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...
Overview,

BEETHOVEN’S NINTH
A Jacobs Masterworks Concert - SUBSCRIBE NOW

December 9, 10, 11

John Nelson, conductor
Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano
Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano
Robert Breault, tenor
Richard Zeller, baritone
San Diego Master Chorale

BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125: Choral

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s bold vision of mankind united by brotherly love returns to Symphony Hall. The Symphony No. 9 features a glittering array of guest vocalists as well as the mighty San Diego Master Chorale, and will be led on this occasion by in-demand American guest conductor John Nelson.

Click here to read the U-T's excellent review of these performances!

Notes,

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

Born December 16, 1770, Bonn

Died March 26, 1827, Vienna

 

            Beethoven’s Ninth is at once his grandest symphony and his most challenging, and its challenges have been both moral and musical. The unprecedented grandeur of Beethoven’s music, the first use of voices in a symphony, and in particular the setting of Schiller’s “An die Freude” have made the Ninth Symphony one of the great statements of romantic faith in humankind, a utopian vision of the universal bond of all people. Musically, the Ninth has been a challenge to every composer who came after it, and composers as diverse as Schubert, Bruckner, Brahms and Mahler have responded to Beethoven’s example, sometimes in quite different ways. Two centuries after its premiere, a performance of the Ninth remains a special occasion, an experience entirely different from a performance of any of the other eight Beethoven symphonies, and it excites quite different responses. The Ninth Symphony has inspired countless audiences to leap to their feet over those two centuries, but it has also troubled those who find themselves trapped between the symphony’s starry vision of a utopian future and our own awareness of how the events of the last two centuries have undercut Beethoven’s hopeful vision.

            As a piece of music, the Ninth seems so perfectly conceived that it comes as a surprise to learn that it took shape very slowly over a span of thirty years, and Beethoven’s conception of this music changed often during that process. Beethoven first planned to compose a setting of Schiller’s “An die Freude” as early as 1792, when he was just 22 (Schiller had written that ode only seven years earlier, in 1785); though he set that intention aside, the idea remained with him. The first mention of a “Symphony in D minor” did not occur until twenty years later, when Beethoven mentioned such a plan in his sketchbooks. Some of the musical ideas that would eventually end up in the symphony first appeared in his sketchbooks in 1815, but it was an invitation from the London Philharmonic in 1817 to visit London and write two symphonies that finally prodded Beethoven to action. Beethoven would never visit London (and he would write only one more symphony), but now he began to think seriously about that symphony, and by 1818 he was thinking of the novel idea of including voices. But it was not until the spring of 1823, after he had completed the Missa Solemnis and the Diabelli Variations, that Beethoven set to serious work on the Ninth Symphony. By that November, he had decided that the finale would set Schiller’s text, and the symphony was complete early the following year. At this point in his career, Beethoven had formulated what we know as his “Late Style” (he was just about to begin composing the late quartets), but for the Ninth Symphony he reverted to his Heroic Style, that powerful approach built on conflict and triumphant resolution that had animated such works as the Third, Fifth, and Seventh Symphonies. The Ninth Symphony may incorporate such features of the Late Style as an inward and lyrical expressiveness and a new interest in variation-form and contrapuntal writing, but in its heroism and drive to a triumphant conclusion the Ninth Symphony is very much in an earlier style.

            The first performance of the Ninth took place in Vienna on May 7, 1824, when Beethoven was 53. Though he had been totally deaf for years, Beethoven sat on stage with the orchestra and tried to assist in the direction of the music. This occasion produced one of the classic Beethoven anecdotes. Unaware that the piece had ended, Beethoven continued to beat time and had to be turned around to be shown the applause that he could not hear–the realization that the music they had just heard had been written by a deaf man overwhelmed the audience. A less romantic account of the same event comes from one of the violinists in the orchestra:


The work was studied with the diligence and conscientiousness that such a huge and difficult piece of music demanded. It came to the performance. An illustrious, extremely large audience listened with rapt attention and did not stint with enthusiastic, thundering applause. Beethoven himself conducted, that is, he stood in front of the conductor’s stand and threw himself back and forth like a madman. At one moment he stretched to his full height, at the next he crouched down to the floor, he flailed about with his hands and feet as though he wanted to play all the instruments and sing all the chorus parts . . . The actual direction was in [Umlauf’s] hands; we musicians followed his baton only . . . Beethoven was so excited that he saw nothing that was going on about him, he paid no heed whatever to the bursts of applause, which his deafness prevented him from hearing in any case . . . He always had to be told when it was time to acknowledge the applause, which he did in the most ungracious manner imaginable.


