Wednesday August 7, 2019 | 7:30PM (Pre-concert talk at 6:45PM)
Christ Church Cathedral | Map
At age 19, George Frideric Handel, not satisfied with being simply a local wonder in his native Germany, set off for Italy — the center of the 18th century musical universe — to find fame and fortune. In Rome, he worked alongside some of the most important musicians of the time and it was there that the young composer wrote some of his most dramatic, virtuosic and exciting works. This exceptional concert features the return of internationally-acclaimed soprano Amanda Forsythe with Pacific MusicWorks under the direction of Stephen Stubbs. The programme includes Handel’s Armida Abbandonata which was part of J.S.Bach’s personal library.
“Forsythe’s voice is marvelous — clear, florid, and warm at the same time — but the context highlighted her fundamentally superb rhythm. In the faster of her six Handel arias, passagework darted with glinting precision, exhilaratingly even, with confidently audacious ornamentation.” – The Boston Globe
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George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
Agrippina condotto a morire
Allegro – A tempo ordinario – Passacaille – Gigue – Menuet
Amanda Forsythe, soprano
The American soprano Amanda Forsythe, highly praised for her performances on both sides of the Atlantic, sang
Euridice on the recording of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival which won the 2015 GRAMMY AWARD for Best Opera Recording. Her highly acclaimed CDs have included her début solo album of Handel arias “The Power of Love” with Apollo’s Fire on the Avie label.
She recently toured with the outstanding French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky,performing works based on the Orfeo myth, and subsequently recorded the role of Euridice in a new edition of Gluck’s Orfeo for the ERATO label. Equally at home on the concert platform and on the opera stage, in recent seasons Amanda Forsythe’s major engagements have
included Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Boston Symphony under Andris Nelsons and the Los Angeles
Philharmonic under Susanna Mälkki, Handel’s Sileti venti and Laudate pueri with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Kraemer, Messiah with Seattle Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat and concert performances as Marzelline
Fidelio with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano. Following performances as Amour
in Gluck’s Orphée at London’s Royal Opera House, she participated in tours of this work, and of Mozart’s C Minor Mass and Requiem with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. She is a regular soloist with the highly acclaimed baroque ensembles Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (PBO), Apollo’s Fire, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Pacific Musicworks, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. She sang the title role of Teseo with PBO at the Tanglewood and Mostly Mozart Festivals under Nicholas
McGegan, and made her début at the Oregon Bach Festival in Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Magnificat under Matthew Halls.
Amanda Forsythe made her USA stage début with the Boston Early Music Festival, where her many roles have included
Poppea and Drusilla L’incoronazione di Poppea, Niobe and Manto (recording) in Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe, Aglaure Psyché (Lully), Venus Venus and Adonis (John Blow), Pallas The Judgment of Paris (Eccles), Isabelle Le Carnaval de Venise (Campra), Serpina La serva padrona and Edilia Almira, Königin von Castilien, for which she received rave reviews.
Having made her début at Seattle Opera as Iris Semele, Amanda Forsythe recently returned there to sing Pamina Die Zauberflöte. Her operatic repertoire also includes Poppea Agrippina, the title role in Partenope, Dorinda Orlando,
Amenaide Tancredi, Bastienne Bastien und Bastienne, Ninfa/Proserpina Orfeo, Amore Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria,
Oberto Alcina, Dafne Apollo e Dafne, Atalanta Xerxes, Vagaus Juditha Triumphans and roles in Les Indes Galantes and
The Fairy Queen. She made her European operatic début in the role of Corinna Il viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, subsequently returning to perform Rosalia L’equivoco stravagante, and Jemmy Guillaume Tell, described by one critic as “…the best singing of this crucial part I’ve ever encountered…”. At her invitation, Amanda Forsythe joined the distinguished American mezzo soprano Joyce di Donato in a performance of
Bellini duets in the festival’s ‘Malibran’ recital. Major European opera house engagements have included Dalinda
Ariodante in Geneva and Munich and Barbarina Le nozze di Figaro, Manto in Steffani’s Niobe, regina di Tebe, Amour
in Gluck’s Orphée and Nannetta Falstaff at London’s Royal Opera House. Her performance as Nannetta was described by
Gramophone Magazine as “meltingly beautiful”.
Major engagements in 2018 include her return to the Chicago Symphony to sing Schubert’s Mass No 6 in E Flat under Riccardo Muti and Messiah under Matthew Halls, Alexander’s Feast with Tafelmusik, Iole Hercules with the Handel and Haydn Society and performances with Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Musicworks, the Kymi Sinfonietta, and Charlotte Symphony. Forthcoming opera engagements include her début at the Rome Opera as Pamina, and Steffani’s Orlando Furioso (Angelica) at the 2019 Boston Early Music Festival.
Amanda Forsythe’s recordings include Venus Venus and Adonis, Aglaure in Lully’s Psyché, and La Grande Pretresse
in Lully’s Thésée with the Boston Early Music Festival (all for CPO), Manto in Steffani’s Niobe with BEMF (Erato), the title role in Handel’s Teseo with Philharmonia Baroque (PBO’s own label), Bach’s St. John Passion and Messiah
with Apollo’s Fire (Avie), Dorinda Handel’s Orlando with Early Music Vancouver (ATMA) and Haydn’s Creation with Boston Baroque (Linn). She also sings on the DVD recordings of the Pesaro productions of L’equivoco stravagante
and Guillaume Tell as well as Manto in the Royal Opera production of Steffani’s Niobe (Opus Arte). Her latest CD of Steffani duets with the Boston Early Music Festival was awarded the Diapason d’Or in January 2018.
Pacific MusicWorks (PMW) works to bring internationally renowned artists into collaboration with leading musicians from the Northwest, and to foster creative dialogue among artists from a broad array of fields and cultures. The heart of its repertoire is 17th- and 18th-century vocal music, but performances range from the Renaissance to innovative contemporary works and from chamber music to fully staged operas. Important projects have included a staged performance of Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in a production by South African artist William Kentridge, The Passions Project in collaboration with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot as well as full stagings of operas in collaboration with the University of Washington (Gluck’s Orphée, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Semele).
Stephen Stubbs, music director
Stephen Stubbs, who won a GRAMMY Award as conductor for Best Opera Recording 2015, spent a 30-year career in Europe before returning to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the most respected lutenists, conductors, and baroque opera specialists of his generation. Before his return, he was based in Bremen, Germany, where he was Professor at the Hochschule für Künste.
In 2007 Stephen established his new production company, Pacific MusicWorks, based in Seattle. He is the Boston Early Music Festival’s permanent artistic co-director, recordings of which were nominated for five GRAMMY awards. Also in 2015 BEMF recordings won two Echo Klassik awards and the Diapason d’Or del’Année. In addition to his ongoing commitments to PMW and BEMF, other recent appearances have included Handel’s Amadigi for Opera UCLA, Mozart’s Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte in Hawaii, Handel’s Agrippina and Semele for Opera Omaha, Cavalli’s Calisto and Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie for Juilliard and Mozart’s Il re pastore for the Merola program. He has conducted Handel’s Messiah with the Seattle, Edmonton, Birmingham and Houston Symphony orchestras. His extensive discography as conductor and solo lutenist includes well over 100 CDs, which can be viewed at stephenstubbs.com, many of which have received international acclaim and awards. From 2013-2018 Stephen Stubbs held the position of Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Music.