Friday, July 30, 2021


GMChorale Presents Rarely-Heard Early Baroque Oratorio “Jephte” on April 29 in Middletown

Sunday, Apr. 29, 2018, 4 p.m.

MHS Performing Arts Center
200 La Rosa Lane, Middletown, CT

Cost: $15-$35

Event Phone Number: 860-676-2228

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MIDDLETOWN, CONN. (April 6, 2018) — Continuing a long tradition of performing choral masterworks for the greater Middletown community, the GMChorale, led by Artistic Director Joseph D’Eugenio, will present "Jephte," the exquisite but rarely-heard oratorio by early Baroque composer Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674), on Sunday, April 29, 2018, at 4:00PM, at the MHS Performing Arts Center in Middletown. The concert is the final program in the GMChorale’s “Resounding Voices” season. The program will also include a selection of favorite Renaissance madrigals and the sparkling "Te Deum" by Franz Joseph Haydn. The Middletown High School Advanced choir, under the direction of Stephanie Zak, will join the 80 singers of the GMChorale in singing the madrigals and the Haydn.

“Carissimi’s 'Jephte,' composed at the very beginning of what we now call the ‘Baroque’ period in music, was one of the first oratorios to use format familiar to us now in works such as Handel’s 'Messiah,'” said Joseph D’Eugenio, the ensemble’s Artistic Director. “Essentially, it’s a story told by a narrator in sung recitatives, interspersed with dramatic arias and choruses that expand on the story or offer points of reflection.”

The oratorio "Jephte" is based on the story of Jephte and his daughter, as told in the Biblical book of Judges. Jephte, as he goes off to war, rashly promises God that should he be victorious in battle, he will sacrifice the first living thing he sees upon his return home. As his daughter greets him with song and dance to celebrate his victory, the oratorio unfolds with music of rejoicing, despair, grief, and, ultimately, reconciliation.
The role of Jephte will be sung by Terrence B. Fay, tenor, and soprano Christine Pekar will sing the role of Jephte’s daughter.

The oratorio will be accompanied by a continuo ensemble of Baroque-style instruments. Much like a modern jazz ensemble, a continuo ensemble supports the soloists and chorus with an improvised accompaniment that follows the composed melodies and harmonies.
Haydn’s "Te Deum," commissioned by the Viennese Empress Marie-There`se in 1790, is a joyous song of praise in the form of a small symphony for choir; its three movements adapted from the classical fast- slow-fast symphony form of which Haydn was the undisputed master.

A pre-concert talk by Neely Bruce, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music at Wesleyan University, will begin at 3:15 for all ticket-holders. Dr. Bruce will talk about Carissimi’s "Jepthe" and its place in music history, and will also offer comments about the madrigals and Haydn’s "Te Deum."

Following the concert, members of the audience will be invited to get a closer look at the instruments and talk with the players.

What: Choral concert by the Greater Middletown Chorale and professional orchestra, led by Artistic Director Joseph D’Eugenio.
Program: "Jepthe" by Giacomo Carissimi, "Te Deum" by Franz Joseph Haydn, and a selection of Renaissance madrigals.
When: Sunday, April 29, 2018, 4:00 PM. The pre-concert talk by Dr. Neely Bruce begins at 3:15PM. Where: MHS Performing Arts Center, 200 La Rosa Lane, Middletown, CT
Accessible: Yes
Tickets: $15-$35. Discounted rates are available for groups of 10 or more.
Reserve Tickets at: Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the concert.
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About the GMChorale – Established as the Greater Middletown Chorale, the GMChorale has become one of New England’s finest and most engaging choruses since its founding in 1977. As it completes its 41st season, the GMChorale is celebrated for its innovative symphonic choral presentations, and often performs with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and other professional ensembles. Under the inspired leadership of Joseph D’Eugenio, now in his twentieth season as the ensemble’s Artistic Director, the 80-voice Chorale performs a wide range of choral repertoire, from beloved masterworks to newly commissioned pieces. GMChorale crowned its two European concert tours as the only choir providing music for the Sunday noon mass at Venice’s
extraordinary Basilica San Marco. Alchemy, the GMChorale’s new semi-professional vocal chamber ensemble, established and directed by Joseph D’Eugenio, has already seen great success with concerts of early to contemporary music, both a cappella and accompanied, in a variety of settings. Under Maestro D’Eugenio’s leadership, the GMChorale has commissioned and premiered new choral works by leading composers including Gwyneth Walker, Eugenie Rocherolle, Peter Niedmann, Colin Britt, Ellen Gilson Voth, Lee McQuillan, and Henry Mollicone. In 2011, the GMChorale commissioned Connecticut Grammy nominee and composer, Sarah Meneely-Kyder, to create Letter from Italy, 1944 with the libretto by her sister, poet Nancy Meneely. In 2013, the GMChorale premiered the new oratorio in Middletown, Connecticut. The Chorale commissioned Karyl Evans to create a documentary of the oratorio’s historic background and creative process that was narrated by Meryl Streep. The stunning result, Letter from Italy, 1944: a New American Oratorio, earned an Emmy for its director in 2016. In May 2017, the GMChorale collaborated with The Hartford Chorale to perform Letter from Italy, 1944 with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford. Joseph D’Eugenio directed the semi-staged production, its professional soloists, the 200 singers of the combined Chorales, and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in a memorable performance.

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