            The opening of the Allegro ma non troppo, quiet and harmonically uncertain, creates a sense of mystery and vast space. Bits of theme flit about in the murk and begin to coalesce, and out of these the main theme suddenly explodes to life and comes crashing downward–this has been universally compared to a streak of lightning, and surely that must have been Beethoven’s intention. He introduces a wealth of secondary material–some lyric, some martial–but the opening subject dominates this sonata-form movement, returning majestically at crucial moments in the drama. The ending is particularly effective: the coda opens with ominous fanfares over quiet tremolo strings, and out of this darkness the main theme rises up one final time and is stamped out to close the movement.

            The second movement, marked Molto vivace, is a scherzo built on a five-part fugue. The displaced attacks in the first phrase, which delighted the audience at the premiere, still retain their capacity to surprise; Beethoven breaks the rush of the fugue with a rustic trio for woodwinds and a flowing countermelody for strings. Some of the material in the scherzo was the first part of the symphony to be written–its principal theme appeared in Beethoven’s notebooks as early as 1815, seven years before he began the actual composition of the symphony.

            Beethoven at first conceived of the Adagio molto e cantabile in straightforward theme-and-variation form, based on the opening subject. In the course of its composition, however, he came up with a second theme he liked so much that he could not bring himself to leave it out, even though it had no real place in the movement’s variation form. First heard in the second violins and violas, this second theme is of such radiant lyricism that Beethoven considered having the chorus enter here rather than in the last movement. He rejected this idea but decided to keep the second theme in the movement; the clearest way to understand the resulting form is to see it as a set of variations with contrasting interludes based on the second subject.

            The very opening of the finale has bothered many listeners. After the serenity of the third movement, the orchestra erupts with a dissonant blast. It hardly seems a proper opening for a movement whose ultimate message will be the dignity and brotherhood of man. But Beethoven’s intention here was precise–he referred to this ugly opening noise as a Schrecken-fanfare (“terror-fanfare”), and with it he wanted to shatter the mood of the Adagio and prepare his listeners for the weighty issues to follow. Then begins one of the most remarkable passages in music: in a long recitative, cellos and basses consider a fragment of each of the three previous movements and reject them all. Then, still by themselves, they sing the theme that will serve as the basis of the final movement and are gradually joined by the rest of the orchestra.  Again comes the strident opening blast, followed by the entrance of the baritone soloist, who puts into words what the cellos and basses have suggested: “Oh, friends, not these sounds! Rather let us sing something more pleasing and more joyful.” These words are not from Schiller’s text but were written by Beethoven himself, and they help us understand the interrelation of the parts of the Ninth: each of the first three movements represents something entirely different and each has a validity of its own, but none offers the message that Beethoven will impart in the finale.

            That will come in Schiller’s text, with its exaltation of the fellowship of mankind and in man’s recognition of his place in a universe presided over by a just and omnipotent god. Beethoven’s choice of “An die Freude” as the text for his finale would probably have surprised Schiller himself, for the poet came to dislike his own poem and spoke of it disparagingly. “An die Freude” was originally a drinking ode, and if the text is full of the spirit of brotherhood, it is also replete with generous praise for the glories of good drink. Beethoven used less than half of Schiller’s original text, cutting all references to drink and certain other stanzas and retaining those that speak most directly to his evocation of a utopian vision of human brotherhood. Musically, the last movement is a series of variations on his opening theme, the music of each stanza varied to fit its text.

