Feb. 14 & 16: Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Damnation of Faust
In the 2012-13 season, up-and-coming bass Jordan Bisch made his debuts at Arizona Opera as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, and at the Opera Company of Philadelphia as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. He also returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Don Basilio in the new English-language production of Il barbire di Siviglia and to the Théâtre du Capitol in Toulouse for Don Carlos.
A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Mr. Bisch made his mainstage debut there as the Second Knight in Parsifal, and has since appeared in productions of Aida, Idomeneo, Roméo et Juliette, and on tour in Japan in Don Carlos. He also appeared as Kecel in the Julliard/Metropolitan Opera joint production of The Bartered Bride, conducted by James Levine. Other recent engagements have included his San Francisco Opera debut as Angelotti in Tosca, the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at Seattle Opera, Raimondo at the Dallas Opera and Florida Grand Opera, the Second Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte at Los Angeles Opera and the Théâtre du Capitol in Toulouse, Frère Laurent with PORTopera, and Sarastro with the Julliard Opera Theater. In concert he has appeared at the Tanglewood Festival in a performance of the Mozart Requiem with Michael Tilson Thomas, and at the Verbier Festival as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with James Levine.
A native of Vancouver, Washington, Mr. Bisch won second place in the 2009 Operalia competition. Other awards include winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Final, recipient of the 2005 Sara Tucker Study Grant, and the Richard Tucker Career Grant in both 2006 and 2009.
Feb. 14 & 16: Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Damnation of Faust
American tenor William Burden has won an outstanding reputation in a wide-ranging repertoire throughout Europe and North America. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Santa Fe Opera, New York City Opera, La Scala, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Paris Opera, Munich State Opera, Canadian Opera, and the Saito Kinen Festival. His repertoire includes the title roles of Faust, Pelléas et Mélisande, Orphée et Euriydice, and The Rake’s Progress, Roméo et Juliette, and Béatrice and Bénédict, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Aschenbach in Death in Venice, Captain Vere in Billy Budd, Don Jose in Carmen, and the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia. He also appeared in the U.S. premiere of Henze’s Phaedra at the Opera Company of Philadelphia and created roles in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera, Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier at the San Francisco Opera, Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night at the Minnesota Opera, and Daron Hagen’s Amelia at the Seattle Opera.
Mr. Burden’s recordings include Barber’s Vanessa (Anatol) with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the Chandos label and Musique adorable: The Songs of Emmanuel Chabrier for the Hyperion label.
Recently Mr. Burden returned to the Metropolitan Opera for its new production of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, the Opera Company of Philadelphia for Silent Night, and the Bavarian State Opera for Don Giovanni. He has also appeared in two world premieres: Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at the San Francisco Opera and Theodore Morrison’s Oscar at the Santa Fe Opera.
Cano, Jennifer Johnson
Feb. 7-9: Tucson Symphony Orchestra, music of Berlioz and Ravel
Feb. 14 & 16: Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Damnation of Faust
A 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and Opera Index Winner and 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant Recipient, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano joined the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in 2008 and made her Met debut in 2009-10. As first prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, she was awarded the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Princeton University prizes and has given stunning recital debuts at Merkin Hall and the Kennedy Center, and in Boston, Philadelphia, Houston and Chicago.
In addition to her continued relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Cano has appeared with such esteemed orchestras as the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She toured with Musicians from Marlboro singing Respighi’s Il Tramonto and Cuckson’s Der gayst funem shture, recorded live and released by the Marlboro Recording Society. A live recording of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with tenor Paul Groves was released by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in September 2012 as well as a series of DVDs devoted to Robert LePage’s Ring cycle for the Metropolitan Opera, in which Ms. Cano portrayed the Rhinemaiden Wellgunde. Ms. Cano has been part of the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute and received a 2009 Sullivan Foundation Award. She was particularly honored to have been invited to sing the Anderson/Weill September Song at the private funeral for American icon and astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Following performances at the Metropolitan Opera last season as Mercedes, Emilia, Wellgunde and Waltraute, Ms. Cano is slated for debuts as Meg Page in Falstaff and Bersi in Andrea Chenier at the Met during the 2013-14 season, with a Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall and Philaelphia Chamber Music Society recital debut in October 2013. Other operatic debuts include Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust in collaboration with the Tucson Symphony and Tucson Desert Song Festival in February 2014 and the Sharp Eared Fox in Janácek’s Cunning Little Vixen with the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst in May. She bows as Diana in Cincinnati Opera’s La Calisto in July. An exciting debut with the Boston Lyric Opera is slated for April of 2015.
