Reserve your seats...

Change of Plans?
Subscribers can exchange tickets for another Ars Lyrica 2016/2017 Season performance — Learn more

Hobby Center Box Office:




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

David Grogan bass

David Grogan

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 River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and appearances with Houston Camerata, the Sam Houston State University Symphony, the Woodlands Symphony, and the Boulder Bach Festival.

Currently on the voice faculties of Sam Houston State and Texas Southern Universities, 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 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.

Recent operatic engagements includeRadamisto at St. Louis Opera Theater,Agrippina for New York City Opera, Tolomeowith Muziektheater Transparant, Semele with Cologne Opera, Rodelinda at the Carre Theatre in Amsterdam, Julius Caesar at Utah Opera and Opera Colerado, Il Sant Alessio on tour with Les Arts Florissants at the Lincoln Center New York, Cité de la Musique in Paris and the Barbican Centre in London, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patriafor Toulouse Opera with Christophe Rousset (also in Paris and Lepizig), Theodora with Graeme Jenkins at Dallas Opera, Handel’s La Resurrezione with Ars Lyrica, Monteverdi’sOrfeo with Boston Early Music Festival, the title role in Stradellas’ San Giovanni Battista at The Italian Academy in New York with Artek, Israel in Egypt with Princeton Glee Club, Acis and Galatea at Hobby Center Houston and Doux Mensonges at the Opéra National de Paris Palais Garnier with William Christie.

He has also performed at English National Opera in London (Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Purcell’sThe Fairy Queen and the world premiere of Gavin Bryars’ Doctor Ox’s Experiment), the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (The Fairy Queen), Flanders Opera (Venus and Adonis), Opéra Comique, Paris (Dido and Aeneas), Opéra Normandie (Peri’s Euridice), Geneva Opera (Ballet Comique de la Royne), Koblenz (Gluck’s Orfeo), Karslruhe Handel Festival(Amadigi), Spoleto Festival, Italy (The Play of Daniel), and Florentine and Lyric Opera of Kansas City (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

On the concert platform Ryland Angel has performed Carmina Buranae at the Lincoln Center in New York and Southbank Centre in London, St. John Passion with St. Thomas’ Church, Houston Bach Society and Boulder Bach Society, The Messiah with the Händel and Haydn Society of Boston, St. Thomas’ Church, Worcester Chorus, Masterworks Chorus, Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Musica Sacra at Carnegie Hall.

He has performed with many acclaimed conductors and early music ensembles including William Christie, Rene Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Nicholas McGegan, Roy Goodman, Christophe Rousset, Philippe Herreweghe, Christophe Coin, Gabriel Garrido, Cantus Koln, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Parlement de Musique, the Ensemble of Early Music of New York, Ensemble La Fenice, Les Folies Françaises, and the Philharmonia Baroque of San Francisco.

Ryland Angel has created roles in many world premieres including most recently Spears’ Wolf in Skins (Philadelphia), the title role in Tesla in New York written by Phil Kline and the film director Jim Jarmusch at Hopkins Center, Dartmouth and new work by Tarik O’Regan and Gregory Spears’ for a project with Opera New Jersey/American Opera Projects.

In 2006 Ryland Angel received a Grammy® nomination. He has performed on over 50 recordings including music by Charpentier, Scarlatti, Stradella, Lorenzani, Peri, Händel, Monteverdi, Beaujoyeux, Purcell, Bach, Spears, Rosenmuller, Bobby Mcferrin (EMI, Universal, Sony, K317, Koch, Virgin Classics).

New recordings include Freud und Lust(Buxtehude/Bach), Rosenmuller Cantatas with Artek, The Colonna Vespers with Houston Chamber choir, Heart and Soul (Krieger and Erlebach) with Ars Lyrica, A Grateful Tail by Steven Mercurio based on the poem by Eugene O'Neill and The Flaming Fire (16th century music from Scotland and England) with the viol consort Parthenia.

Ryland Angel composed the score and sang the title track of the forthcoming Warner Bros documentary film The Mystery of Dante. He also features on the film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, La Peau, Henry 4th, Machete and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices

Joseph Gaines

Of his recent performances in THE RETURN OF ULYSSES with Opera Omnia, The New York Times wrote, “you had no reason to want to spend so much time with the glutton Irus on his way to his suicide: no reason, that is, apart from the fine singing of Joseph Gaines.” Recognized nationally and internationally as a highly energetic, vibrant, and extremely versatile singer and actor, tenor Joseph Gaines is known for beautifully sung and richly detailed interpretations of character roles, and has been described as "such an exuberant performer you couldn't help but smile" (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

A favorite of a number of opera companies large and small across the United States in recent years, Gaines has been a regular guest artist at Opera Philadelphia, Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Central City Opera,Indianapolis Opera, and many others. An alumnus of the apprentice training programs at Sarasota Opera,Central City Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, he joined the artist roster of The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in 2013, covering Caius in Verdi’s FALSTAFF, conducted by Maestro James Levine.

A voracious musician with a love of repertoire from many distinct styles and periods, he has been a featured soloist with some of the finest American orchestras, including The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Detroit Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and a number of chamber and baroque ensembles throughout the United States and abroad. While he is a favorite on the operatic stage for the character roles of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Richard Strauss, and works by contemporary composers, he also possesses a very strong background in historically informed performance; Gaines is a noted interpreter of Monteverdi, Handel, and Scarlatti, and also especially the Evangelist roles of Bach.

His broader concert repertoire spans hundreds of years, from Hildegaard von Bingen forward through Mozart and Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Wolf, to Poulenc, Rorem, Stravinsky, Britten, Bernstein, and contemporary works by Robert Avalon, Theo Morrison, Jake Heggie, and many others. An avid recitalist, collaborator, and chamber musician, he has performed frequently with The Pittsburgh Song Collaborative, The Erie Chamber Orchestra, and Philadelphia’s Lyric Fest, with whom he presented the world premiere of two song cycles by composer Daron Hagen in recent years. His commercial recordings (from both Ars Lyrica Houston, and New York’s famed Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys) and live performances have been broadcast domestically and internationally by NPR and Public Radio International, most recently with solo excerpts from the St. Thomas Choir’s Messiah: The Mozart Orchestrations, heard nationwide on With Heart And Voice.

David Grogan

David Grogan received his doctorate from the University of North Texas.  Before starting this degree program, he worked for three years as instructor of voice and vocal pedagogy at East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas.  Currently an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, he has performed extensively throughout Texas and New Mexico, getting positive reviews in local papers. 

The Dallas Morning News hailed Mr. Grogan as the “perfect Christus” after a performance of the St. Matthew Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. The Albuquerque Tribune, in reference to a performance of Messiah with the New Mexico Symphony, said, “David Grogan had all the range and power required of the part, sounding like the voice of doom in "The people that walked in darkness" and the light of revelation in "The trumpet shall sound." A recent performance of Elijah had critics praising his ability to “move easily from stentorian declamation to lyrical aria.” 

He has performed as a soloist with Dallas area arts groups such as the Dallas Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Mesquite Civic Chorus, the Dallas-based Allegro Artists, and several Texas universities.  Recent performances include Elijah with the New Mexico Symphony, Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Arlington Master Chorale, and the Saint John Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. 

Teaching is one of Mr. Grogan’s favorite activities, whether it is voice, choir, or whatever subject is at hand.  The study of vocal pedagogy has recently been of greatest interest to Mr. Grogan, particularly the pedagogy of Frederic Woodman Root. 

the countdown has begun...