Tuesday, 16 July, starting at 8:00 pm, Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury Street, Boston (corner of Newbury and Berkeley), the SONS OF LIBERTY FESTIVAL presents "ESTHER BY HANDEL (1732)" featuring Jessica Cooper (Queen Esther), Erika Vogel (Israelite Woman), Von Bringhurst (Minister Mordechai), Yakov Zamir (King Xerxes), James Dargan (Grand Vizier Haman), Thomas B. Dawkins (organ reduction of orchestral score), and members of Koleinu (Chorus of Persian Soldiers; Choruses of Israelites). |
Soprano Jessica Cooper is a San Diego native who was hailed as "a welcome addition to Boston's top rank of Handel sopranos," in her Boston solo debut. Praised by critics for a voice characterized by an earthy, core warmth capable of fiery agility and precision, Jessica's expressive performances have made her a favorite among Boston audiences. Jessica makes regular appearances in top New England groups as both soloist and chamber artist. Performing repertoire ranging from Renaissance and Baroque to Classical and New Music, critics have called Jessica "wistful and melodious" in Purcell, as capable of "fiendishly difficult celebratory coloratura" in Handel, and of possessing "emotional intensity backed by technical security" in the modern music of John Harbison. Jessica has appeared as a soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society, the Boston Cecilia, Emmanuel Music, Newton, Wellesley, and Nashua Symphonies, La Jolla Symphony and chorus, Portland Symphony and Chorus, Boston Civic Symphony Orchestra, live in recital on 89.7 WGBH radio and in numerous recital series in Boston, New England and abroad. Jessica was a finalist in the New England Regional Metropolitan National Council for Auditions for two years in a row, and was a first place winner of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing National Competition.
Canadian soprano Erika Vogel has recently finished a Professional Studies Diploma with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell at Manhattan School of Music. She previously did a master's degree with Catherine Sévigny and a graduate diploma in early music with renowned early music singer Suzie Leblanc, both at the University of Montreal. Opera and concert appearances include Mozart Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Galatea in Handel's Acis and Galatea, Valetto in Monteverdi's l'Incoronazione di Poppea, Laetitia in Old Maid and the Thief and Fairy One in Montreal Baroque Festival's Production of Purcell's Fairy Queen and Nanetta in a scenes program at Manhattan School of Music. Summer 2008, Erika studied classical Spanish and Latin American classical vocal music in Barcelona and made her Spanish début at the Ateneu Barcelones. She made her debut as the Youth in Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra with Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff conducting. She was also featured as soprano soloist in Bruckner's Psalm 100. She was engaged to sing both Charpentier's Messe de Minuit and Vivaldi's Gloria by Robert Ingari. Erika has been involved with numerous contemporary music projects including a production of Pierrot Lunaire. Erika won the Canadian Music Competition in 2007 and is a recipient of the Jacqueline Desmarais Grant for Young Canadian Opera Singers.
Countertenor and sopranist Von Bringhurst completed a two year Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree last May at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. He is a native of Pocatello, Idaho, where he also attended Idaho State University. In Idaho, he has been a soloist with the annual Messiah Sing-In and was a soloist with the Camerata Singers of Pocatello, Idaho. He has toured to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Peru with his college Chamber Choir, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Music with Honors in 2009.Von worked as Music Director for the Opera House Theater Company in Philipsburg, MT in the 2008 season and was Music Director and Cremona Player for the Illustrious Virginia City Players of Virginia City, MT for their 2010 season. He sings with the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral in Cambridge for the 2012-2013 season. Von performed with Metro Stage Company's production of Chicago in October 2011, the Video Game Orchestra in 2011 and 2012, and as part of the Iberica Early Music Festival in August 2012. He is increasingly in demand as a soloist and ensemble member, often singing with Xerces Blue Ensemble and is a founding member of triumVirate. In December 2012 and May 2013, Von sang the soprano arias of Messiah in two full length audience-assisted performances. In February 2013, he sang in the Boston premiere of Handel's Esther in Hebrew.
American/Israeli contralto Yakov Zamir received his vocal training in New York City, and at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the Oberlin and San Francisco Conservatories of Music. He has performed with orchestras, choirs and in concert series throughout the United States, including at Carnegie Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York City, with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in Missouri, and twice with the San Diego Symphony. Yakov appeared with most of the orchestras and other instrumental and choral ensembles in Israel. He has also performed in six cities in India; on the stage of an ancient Greek amphitheatre on the island of Cyprus; in the Langholtskirkju in Reykavik, Iceland; and at Covent Garden Opera House in London. Since May 2008, Yakov produced and performed in seven concerts devoted to the songs of Robert Schumann in 2010, and seven concerts devoted to the songs and solo piano works of Franz Liszt in 2010-2011. In August 2012, Yakov co-produced and sang in the Iberica Early Music Festival. He is a founding member of triumVirate. In December 2012 and May 2013, Yakov sang the alto arias of Messiah in two full length audience-assisted performances. In February 2013, he sang in the Boston premiere of Handel's Esther in Hebrew.
