The Eugene Concert Choir & Orchestra will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most challenging choral masterwork, the Grand Mass in C Minor, and we feature our stellar soloists in some of the most popular opera arias of all time, on Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 2:30pm at Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
EUGENE, OR (Feb. 5, 2018)—The classical highlight of the 43rd season of Eugene Concert Choir & Orchestra, under the direction of artistic director and conductor Diane Retallack, will be “Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor.” The 100-voice Eugene Concert Choir and its professional orchestra will be joined by four superb soloists of national acclaim – Anya Matanovič, soprano; Krysty Swann, mezzo-soprano; Matthew Plenk, tenor and Anton Belov, baritone. In addition to Mozart’s soaring melodies and powerful sonorities, our virtuosic soloists will be featured on some of the most beloved, popular opera arias of all time, from Bizet’s Carmen and Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata, sure to elicit shouts of “Bravo” from the audience.
The Grand Mass in C Minor, K 427 and the Requiem Mass stand together as Mozart’s greatest choral works. Like the Requiem, the Grand Mass was never completed. Mozart began writing the Grand Mass in the summer of 1782 as a wedding present for his bride, Constanze, who sang the soprano solos at the first performance of the “Kyrie” and “Gloria” movements in Salzburg. Unfortunately, Mozart only sketched out portions of the remaining liturgical mass movements and then set it aside. Numerous editors have pieced together the sketches and created editions that have made it possible to appreciate this great choral work, and in our performance, the grandeur of the martial opening of the “Credo” movement comes to life with the incorporation of newly discovered trumpet and timpani parts.
Mozart’s soaring melodies are unmatched, and the soprano solos “Christe” and “Et incarnatus est,” featured in the popular film Amadeus,are exquisite. The great “Cum Sancto Spiritu” fugue ends the “Gloria” movement with stunning figuration on an extended “Amen” section. There is tremendous difficulty in the virtuoso solo writing, and the choral parts are enormously challenging, switching from four-part chorus, to five-part, eight-part and double chorus.
A fun and rousing second half of the concert will begin with baritone Anton Belov portraying the boastful and magnificent “Toreador” from Bizet’s opera Carmen, with support from choir and orchestra. Mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann will weave her magical charms on him, and audience as well, in Carmen’s sultry “Habanera” aria. Anton Belov will also extol his love in his native Russian language in the dramatic aria “Ya vas lyublyu” (I love you) from Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades. Our brilliant tenor Matthew Plenk will hit the stunning high notes in the swaggering favorite “La donna e mobile” from Verdi’s operatic tragedy Rigoletto, and all four soloists will join together in ensemble its dramatic “Quartet.” The concert will end on a joyous and celebratory note as the choir joins with soprano Anya Matanovič and tenor Matthew Plenk on “Libiamo,” the Drinking Song from La Traviata.
For tickets and information, call the Hult Center Box Office at 541-682-5000 or go to EugeneConcertChoir.org. Tickets are $25-52 with Senior, Youth and College discounts available.
Anya Matanovič, soprano: Praised for her “thrilling vocal color” and “sweetly winning” presence, American soprano Anya Matanovič (ma ta’ no vich) made her international opera debut as Musetta in Franco Zeffirelli’s captivating production of Puccini’s La bohème with the New Israeli Opera. In her debut with the Glimmerglass Festival as Micaëla, she was praised for her “sinuous soprano with its golden timbre and silky-smooth legato, [which] charmed the ears immediately…” and her “first-class performance.”
This season sees the soprano make her company and role debut as Mimi in La bohème with Opera Colorado, followed by an appearance with the Eugene Concert Choir for Mozart’s Grand Mass in C Minor.The 2016-2017 season began with an anticipated return to Seattle Opera, as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel. The season also included notable role debuts, including Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress with Boston Lyric Opera, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Krysty Swann, mezzo-soprano: Acclaimed young mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann has been hailed for her beautiful and rich voice, as well as her captivating presence on stage. The Washington Post hailed, “Krysty Swann has a voice, and she knows how to use it…[She] displayed an instrument of immense power, natural beauty of tone and luscious legato line.” The Philadelphia-born, New York-based mezzo-soprano was featured on the cover of Opera News with the great Dolora Zajick. This season’s engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, a MLK tribute concert with Bach Society of Winter Park, Mozart’s Grand Mass with the Eugene Concert Choir, Grimgerde in Dallas Symphony’s concert production of Die Walküre and a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for their productions of Rigoletto and Die Walküre.
Matthew Plenk, tenor: A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, tenor Matthew Plenk made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2007/2008 season as the Sailor’s Voice in Tristan und Isolde and has since appeared in several productions including The Magic Flute, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Makropolous Case, Il Tabarro and Hamlet. He has also appeared with the Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Atlanta Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Des Moines Metro Opera. In concert, he has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and in Carnegie Hall with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Plenk is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at The University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and holds degrees from the Hartt School of Music and Yale University.
Anton Belov, baritone: The voice of Baritone Anton Belov has been called “rich and mellifluous” by the New York Times, while the Philadelphia Inquirer described him as “an emerging star.” His recent appearance as the soloist in Carmina Buranawas described by Florida Weekly as captivating in every way, casting a mystical spell over the audience. He earned praise from critics and audiences alike for his portrayals of Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Don Giovanni, Germont (La Traviata), Count di Luna (Il trovatore), Eugene Onegin, Escamillo in Carmen and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. Eugene audiences know Mr. Belov through his performances as a soloist in Carmina Burana, as well as the Mozart and Faure requiems with the Eugene Concert Choir. He also performed in the title role in the Eugene Opera’s production of Eugene Onegin. Mr. Belov is the first-place winner of eight vocal competitions including the George London Competition and Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. A native of Moscow, Anton Belov holds a Doctorate of Music degree from the Boston University and a Master of Music Degree from The Juilliard School. Dr. Belov is an associate professor of music at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.