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Houston Symphony
Handel's Messiah
@Jones Hall
for The Performing Arts

Friday 12/10/2021 8:00 PM
Saturday 12/11/2021 8:00 PM
Sunday 12/12/2021 2:30 PM

This weekend its Houston Symphony's interpretation of Handel's Messiah. Handel's Messiah has been described by early-music scholar Richard Luckett as "a commentary on Jesus Christ's, Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension", beginning with God's promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ's glorification in heaven. Handel wrote Messiah in 1741. It was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. Scholars say, Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs.

(From Houston Symphony.org) The glorious holiday tradition of Handel’s Messiah returns! The Houston Symphony, chorus, and guest soloists will fill Jones Hall with joyous refrains and exultant arias, including the iconic “Hallelujah” Chorus, in this moving and powerful presentation of the greatest story ever told.

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Bernard Labadie

Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the preeminent conductors of the Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy (for which he served as music director from its inception until 2014) and La Chapelle de Québec. With these ensembles, he has regularly toured Canada, the United States, and Europe, in major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, The Barbican, The Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival, among others. He began a four-year term as principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 2018-19 season.

Recent guest conducting highlights include the Chicago Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society, National Arts Center Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Utah Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Quebec Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de Lyon, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Bernard has become a regular presence on the podiums of the major North American orchestras, including the Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Boston, Colorado, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco symphonies; the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras; the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics; the Handel & Haydn Society; and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

Internationally, he has conducted the Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, WDR Sinfonieorchester (Cologne), and Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

His extensive discography includes many critically acclaimed recordings on Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which received Canada’s Juno Award. Other recordings include C.P.E. Bach’s complete cello concertos with Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy, J.S. Bach’s complete piano concertos with Alexandre Tharaud, and Haydn’s piano concertos with Marc-Andre Hamelin as soloist (Hyperion). He received Paris’s Samuel de Champlain award and the Canadian government’s Officer of the Order of Canada. His home province named him Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec.


Magali Simard-Galdès

Magali Simard-Galdès is a Canadian soprano renowned for her shimmering tone, her refined musicality, and her magnetic stage presence.

On the operatic stage, she has sung in Germany (Oper Köln), Canada (Opéra de Montréal, Opéra de Québec, and Vancouver Opera), the United States (Opera Lafayette, Opera Carolina, and Toledo Opera), and Ireland (Wexford Festival Opera).

Her operatic repertoire includes the roles of Agnes (Written on Skin, Benjamin), Roxane (Cyrano, DiChiera), Gilda (Rigoletto, Verdi), Sophie (Werther, Massenet), Constance (Dialogue des carmélites, Poulenc), Mad Chorus (The Overcoat, Rolfe), and Nicette (Le pré aux clercs, Hérold).

In recital, Magali has appeared at the Société d’art vocal de Montréal, the Festival d’Opéra de Québec, Mexico LiederFest, Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Wexford Festival Opera, and Jeunesses Musicales Canada.

"Three time first-prize winner of the Canadian Music Competition and regional finalist of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions . . ."

On the orchestral stage, she has performed with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Arion Orchestre Baroque, L’Harmonie des saisons, I Musici de Montréal, Atelier lyrique de Tourcoing, Opéra Grand Avignon, at the Festival Classica, and at the Festival de Lanaudière.

Under the ATMA Classique label, Magali has recorded Berlioz’s 25 romances pour voix et guitare and Ana Sokolovic’s Sirens. Also with ATMA, she is part of the ongoing project of Massenet’s complete songs. In December 2020, she sang the lead role in the first studio recording of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Gürzenich Orchester and François-Xavier Roth conducting (to be released in 2022).

Magali Simard-Galdès received First Prize at the Festival Classica Récital-concours de mélodie française in 2018. She is very thankful to the Canadian Arts Council, Fondation Jeunesses Musicales Canada, Fondation Jacqueline Desmarais, and Vancouver Opera Guild for their precious support.

Lawrence Zazzo

American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo made his operatic debut as Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream while still a student at the Royal College of Music in London. He has since performed the role extensively to great acclaim, including at Canadian Opera Company, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Staatsoper Hamburg, and, most recently, in Irina Brook’s exquisite new production at Wiener Staatsoper under the baton of Simone Young.

