The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and the Providence Singers, under the direction of Artistic Director Betsy Burleigh, present Georg Frideric Handel’s magnificent "Messiah" on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at The Vets, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence. This year’s soloists for this annual performance are soprano Deborah Selig, countertenor Andrey Nemzer, tenor Zachary Wilder and bass Craig Verm. WPRO News Talk 630 is the media sponsor for the season.
Burleigh is a graduate of Indiana University and earned graduate degrees in choral conducting at the New England Conservatory and Indiana University. She has served as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, chorus master for Cleveland Opera and assistant director of choruses for the Cleveland Orchestra. She also prepared choruses for Blossom Festival.
She was professor of music at Cleveland State University for 15 years, conducting university ensembles and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in conducting, choral literature, choral methods and diction. She moved to Boston in 2010. In addition to serving as artistic director of the Providence Singers, Dr. Burleigh is the music director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and of Chorus pro Musica in Boston.
A native of Washington, D.C., soprano Selig has performed leading operatic roles with a number of U.S. opera companies and has sung with the Pittsburgh, Albany, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Greater Bridgeport symphonies, the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston and the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra. Her recent performances include Fauré’s "Requiem," Handel’s "Messiah," Haydn’s "Creation," "Lord Nelson Mass," Mahler’s "Symphony No. 4," Mozart’s "Mass in C Minor," Orff’s "Carmina Burana" and Vaughan Williams’ "Dona Nobis Pacem." She earned a Master of Music degree from Cincinnati Conservatory and a BM/BA from the University of Michigan. She has apprenticed with Chautauqua, Santa Fe and Pittsburgh opera companies and was a fellow at the Ravinia Festival and Tanglewood.
Countertenor Andrey Nemzer was born in Moscow in 1982. In 1989 he entered the Moscow Choir College to sing in the College boys’ choir. In 1992 he became a soloist and toured with the Choir throughout Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. Since 2008, Nemzer has performed internationally as a countertenor. His repertoire includes music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to avant garde and jazz, including Russian folk songs, romances, sacred music and opera. In 2010 he was awarded a scholarship and a position as a teaching assistant at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing an Artist Diploma in Music Performance.
Tenor Wilder performs both on the opera and concert stage. He has performed throughout the U.S. with Apollo’s Fire, the Back Bay Chorale, the Boston Early Music Festival, Emmanuel Music, the Harvard Baroque Orchestra, the Houston Bach Society, the Mark Morris Dance Group and the San Antonio Symphony. Highlights of his 2012-2013 season include the roles of the Evangelist in Bach’s "Saint John Passion," San Giovanni in Handel’s "La Resurrezione" and Lukas in Haydn’s "Die Jahreszeiten." He sings on Boston Early Music Festival’s Grammy nominated recording of Lully’s "Psyché" and their recording of Charpentier’s "Actéon."
Verm has appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony in Vaughan Williams’ "Fantasia on Christmas Carols," at Portugal’s Aviero Music Festival in Bach’s "Mass in B minor" and with the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale for Faure’s "Requiem," Schubert’s "Mass in G," Brahms’ "Liebeslieder Waltzer" and Rutter’s "Mass of the Children." He has also sung Brahms’ "Ein deutsches Requiem" in Cincinnati and Handel’s "Messiah" in Houston. Mr. Verm has sung many roles with Pittsburgh Opera including Ping in "Turandot," Mercutio in "Romeo et Juliette" and Angelotti in "Tosca."
Tickets to "Messiah" may be purchased 24/7 on the Philharmonic website, www.riphil.org with MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover at www.vmari.com and www.ppacri.org. Tickets are on sale at the Philharmonic Box Office, 667 Waterman Ave., East Providence until Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. either by phone (248-7000) using MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover or in person during regular box office hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are also on sale at the PPAC Box Office, 220 Weybosset St., Providence, either by phone (421-2787) or in person during regular box office hours, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Dec. 10, the day of the performance, tickets are available onsite at the Vets Box Office, in person or by calling from noon until 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices for the performance range from $30 to $100 for adults with discounts in selected areas of the hall for full-time students and groups of 10 or more. At 6:30 p.m., if there are tickets remaining, a full-time student presenting a valid student ID may buy one ticket for $12. This performance is available for College Card members.
There is free parking at designated lots along Smith Street, with limited ADA parking just past Avenue of the Arts on Park Street. The Philharmonic will provide a free shuttle bus to and from the parking lots before and after the performance.