Box Office Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm). Wegmans is open seven days a week. A convenience fee may apply.

Celebrating its 86th season in 2008-09, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music, presenting nearly 200 performances each season to a combined audience of an estimated quarter of a million people, including more than 70,000 who experience the RPO’s broad range of educational and community programs.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 

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