Hell Hath No Fury Like Handel’s Scorn


Young David has just slain Goliath, earning him the rapturous admiration of the Israelites and the murderous envy of King Saul. This Biblical tale of love and jealousy, madness and mourning, family feuds and supernatural apparitions inspired one of Handel’s most inventive and popular oratorios. Renowned Handel expert Nic McGegan leads an all-star cast through the full dramatic range from tender lyricism to full-throttle triumph and glory.


Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Sherezade Panthaki, soprano (Michal)
Yulia Van Doren, soprano (Merab)
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, countertenor (David)
Aaron Sheehan, tenor (Jonathan)
Jonathan Smucker, tenor (Witch of Endor, Abner, Amalekite)
Daniel Okulitch, baritone (Saul)
Christian Pursell, bass-baritone (Samuel/Doeg)
Philharmonia Chorale, Bruce Lamott, director

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Saturday April 6, 2019 @ 7 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday April 7, 2019 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Friday April 12, 2019 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday April 13, 2019 @ 7:30 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto

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American countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen has quickly been identified as one of opera’s most promising rising stars. First Prize Winner and Audience Choice Award recipient at the 2018 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, in his breakout 2016-2017 season, he was named Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the recipient of a Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.  He was First Prize winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition, and winner of the Irvin Scherzer Award from the George London Foundation.

Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen joins San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program in 2018-19.  Performances of the season include the role of David in Handel’s Saul with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale, including for his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Ottone in Handel’s Agrippina in staged performances with Ars Lyrica Houston conducted by Matthew Dirst and directed by Tara Faircloth, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Matthew Dirst and the Portland Baroque Orchestra, and a gala concert with American Bach Soloists, led by Maestro Jeffrey Thomas, with whom he then records his debut solo CD – featuring works by Handel, Gluck, and Vivaldi.  He covers the roles of Medoro in Handel’s Orlando conducted by Christopher Moulds at San Francisco Opera and Polinesso in Handel’s Ariodante conducted by Harry Bicket at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The New York City native became the first countertenor in the history of the Houston Grand Opera Studio where he was a member during the 2017-18 season.  His performances for the company included the roles of Nireno in Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Second Maid in Strauss’ Elektra, both under the baton of Music Director Patrick Summers.  He made his Cincinnati Opera debut as Ottone in a new production by Zack Winokur of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, conducted by Gary Thor Wedow, and appeared in concert programs of Bach and Handel with the American Bach Soloists and with Ars Lyrica Houston.  Aryeh gave the world premiere of Kenneth Fuchs’ Poems of Life with the Virginia Symphony, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, and recorded the work with the London Symphony Orchestra, which was recently commercially released on the Naxos label.

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An acknowledged star in the early-music field, Ms. Panthaki enjoys ongoing collaborations with many of the world’s leading interpreters including Nicholas McGegan, Masaaki Suzuki, Mark Morris, Nicholas Kraemer, Matthew Halls, Paul Agnew, and Lawrence Cummings. This season marks return appearances with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, The Boston Early Music Festival, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Music of the Baroque (Chicago), as well as debuts with NDR Radiophilharmonie (Hannover, Germany), the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Musica Angelica (Los Angeles), The Caramoor Music Room Concert series, and several others. Firmly at home in the numerous Baroque oratorios, operas, and cantatas of Handel, Bach, Vivaldi, Purcell, and Monteverdi, Ms. Panthaki is no stranger to 19th, 20th and 21st century concert repertoire. She has received wide acclaim for her interpretations of Brahms’ Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Poulenc’s Gloria; notable among her new music premieres is the soprano role of Emily Dickinson in Martin Bresnick’s brand new oratorio Passions of Bloom at Yale University and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Past seasons have included performances of Vivaldi with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl as well as with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra; tours across Japan of Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan, the National Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, National Arts Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Calgary Philharmonic, Nashville, Kansas City, Colorado and San Antonio Symphonies; a US tour of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Bach Collegium Japan; Handel’s AtalantaOde for St. Cecilia’s DayJoseph and his Brethren, and “Italian Baroque Music from the Jewish Ghetto” with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; the title role in the Boston Early Music Festival’s concert performances of Handel’s Almira; the role of Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Handel’s L’allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato and the title role of Galatea in the Mark Morris Dance Group’s premiere performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea; Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat at the Oregon Bach Festival; a fully staged production of Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Vivaldi solo works with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at New York Central Park’s outdoor Naumberg Orchestral Concert Series; Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Haydn’s opera L’isola disabitata with the American Classical Orchestra.

Born and raised in India, Ms. Panthaki began her musical education at an early age. Following intensive study and earning national distinction as a young pianist, she turned to singing and found a more personal and expressive means to connect with audiences. She holds an Artist Diploma with top honors from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, where she was the winner of multiple awards of distinction including the prestigious Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize. She earned a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

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Sat. April 6 | 7 pm
First Congregational, Berkeley[/vcex_button][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vcex_button url=”http://www.cityboxoffice.com/ordertickets.asp?p=10086″ layout=”expanded” size=”small” align=”center” custom_background=”#4a1e64″ font_family=”Josefin Sans”]ORDER TICKETS
Sun. April 7 | 4 pm
First Congregational, Berkeley[/vcex_button][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vcex_button url=”http://www.cityboxoffice.com/ordertickets.asp?p=10075″ layout=”expanded” size=”small” align=”center” custom_background=”#4a1e64″ font_family=”Josefin Sans”]ORDER TICKETS
Fri. April 12 | 7 pm
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco[/vcex_button][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vcex_button url=”http://www.cityboxoffice.com/ordertickets.asp?p=10106″ layout=”expanded” size=”small” align=”center” custom_background=”#4a1e64″ font_family=”Josefin Sans”]ORDER TICKETS
Sat. April 13 | 7:30 pm
First United Methodist,
Palo Alto[/vcex_button][vc_empty_space height=”15px”][vc_empty_space height=”15px”]


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“One of the supreme masterpieces of dramatic art, comparable with the Oresteia and King Lear.”

Handel scholar Winton Dean

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