            One of these sections deserves attention, for it has confused many listeners. The finale reaches an early climax when the chorus sings “und der Cherub steht vor Gott!” A moment of silence follows, and out of that silence the woodwinds begin to play some consciously rough and simple music. Critics have tried to make sense of this section in different ways–some hear it as military music, others as a village band, blatting and tooting away. It seems wildly out of place, a blot on the otherwise noble texture of the movement. But what Beethoven does with this makes it all clear. Gradually the pace quickens, and bit by bit the other sections of the orchestra join in, followed by the tenor solo (“Froh”) and the chorus. The music begins to surge ahead, and suddenly it takes off and soars, and out of that awkward little woodwind theme Beethoven builds a magnificent fugue for full orchestra. The theme that had seemed clownish moments before is now full of grandeur, and Beethoven’s music mirrors the message of the symphony: even the simplest and least likely thing is touched with divinity and–if properly understood–can be seen as part of a vast and noble universe.

            In a world that daily belies the utopian message of the Ninth Symphony, it may seem strange that this music continues to work its hold on our imagination–it is difficult for us to take the symphony’s vision of brotherhood seriously when each morning’s headlines show us again the horrors of which man is capable. Perhaps the secret of its continuing appeal is that for the hour it takes us to hear the Ninth Symphony, the music reminds us not of what we too often are, but of what–at our best–we might be.

-Program notes by Eric Bromberger

 

WHY THIS PROGRAM?

When we spoke by phone, our guest conductor John Nelson was staying in Amsterdam for 2-1/2 months, preparing a production of Mozart’s Ideomeneo for the Netherlands Opera.  I pointed out that I had only seen him conduct once, a number of years ago, when he replaced Rafael Kubelik at the Met, and conducted Berlioz’s enormous, Les Troyens (The Trojans).  I wondered if he was mainly known as a conductor of large scale choral works.  He replied that he was originally a choral conductor, but that his conducting work is divided approximately in thirds: opera, symphony and choral.  He pointed out that the Ninth Symphony is not just a choral work but a great work throughout. Nelson’s most recent US conducting appearance was last spring with the Boston Symphony (a chorus-free concert, it should be noted!).  Most of his conducting, however, is in Europe, where he lives, and mainly in Paris at that.  He and Mrs. Nelson also maintain a home in the French countryside.

John Nelson has conducted Beethoven’s Ninth a number of times, but he told me, in preparing his performance with our Symphony, “I will have to re-approach it now.  I last led it when I recorded it six years ago in Paris,” along with all the rest of the Beethoven symphonies.  Regarding his San Diego appearance, he noted that Jahja Ling was one of his mentees at Juilliard, and he was proud to hear that the orchestra has become so fine.  Also, Nelson hopes that he can use a somewhat reduced orchestra for his performance.  “No more than 6 basses!” he said, with comparable other reductions so that the winds need not be doubled, and a leaner, clearer sound might be achieved.

Buren Schryock conducted the community’s initial hearing of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with the early San Diego Symphony in 1915, in an outdoor stadium concert. He repeated it the following year with the orchestra in the same location. The contemporary orchestra, under Robert Shaw, first presented the work during the summer season of 1956. It has been played relatively frequently since then, at least once during the tenure of every succeeding music director, most recently during the 2009-10 season, with Jahja Ling conducting.

-Dr. Melvin G. Goldzband, Symphony Archivist

 

Artists,

Internationally renowned for his interpretation of the large romantic repertoire, including the great works of Berlioz, John Nelson has conducted most of the world's top orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras and the New York Philharmonic.  John Nelson's varied repertoire has also taken him to many of the world's major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric, Opéra National de Paris and the Netherlands Opera.

Central to John Nelson's work is the interpretation of the great sacred choral literature.   He is presently conducting a series of live DVD performances of this repertoire including Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Netherlands Radio Kammerphilharmonie and Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris.  He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Grammy® for his recording of Handel's Semele on the Deutsche Grammophon label and a Diapason d'Or de l'Année for Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict on Erato.

Born in Costa Rica, John Nelson studied at the Juilliard School, New York, where he won the Irving Berlin prize in conducting. He has held the title of Music Director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Caramoor Music Festival in New York. From 1998 to 2008 he was Directeur Musicale of the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He has also been Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Lyon and Artistic Adviser to the Nashville and Louisville Orchestras.