Baritone James Dargan is in increasingly great demand as an opera singer, concert soloist, and recitalist, and has been credited with "conversational flair" and a "creamy, rich quality" of voice. After degrees in literature, religion, and musicology from Boston and Leeds Universities, and a stint as a choral scholar at York Minster Cathedral (UK), James received voice lessons from Dr. Jerrold Pope and Liz Anker, and participated in masterclasses given by Lynn Torgove, Karyl Ryzcek, and Sondra Kelly; he has sung roles with Lowell House Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, Helios Early Opera, the Juventas New Music Ensemble, Greater Worcester Opera, and OperaHub, and presented recitals at King's Chapel and St John's Episcopal Church, JP, as well as a recent recital debut at Trinity Cathedral in Miami. James also sings frequently at The Church of the Advent, is a new member of Emmanuel Music, a new addition to the roster of Boston Baroque, and for some years, he sang as a soloist and section member of The Cantata Singers, and as a section leader for the choir of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, near Central Square, Cambridge. James is a founding member of the Xerces Blue Ensemble, and of the male vocal ensemble triumVirate. In December 2012 and May 2013, James sang the baritone arias of Messiah in two full length audience-assisted performances. In February 2013, he sang in the Boston premiere of Handel's Esther in Hebrew. James works as a freelance singer, violinist, and occasional teacher in the Metro Boston area. In the fall of 2013, James will become a full time member of the professional choir of The Church of the Advent.
Thomas Dawkins is a magna cum laude graduate in Music with Highest Honors from Brandeis University, where he became the first winner of the Ira Gershwin Prize for excellence in musical performance. He has appeared as piano soloist with several area orchestras including the New England Philharmonic, Brandeis Symphony Orchestra and the Longy School Preparatory Orchestra, and has given solo recitals around Massachusetts, including at the Newton Free Library. Also a respected collaborative pianist and vocal coach, he maintains a private studio and has worked at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and with the studios of Robert Honeysucker, Pamela Wolfe, and D'Anna Fortunato. In collaborations with his colleagues, he has performed at MIT, the Longy School of Music, Brandeis University, the Peabody Library, the Lexington First Church concert series, the International Rachmaninoff Russian Music Festival, the Lexington Museum of Our National Heritage (as a guest artist with Lexington Ballet Theater), and many more. He is also the music director for the Congregational Church of Harvard, UCC.
As a classical singer, he is a member of the choruses of both the Handel & Haydn Society (with whom he has made two recordings) and Boston Baroque, and has also sung as a bass-baritone soloist with Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (Schaunard in La Bohème, Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Pish-Tush in Mikado, Messiah), Mass Theatrica (Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Schaunard in La Bohème, Father in Hansel and Gretel), Worcester Opera Works (Pooh-Bah in Mikado, for which he received the accolade of being "a resonant marvel"), Longwood Opera, Chorus Pro Musica (Messiah), Paul Madore Chorale (Fauré Requiem, Beethoven Mass in C, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem), The Master Singers of Lexington (Hovahness Look Toward the Sea), Nashoba Chorale (the title role in Dido and Aeneas), Belmont Open Sings (Haydn Paukenmesse, Mozart Mass in c), Boston Repertory Orchestra (Beethoven Ninth Symphony), Assabet Valley Mastersingers (Messiah), and The Masterworks Chorale (Bach Mass in b minor, Beethoven Mass in C, Messiah). In the past, he was a member of The Orpheus Singers, Opera Aperta and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus (Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops). He has most notably sung in recital at the Salem Arts Festival, the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and at the Longfellow House.
Mr. Dawkins has appeared as a conductor and music director with the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players, at the Salem Arts Festival, leading three operas at the New England Gilbert & Sullivan Society 35th Anniversary Sing-Out, and at Mass Theatrica. He is also a professional wind player having performed on bassoon, contrabassoon, saxophone, oboe and English horn with ensembles such as Symphony Pro Musica, the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston, the Concord Orchestra (where he was acting principal), the Harvard Summer School Orchestra, the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and the Minuteman Chamber Orchestra. He played timpani and percussion with a dozen ensembles, and has also pinch-hit as a violist from time to time.
Church of the Covenant (View)
67 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02108
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|