A diverse and thriving international opera career has taken Lawrence to most of the world’s leading opera houses and festivals appearing as Giulio Cesare at La Monnaie, English National Opera, Semperoper Dresden, and Opéra national de Paris (released on DVD); Farnace in Mozart’s Mitridate; re di Ponto for Bayerische Staatsoper; and Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare) at the Metropolitan Opera. He has sung the title roles in Radamisto for English National Opera, Orlandofor Welsh National Opera, Tamerlano for Oper Frankfurt; and Solomon for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He has appeared as Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice) at Canadian Opera Company and Den Norske Opera, Bertarido in Claus Guth’s production of Rodelinda at Opéra national de Lyon, Ottone (Agrippina) at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Goffredo (Rinaldo) at Staatsoper Berlin and Opernhaus Zürich, Arsamene (Xerxes) at Oper Frankfurt, Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) at Theater an der Wien, La Monnaie and Bayerische Staatsoper, and most recently Disinganno (Il trionfo de tempo e del disinganno) at the Salzburg Whistun and summer festivals.

The most recent addition to Lawrence’s impressive recording catalogue is Handel Uncaged, a cycle of cantatas for alto voice and trio released on the Inventa label. Other discs in his extensive discography include Baroque Gender Stories, recorded with Lautten Compagney and Wolfgang Katschner (deutsche harmonia mundi); A Royal Trio (harmonia mundi USA) featuring works by Ariosti, Bononcinci, and Handel with La nuova musica and David Bates; Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus (Linn Records) and Mitridate, re di Ponto, both with Classical Opera and Ian Page; and the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Le Concert d’Astrée and Emanuelle Haïm (Virgin Classics).

Andrew Haji

Canadian tenor Andrew Haji has become one of the most sought-after voices on both the operatic and concert stages. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 50th International Vocal Competition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the Montreal International Music Competition’s Oratorio Prize, Andrew recently debuted with Calgary Opera as Pollione in Norma and performed Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall.

The Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern winner was heard as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore for the Canadian Opera Company, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opéra de Québec, Alfredo in La traviata for Vancouver Opera, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Toronto Symphony, and Bach’s Matthäus Passion with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The 2020-21 season also saw Andrew engage in digital productions, including starring as Satyavan in Against the Grain’s acclaimed stream of Holst’s Sāvitri. This upcoming season will include La traviata for Calgary Opera, La bohéme for Edmonton Opera, and a return to Carnegie Hall with Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

He is a graduate of the COC Ensemble Studio, where he appeared in leading roles, including Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. This season, Andrew will return to the COC for its digital Gianni Schicchi and Mozart’s Requiem in a co-production with Against the Grain Theatre.

The Salzburg Festival featured Andrew in its 2017 production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, his festival debut. For the Wexford Festival, he starred as Hélios in Félicien David’s Herculanum and for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème.

Daniel Okulitch

Bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch is a frequent interpreter of the principal Mozart roles of Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Figaro, and Leporello, which he has performed in theatres such as Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Dallas Opera. A strong Mozart presence continues through his current season with house debuts at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as Don Giovanni and with Opernhaus Zürich as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro.

In concert, Daniel joins the Houston Symphony for Handel’s Messiah led by Bernard Labadie this season, returns to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under Krzysztof Urbański, reprises Vaughan-Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Charlotte Symphony under Christopher Warren-Green, and joins the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

Showcasing an innate connection to the music of our time, Daniel has created several principal characters most notably Ennis del Mar in Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain at Teatro Real in Madrid, Seth Brundle in Howard Shore’s The Fly at Paris’s Théâtre de Châtelet and Los Angeles Opera, Mark Rutland in Nico Muhly’s Marnie at English National Opera, and LBJ in David T Little’s JFK at Fort Worth Opera and Opéra de Montréal. Daniel recently made an acclaimed role debut as The Protector in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at Opéra de Montréal and further explored the composer’s work in Katie Mitchell’s production of Lessons of Love and Violence at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

Daniel Okulitch’s career first garnered national attention as Schaunard in the original cast of Baz Luhrmann’s Tony Award-winning Broadway production of La bohème. His first solo recording, The New American Art Song, was released on GPR Records in 2011, and he can further be heard in Chausson’s Le Roi Arthus with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot, and David DiChiera’s Cyrano de Bergerac.

Janwin Overstreet-Goode
Choral Preparation

Janwin Overstreet-Goode currently serves as a secondary choral music consultant, following 36 years as a high school choir director. She taught for 13 years, 2004-2017, at Friendswood High School. In 2008, the FHS Campus Singers ensemble was a TMEA Invited Performing Choir. Janwin also served as music director of the school’s annual musical. The school’s production of South Pacific received the Tommy Tune Award for Best Musical in 2006 and awards for Best Musical Direction for Oklahoma in 2010 and Les Misérables in 2017. FHS choirs performed with Houston Baptist University, Lamar University, and the Bay Area Chorus and were twice invited to sing at the University of Houston’s HS Invitational (2007 and 2016). She was recognized by Friendswood ISD as “Making a Difference” in 2009 and 2017.

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Houston Symphony
Jones Hall
615 Louisiana St. Suite 102
Houston, TX 77002
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