The Ars Lyrica closes its 2012-13 season with the program Divine Recreation.
The program features musical settings of texts from the Song of Solomon by Claudio Monteverdi, Dietrich Buxtehude, and Part I of Handel’s oratorio Solomon. With soprano Melissa Givens, mezzo-soprano Ellie Jarrett Shattles, and tenor Tony Boutté.
American soprano Melissa Givens has been resoundingly praised by audiences and critics around the world for her rich, liquid tone; intelligent, musical interpretations; as well her expressiveness and elegance on the stage. Hailed as a singer whose music making is “consistently rewarding” and “a pleasure to hear,” Givens is an extremely versatile artist, regularly performing repertoire from the Baroque era through music of the 21st century. A performance of Bach’s St. John Passion, led Charles Ward of the Houston Chronicle to proclaim, “Soprano Melissa Givens was the best, singing with effortless tone and gracious musicality;” while the Austin American-Statesman’s David Mead marveled that Givens sang A German Requiem “like the angelic voice that Brahms probably imagined as he composed it.” Her Texas premiere of Baruch by San Francisco based composer Daniel David Feinsmith was a highlight of her concert with barmusic, a Houston based chamber music group devoted to music of the last fifty years, bringing the audience to its feet at the work’s conclusion.
Other appearances include a beautifully received turn as soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion for the Bach Society of Houston and Donna Anna for the Houston Ebony Opera Guild’s most recent production of Don Giovanni. That year she also essayed the title role in the staged Ars Lyrica Houston production of Alessandro Scarlatti’s oratorio La Giuditta under the direction of American harpsichordist and musicologist Matthew Dirst who praised her as having “the perfect baroque voice.”
Ms. Givens remains in demand on concert series throughout the United States and Europe, including recent recitals in Austin, Houston and Buffalo. A champion of collaborative musical endeavors, she performs with various chamber music groups as well as the nationally acclaimed ensemble Conspirare.
Read more about Ellie Jarrett Shattles here.
Tenor Tony Boutté made his professional operatic debut as Orfeo in the groundbreaking Monteverdi Cyclewith Skylight Opera of Milwaukee. Since then he has appeared in a wide range of roles, including Ottavio inDon Giovanni, Acis in Händel’s Acis & Galatea with soprano Elizabeth Futral, and Gandhi in the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha. As an oratorio and concert singer, Tony has performed with top-notch ensembles, including Les Arts Florissants, Tafelmusik, Les Talens Lyriques, Opera Lafayette, Washington Bach Consort, New York Collegium, Violons du Roy, Boston Baroque, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Musica Angelica.
Tony has performed numerous premiers, including John Eaton’s Benjamin Button (Symphony Space,) Arjuna’s Dilemma by Douglas Cuomo (BAM), Michael Gordon’s Chaos, Betsy Jolas’ Motet III, Bang on a Can’s Carbon Copy Building and In the Penal Colony by Philip Glass. Tony has recorded a wide range of material, from Bach’s St. John Passion (Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra) and operas by Lully (Armide) andSacchini (Oedipe à Colone) to world premier recordings of Carbon Copy Building and Arjuna’s Dilemma. His festival appearances include Salzburg, Aspen, Bard, Schleswig-Holstien, Settembre, Aldeburgh, Versailles Autumn Festival and Tage Alte Muzik Regensburg. Tony made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 singing Händel’s Messiah with Masterwork Chorus. He is currently on the voice faculty of University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and co-directs ARCANUM, a baroque ensemble based in Miami, FL. Upcoming recordings include works by de la Guerre and Philidor.
“His performance was so pure and emotional, his tenor so exciting…”
— New York Times
Pictured above: soprano Melissa Givens, mezzo-soprano Ellie Jarrett Shattles.