ST. JOHN PASSION
Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
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Featuring: Leslie Fagan, soprano | Jennifer Enns Modolo, mezzo| Adam Bishop, tenor | Joel Allison, bass | Matthew Cassils, bass | Ian Sadler, organ | Talisker Players, orchestra
George St. United Church, Peterborough
Follow the historic journey of Jesus during his final earthly days as told through the writings of St. John.
Since its premiere performance in 1724 in Leipzig, Germany, Bach's St. John Passion has been respected the world over as a powerhouse among oratorios, a challenge for orchestras and vocalists alike. Unapologetically extravagant, lush and unbridled, the Passion is a full sensory experience not to be missed.
Leslie Fagan's exceptional artistry and talent continue to garner much attention on international stages. Having performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Hans Graf, Sir David Willcocks, Jukke Pekke Saraste, Kent Tritle, Heinz Ferlisch, Victor Borge, and Elmer Isler, Ms. Fagan has delighted audiences and critics alike at Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Bordeaux Opera House, Roy Thomson Hall, and Massey Hall..
Leslie caps a luminous 2015 with a return to Carnegie Hall for Handel’s Messiah with the Oratorio Society of New York under the direction of Maestro Kent Tritle. The journey to Carnegie Hall will be paved with Messiah performances in Rochester (Maestro David Fetler), Burlington, and Hamilton (Maestro Boris Brott). Other highlights of 2015 include Mendelsohn’s Elijah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir of Waterloo (Maestro Mark Vuorinen), recitals with collaborative pianist Lorin Shalanko, and the continuation of Project Aria with Guy Few and Stephanie Mara.
The year 2016 brings another exciting schedule: a collaborative concert with clarinetist James Campbell and pianist Leopoldo Erice as part of the Syrinx Series in Toronto; Carmina Burana with the Amadeus Choir (Maestra Lydia Adams); a Proms Concert with Peterborough Symphony (Maestro Michael Newnham); and the St. John Passion in Peterborough (Maestro Syd Birrell).
Highlights of Ms. Fagan's past engagements include a solo concert of music of Stravinsky and Debussy with the Bordeaux Aquitaine Symphonie Nationale, France; Bach's Weinachts Oratorium in Stuttgart, Germany; Handel's Messiah with Sir David Willcocks at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England; performances with the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Choir in Toronto, Ontario; and an engagement as guest soloist at the International Choral Festival in Gouda, Netherlands. Ms. Fagan has been fortunate enough to share the stage with many great artists including Victor Borge and Maureen Forrester.
On the opera stage, Ms. Fagan has sung the title role in Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix; Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte; Sophie in Massenet's Werther; Musetta in Puccini's La Boheme and Nanetta in Verdi's Falstaff. At the Aldeburgh Festival in England, Ms. Fagan performed the roles of Tytania in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Ms. Fagan can be heard frequently on CBC radio and has appeared on CBC television and both BBC radio and television. Leslie Fagan's recordings include her debut solo album Le miroir de mon amour and A song for all seasons with The Toronto Children's Chorus.
"...her voice sounds nothing short of astonishing….she is in a class of her own."
Robert Thomas, Wholenote Magazine.
Canadian mezzo-soprano Jennifer Enns Modolo has delighted audiences across the country with her clear, unaffected voice and meaningful singing. An accomplished concert soloist, she has performed with numerous groups throughout Ontario and across Canada including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Elora Festival Singers, the Grand Philharmonic Choir, the Richard Eaton Singers, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. She is also a member of the Hamilton-based chamber group Capella Intima.
Equally at home on the opera stage, Jennifer has sung the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Juno in Eccles’s The Judgement of Paris, Florence Pike in Britten’s Albert Herring, Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Jennie Hildebrand in Weill’s Street Scene, and Jean in Le Portrait de Manon.
Jennifer is featured on several Aradia Ensemble recordings, including Handel’s Israel in Egypt (Naxos, 2008), Vivaldi Sacred Music, Volume 3 (Naxos, 2008) and singing the role of Eustazio in Handel’s Rinaldo (NAXOS 2005), all under the baton of Kevin Mallon.
Recent and upcoming engagements include Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with Capella Intima and the Gallery Players, Copeland’s In the Beginning, and Gwyneth Walker’s A Heart in Hiding with the DaCapo Chamber Choir, Bach’s Cantatas 22 “Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe” and 23 “Du wahrer Gott und Davids Sohn” with Spiritus Ensemble, Handel’s Messiah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir, Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata 110 “Unser Mund sei voll Lachens” with the Nota Bene Baroque Players, Bach’s St. John Passion with the Peterborough Singers and several solo recitals with lutenist Magdalena Tomsinska.
