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  • Baroque Variations 2009/10 Series Begins at Walt Disney Concert Hall With the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Under the Baton of Nicholas Mcgegan in an All-Purcell Program
  • Nov. 11, 2009
  • Soloists Susan Graham, William Berger, Cyndia Sieden, Jill Grove, Celine Ricci, Brian Thorsett, and the Philharmonia Chorale perform

    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2009, 8 PM

    Through more than 20 years as its music director, Nicholas McGegan has established the San Francisco-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as the leading period performance band in America – and at the forefront of the “historical” movement worldwide. McGegan and the orchestra return to Walt Disney Concert Hall to kick off the 2009/10 Baroque Variations series and celebrate one of England’s greatest composers in a special all-Purcell program.

    Acclaimed soloist Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano, making her Walt Disney Concert Hall debut, joins William Berger, baritone; Cyndia Sieden, soprano; Jill Grove, contralto; Celine Ricci, soprano; Brian Thorsett, tenor, the Philharmonia Chorale, McGegan and the orchestra, for a performance of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The program also includes O sing unto the Lord a new song, Chacony in G minor, Hear my prayer, O Lord, and Suite from Abdelazer or The Moor’s Revenge.

    Susan Graham, one of the world's foremost stars of opera and recital, is a compelling and versatile singing actress. She received both a Grammy nomination and France's Maria Callas award for her portrayal of Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. A New York Times review stated, "Ms. Graham…paints Dido as passionate from the start. ‘When I am laid in earth' is as wrenching an account as you'll find on disc." Baritone William Berger has been declared " of the best of our younger baritones" by Gramophone Magazine, and California-born soprano Cyndia Sieden is renowned for her extraordinary vocal facility and interpretations of baroque, classical and contemporary repertoire. American mezzo-soprano Jill Grove, recognized for her distinctive dramatic mezzo-soprano and passionate artistry, has won critical raves throughout America and Europe for her distinguished portrayals of the heroines of German and Italian opera. Young French-Italian soprano Céline Ricci was named one of the opera’s promising new talents by Opernwelt magazine. She already has an impressive discography and has made numerous appearances in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The Los Angeles Times has hailed Ricci as “a knockout…” Tenor Brian Thorsett fosters a stylistically diversified repertoire which has taken him to numerous U.S. concert halls.

    Critically acclaimed for its brilliant sound, robust energy, and sensitive delivery of the text, the Philharmonia Chorale was formed to provide a vocal complement whose fluency in the stylistic language of the Baroque period matched that of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. The 24 Chorale members are professional singers with distinguished solo and ensemble experience.

    17th century composer Henry Purcell is regarded as England's greatest Baroque composer. His work was greatly influenced by the theater and the Chapel Royal, where he began singing as a small child and later took appointments maintaining instruments, playing organ, and serving four monarchs. O sing unto the Lord a new song, a complete setting of Psalm 96, shows the lighter side of Purcell’s church music. Dating from 1683, it would have been sung with Charles II in attendance, and reflects his taste for good tunes with toe-tapping rhythms. Though nothing is known about its origin or purpose, the Chacony probably dates from roughly the same time (early 1680s) as Hear my prayer, O Lord, and shares some of its harmonic adventurousness. By the time Purcell was 30, he was the biggest musical star in the London theater scene. Two of his eight theater projects in the year he died were revivals of plays by Aphra Behn, who has been called the first female professional writer in the English language. Behn wrote Abdelazer or The Moor’s Revenge, the story of a captive Moorish prince who seduces the queen of Spain and then kills her and the king, in 1676. Dido and Aeneas, Purcell’s only opera, has long been regarded as the purest example of his genius with its profusion of good tunes, sheer concentration of memorable moments, and mastery of the work’s vast expressive composition.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association presents music from the 17th through early 18th centuries in its Baroque Variations series. The 2009/10 season series continues with: Handel’s Messiah on December 15, 2009; Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on February 3, 2010; and Anonymous 4 on March 17, 2010.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Gustavo Dudamel, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable locations anywhere to experience music – Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association’s involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational concerts, children's programming and community concerts, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2009, at 8 PM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    Baroque Variations

    Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

    Nicholas McGegan, conductor

    Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano

    William Berger, baritone

    Cyndia Sieden, soprano

    Jill Grove, contralto

    Céline Ricci, soprano

    Brian Thorsett, tenor

    Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director

    PURCELL O sing unto the Lord a new song, Z. 44

    PURCELL Chacony in G minor, Z. 730

    PURCELL Hear my prayer, O Lord, Z. 15

    PURCELL Suite from Abdelazer, or The Moor’s Revenge, Z. 570

    PURCELL Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626

    Tickets ($37 - $95) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, online at, or via credit card by phone at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies, 213.972.3422,; Lisa Bellamore, 213.972.3689,; Photos, 213.972.3034