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Richard brings Handel’s holiday masterpiece to life

Following rousing critical acclaim from his performances at The Babican in 2017, Richard brings his extraordinary rendition of Handel’s Messiah to the Bay Area. His intimate approach to the holiday masterpiece reclaims Handel’s original “string band” accompaniment, providing the stellar line-up of soloists more flexibility to bring to light this joyous, spirited music. In addition to witnessing the award-winning Philharmonia Chorale shine bright, audiences will delight in countertenor Reginald Mobley, whose sparkling alto was heard in his recent PBO performance of Handel’s Eternal Source of Light Divine. Stefanie True, Andrew Tortise, and Joshua Bloom make their PBO debuts. Celebrate the season with Richard’s one-of-a-kind Messiah—sure to become a staple of the Bay Area holiday season!

HANDEL Messiah

Richard Egarr, conductor
Stefanie True, soprano
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Andrew Tortise, tenor
Joshua Bloom, baritone
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale
Bruce Lamott,
chorale director

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Wednesday, December 2 @ 7:30 pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto
Friday, December 4 @ 7 pm | Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
Saturday, December 5 @ 7 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley
Sunday, December 6 @ 4 pm | First Congregational Church, Berkeley

Join us for the Pre-Concert Talk forty-five minutes prior to the concert start time.

STEFANIE TRUE – Soprano

Canadian born Stefanie True has enjoyed performing throughout Europe and North America, and is a singer equally at ease on both Opera and Concert stages.

Highlights for the season 2017/2018 and beyond will include the role of Celia in Händel’s Lucio Silla at the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, the role Poppea in Händel’s Agripinna at The Grange Festival, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in San Francisco with Voices of Music, the Israelite woman in Händel’s Esther with La Risonanza led by Fabio Bonizzoni, Bach Cantatas with the Lutherse Bach Ensemble led by Ton Koopman, and a tour of the Netherlands with Medieval ensemble Tetraktys led by Kees Boeke, She will also continue to tour worldwide with Ensemble Vox Luminis, and continue her season as soprano soloist with Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah, and Mozart’s Requiem.

Some of her most recent engagements include Belinda in Dido and Aeneas at the Händel-Festspielle Halle, Clomiri in Händel’s Imeneo at the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen with Laurence Cummings conducting, the title role in Händel’s Theodora with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Harry Bicket conducting, Second Woman in Dido and Aeneas at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy conducted by Richard Egarr, Amor Profano in Scarlatti’s San Casimiro, Re di Polonia with the Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra and Michal in Händel’s Saul with the Freiburger Bachchor.

Other past opera highlights include the roles of Cephise in Campra’s L’Europe Gallante with William Christie at the Ambronay Festival, Serpina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona with Collegium Musicum The Hague, Oriana in Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula with Andrew Parrott at the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen as well as the role of Phani in a concert of excerpts from Rameau’s Les Indes Gallantes with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century.

Stefanie True has appeared on many recordings including the role of Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (Challenge Classics), Lully’s Ballets & Recits Italiens (Glossa) with La Risonanza, and an album of Medieval works with Tetraktys, Matteo da Perugia (Olive Music), led by Kees Boeke She appears on Vox Luminis’s recent, critically acclaimed CDs Ein Feste Burg is Unser Gott and J.J. Fux/ J.C. Kerll, Requeim. Other past recordings include Arne Cantatas and Overtures and Great Britain Triumphant on Centaur Records with Capella Savaria and Mary Terey-Smith, conductor, as well as the roles of Aci in Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, Maddalena in La Resurrezione, Fillide in Aminta e Fillide, and solo recordings of Handel: Complete Cantatas, all under the direction of Marco Vitale with Contrasto Armonico for Brilliant Classics.

In 2011, Stefanie placed first in the London Handel Singing Competition (Adair Prize), and won second prize in the John Kerr Award competition 2010 in Kent, UK.  She studied voice with Catherine Robbin at York University (Toronto), and went on to study at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague (Netherlands) with Barbara Pearson, Diane Forlano, Jill Feldman, and Michael Chance, where she completed her Masters in Early Music.

REGINALD MOBLEY – Countertenor

“It must be said from the beginning that one of the joys of seeing Mobley is hearing his beautiful alto coming out of a big, tall man who looks more like a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins than the P.G. Wodehouse party guest his name might suggest.”

Countertenor Reginald L. Mobley fully intended to speak his art through watercolors and oil pastels until circumstance demanded that his own voice should speak for itself. Since reducing his visual color palette to the black and white of a score, he’s endeavored to open up a wider spectrum onstage.

After starting his classical music career as a member of twice GRAMMY® nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, Reggie has since appeared with Academy of Ancient Music, Agave Baroque, Bach Collegium San Diego, Calgary Symphony, Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists, Pacific Music Works, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, TENET, and The Handel + Haydn Society. With the latter, he had the honor of becoming the first Black person to lead H+H in its Bicentennial year. Recent festival appearances include Bachfest Leipzig, Festival Berlioz, Early Music Vancouver, Thüringer Bachwoche, Portland Bach Experience, and the Boston Early Music Festival. This coming season will see debut appearances with St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, Musica Angelica, Bach Akademie Stuttgart, Gaechinger Cantorey, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, and a recital of the music of Black American composers with keyboardist Henry Lebedinsky at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris . Reggie has also participated this fall in two new recording projects. An all Handel disc featuring the Ode to the Birthday of Queen Anne, and the Utrecht Te Deum & Jubilate with Bach Akademie Stuttgart led by Hans Christoph Rademann, and Italian Chamber Duets of Agostino Steffani led by harpsichordist, Jory Vinikour.

