Los Angeles Music Feature: LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE: BRAHMS’ REQUIEM (Disney Hall)

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by Tony Frankel on January 19, 2013

in Theater-Los Angeles

A REQUIEM IN FLOWER

The Los Angeles Master Chorale captures the shared human experience with a pairing of Brahms’ sublime Ein Deutsches Requiem and the West Coast premiere of The World in Flower, Peter Lieberson’s lyrical and moving message of tolerance written in memory of his wife and muse, famed mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, with whom the Chorale performed Adam’s El Niño in Los Angeles and New York.  This compelling and heartfelt program, conducted by Music Director Grant Gershon, is presented in a special matinee performance on Saturday, January 26, 2013, 2 pm, repeating on Sunday, January 27, 2013, 7 pm. Gershon and KUSC’s Alan Chapman participate in ListenUp!, the pre-concert talk one hour prior to each performance. The soloists for the Lieberson piece are Kelley O’Connor, mezzo-soprano, and Brian Mulligan, baritone, and the soloists for the Requiem are Mr. Mulligan and Hayden Eberhart, Soprano.

Brahms’ magnum opus, Ein Deutsches Requiem, has been called “a requiem for the living,” giving hope to those in mourning and compassion and comfort for all of mankind.  The Chorale’s last presentation of the transcendent work was in 2006, which the Los Angeles Times proclaimed, “a finely realized performance… that filled the sold-out hall with cathedral sounds and crescendos that could be felt as well as heard.”

Lieberson’s The World in Flower, praised by the New York Times as “serene, sincere (and) radiant” was written for his ailing wife who ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.  It is set to the text of 11 different sources, each with a unique frame of reference, among them a traditional Navajo poem, a poem from an Inuit Shaman, the Bible, and works by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and American poet Walt Whitman.  Lieberson, a Buddhist who completed the piece in the hospital while fighting lymphoma (he later succumbed to his cancer in 2011), draws from the similarities between these disparate texts, highlighting the common human experience and embracing the world as a sacred place.  The cantata, commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, is written for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra.

American baritone Brian Mulligan is a guest artist with LAMC.  Roles in his repertoire include Valentin, Enrico, Zurga, Marcello, Rodrigo, Wolfram and Tarquinius, as well as the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Nixon in China.  In Chicago, he recently sang the world premiere of Songs for Adam, a cycle of six songs for orchestra and solo baritone.

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, also a guest artist, has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. O’Connor recently sang in the world premiere of a new oratorio by John Adams, The Gospel According to the Other Mary, commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel.

This is Soprano Hayden Eberhart’s fourth season with LAMC, and appeared with the Chorale as a soloist in the World Premiere of The Singing Mountaineers by Gabriela Lena Frank. She has also appeared as a guest artist with Pasadena Master Chorale, LA Daiku and the Pomona College Choir and Orchestra.  She is also a member of the LA Master Chorale Chamber Singers.

Los Angeles Master Chorale
Lieberson / The World in Flower (West Coast Premiere)
Brahms / Ein Deutsches Requiem
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Saturday, January 26, 2013, 2 pm (matinee)
Sunday, January 27, 2013, 7 pm
Student Rush seats available at box office two hours before the performance
for tickets, call 213-972-7282 or visit http://www.lamc.org

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