John Nelson made his professional opera debut at the New York City Opera in Bizet’s Carmen and his Metropolitan Opera debut stepping in at short notice to replace an indisposed Rafael Kubelik in Berlioz’s Les Troyens. It was this occasion that catapulted him into the limelight and led to his European debut at Grand Théâtre de Genève for Les Troyens and his French debut at the Berlioz Festival, Lyon for a production of Béatrice et Bénédict.

Recent and future engagements include Boston Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Cincinnati Symphony, Danish National Symphony, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Sydney Symphony and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras.  Opera engagements include performances at the Grand Théâtre de Genève of Weber’s Der Freischütz and Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, Les Troyens and Mozart’s Idomeneo at Netherlands Opera and (at La Monnaie) Mozart’s La finta giardiniera.

 

A shimmering soprano with enchanting stage presence, soprano Heidi Grant Murphy is one of the outstanding vocal talents of her generation. A native of Bellingham, Washington, she began vocal studies while attending Western Washington and Indiana Universities. Her graduate studies were interrupted when she was named a winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and engaged by Maestro James Levine to participate in the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Today, Ms. Murphy has established a reputation not only for her radiant musicianship and impeccable vocal technique, but also for her warm personality and generosity of spirit. "Ms. Grant Murphy was beautifully, serenely and wonderfully consistent. And she, too, shone. She produced phrases that were finely sustained, and yet each note seemed to have a shape of its own, floating out from or into silence." (The New York Times)

Heidi Grant Murphy has appeared with many of the world's finest opera companies and symphony orchestras, notably the Metropolitan Opera, Salzburg Festival, Frankfurt Opera, Netherlands Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Opera National de Paris and Santa Fe Opera. She has been engaged as soloist with the Vienna, New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics; Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras; and Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Atlanta, Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Houston, Montreal, National and Dallas Symphonies. Ms. Murphy has worked with such esteemed conductors as Roberto Abbado, Herbert Blomstedt, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo de Waart, Christoph Von Dohnányi, David Zinman, Bernard Haitink, Pinchas Zukerman and the late Robert Shaw.

The 2009-2010 season marked the 20th anniversary of Ms. Murphy's Metropolitan Opera debut in the 1989 production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten, which has since led to numerous roles in that prestigious opera house, notably Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Sister Constance in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Servilia in Clemenza di Tito and Nanetta in Falstaff. European highlights have included the roles of Anne Truelove in the Netherlands' Opera production of The Rake's Progress and Celia in Lucio Silla at both the Salzburg Festival and Frankfurt Opera; and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amor and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at the Opera Nationale de Paris. Heidi Grant Murphy began the 2011-2012 season in Orff's Carmina Burana with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero and with the Atlanta Symphony and Maestro Robert Spano for Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

Heidi Grant Murphy's latest recording, Lullabies & Nightsongs, based on the children's book illustrated by Maurice Sendak, was released in September 2009 on Koch International. With Maestro Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, Ms. Murphy is soloist on a live recording of Mahler 4, and the Delos label released her recording of Mahler's Symphonies No. 2 and 4 with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony.

In August 2011, Heidi Grant Murphy was appointed to the faculty of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music as an adjunct professor of practice. She has been a featured guest on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, A&E's Breakfast with the Arts and BBC Radio 3. In October 2005, Ms. Murphy received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Western Washington University, where she pursued a bachelor's degree in music performance. Ms. Murphy resides in Bloomington, Indiana, with her husband Kevin Murphy and their four children.

 

"[Mentzer’s] vocally impeccable, emotionally compelling performance proved that she is among the premier art-song interpreters of our day. Her rich, vibrant sound retains its warmth from top to bottom and throughout its broad dynamic range, and she draws the listener into the spirit of each song with a deep internal connection that creates distinctive characters with a minimum of outward display." - Opera News

From an introduction to opera as a teenage usher at the Santa Fe Opera, American Susanne Mentzer has become one of today's foremost mezzo-sopranos. Recognized for her generous vocal and interpretive gifts, she is widely admired for her versatility, from the recital and concert stage to the operatic arena. She specializes in the music of Rossini, Strauss, Mozart, Berlioz and Mahler. Performances in recent seasons include Larina in Eugene Onegin with the Pittsburgh Opera and Jade Boucher in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both with the Houston Grand Opera.

