Quick Center for the Arts presents Orchestra New England and CONCORA performing Mozart's "Requiem"


Image: Requiem Requiem, Mozart's oft-romanticized, awe-inspiring final work, will be presented Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. by Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts in an exciting collaboration with two of Connecticut's foremost ensembles: Orchestra New England and CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists).

The Requiem's combination of sublime beauty and spine-tingling power-along with the mysterious circumstances of its composition-have placed it among the most revered and popular works in classical repertoire and made it the recognizable centerpiece of Amadeus, the movie and award-winning Broadway play. Soprano Christine Laird, mezzo-soprano Nancy Kirchmyer, tenor Rolando-Michael Sanz and bass Krzysztof Kowaleswki will perform as soloists.

In addition, the program will open with Georg Friedrich Handel's Gloria, an eight-movement, 16-minute work scored for a soprano and orchestra in 1708, but virtually unheard of until its rediscovery in March 2001 at the Royal Academy of Music's library in London. The accomplished Yale Opera soprano Byung-Soon Lee will perform in the New England premiere of this charming, thrilling and unique Handel composition.

Orchestra New England (ONE), founded in 1974 as the Yale Theater Orchestra, is renowned for its high-level performances, interesting interpretations by director James Sinclair and versatile blend of styles ranging from the Baroque to the pops literature. ONE often focuses on lesser-known works or on contemporary works for small ensembles. During its more than 25-year history, the New Haven-based group has presented 29 world premieres of American composers. ONE's premiere commercial recordings-unsurpassed among musical ensembles from New York to Boston-include the Villa-Lobos folk opera, Magdalena, in 1989 (CBS Masterworks); the orchestral music of Charles Ives in 1990 (Koch International Classics); and Cole Porter's first Broadway hit, 50 Million Frenchmen, in 1991 (New World Records).

In addition to a subscription series of concerts performed at Battell Chapel on the Yale Old Campus in New Haven, ONE presents 50 performances throughout the Northeast annually. Performances have been broadcast regularly on Connecticut Public Radio, and, occasionally, on Voice of America and National Public Television. In addition to his work with ONE, Maestro Sinclair is a leading authority on the work of Charles Ives, the foremost American composer of orchestral and chamber music who was born in Danbury, Conn.

CONCORA, a professional chorus founded by New Britain director Richard Coffey in 1974, comprises anywhere from 12 to 45 voices, depending upon the repertoire. CONCORA has often performed with symphony orchestras throughout New England. The ensemble displays an extraordinary versatility, with a repertoire ranging from classic masterpieces to contemporary arrangements of folk, spiritual and popular music. CONCORA has produced seven compact discs, the most recent titled "The Six Motets of J.S. Bach."

The Requiem was Mozart's final work, commissioned by a cloaked messenger who approached the cash-strapped composer in 1791 with a lucrative ghostwriting deal. Mozart accepted, just 40 days before his untimely death at age 35, possibly from food poisoning. The unfinished Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei movements were completed by Mozart's less capable student, Franz Xavier Süssmayr. Sinclair has chosen to use a more modern edition by Franz Beyer, who corrected some of Süssmayr's faulty work.

Tickets to the performance are $25 with discounts available for seniors, students and groups. For tickets or more information call (203) 254-4010, toll-free at 1-877-ARTS-396, or visit the Quick Center website at www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 25, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 143