Chan Shun Concert Hall at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts | Map
A co-production with Pacific MusicWorks and The Vancouver Chamber Choir
Stephen Stubbs (music director)
Jolle Greenleaf, Catherine Webster (sopranos)
Laura Pudwell, Reginald L. Mobley (altos)
Charles Daniels, Zachary Wilder, Ross Hauck (tenors)
Douglas Williams, Charles Robert Stephens (bass-baritones)
The Vancouver Chamber Choir – conductor Jon Washburn
Monteverdi’s Vespers is a undisputed masterpiece. Conductor and lutenist Stephen Stubbs leads nine soloists, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, and a collection of North America’s best seventeenth-century instrumentalists including the peerless Bruce Dickey on cornetto.
“this was an utterly thrilling Vespers, of a quality you are unlikely ever to encounter anywhere else in the world.” – The Seattle Times
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643):
Deus in adiutorium
Domine ad adiuvandum
Psalmus 109: Dixit Dominus
Concerto: Nigra sum
Psalmus 112: Laudate pueri
Concerto: Pulchra es
Psalmus 121: Lætatus sum
Concerto: Duo seraphim
Psalmus 126: Nisi Dominus
Concerto: Audi Cœlum
Sonata sopra “Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis”
Hymnus: Ave maris stella
II Et exultavit
III Quia respexit
IV Quia fecit mihi magna
V Et misericordia
VI Fecit potentiam
VII Deposuit potentes
VIII Esurientes implevit bonis
IX Suscepit Israel
X Sicut locutus est
XI Gloria Patri XII Sicut erat in principio
Anyone who sets out to perform Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers in the early 21st century is in the lucky position of standing on the shoulders of giants. First and foremost that musical giant, Monteverdi himself, whose powerful and individual voice still speaks so clearly across the intervening centuries; but also those adventurous souls who pioneered the revival of the instruments and techniques which over the last 50 years have made it ever more possible to hear the sonorities that Monteverdi would have known. The work itself has become one of the most performed and beloved masterpieces from the 17th century.
My personal experience with the Vespers goes back to my hometown of Seattle on the eve of my departure for Europe in the late 70s. I had only had a chitarrone for a matter of weeks, and this was my first outing with that extinct giraffe-like instrument. I fell in love permanently with both the instrument and Monteverdi’s music.
During the 80s, as a freelance lutenist living in Germany, I was often called upon to play in the Vespers with various local choir directors who would hire outstanding tenor soloists and a few professional specialists of the cornetto and chitarrone (Bruce Dickey and myself amongst others).
There were also many performances under the direction of Jürgen Jürgens in Hamburg. As the founder of the Monteverdi-Chor and the editor of Universal-Edition’s widely-performed 1977 edition of the Vespers, Jürgen (who died in 1994) was responsible for making the work more widely known and popular.
But by the 1980s his “Monteverdi” choir had reached mammoth proportions. These performances varied in quality, but left me and my fellow professionals with the conviction that Monteverdi could not have intended these pieces for performance by large amateur choirs.
The 1980s were also the years when Joshua Rifkin challenged more than a century of performance practice by asserting that Bach’s “choral” works had been written for solo voices, not choruses in the modern sense. Considered highly controversial at the time, Rifkin’s ideas are now almost universally accepted as the norm for baroque music.
These new notions informed the annual performances of the Vespers that began at Leiden’s Pieterkerk in the Netherlands in 1998, with an ensemble of marvelous soloists, my instrumental ensemble Tragicomedia, and Bruce Dickey’s wind band Concerto Palatino.
The version of the piece that you will hear tonight in Vancouver represents what I feel, from experience, represents a sort of “ideal hybrid” of these two performing traditions. In our version, nine solo voices cover much of the florid and clearly solistic musical material backed up by a professional chorus for the more solid but splendid homophonic moments. After performing this work for over 35 years, the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 is a still a revelation to me.
– Stephen Stubbs
Stephen Stubbs, who won the GRAMMY® Award as conductor for Best Opera Recording 2015, spent a 30-year career in Europe. He returned to his native Seattle in 2006 as one of the world’s most respected lutenists, conductors, and baroque opera specialists.
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 de l’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 in San Francisco. 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.
Stephen is represented by Schwalbe and Partners (schwalbeandpartners.com).
Hailed as a “golden soprano” and called “a major force in the New York early music-scene” by the New York Times, Jolle Greenleaf is one of the leading voices in the field. She is a much sought-after soloist in music by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Purcell, Mozart and, most notably, Claudio Monteverdi. Her performances have earned raves from the Oregonian, “[Greenleaf] sang with purity and beguiling naturalness,” and the New York Times, who called her “An exciting soprano soloist… beautifully accurate and stylish…”
Ms. Greenleaf is also the artistic director of the virtuoso one-voice-per-part ensemble TENET, where she creates programs, directs and sings in performances of repertoire spanning the Middle Ages to the present day. TENET’s programming has been lauded by the New York Times as “smart, varied and not entirely early.”