Susanne Mentzer first began her career with opera and has appeared with the great opera companies, orchestras and festivals in North America (Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Ravinia and Tanglewood Festivals), and Europe (La Scala Milan, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Cologne Opera, Opéra de Paris, Teatro Liceo Barcelona, Salzburg Festival), as well as the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and on tour to Japan with the Metropolitan Opera, Mostly Mozart and the Bavarian State Opera.

Ms. Mentzer recently sang the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges with the New York Philharmonic (Maazel) at Carnegie Hall. In 2006-07 she created the role of Mother in the world premiere (and the 2008 reprise) of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor with Placido Domingo, directed by Zhang Yimou at the Metropolitan Opera, broadcast live to movie theaters around the world as part of the MET's “Live in HD” series (now available on DVD.)

Ms. Mentzer enjoys a significant concert and recital career, with a particular interest in chamber music, and is known as an interpreter of the vocal works of Mahler, Berlioz and a proponent of women composers. In demand as a recitalist, Susanne Mentzer has appeared at Lincoln Center, in Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall and Weill Hall, Town Hall NYC, the Kennedy Center and the Schubert Club in St. As an interpreter of Mahler, Ms. Mentzer recently appeared with the Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestra as part of their Mahler Festival under the baton of Miguel Harth-Badoya. She also has performed various selections from the Mahler repertoire (the Rückert-Lieder, Lieder eines Fahrende Gesellen and Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Das Lied von der Erde and Kindertotenlieder, with, among other ensembles, Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic.

Several important recent appearances include: a nationwide broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center to open the 40th anniversary season of the Mostly Mozart Festival, Beethoven 9th Symphony with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra, Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the St. Louis Symphony (Robertson) and Britten’s Spring Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony and Robert Spano.

In addition to her active performance career Ms. Mentzer has an interest in the development of young singers. She is Professor of Voice at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston and has served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School and the DePaul University School of Music.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Maryland and New Mexico, Ms. Mentzer began her studies in music therapy at the University of the Pacific and later transferred to the Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor and Master degrees.

 

Tenor Robert Breault enjoys an international career that features an extraordinary breadth of repertoire.  His warm, flexible voice and superb artistic sensibilities combine to make him a consummate singing actor. Opera News noted, “Besides a ductile tenor that allows him to negotiate a full dynamic span, from silvery head tone to ringing forte, even within a single phrase, Breault offers truly superb diction.”

During the 2010 - 11 season he joined the Edmonton Opera as “Cavaradossi” in Tosca, the Florida Bach Festival for performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, National Philharmonic for the Berlioz Requiem, and returned to San Diego Symphony for Schubert’s Mass No. 6.   In New York, he made his debut with the Korean Broadcast Symphony at The United Nations singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  He performed both Shallow and Hall (last minute replacement) in Getty’s Plump Jack with Bayerische Rundfunk Symphonieorchester. A CD release is scheduled for September 2011.  In October, Robert made another unexpected debut with Opèra de Montreal when he flew, at 24-hours' notice, to replace an ailing “Duke” in their production of Rigoletto.   

During the 2009 – 2010 season, Breault joined the Edmonton Opera for the first time in the role of the Duke in Rigoletto.  In 2009, Breault made appearances with the San Diego Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the Florida Bach Festival for performances of Bach’s B minor Mass and Mozart’s Requiem, and in December of 2009 Breault returned to Phoenix for performances of James DeMars’ Guadalupe.  In 2010, Breault joined the Utah Symphony under the baton of Andrew Litton in performances of Verdi’s Requiem, and for the Santa Fe Opera Robert covered the title roles in Tales of Hoffman and the world premiere of Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream.     

Breault’s concert career highlights include performances with major orchestras worldwide including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Atlanta Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, London Philharmonia Orchestra, National Symphony of Taiwan, Jerusalem Symphony, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, San Francisco Symphony and the Utah Symphony, to name but a few.

