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Nicholas McGegan opens 30th anniversary season with U.S. premiere of rediscovered Scarlatti serenata


Dianne Provenzano
Marketing & Communications Director
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 August 24, San Francisco – In early October, Nicholas McGegan will begin his 30th season as music director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra by performing a newly-discovered 300 year old serenata. “The Glory of Spring” by Alessandro Scarlatti was recently uncovered and has yet to be performed in the western hemisphere. McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque are delighted to be the first.

As an internationally renowned and passionate early music scholar, McGegan relishes the opportunity to give audiences a rare encounter with this lost serenata, as realized by his revered period orchestra, 300 years after the work was composed.  His adventurous artistic drive has been at the core of his successful 30-year career as music director at Philharmonia and he begins his anniversary season in classic form with a spectacular modern-day debut of a Baroque masterpiece.

“300 years ago, Italy’s operatic master Alessando Scarlatti composed a lavish work to celebrate the birth of a new Habsburg prince.  It electrified audiences of the time and even enjoyed the rare privilege of repeat performances. But then it vanished from the scene, never to be heard again. Until now,” says McGegan.

The prince was John Leopold, son of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and his father’s only male heir. Since Charles had recently acquired the kingdom of Naples in a treaty, the Neapolitans commissioned their court composer, Alessandro Scarlatti (already Europe’s foremost composer of Italian serious opera), to compose a grand serenata to celebrate the prince’s birth and gain favor with their new sovereign. Scarlatti wrote the piece within a few weeks and it was performed to audiences in Naples immediately following the birth. Unfortunately, just months after the “The Glory of Spring” premiered, the celebrated infant died and the incredible work was forgotten.

“That Scarlatti could have created such an elaborate and substantive work without visiting it again in the nine years remaining before his death in 1725 attests to the fecundity of his talent,” says Philharmonia Chorale Director, Bruce Lamott.

“Had he been given the opportunity to repurpose his serenata into an oratorio on the nativity of Christ, ‘The Glory of Spring’ might not have had to wait for Philharmonia to bring it – once again – to the attention of the public.”

Performing with guest vocalists Nicholas Phan, Diana Moore, Suzana Ograjenšek, Clint van der Linde and Douglas Williams – McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will unveil this masterpiece in the San Francisco Bay Area. They will also make history with the “first-ever” recording of Scarlatti’s “The Glory of Spring” adding the piece to the archives for future enthusiasts of early music and historic preservation.

But national audiences don’t have to wait for the recording to hear “The Glory of Spring.” McGegan and Philharmonia plan to take the serenata, with the full cast, on the road next spring. Performances take place at Zankel Hall at Carnegie, New York on at May 6, 2016 and at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa as presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County on May 10, 2016.

“It’s rare to have the opportunity to be among the very first in the world to present this stunning serenata to modern listeners. When the manuscript of ‘The Glory of Spring’ was shared with me, I was enthralled by its exquisite beauty, its grand majesty. I have been so eager to bring this to our audiences,” says McGegan. “I assure you, after 300 years, it is worth the wait!”

 Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform Scarlatti’s “The Glory of Spring” throughout the San Francisco Bay Area starting October 4 at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church followed by performances at Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto on October 7, the newly reopened Herbst Theatre in San Francisco on October 9 and again at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church on Saturday, October 10.

Tickets start at $25. For more information about Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, visit For tickets, visit or call 415-392-4400.


This concert opens Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s 2015-16 season during which the organization will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nicholas McGegan as music director.

This fall, the Orchestra also makes its return to the newly renovated Herbst Theatre in San Francisco after two seasons away.

Classical KDFC is the radio home of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. Classical KDFC broadcasts an unreleased live recording of a Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra concert on the second Sunday of every month from 8-9 PM.

Further program notes about Scarlatti’s, “The Glory of Spring” available here.


What: Scarlatti’s The Glory of Spring

Who: Nicholas McGegan and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

When and Where:

Sunday, October 4 @ 7:30 p.m.
First Congregational Church in Berkeley

Wednesday, October 7 @ 7:30 pm
Bing Concert Hall in Palo Alto

Friday, October 9 @ 8:00 pm
Herbst Theatre in San Francisco

Saturday, October 10th @ 8:00 pm
First Congregational Church in Berkeley

Price: Starting at $25

Tickets: Single tickets at City Box Office 415-392-4400 or

Description: Be among the first U.S. audiences to hear Scarlatti’s operatic masterpiece, “The Glory of Spring.” Nic McGegan leads Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra with guest artists Nicholas Phan and Diana Moore in a historically-informed performance of this lavish and complex serenata by Italy’s premier 18th century opera composer Alessandro Scarlatti. Written to celebrate the birth of a Habsburg prince in 1716, the piece was performed only a few times to adoring audiences of the time but regrettably forgotten. Until now.