Ms. Greenleaf has balanced a career as a top soloist and innovative impressaria. In January of 2010, she spearheaded a performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, (the first performance of the work to celebrate its 400th anniversary), by creating the Green Mountain Project (a special TENET initiative). For the Green Mountain Project she engaged singers and instrumentalists as well as managed all the logistics of mounting a major musical production. A live CD recording was made of the performance and the program has become an annual event that plays to overflow audiences and earns rave reviews. Greenleaf frequently invites top-notch musicians from the New York-based early music community to guest direct TENET projects and strives to combine forces with other ensembles to share idea.
Soprano Catherine Webster is engaged regularly by many leading early music and chamber ensembles in North America. She has appeared as a soloist with Tafelmusik, Tragicomedia, Theatre of Voices, Netherlands Bach Society, Apollo’s Fire, American Baroque Orchestra, Magnificat, Musica Angelica, El Mundo, Four Nations Ensemble, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal, Ensemble Masques, Les Voix Baroques, Early Music Vancouver, and at the Vancouver, Berkeley, Montreal and Boston Early Music Festivals.
Active also in contemporary music, Webster has appeared with The Kronos Quartet in Terry Riley’s Sun Rings and with Theatre of Voices and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in John Adam’s Grand Pianola Music.
Catherine Webster is a frequent collaborator with baroque opera directors Stephen Stubbs and Paul O’Dette, appearing under their direction in Early Music Vancouver’s production for the 2013 edition of Festival Vancouver in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea and the premiere of Mattheson’s Boris Goudenov for the Boston Early Music Festival. She has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Musica Omnia, Analekta and Atma.
Catherine holds a Master’s in Music from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University and has been a guest faculty member and artist for The San Francisco Early Music Society’s summer workshops and the Madison Early Music Festival.
Grammy-nominated Laura Pudwell’s reputation as a superb vocalist has been well-established as a result of her performances in London, Paris, Salzburg, Houston, Vienna and Boston. Her vast repertoire ranges from early music to contemporary works. Ms. Pudwell is equally at home on the opera, oratorio or recital stage, and has received international acclaim for her recordings.
A frequent guest of many national and international presenters, Ms. Pudwell has had the privilege of working with many outstanding conductors, including Hans Graf, Hervé Niquet, Andrew Parrott, Ivars Taurens, Bernard Labadie, Lydia Adams, Howard Dyck and Robert Cooper.
On the opera stage, she has performed across Canada with such companies as Opera Atelier, the Calgary Opera, Vancouver Early Music and Festival Vancouver, as well as with the Houston Grand Opera and the Cleveland Opera. Her many roles include Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), Marcelina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Nerone and Arnalta (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) and Dido/Sorceress (Dido & Aeneas), which also was an award-winning recording performed by Ms. Pudwell in Paris.
Laura Pudwell is a regular participant in many festivals, including Festival Vancouver, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Summer Festival, the Elora Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival and the WinterPark Bach Festival in Orlando.
Ms. Pudwell appears regularly with the Toronto Consort, and is a frequent guest soloist with Tafelmusik, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toronto Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence Choir, Le Concert Spirituel and the Menno Singers.
Ms. Pudwell lives in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario with her husband and two children.
Noted for his ‘shimmering voice’ (BachTrack), American countertenor Reginald Mobley is highly sought after for the baroque, classical and modern repertoire.
Reginald leads a very prolific career on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States, where he resides, he became the first ever programming consultant for the Handel & Haydn Society following several years of leading H&H in his community engaging Every Voice concerts. He also holds the position of Visiting Artist for Diversity Outreach with the Baroque ensemble Apollo’s Fire, and is a regular guest with Cantata Collective, Musica Angelica, Agave Baroque, Charlotte Bach Akademie, Seraphic Fire, Quodlibet, Pacific Music Works, Bach Collegium San Diego, San Francisco Early Music Society and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Recent engagements have included concerts and recordings with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Opera Lafayette, Blue Heron, Chatham Baroque, Washington Bach Consort, Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and Early Music Seattle. Future highlights include Carmina Burana with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Messiah with the New York Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras, a debut at Carnegie Hall with Orchestra St Luke’s and at the Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles.
