ABS fans rejoice! December is here and with it the return of ABS’s highly anticipated performances of Handel’s Messiah at Grace Cathedral—the 15th year of this beloved Northern California tradition. Wednesday and Thursday of next week (December 11 and 12) are the days for this year’s annual performances at San Francisco’s spectacular landmark. Do you have your tickets yet? Seats are selling very rapidly, but a few remain and can be purchased here: americanbach.org/seasons/13-14/Messiah.htm
Along with the virtuoso period instrumentalists of the ABS orchestra and the standard-setting American Bach Choir, Maestro Jeffrey Thomas will direct an outstanding quartet of soloists in this year’s performances.
Lets meet the soloists:
SHAWNETTE SULKER (soprano) has been praised by Opera News for the “natural warmth and charm” of her singing, and noted for “…displaying a bright, superbly controlled soprano with perfectly placed coloratura” (San Francisco Chronicle). ABS patrons may remember her appearances a few seasons ago in Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas in ABS’s collaboration with the San Francisco Opera Center and The Crucible. A frequent collaborator with Maestro Thomas, Ms. Sulker has performed under his baton in performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. A video of that performance, with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra and University/Alumni Chorus at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, is one of the most requested classical music films on YouTube, with well over 10,000,000 views!
ERIC JURENAS (countertenor), proclaimed as “the real deal” (Grand Rapids Press) and defined as having a “rich, mature voice” (Third Coast Digest) with “incredible power” (Opus Colorado), has quickly established himself as a dynamic and versatile performer in both opera and concert. Mr. Jurenas has performed as a featured soloist with American Bach Soloists, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Philadelphia, The Dayton Philharmonic, Colorado Bach Ensemble, Calvin College Choirs, Kentucky Bach Choir, and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, among others. An alumnus of the American Bach Soloists Academy, he has been featured in ABS performances of Handel’s Ariodante and Dixit Dominus, and Vivaldi’s Beatus vir.
AARON SHEEHAN (tenor) has established himself as a first rate singer in many styles. His performances are heard regularly in the United States, South America, and Europe, and he excels equally in repertoire ranging from oratorio and chamber music to opera. His singing has taken him to many festivals and venues including Tanglewood, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Washington National Cathedral, the early music festivals of Boston, San Francisco, Vancouver, Houston, Tucson, Washington DC, and Madison, as well as the Regensburg Tage Alter Musik. Known especially for his Baroque interpretations, his voice has been described by the Boston Globe as “superb: his tone classy, clear, and refined, encompassing fluid lyricism and ringing force” and the Washington Post praised his “polished, lovely tone.” Mr. Sheehan is a first rate interpreter of the oratorios and cantatas of Bach and Handel. He has appeared in concert with ensembles including the American Bach Soloists (most recently as the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, New York Collegium, Les Voix Baroque, Boston Early Music Festival, Aston Magna Festival, Washington National Cathedral, Pacific Music Works, Boston Museum Trio, Tragicomedia, the Folger Consort, and Concerto Palatino. On the opera stage, he has appeared in the Boston Early Music Festival’s world premiere staging of Mattheson’s Boris Gudenow, Lully’s Psyché, Charpentier’s Actéon, and in Handel’s Acis and Galatea.
MISCHA BOUVIER (baritone) has been noted by the New York Times for his “rich timbre” and “fine sense of line,” and his performances have been called a “delight to encounter for the first time” by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He continues to impress audiences with his keen musicality and remarkable communicative ability. Mr Bouvier is an alumnus of the inaugural class of the American Bach Soloists Academy, at which he performed the role of Lucifer in Handel’s dramatic oratorio, La Resurrezione. He has performed with a wide array of ensembles including Anonymous 4, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Boston Symphony Orchestra, American Handel Society, the Bach and the Baroque Ensemble of Pittsburgh, Bronx Opera, the Five Boroughs Music Festival, the Folger Consort, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, and Christopher Williams Dance. A singer of tremendous versatility, Mr. Bouvier made his professional musical theater debut under the baton of Keith Lockhart in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel with the Boston Pops.