Never bound by conventional countertenor repertoire, Reggie has a fair bit of non-classical work in tow. His first professional work was in Musical Theatre, and while working in Japan (as a Singer/Actor for Tokyo Disney), he performed cabaret shows of gospel, jazz, and torch songs in jazz clubs around Tokyo. Since moving in Boston, a strong devotion to social and political activism has awoken and become a part of everyday life. As a member of NoBoston2024 and allied with No Boston Olympics, Reggie (one of the #tenpeopleontwitter) was able to lend his strength to the effort to reject the 2024 Olympic Games bid that was “awarded” to Boston. That, and time volunteering in local political campaigns, has only helped focus a desire to make a difference within the Arts. Particularly with the massive inequality regarding race, gender, and sexuality within the classical music industry.

And though not one to regret, Reggie has considered rediscovering his artistic roots. So if seen post concert, forego an autograph and ask for one of his self-acclaimed stick figure drawings. It’s a start.

ANDREW TORTISE – Tenor

Concert plans this season and beyond include tenor soloist for Handel Messiah with the Ulster Orchestra and Ruben Jais, the Huddersfield Choral Society and Jane Glover, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Richard Egarr; Handel Dixit Dominus with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Laurence Cummings; Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Ex Cathedra and the CBSO under Jeffrey Skidmore; and Mozart C Minor Mass with Orchestre National de Lille and Jan Willem de Vriend. Forthcoming Bach performances include St Matthew Passion (tenor arias) with the Antwerp Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne; St John Passion (Evangelist) with the Academy of Ancient Music at King’s College, Cambridge; and Christmas Oratorio with the Dunedin Consort. He will make a return to the Royal Opera, Covent Garden in the new production by David McVicar of Death in Venice, conducted by Sir Mark Elder.

Recent highlights include Kudrjas in the new production by Richard Jones of Katya Kabanova, conducted by Edward Gardner at the Royal Opera House (winner of the Best New Opera Production at Olivier Awards 2019). Other appearances at the Royal Opera House include The Spirit of the Masque in Britten Gloriana, Simpleton Boris Godunov and Eurimaco Il RItorno d’Ulisse in Patria. He has also sung Peter Quint The Turn of the Screw for Lyon Opera; Bach Christmas Oratorio staged at the Theater an der Wien; Novice Billy Budd, Janek The Makropulos Case and Lurcanio Ariodante for Dutch National Opera; David Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Welsh National Opera; and Lucano Poppea and the tenor arias in Bach St Matthew Passion for Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

On the concert platform he has sung Horatio in Berlioz Lélio with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Beethoven Choral Fantasy at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival; Mozart Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the LSO and Sir Colin Davis; Britten Les Illuminations with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and Ivor Bolton; Haydn Paukenmesse with the BBC SSO and Bernard Labadie; Haydn Nelson Mass with the Bach Choir and David Hill; Monteverdi L’Orfeo and Vespers at L’Opéra Royal de Versailles with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Acis in Handel Acis and Galatea with Academy of Ancient Music and Richard Egarr and Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with both the AAM and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra.

Andrew’s regular Bach appearances include Mass in B Minor and Magnificat with the SCO and Richard Egarr, and Mass in B Minor with the Dunedin Consort and John Butt; St Matthew Passion on a European tour with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Mark Padmore; Christmas Oratorio with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy and Jonathan Cohen; and Evangelist and arias in St John Passion with Sir John Eliot Gardner, and with the Dunedin Consort at the 2017 BBC Proms.

JOSHUA BLOOM – Baritone

Australian/American bass Joshua Bloom has sung principal roles with San Francisco Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, LA Opera, Opera Australia, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, English National Opera, Oper Köln, Garsington Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Badisches Staatstheater, Irish National Opera and New Israeli Opera, among others.

He has also appeared on the concert stage with the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, all of the major London orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, the Auckland Philharmonia and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as well as the Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide and Western Australian Symphonies.

Joshua’s 2019/20 season includes multiple role debuts: Rocco in Beethoven Fidelio, Hunding in Wagner Die Walküre, Swallow in Britten Peter Grimes, and The Ghost of Old Hamlet/Gravedigger in a new production of Brett Dean’s acclaimed Hamlet. He will make several house debuts, including at the Royal Opera House in the world premiere production of Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Underground, while returning once more to appear at Oper Köln and Garsington Opera. In concert, after the success of the world premiere of Richard Ayres’ The Garden, Joshua will continue to perform the piece worldwide with the London Sinfonietta and Asko Schoenberg, and he will appear for the first time at the International Enescu Festival. Future season highlights include new productions at the Royal Opera House and for English National Opera.

Recent highlights include Méphistophélès in Berlioz Le Damnation de Faust, under the baton of Edward Gardner; role debuts as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with English National Opera in the iconic Robert Carsen production; Faraone in Rossini’s virtuosic Mosè in Egitto, directed by Lotte de Beer; title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, in a new production by Enda Walsh, and Kaspar in Der Freischütz.

Joshua appears on NMC’s Grammy nominated recording of Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest, conducted by Thomas Adès; the New York Philharmonic’s live recording of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, conducted by Alan Gilbert; The Metropolitan Opera’s HD Broadcast of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Fabio Luisi; the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall broadcast of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, and the LSO Live recording of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande both conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

Joshua was born in Australia to musician parents and studied cello and double-bass as well as being a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. He went on to study History at the University of Melbourne and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.

His professional debut in opera was in an OzOpera touring production of The Barber of Seville, after which he joined the Young Artist Programme of Opera Australia in Sydney, and later the Merola and Adler Fellowship Programmes at the San Francisco Opera.

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