In Europe, Reginald has been invited to perform with the OH! (Orkiestra Historycsna) in Poland, Vienna Academy in Austria (Musikverein), Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Balthasar Neumann Chor & Ensemble, Bach Society in Stuttgart, Holland Baroque Orchestra and in the autumn of 2021, he performed the role of Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea in Geneva, MUPA and Teatro di Vicenza in a European tour with The Budapest Festival Orchestra. He has also extensively toured with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra under the baton of John-Eliot Gardiner, and more recently performed a series of English music programmes in Germany with the Freiburger Barockorchester under the leadership of Kristian Bezuidenhout.
His recordings have been received with great critical acclaim, most recently American Originals with Agave Baroque ensemble, recorded with Acis Productions, which has been nominated for a GRAMMY Award, following A Lad’s Love with Brian Giebler on BRIDGE 9542 label. Reginald features on several albums with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, including a recording of Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Magnificat, where Reginald ‘encapsulates whimsical pathos’ (Classical Music Magazine) His solo recording debut with ALPHA Classics will be released in June 2023. Reginald’s work has earned him both a 2023 Grammy Awards and 2023 Classical Music Awards Nomination.
The tenor Charles Daniels’ repertoire extends 1150 years from the ninth century to the present day. Born in Salisbury, he received his musical training at King’s College, Cambridge, and the Royal College of Music in London where he studied under Edward Brooks.
He has made over ninety recordings as a soloist, the most recent Western Wind with the Taverner Choir & Players (Andrew Parrott) on Avie, winning the 2016 Gramophone Award for Early Music – further recordings include Evangelist St John Passion with Portland Baroque, Handel’s Messiah with the Gabrieli Consort for Deutsche Grammophon, Dowland Songs for EMI, Handel’s Alexander Balus with The King’s Consort for Hyperion, The Beggar’s Opera for Hyperion, Schütz’ Christmas Story for Deutsche Grammophon, Haydn’s St Cecilia Mass with the Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with the Taverner Consort for EMI, Airs de Cour with Catherine King and Jacob Heringman, Handel Occasional Songs with Emma Kirkby for SOMM records and more than twenty discs of Purcell’s music, mostly with The King’s Consort.
Operatic roles have included Le Dieu de Sommeil in Lully’s Atys for the Opéra de Paris and Purcell’s Fairy Queen in the Aix-en-Provence Festival. Concert engagements have included regular appearances at the BBC Promenade Concerts, the Edinburgh International Festival, London Handel Festival, Spitalfields Festival and appearances with The Sixteen, Academy of Ancient Music, The King’s Consort, English Concert and Gabrieli Consort. Engagements outside the UK include regular appearances throughout Canada where he works with Les Voix Baroques, Les Voix Humaines, Toronto Consort and Tafelmusik and appears regularly with Early Music Vancouver and at the Montreal Baroque Festival. Charles also works regularly with De Nederlandse Bach Vereniging (Netherlands Bach Society) and has made guest appearances withInstant Pluriel (Bach Profane Cantatas), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Mass in B Minor), Netherlands Philharmonic with Sir Colin Davis (St Matthew Passion), Il Complesso Barocco (Dido & Aeneas, Guilty Night), Collegium Musicum Bergen (Messiah) and Warsaw Philharmonic (Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace). Recent engagements include King Arthur with Tafelmusik in Toronto, Athalia with Kammerorchester Basel, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato in St Gallen with Rudolf Lutz, a recording of St Matthew Passion with Choir & Orchester of the J.S. Bach Foundation, St John Passion in Wroclaw, Purcell concerts with Gabrieli Consort, Gli Amori d’Apollo e di Dafne for Toronto Consort, Biber Requiem with RIAS Kammerchor, Dido & Aeneas with The King’s Consort and a series of Bach concerts in The Netherlands with Musica Amphion. Recent engagements include Messiah in Japan with Bach Collegium Japan and St John Passion with Tafelmusik, Canada.
Career highlights have included Luigi Nono’s Canti di Vita e Amore (Edinburgh International Festival), Handel’s Esther (sung in Hebrew) in New York, Monteverdi Vespers with the Gabrieli Consort in Venice with Paul McCreesh, Handel’s Belshazzar at the Théâtre de Champs Elysées in Paris and Messiah at the Musikverein, Vienna with Harnoncourt.
Recent engagements included Dream of Gerontius in Wroclaw, a tour of L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato (J.S. Bach Stiftung) with Rudolf Lutz, Purcell at the Wigmore Hall (The King’s Consort), Vespers in Vancouver & Seattle, a series of Bach Christmas Concerts with NBV, Bach Secular Cantatas with Bach Collegium Japan, St Matthew Passion with NBV, Vespers with Toronto Consort, Schütz with Dresdner Kammerchor, Vespers with The King’s Consort at the Rheingau Festival, a semi-staged Fairy Queen with the AAM at the Barbican Hall, Mass in B Minor with the BBC Singers and Messiah in Australia with Melbourne Symphony and Queensland Symphony Orchestras.
