The New Haven Symphony Orchestra and guest artists perform Beethoven at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts on May 15



Image: New Haven OrchestraConductor and music director William Boughton of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra joins with the Hartford Chorale, directed by Richard Coffey and guest artists Chrystal E. Williams, Adele Paxton, Marc Deaton and Andrew Brown in performing two of Beethoven's great symphonies, No. 8 in F Op. 93 and No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral" at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 15 at 8 p.m. This presentation is part of the Arts & Minds season at Fairfield University.

The NHSO has made it a point of late to perform Beethoven's symphonies in chronological order at various Connecticut locations.

For this performance, the orchestra arrives at the Quick Center for the Arts in possession of the maestro's two final symphonic works, beginning with No. 8 in F, Op. 93, which, when premiered in 1814, received unenthusiastic applause. It is said that when Beethoven was asked why the Eighth "did not satisfy the audience's anticipation after the glorious Seventh," Beethoven replied, according to Carl Czerny, "Because it is so much better."

No. 9 in D minor Op. 125, "Choral" began with a long and chaotic gestation period in 1811. After much thinking and reworking, the masterpiece was premiered in 1824 to thunderous applause. Beethoven, deaf, by this time was initially unaware of the audience response. While pleased with the positive response, Beethoven's supreme artistic confidence was rewarded by the knowledge that he had accomplished a work of complexity that celebrated the themes of freedom and the dignity of the individual. Beethoven, himself, had triumphed over pain and suffering and he magnificently wove his personal challenges and the hopes of all mankind into this work.

Featured in the "Choral" are soprano Paxton, baritone Brown, mezzo-soprano Williams and tenor Deaton. Several of these guest artists have performed on international as well as national stages to great acclaim.

Deaton, one of today's distinctive dramatic tenors has appeared worldwide with leading opera companies in such great Wagner and Strauss roles as Tristan, Siegfried and Tannhäuser.

Williams was a soloist in Catfish Row (selections from "Porgy and Bess"). She is the recipient of many awards and prizes, among them, second place in the New England Region District Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2009).

Brown has sung lead and supporting roles in "Le Dialogues des Carmelites," "Die Zauberflöte," and "Le Nozze di Figaro." Recently, after winning the Concerto Competition, Brown presented a progression of bel canto arias with the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. He is currently enrolled in the Opera program at the Yale School of Music.

Paxton's singing has been described in the Sunday Times, London as "heart-rending" and the Orcadian called her singing, "nothing short of stunning." She has sung throughout Europe, the United States and South America. Paxton made her operatic debut at Covent Garden in a televised performance of Verdi's "Stiffelio" with José Carreras, subsequently released on DVD.

Coffey, one of New England's principal choral conductors became permanent Music Director of the Chorale in 2006. In 1974 he founded CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists), a professional vocal ensemble, which he still directs. He has prepared choruses for orchestras and festivals including the Hartford Symphony Music Festival and the Harkness Summer Music Festival.

The NHSO's concertmistress is violinist Ani Kavafian and assistant concertmistress is Artemis Simerson.

Tickets are $40, $35 and are available at fairfield.edu/quick or by contacting the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010 for more information. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Special offers and discounts are available through the Quick Center's e-mail list. Join, by contacting boxoffice@quickcenter.com. And become a fan of the Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook! Keep up-to-date with the latest performance news, plus special offers and discounts! Find the Quick Center at www.facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter.

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Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 29, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 280