Power, Passion and Prowess
The New York Times calls her “a rarity in music.” Joyce DiDonato describes her voice as “like velvet, caramel chocolate.” Maestro Thomas Crawford says, “the voice is just ravishing.” And now Bay Area audiences will have a chance to hear it for themselves when up-and-coming contralto Avery Amereau performs in Beethoven’s monumental Mass in C Major and his “Choral Fantasy.”
Avery will also be joined by the star soprano from Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire, Chantal Santon-Jeffery, and tenor Thomas Cooley who will both perform in the Beethoven works as well as Cherubini’s tribute to Haydn.
BEETHOVEN Mass in C major, Op. 86
CHERUBINI Chant sur la mort de Joseph Haydn
BEETHOVEN Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80 “Choral Fantasy”
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Chantal Santon-Jeffery, soprano
Avery Amereau, contralto
Thomas Cooley, tenor
David Kurtenbach, tenor
Hadleigh Adams, baritone
Eric Zivian, fortepiano
Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director
Wednesday April 25, 2018 @ 7:30 pm | Bing Concert Hall, Stanford
Friday April 27, 2018 @ 7:30 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday April 28, 2018 @ 8 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday April 29, 2018 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
About Avery Amereau
Contralto Avery Amereau has garnered much attention for the unique quality of her voice and sensitivity to interpretation. She has been praised by The New York Times as “sensual and achingly perfect” and “particularly excellent,” and by Opera Today as possessing “an effortlessly rich mezzo-soprano voice worthy of any professional stage in the industry, with charisma to match.”
Highlights of the 2016-17 season include her Metropolitan Opera debut as the madrigal singer in Manon Lescaut, the title role of Carmen with Opera Columbus, and a return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for her debut with the Festival in Ariadne auf Naxos. On the concert stage, she will sing Handel’s Messiah for her debut with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Paul McCreesh and for her debut with Music at St. Thomas Church in New York. She will join the Rhode Island Philharmonic for Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Bramwel Tovey, perform Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’eté with the American Classical Orchestra, return to Voices of Ascension for Bach’s St. John Passion, and appear with Santa Fe Pro Musica in a program of early music arias. Future engagements include her house and role debut as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with Grand Théâtre de Genève and the role of Ursule in Béatrice et Bénédict with Seattle Opera.
Recent highlights include Olga in Eugene Onegin, Mme. de la Haltière in Cendrillon, and the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte at The Juilliard School, where she was also seen as the title in The Rape of Lucretia, a role that she covered at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in Fiona Shaw’s acclaimed production. She also enjoyed a successful role debut as Carmen with the New York Opera Exchange. Recent concert engagements include the Beethoven’s Choral Fantasie with the Spoleto Festival, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Santa Cruz Symphony, the Duruflé Requiem with Voices of Ascension, an evening of Bach Cantatas with the Toledo Symphony, and Martin’s Golgotha with the New Amsterdam Singers.
Ms. Amereau fosters a love for historical performance, having performed under the batons of renowned early music conductors Helmut Rilling, William Christie, and Maasaki Suzuki. She debuted at the Bachfest Leipzig and the Boston Early Music Festival in an all-Bach tour with Juilliard and the Royal Academy of Music under Maestro Suzuki, of which The Boston Musical Intelligencer wrote, “mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau drew the drama from someplace deep within herself, the lowest notes a rich, enveloping curtain of clarity and undulating vibrato. Her sotto voce da capo was a moment of easy musical magic.” An avid recitalist, Ms. Amereau has performed recitals in New York, Florida, and Germany, which were broadcast on Bavarian Radio.
A native of Jupiter, Florida, Ms. Amereau received her Bachelor of Music degree at Mannes College, and her Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School studying under Edith Wiens. During the summers of 2011-2014, she studied at the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, under the tutelage of Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray, and John Fisher, among others. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at Juilliard, where she is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.
About Chantal Santon-Jeffery
Often acclaimed as one of the most accomplished French sopranos of the moment, praised for her “gloriously smooth, rich textured soprano” (The international Record Review), Chantal Santon-Jeffery has embodied numerous roles in the opera, from Mozart (Donna Anna, Fiordiligi, the Countess, Sandrina) to the contemporary repertoire (an unanimous press praised her Lolo Ferrari in the opera of the same name) including Wagner, (Senta in der Fliegende Holländer), Britten (Governess in The turn of the screw), Campra ( Tancrède), Gassman (Opera Seria) or Purcell (King Arthur, Dido and Aeneas). She has been invited to sing along prestigious orchestras as Le Concert Spirituel, Les Talens Lyriques, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, Les Siècles, Opera Fuoco, the Brussels Philarmonic, the Hong Kong Philarmonic… She has recently performed in Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Salle Pleyel in Paris, in the Royal Opera in Versailles, Avignon Opera, Liège Opera, Bozar in Brussels, Konzerthaus in Vienna etc…. Fascinated by the revival of the classic and romantic French repertoire, she has participated in numerous concerts and recordings supported by the Fondation Bru Zane.
She has recently sung two significant roles: Armida in the eponymous Haydn opera conducted by Julien Chauvin and directed by Mariame Clément; Altisidore in Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse of Boismortier, conducted by Hervé Niquet and directed by Gilles and Corinne Benizio. Further projects include productions at the Festival de Saint-Denis, Montpellier Opera, the Palace of Arts in Budapest, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Teatro la Fenice, Versailles Opera, Bordeaux Opera, Rennes Opera, Nantes Opera, Ambronay Festival, Arsenal de Metz.
Among her many recordings: King Arthur by Purcell (le Concert Spirituel, DVD), Frédégonde by d’Ollone and la Messe pontificale by Dubois (with the Brussel Philarmonic), Renaud by Sacchini (les Talens Lyriques), Velléda by Dukas (les Siècles, François Xavier Roth) les Bayadères by Catel (Musica Florea) Les Mystères d’Isis by Mozart Lachnitz and Les fêtes de l’Hymen de Rameau (le Concert Spirituel), La Vénitienne de Dauvergne and Le Temple de la Gloire by Rameau (les Agrémens),Tancrède by Campra… Her first recital recording comprised of arias by Purcell and Charpentier was recently published by label AgOgique
About Thomas Cooley
Minnesota-born tenor Thomas Cooley has established a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic — and beyond — as a singer of great versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity.
Recent and upcoming appearances of note include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Symphony; Britten’s War Requiem with the Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Oregon Symphonies; Handel’s Messiah with the Oregon, Houston, and Charlotte Symphonies as well as the Calgary Philharmonic and National Symphony Orchestra; “ Peter Quint” in Britten’s Turn of the Screw with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Bob Boles in Britten’s Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony in Carnegie Hall; the title role in Handel’s Samson with the American Classical Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall (Nicholas McGegan conducting); the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Creation Oratorio with Atlanta Symphony; Tristan in Frank Martin’s Le vin herbé with Bergen National Opera;“Crown Prince” in Kevin Puts ’Silent Night with Cincinnati Opera;“ Acis” in a new production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and L’Allegro with the Mark Morris Dance Group; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Seattle Symphony and the St. John Passion with Pacific Musicworks and the Pittsburgh Symphony; and performances at the Oregon and Carmel Bach Festivals.
As Artist in Residence with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, Cooley performs Monteverdi’s Vespers, Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, and a program of Bach Cantatas this season.