Engagements in 2017 include a series of Purcell Programmes with Holland Baroque Society, Purcell at the Wigmore Hall (The King’s Consort), St Matthew Passion at The Sage, Gateshead and at King’s Place, St John Passion at Bath Abbey, Chandos Anthems at the London Handel Festival, Vespers with the Academy of Ancient Music, a series of concerts at Oregon Bach Festival and Bach Cantatas in St Gallen. Subsequent engagements include his return to Toronto for Mass in B Minor.
Described as possessing a “remarkably clear, flexible lyric tenor,” and a “radiant tone,” Zachary Wilder is a much sought after performer on both the operatic and concert stage. He has performed with numerous groups internationally, including Ars Lyrica Houston, Back Bay Chorale, Blue Heron, Boston Early Music Festival, Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra, Camerata Ventepane, Cappella Mediterranea, Emmanuel Music,
Ensemble Clematis, A Far Cry, Festival D’Aix en Provence, Green Mountain Project, Handel & Haydn Society, Harvard Baroque Orchestra, Houston Bach Society, les Arts Florissants, Mark Morris Dance Group, Mercury Orchestra, Pacific Musicworks, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Tenet Ensemble, and Tesserae. He was chosen by William Christie for the 2013 edition of Jardin des Voix, was named a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music, Adams Masterclass Fellow at the Carmel Bach Festival, a former Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, as well as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. He can be heard on Boston Early Music Festival’s grammy nominated recording of Lully’s Psyché, as well as their recordings of Charpentier’s Actéon and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis on the CPO label.
Monteverdi Vespers of 1610
Douglas Williams, bass-baritone, has appeared this year in two landmark new opera productions from two of the world’s most celebrated director-choreographers: Handel’s Acis and Galatea in Mozart’s orchestration with Mark Morris at Lincoln Center in the role of Polyphemus, conducted by Nicolas McGegan, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo with Sasha Waltz at the Dutch National Opera in the role of Caronte, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado. Both productions will tour this season taking Mr. Williams to the Grand Théâtre Luxembourg, Kansas City Kauffman Center, Bergen Festival,
Baden-Baden Festspiehaus, and Berlin Staatsoper. Other highlights of the season include Handel’s Agrippina with Boston Baroque, Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona with the Boston Early Music Festival, and an appearance with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Ensemble at Carnegie Hall in Charles Wuorinen’s It Happens Like This, a piece that Mr. Williams premiered in 2011.
Visit Douglas on the web at: www.douglasrwilliams.com
Charles Robert Stephens
Charles Robert Stephens has enjoyed a career spanning a wide variety of roles and styles in opera and concert music. His performances have shown “a committed characterization and a voice of considerable beauty.” (Opera News, 1995) At the New York City Opera he sang the role of Professor Friedrich Bhaer in the New York premiere of Adamo’s Little Women, and was hailed by the New York Times as a “baritone of smooth distinction.”
Other New York City Opera roles since his debut as Marcello in 1995 include Frank in Die Tote Stadt, Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, and Germont in La Traviata. He has sung on numerous occasions at Carnegie Hall in a variety of roles with Opera Orchestra of New York, the Oratorio Society of New York, the Masterworks Chorus, and Musica Sacra.
Now based in Seattle, he has sung with Seattle Symphony, Tacoma and Spokane Symphony and Opera Companies, Portland Chamber Orchestra and others. He joins the roster of Seattle Opera in 2010 for the premiere of Amelia by Daron Hagen. Upcoming performances include two concerts with Stephen Stubbs: Handel’s Esther and Monteverdi Vespers a return engagement with Seattle Symphony in “Opera Festival,” a debut with Boston Early Music Festival in Steffani’s Niobe, Queen of Thebes and a return engagement with the American Classical Orchestra as Jesus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at St. John the Divine in NYC.
On the international stage he has sung Rigoletto at Taipei’s National Theater, Sharpless in Santo Domingo, Germont and Valentin (Faust) in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Montano (Otello) in Mexico City. Concert tours have taken him to France, Russia, and Canada. Mr. Stephens has worked closely with composers in the preparation and performance of new works for the concert hall and the stage, taking part in many premieres at Lincoln Center and as part of “Regina Resnik Presents” television. A native of New London, Connecticut, Mr. Stephens received his training at the University of Connecticut, Boston University, the Goldovsky Opera Institute, and the Santa Fe Opera.