As part of Ms. Cano’s continued interest in music of the 20th and 21st centuries, she sang the world premiere of Mason Bates’ Afterlifewith the Phoenix Symphony in January 2013 and is looking forward to another world premiere by John Harbison at SummerFest in La Jolla. In September, 2013 she sings Berio’s Folksongs with Eighth Blackbird for the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.
Ms. Cano is a native of St. Louis, and earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Webster University and her master’s degree from Rice University.
Feb. 15: Songs Without Words, presented by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition and winner of France’s 2002 Concours International de Piano 20e siècle d’Orléans, Canadian pianist Winston Choi is an inquisitive performer whose fresh approach to standard repertory, and masterly understanding and performance of and commitment to works by living composers, make him one of today’s most dynamic young concert artists. Choi has performed in recital and with orchestra across four continents. He has collaborated with composers including William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Brian Ferneyhough, Bernard Rands, Sven-David Sandstrom, Bright Sheng, Christian Wolff, Chen Yi and John Zorn. Choi’s debut CD, the complete piano works of Elliott Carter (l’Empreinte Digitale in France), was given five stars by BBC Music Magazine: “sheer élan and pianistic devilment.” He has also recorded two CDs of the piano music of Jacques Lenot for the Intrada label, having won the Grand Prix du Disque from l’Académie Charles Cros for Volume 1. He can also be heard on the Albany, Arktos, Naxos, QuadroFrame and Southport Records labels. Choi is assistant professor and head of piano at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Feb 15: Songs Without Words, presented by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra
Eric Friesen is a veteran broadcaster, writer, and speaker on music and culture. He has spent much of his life as a network music host and producer for CBC Radio and Minnesota Public Radio, and as a network executive for both organizations. Since leaving the CBC at the end of 2008, Friesen has been busy serving a wide variety of major cultural organizations in Canada. He has also completed six podcast documentaries called Eric Friesen Presents for www.artsalive.ca, marking the 40th anniversary of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Friesen has launched a summer series of classical concerts at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario: Tuesdays in Studio “S” with Eric Friesen. In addition to his love of music and its role in our culture, Friesen has a particular interest in the intersection of music and the other arts, particularly fiction and non-fiction. He serves as director and advisor to a number of cultural and arts organizations, including Roy Thomson Hall/Masey Hall, the Honens International Piano Competition, and the Kingston WritersFest. Friesen and his wife, artist Susan Friesen, live on Amherst Island near Kingston, Ontario.
Feb. 13: UApresents recital
Soprano Christine Goerke, recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award, has established an outstanding reputation with many of the world’s leading opera houses and orchestras. In 1997, when she appeared at Glimmerglass Opera and in the subsequent New York City Opera production later that year of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, critics began to take notice of the fledgling dramatic soprano’s talent. Ms. Goerke’s performance stood out in Francesca Zambello’s stunning production through the opulent beauty of her voice and sure dramatic instincts. Since then, Ms. Goerke has established an outstanding reputation not only for her beautiful voice, but her outstanding dramatic and comedic abilities with many of the world’s leading opera houses.
While most critics have taken notice of the size of Ms. Goerke’s soprano, she herself has carefully cultivated her vocal resources as her voice matured, singing many Mozart and Handel roles such as Armida in Rinaldo and the title role in Alcina at the New York City Opera, the title role in Agrippina at Santa Fe, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, and the Paris Opera, Donna Anna at Covent Garden, and Elettra in Idomeneo and Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito for the Paris Opera. Seiji Ozawa cast her in his Mozart/daPonte cycle of Le Nozze di Figaro (Countess), Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira) and Cosi Fan Tutte (Fiordiligi) for his Ongaku-Juku Opera Project in Tokyo.
From the very beginning of her career, Ms. Goerke has programmed excerpts from Wagner’s Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, and Der Fliegende Höllander in concerts with James Levine, Donald Runnicles, and Robert Bass. Her first Wagner performances began as the Third Norn in Götterdämmerung for the Metropolitan Opera (where she is an alumna of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program), with James Levine on the podium. This led to an assignment to an understudy of Elsa in Lohengrin also at the Metropolitan Opera. Her next Wagner assignment was Gutrune, also in Götterdämmerung, first in Sydney with Edo de Waart, and more recently in Los Angeles with John Mauceri in 2005. In March and April of 2006, she sang the role once again in Robert Wilson’s controversial staging at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Another big step in her career was the addition of Bellini’s Norma, which she first sang for the Seattle Opera in 2003 opposite the great contralto Ewa Podles. R.M. Campbell, music critic of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote of her performance, “At her disposal is a big, gorgeous timbre that informs everything she does. It is particularly rich in the lower and middle ranges where Norma spends a good share of the performance. There is Goerke’s seamless legato, an ability to keep the phrases moving without any apparent break. She has the coloratura necessary for the passagework and the temperament to invest it with emotion. Goerke gave a memorable performance, destined to grow.”