"Jennifer Enns Modolo delivered . . . with a radiant air---deep, rich and resonant."
The Record, July 11, 2011.
Tenor Adam Bishop has performed for audiences across Canada, the United States, and Austria in the art song, oratorio, and operatic genres. He has had the privilege of performing for former Prime Minster Jean Chrétien and HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Since 2013, he has regularly performed the Canadian and US national anthems for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2010, Adam undertook the role of Le Prince Charmant in Massenet’s Cendrillon at the Glenn Gould School. Led by Maestro Uri Mayer, these were the inaugural operatic performances in the world-class Koerner Hall. Other opera roles include Nemorino in L’Elisir d’Amore, Ferrando in Così fan Tutte, Le Chevalier de la Force in Les Dialogues des Carmélites, and the Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
An alumnus of both Lakefield College School and The Peterborough Singers, Adam Bishop has graced our region with his performances many times in the past.
Locally, Mr. Bishop’s recent concert work includes Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra and performances of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s St. John Passion with the Uxbridge Chamber Choir. Other highlights include Handel’s Messiah with the Regina Symphony Orchestra and the Peterborough Singers, Mozart’s Requiem with the Georgian Bay Concert Choir, Charpentier’s Te Deum and Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man with the Regina Philharmonic Chorus, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Toronto Classical Singers and Talisker Players conducted by Jurgen Petrenko, as well as performances of Vaughan Williams’s Hodie, Stainer’s Crucifixion, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Britten’s St. Nicolas Oratorio.
Mr. Bishop has recently completed a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Toronto, and he is a graduate of the Artists Diploma program at The Glenn Gould School. Former teachers include Dr. Darryl Edwards, Monica Whicher, Carol-Lynn Reifel, and Fr. Paul Massel. Beyond school, he has participated in summer programmes with the Highlands Opera Studio under Richard Margison, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Adam is a graduate of Lakefield College School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Performance) from Queen’s University, Kingston
"Ferrando ... was sung by tenor Adam Bishop with a sweet lyric sound, ideal in the lighter Mozart roles. His 'Un'aura amorosa' was well sung.... he also acted very well - arguably the funniest guy onstage!"
Joseph So, La Scena Musicale Online, April 6, 2009
Canadian bass-baritone Joel Allison is an up-and-coming singer who has performed with many Canadian ensembles including the Peterborough Singers, the Seventeen Voyces Chamber Choir, the Strings of St. John's Ottawa, and the Talisker Players in Toronto.
Joel performs regularly in both opera and concert. His performed operatic roles are varied, including the title role in the opera Don Quixote by George Telemann, Lepporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso and Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte, and Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. He also premiered the of role Beppe in Andrew Ager's opera Casanova. In concert, Joel has performed Mozart's Requiem, Bach's Cantata 82 "Ich Habe Genus," Handel's Messiah, and the role of Adam in Haydn’s Creation. In chamber music, Joel has performed many contemporary works with the Talisker Players including works by Canadian composers Andrew Ager and Juliet Hess. With collaborators in Ottawa Joel has performed Stravinsky's L'histoire du Soldat, a set of songs by Andrew Ager, Idle Thoughts, and other contemporary works.
Upcoming performances include the role of Mr. Gobineau in The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti and the role of John Shears in Paul Bunyan by Benjamin Britten at the University of Toronto.
An ardent choral singer, Joel has sung in many choirs including St. Andrew's Church in Ottawa, The Theater of Early Music, and the Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir. He is the bass soloist at Trinity St. Paul's United in Toronto. Joel is also an alumnus of the Ontario Youth Choir and the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute. Joel has a BMus in vocal performance from the University of Ottawa. He is now pursuing a Diploma in Opera Performance at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Daniel Taylor and is a core member of the Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Choir.
Of Allison's performance in City of the Mind with the Talker Players, Brian Hay writes the following:
"Joel Allison's voice is so big there's no way to be prepared for it. . . . Crisp tones blessed with a silken smoothness rise as if from nowhere and just fill the room. His projection seems so effortless it looks as if he has to wind things back to keep from overpowering the hall."
Review of City of the Mind, October 30, 2013
Matthew Cassils is known for his vocal flair and dynamic presence on opera and concert stages alike. A native of Montreal, Mr. Cassils completed his vocal studies at McGill University before relocating to Toronto to attend the Royal Conservatory where he received his Artist Diploma in 2009.
Since that time, Mr. Cassils has appeared as the bass soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Mozart’s Requiem at the Elora Festival, as well as the soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with both the Regina Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Victor Sawa and the Royal Conservatory Orchestra directed by Peter Oundnian.
A consummate lieder and art-song singer, Matthew has given concerts of the epic song-cycles by Mahler: The Songs of the Earth for solo voice and orchestra at the Francophonie Festival in Montreal and Mahler’s Songs of the Wayfarer at the RCO Concerto Competition. Mr. Cassils first appeared in one of his signature roles as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro conducted by Mario Bernardi in 2008 and has since reprised the role of The Count in 2011 at the Saskatoon Opera.
Mr. Cassils has received broadcasts with CBC/Radio-Canada and Bravo Television and has performed as the 2nd Artisan in the Opus Award-winning production of Berg’s Wozzeck directed by Lorraine Pintal and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Mr Cassils is very grateful for the support he has received in the form of grants and scholarships from The Royal Conservatory, McGill University, Le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, and The Canada Council for the Arts.
The Montreal Gazette has praised Matthew Cassils for his
"clear, silvery tone minted for French repertoire."
Talisker Players is unique in Ontario as an independent professional orchestra dedicated to the performance of choral repertoire. Since its founding in 1995, the ensemble has gained an enviable reputation for sensitive and polished choral accompanying in a wide variety of styles.
The orchestra's members combine a passion for the vocal/instrumental tradition with expertise in the latest developments in early-music performance and twentieth-century techniques. They are professional musicians with a wide variety of experience and they play with many other ensembles, such as the Canadian Opera Company and
National Ballet of Canada orchestras, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony.
Most are also active chamber musicians. Most perform on both modern and period instruments. Their repertoire includes the works of all the major composers from early Baroque to late twentieth century. Several contemporary works have been premieres.
Memorable past programmes have included Reflections of Eden, an exploration the natural world and of our place in it; Sense and Nonsense, an off-centre look at the world through nonsense poetry and surrealist stories; Ellis Portal, a journey through the urban landscape of Toronto after dark; The Harp of Fire, a celebration of the wisdom and the passion of the great Indian poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore; and many more
Talisker Players performs regularly with a wide variety of choirs throughout southern Ontario The ensemble's Artistic Director is Mary McGeer.
“Talisker Players is the only instrumental group I’ve worked with that breathes with the singer. . . . Sensitive, flexible and polished playing.”
Ian Grundy, Director and Conductor, VocalPoint
Ian Sadler was a boy chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, UK. He then attended The King’s School Canterbury, from which he won the Organ Scholarship at Bristol University. Following an honours degree in physics and musicology, he returned to St. Paul’s Cathedral as Organ Scholar. Ian holds further degrees in education and a fellowship from Trinity College of Music, London. His final engagement in the UK was to play the organ in the movie Chariots of Fire.
In 1980, Ian was appointed Director of Music at Grace Church on-the-Hill and Choral Director at Upper Canada College, Toronto. In 1986, he won 1st prize at the Syracuse International Organ Competition (USA). In 1999, Ian was the first Canadian juror at the International Liszt Organ Competition at the Liszt Academy, Hungary. In 2005, Ian had the honour of being elected to membership in the world’s oldest music society, The Royal Society Of Musicians, founded by Henry Purcell in the 17th century.
Recital tours have taken Ian to Denmark, Sweden, Austria, the continental USA and Hawaii, Australia, and back to the UK, where he recently performed his third organ recital at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.
Last summer, Ian gave an organ recital at Coventry Cathedral in the UK. Ian has made 8 organ CD recordings and in 1999 won a Juno award for a choral CD. In the summer of 2015, his Cathedral Singers of Ontario sang for a week of services at Worcester Cathedral. Next summer, this choir has been invited to sing at Hereford Cathedral. This 40-voice choir is drawn from a pool of over 400 singers from southwestern Ontario. This season also marks Ian’s 27th as Artistic Director of The Stratford Concert Choir.
For his dedication to promoting the organ and Canadian music, Ian was awarded with “Fellowship of The Royal Canadian College of Organists” (2007) by that prestigious organization.