Breault’s opera career features a wide array of repertoire and companies.  Performances with New York City Opera include Carmen, La Traviata, and Semele, for which he was awarded the company’s “Kolozsvar Award”.  He has performed numerous times with the Atlanta Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York and the Arizona Opera.

Mr. Breault's recording credits include Laurent Petitgirard's world premiere recording of Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man with The Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo as well as a live DVD recording with Opéra de Nice. Breault has also recorded Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with the Choeur St. Lawrence and Montreal Symphony, DeMars' American Requiem with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Berlioz’s Requiem with the Jerusalem Symphony and Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and three volumes of Pachelbel's Organ Works as the cantor with organist Marilyn Mason. His performance with the Utah Symphony and Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Vaughan Williams’ Hodie with Keith Lockhart was broadcast nationally on PBS.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Breault received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan in 1991 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Norbert College.  He serves as Professor of Music and Director of Opera at the University of Utah since 1992.

 

One of America's foremost baritones, Richard Zeller is internationally acclaimed for both his concert and opera roles. He is known for his sonorous dramatic voice, a compelling stage presence and outstanding musicianship.

Zeller’s full 2011/12 season includes Carmina Burana performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Huntsville Symphony, as well as a Missa Solemnis with the Charlotte Symphony and Bach’s Magnificat with the Winter Park Bach Festival. Season 2010/11 featured a Brahms Requiem with the Jacksonville Symphony and an evening of opera arias at the Dvorak Festival in Bohemia, among other engagements.

Highlights of the prior seasons for Mr. Zeller included performances in Chicago Lyric Opera’s Boris Godunov and Andrea Chénier, Gluck’s Alceste at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride in Madrid. He has also sung the title role of Rigoletto in many venues including New York City Opera. With Scottish Opera, Mr. Zeller sang Germont in David McVicar’s new production of La Traviata, a role he reprised with Portland Opera in the US. Mr. Zeller was featured in Scottish Opera's widely heralded, award-winning production of Macbeth directed by Luc Bondy at its Edinburgh Festival premiere in 1999/00 and revival at the Vienna Festival. Mr. Zeller’s opera engagements have also included 12 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, including Bellini’s Il Pirata with Renée Fleming, the lead role of Eddie in William Bolcom's opera, A View from the Bridge, based on Arthur Miller's play; and Berlioz's Les Troyens, conducted by Maestro James Levine.

He also appeared at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra as the lead role of Signor Rivière in Dallapiccola’s opera Volo di notte and at Lincoln Center Jazz with Deborah Voigt and the Collegiate Chorale in Gluck’s Alceste. Mr. Zeller’s other concert engagements have included Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Seattle Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic and Spokane Symphony, and Carmina Burana with the Buffalo Philharmonic at Artpark.

Mr. Zeller is highly regarded in the concert field and has sung with virtually all the major orchestras in the US, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, National Symphony, and the symphonies of San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Baltimore, Seattle and Oregon, to name a few. International orchestra credits include Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Dresden Staatskapelle, Czech Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, Korea Philharmonic, Rotterdam, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo (in a command performance for Prince Rainier and Prince Albert of Monaco), as well as a performance for the Spanish Royal Family in Madrid with conductor Helmut Rilling. Zeller is celebrated for his interpretation of the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah which he has sung with the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra and many others throughout the US, Europe and Asia.

Mr. Zeller was featured in 2001 in a nationwide TV broadcast of Live from Lincoln Center singing the Mozart Requiem with the Mostly Mozart Festival, conducted by Gerard Schwarz. His performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem and Mozart’s Requiem. He has recorded Dvorak's Te Deum with Zdenec Macal and the New Jersey Symphony for Delos, and David Schiff’s Gimpel the Fool for Naxos.

BEETHOVEN'S NINTH(MW)
December 9 - December 11, 2011
COPLEY SYMPHONY HALL

Online sales for this performance have now been discontinued. Please call the Ticket Office at 619.235.0804.

 
  • Overview
  • Notes
  • Artists