Ms. Goerke’s recording of Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Her close association with Robert Shaw yielded several recordings including the Brahms Liebeslieder Waltzes, Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater. Other recordings include the title role of Iphigénie in Iphigénie en Tauride for Telarc and the Britten War Requiem, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
February 6: Tucson Guitar Society
Rene Izquierdo, a native of Cuba, graduated from the Guillermo Tomas, Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and Superior Institute of Art in Havana. In the United States, he earned advanced degrees from the Yale University School of Music, where he studied with Benjamin Verdery. He has also studied with Leo Brouwer, David Russell, Shin-Ichi Fukuda, Eli Kassner, Pepe Romero, Angel Romero, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Starobin, Eduardo Fernandez, Jorge Morel, Robert Beaser and Anthony Newman, among others. While at Yale he represented the university in an exchange program with the Conservatoire National de Musique et de Danse du Paris and worked with guitarists Olivie Chassain and Roland Dyens. He has appeared as a guest soloist and in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Cuba and Europe. He has shared the stage with prestigious guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Benjamin Verdery and Jorge Morel, as well as Ransom Wilson, Lucy Shelton, David Jolley and Paquito d’Rivera. Renowned composers such as Jorge Morel and Carlos R. Rivera have dedicated works to him.
Izquierdo is a winner of the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition in 2004, Extremadura International Guitar Competition, Schadt String competition, and Stotsenberg International Guitar Competition, among others.
He is a professor of classical guitar at Wisconsin State University in Milwaukee and a solo performer and chamber musician.
February 6: Tucson Guitar Society
Soprano Maria Jette’s wide-ranging career has encompassed everything from early Baroque opera to world premieres, in the United States and abroad. A regular guest over many seasons at the San Luis Obispo Mozart and Oregon Bach Festivals, the Maverick Chamber Series and the Oregon Festival of American Music, she’s often heard nationally on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.
Maria is an ecumenical recitalist; her programs range from songs of Grieg or Fauré through Edwardian parlor music and Latin American chamber music, liberally interspersed with Tin Pan Alley and the Great American Songbook. She’s performed her own productions of Seuss/Kapilow’s Green Eggs & Ham and Gertrude McFuzz for more than 50,000 kids throughout the country, with pit bands, symphony orchestras, and even just piano and train whistle!
For more information, or to find her recently released CD, In Our Little Paradise: Lyrics of PG Wodehouse, with pianist Dan Chouinard, visit www.mariajette.com.
Feb. 1: Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, song recital
Pianist Kevin Murphy, the Tucson Desert Song Festival’s artistic consultant, has been director of music administration at the New York City Opera since September 2008. Before joining the New York City Opera staff, he was the director of musical studies at the Paris National Opera. In 1992, he was the first pianist invited by James Levine to participate in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and continued as an assistant conductor from 1993 through June 2006. He has played continuo harpsichord with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and traveled with the company on tour in Japan. In 2011, he assumed the position of director of the vocal program at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute.
In addition to his on- and off-stage partnership with soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, he has collaborated in concert and recital with many of today’s leading artists, including Michelle DeYoung, Bejun Mehta, Gary Lakes, Nathan Gunn, Olaf Bär, Bryn Terfel, Marcelo Alvarez, Plácido Domingo, Frederica von Stade, Renée Fleming, Paul Groves, and Cecilia Bartoli. Murphy is also respected for his work in master class and as a private coach and has performed in several chamber music collaborations.
He has appeared on The Today Show with soprano Renée Fleming, Good Morning America with soprano Cecilia Bartoli, and The Tonight Show with tenor Gary Lakes. He has been musical assistant and played continuo harpsichord for the Seiji Ozawa Opera Project in Japan, at the Tanglewood Music Festival and Verbier for James Levine, and worked with Esa-Pekka Salonnen at La Jolla’s SummerFest, among other music festivals. Murphy has been in residence with the Canadian Opera Company and the Vocal Arts Program at the Juilliard School. He is a regular adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has collaborated with members of the Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Murphy received his Bachelor’s of Music in piano performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Master’s of Music in piano accompaniment from the Curtis Institute. He makes his home in Bloomington, Ind., with his wife, Heidi Grant Murphy, and their four children.
Jan. 31: Tucson Chamber Artists, music of Debussy, Ravel and Duruflé
Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. She has received unanimous international critical acclaim for her numerous performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Ms. O’Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood under the baton of Robert Spano and subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall. She reprised her “musically seductive, palpably charismatic” portrayal of Lorca (Washington Post) in the world premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars during the 2005 season, which also was presented at Lincoln Center. For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony, in Ainadamar, she joined Robert Spano for performances and a Grammy Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording. Her discography also includes Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon.