Ars Lyrica Houston Dedicates Its Entire New Season to Women In The Arts
Grammy nominated Ars Lyrica Houston is recognized for its presentation of diverse programing from the baroque era, live performances and recordings that showcase period instruments and repertoires, and community outreach programs that extend throughout the Greater Houston Area. Since its founding in 1998 by conductor and harpsichordist Matthew Dirst, the ensemble has delighted audiences with an annual subscription series of thoughtful and imaginative programing.
Dedicated to women, the 2017-2018 season is going to be unprecedented. Artful Women, the season’s theme, will celebrate the enduring impact of women on the arts as muse, heroine, musician, and patron. The six featured concerts will explore the roles of women performers, composers, and philanthropists throughout history. Through repertoires, stories, and legacies, capable, yet under-recognized, female figures will be highlighted, and phenomenal performers will be showcased.
The centerpiece of any Ars Lyrica season is the popular New Year’s Eve dinner, gala, and concert. This year’s New Year’s Eve in Berlin, to be held at the Founders Club in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, will be no exception. Guests will be transported back in time to the Berlin salon of Sara Itzig Levy, a woman who made an immense contribution to the arts through her vision and philanthropy. Her home was a meeting place for literary and musical giants, including Bach’s eldest sons and the young Felix Mendelssohn, Levy’s grandnephew.
Levy pushed boundaries and created an inclusive musical and intellectual environment of her own as salonnière, emerging as a champion of music at a poignant time in history. She overcame substantial gender and religious obstacles and is credited with reshaping the artistic landscape of her time. To celebrate her legacy, the New Year’s Eve 2017 concert will be filled with virtuosic concertos and one rarely heard Bach piece that Levy herself premiered. The cabaret-themed gala portion will feature German mezzo-soprano Sonja Bruzauskas.
Last season’s successful Roaring Twenties themed gala surpassed Ars Lyrica’s goal by raising over 50 percent of the funds needed to produce the upcoming fully staged production of Handel’s Agrippina. This season’s elegant Ancient Rome themed gala will take place on March 3, 2018 at the historic Esperson Building in downtown Houston. The event will make use of three of its most iconic settings. The contemporary Rusk Lobby will welcome guests for cocktails, the neoclassic Italian Renaissance Niels Lobby will host a musical performance by acclaimed countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen with Matthew Dirst accompanying on the harpsichord, and the Art Deco Mellie Lobby will greet guests for an elegant dinner.
In collaboration with the Bach Society Houston and the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, the first spring concert, Esther & Jonah, will pair two musical dramas celebrating an Old Testament heroine’s triumph over evil. It will feature gorgeous arias and stirring choruses. The penultimate program, Long Live the Queen, will include selections of music written for noble female patrons. It will also showcase the award-winning University of Houston’s Moores School Concert Chorale and five outstanding vocalists: soprano Dominique McCormick, countertenors Ryland Angel and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor Tony Boutté, and baritone Mark Diamond.
The season finale will feature music that ranges from the rustic to the elegant with A Day with Marie Antoinette. The presentation will conjure up the essence of a day in music with France’s most famous queen. It includes a violin concerto written by Marie Antoinette’s music teacher, Joseph Bologne, featuring violinist Cynthia Roberts; a Mozart flute quartet; and a dance suite from Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice and Haydn’s Paris symphony, No. 85, popularly known as The Queen.
Ars Lyrica Houston’s Artful Women season offers programing that highlights the legacy of humanity women leave on the music world through their roles as muse, musician, heroine, and patron. It will be a truly memorable season for all music lovers and philanthropists.
You can find out more about the Artful Women season and Ars Lyrica Houston online at www.arslyricahouston.org. For ticket information, contact the Hobby Center Box Office at (713) 315-2525.