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Saturday, December 31 at 9pm

Zilkha Hall / Hobby Center For The Performing Arts

A festive program rings in the New Year with cantatas J. S. Bach wrote specifically for this holiday plus other celebratory works. This special evening at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts begins with a decadent pre-concert dinner and continues at 9:00 pm in Zilkha Hall with Bachanalia. Ars Lyrica’s annual gala and silent auction follows; it’s a holiday tradition for our Houston patrons!

Johann Sebastian Bach,
Gottlob! nun geht das Jahr zu Ende, BWV 28
Schwingt freudig euch empor, BWV 36c
Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen, BWV 248/V/1


Melissa Givens

Ryland Angel

Joseph Gaines



Ars Lyrica houston ensemble members

Ars Lyrica houston ensemble members

About the Artists:

Melissa Givens

American soprano Melissa Givens moves and excites audiences and critics alike with a rich, powerful tone, crystalline clarity, and intelligent musical interpretations. Especially noted for her expressiveness and elegance on the stage, she’s been hailed as a singer whose music making is “consistently rewarding” and “a pleasure to hear.” Givens is also an extremely versatile artist, regularly performing repertoire from the Baroque era through music of the 21st century.

A writer for Classical.Net marveled, “Melissa Givens has a voice you imagine coming from the goddess Erda” in a review of Sing Freedom!, Conspirare’s 2012 recording of spirituals on the Harmonia Mundi label. Recent performances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Greenbriar Consortium, and appearances with Houston Camerata, the Sam Houston State University Symphony, the Woodlands Symphony, the Boulder Bach Festival, and the Concord Chorale.

Currently on the voice faculty of Augusta University, she remains in demand on concert series throughout the United States and abroad, and counts Ars Lyrica Houston and the Grammy© winning Conspirare: Craig Hella Johnson and Company of Voices as frequent collaborators. Her solo appearances on their major label releases have received enthusiastic reviews. She can also be heard on her solo CD, let the rain kiss you.

Ryland Angel

Born on St Cecilia's day, the Grammy-nominated British counter-tenor Ryland Angel has built an international reputation on both the opera and concert stage, in repertoire ranging from the Baroque to new operatic commissions at major opera houses, concert halls and festivals throughout Europe and the USA. He has performed in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Gavin Bryars’s Doctor Ox’s Experiment (English National Opera), Fairy Queen (Barcelona), Gluck’s Orfeo (Koblenz), Amadigi (Karlsruhe), Venus and Adonis (Flanders Opera), Dido and Aeneas (Opera Comique), The Play of Daniel (Spoleto), and Ballet Comique de La Royne (Geneva). Angel has sung on over 70 recordings including music of Buxtehude, Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Spears, O'Regan, Handel, Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach and on the film soundtracks of Jack Reacher - never go back, Zoolander 2, Freedom, Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete, The Mystery of Dante and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices. Recent engagements include Doux Mensonges (Opera National de Paris), Agrippina(NYCO), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Florentine and Kansas Opera), Julius Caesar (Utahand Colorado Opera, Boston Baroque), Sant Alessio (Paris, London, New York), Carmina Burana (Lincoln Center and Prague Proms with CNSO), St. John Passion (Saint Thomas and Worcester Chorus), Classics and Rock (Seoul Philharmonic), Tesla (Dartmouth), Striggio with Le Concert Spiriuel (Edinburgh Festival), Acis and Galatea (Houston) and Messiah (Handel and Haydn Society, Masterworks Chorus, Musica Sacra).Recent recordings include The Flaming Fire (MSR), Heart and Soul (Centaur) ,La Sposa (Solo Luminus) and Now Fatal Change (NMC). Ryland is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Universityof Minnesota and has talk masterclasses around the world including some atUNT, Conservatoire of Toulouse, Princeton high school andConspirare Youth choirs. 

Joseph Gaines

A highly energetic, vibrant, and extremely versatile singer and actor, tenor Joseph Gaines has been described as “such an exuberant performer you couldn’t help but smile” (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune). He is known in the United States and abroad for beautifully sung and richly detailed interpretations of character roles.  Gaines has been a regular guest artist at Opera Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Utah Opera, Central City Opera, Indianapolis Opera, and others. An in-demand concert artist and recitalist, he has been a featured soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Detroit Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, and The Brooklyn Art Song Society, as well as many chamber and period ensembles. Gaines joined the artist roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 2013-14, covering Caius in Verdi’s FALSTAFF.  Engagements in 2016 have included LE NOZZE DI FIGARO at Utah Opera, LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST with Opera Colorado, and TURANDOT at Opera Philadelphia, as well as his debut with the Colorado Bach Ensemble.  Upcoming projects over the next two years include a return to Resonance Works Pittsburgh and Opera Philadelphia, as well as debuts with Hawaii Opera Theater (2017) and a major west coast opera company in 2018.

Thomas Meglioranza

Baritone Thomas Meglioranza, a winner of the Naumburg and Concert Artists Guild competitions, has sung Carmina Buranas, Messiahs and Bach passions with many major orchestras, as well as Eight Songs for a Mad King with the LA Philharmonic, Bach cantatas with Les Violons du Roy and Orpheus, Copland's Old American Songs with the National Symphony. He has also sung with Philharmonia Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, the American Bach Soloists and Mercury. Operatic roles include Pierrot in Die tote Stadt, Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China and Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös' Angels in America. An avid recitalist, he has recorded two Schubert CDs and a French album with pianist Reiko Uchida, as well as Bach cantatas with the Taverner Consort, and songs of Virgil Thomson with BMOP. He is a graduate of Grinnell College and Eastman.