PAST SEASONS in Review


ars lyrica houston, early music houston, early music, baroque music, bach, handel, chamber music

We have thoroughly enjoyed the last several seasons and are looking forward to many more! 

To purchase a CD recording of some of our favorite performances, visit the Recordings section of our website.

You can also see images of many past performances on Flickr, and watch complete performances on YouTube.


2017-2018

A Day with Marie Antoinette
This special evening with France’s most famous queen includes a violin concerto by her music teacher Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, operatic excerpts from C. W. Gluck’s Orphée, and Haydn’s “Paris” Symphony No. 85, subtitled “The Queen.”

Long Live the Queen
In a program featuring the award-winning Moores School Concert Chorale, Ars Lyrica celebrates the musical legacy of two important royal patrons from the Baroque era with J. S. Bach’s rarely heard Trauerode, written for the funeral of Christiane Eberhardine of Saxony, and Handel’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne.

Esther & Jonah
Ars Lyrica’s 2018 Houston Early Music Festival program, offered in collaboration with Bach Society Houston, pairs two concise music dramas from opposite ends of the 18th century: Handel’s Esther (1718) and Samuel Felsted’s Jonah (1775). With gorgeous arias and stirring choruses in abundance, the former celebrates an Old Testament heroine’s victory over the forces of evil while the latter is the first American oratorio.

New Year's in Berlin
To ring in the new year, Ars Lyrica recreates a salon chez Sara Itzig Levy in Berlin, whose home was a meeting place for literary and musical giants, including Bach’s eldest sons and the young Felix Mendelssohn, Levy’s grandnephew. This program features a C. P. E. Bach double concerto for fortepiano and harpsichord, a work closely connected with our legendary hostess: at its 1788 première, Mme. Levy herself played one of the solo parts! The evening also includes an elegant pre-concert dinner and post-concert gala.

Italian Sirens
The decades around 1600 saw a remarkable flowering of female musical talent, virtuoso singers especially. Italian Sirens is devoted to these unique voices, as realized in the work of three remarkable early 17th-century composers: Isabella Leonarda, Francesca Caccini, and Barbara Strozzi.

Sweet Philomela
Featuring exotic musical works inspired by Philomela, mythical princess of Athens including arias from Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato and Johann Adolph Hasse’s lyric cantata L’Armonica, with glass harmonica. The ensemble of strings and winds soars as well, with one of C. P. E. Bach’s vibrant symphonies for twelve obbligato instruments.

2016-2017

Don Quixote's Excellent Adventures                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 One of history’s greatest literary figures, Don Quixote has inspired many musical works over the years, from Renaissance songs to a Broadway musical. Ars Lyrica’s 2016/17 season finale features core string players and singers in a pan-European survey of Baroque music devoted to this Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha.  

Classical Spectres
In chamber works from this era, musical depictions of the supernatural took on a life of their own outside the opera house. Shorn of traditional theatrical trappings, the purely aural spectres of J. C. F. Bach and Beethoven make powerful impressions, indeed. Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Pygmalion, Jean-Marie LeClair, Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 7/1, Ludwig van, Beethoven, "Ghost" Trio in D Major, Op. 70/1, Ludwig van Beethoven, An die ferne geliebte

Les Plaisirs de Versailles
Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s witty chamber opera Les Plaisirs de Versailles—an ode to both wine and chocolate—plus chamber works by François Couperin and Joseph Bodin de Boismortier.

Handel’s Jephtha
Handel’s final masterpiece, on a searing Old Testament tale about a foolish promise and its consequences—featuring a stellar cast of soloists and the award-winning Moores School of Music Concert Choral from the University of Houston.

Bachanalia: Cantatas for the New Year
A festive program rings in the New Year with cantatas J. S. Bach wrote specifically for this holiday plus other celebratory works. 

Scalable Heights
Beloved works from late Baroque masters who catered to the emerging cult of the virtuoso, including J.S. Bach’s “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen.”

2015-2016

AUTUMN HUNT
Featuring mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos and violinist Adam LaMotte in Vivaldi’s Autumn from The Four Seasons.

HOMAGE TO THE SUN KING
This program features Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s sparkling chamber opera Les arts florissants plus royal motets and chamber works by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Jean-Philippe Rameau.

FIRE AND ICE
New Year’s Eve 2015 brings a star-studded evening with music that is by turns hot and cold. Vivaldi’s Winter sets the stage for Handel’s Apollo e Dafne, which tells the story of too-ardent love and a unique transformation. 

ALL IN A GARDEN GREEN
Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons plus spirited songs of the season from various cultures. PART OF THE 2016 HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC FESTIVAL

AN EASTER MESSIAH

The Orpheus Chamber Singers return to collaborate on Handel’s Messiah with conductor John Butt, 2014 Gramophone Award Winner, and stellar soloists.

SUMMER ZEPHYR

Featuring Vivaldi’s Summer, Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto In D Minor, W. A. Mozart’s Exsultate, Jubilate, with countertenor John Holiday, baroque oboe and recorder player Kathryn Montoya, and harpsichordist Matthew Dirst. 


2014-2015

Flying High
French and Italian Baroque chamber works animate this program, featuring French-Italian Soprano Céline Ricci and viola da gambist Mary Springfels in G. F. Handel’s evocative Tra le fiamme.

Bach & Sons: At the Café 
This program includes a rarely performed ode by Carl Phillipp Emanuel Bach, his younger brother Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach’s cantata Die Amerikanerin, plus patriarch Johann Sebastian Bach’s beloved “Coffee Cantata” in a new staging by Lynda McKnight. 

¡Felices Fiesta! 
On New Year’s Eve, Ars Lyrica offers a festive evening of celebration and beautiful music featuring soprano Melissa Givens and mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte.

Love Letters
A swoon advisory is thus in effect for this performance featuring duets from Claudio Monteverdi and cantatas by Vivaldi and Scarlatti.

Bach & Sons: At Court
Ars Lyrica’s season-long tribute to the Bach family continues with an evening of concertos by Johann Sebastian, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christian Bach.

Alexander's Feast
Our 2014/15 season finale provides abundant vocal and instrumental fireworks, with Alexander’s Feast—Or, The Power of Music by G.F. Handel, produced in collaboration with the Bach Society Houston. 


2013–2014

Menus Plaisirs
Rarely heard works including Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Magnificat a 3 and Petite Pastorale plus pieces by Lully, C. P. E. Bach, and Handel. With Aaron Sheehan, John Buffett, and Eduardo Tercero.

Venetian Carnival
Celebrating Venice and its carnival tradition with exotic music from the City of Masks. With Melissa Givens and Blair Doerge, Sean Wang, Colin St Martin, and Richard Savino.

La Sposa dei Cantici
The modern world première of a 1703 oratorio by Alessandro Scarlatti featuring Canadian soprano Meghan Lindsay and three of the world’s leading countertenors: John Holiday, Jay Carter, and Ryland Angel.

Susanna
The Texas première of Handel's oratorio.  With Meg Bragle, Cecilia Duarte, Abigail Levis, Zachary Averyt, Brian Shircliffe, Timothy Jones, and the University of Houston Moores School of Music Concert Chorale.

A Baroque Wedding Feast
Springtime Baroque favorites.   Featuring soprano Meghan Lindsay. 

2012–2013

It Takes Two 
Bach’s 4th “Brandenburg” Concerto, Haydn’s Concerto in F Major for violin and harpsichord, and other works for two or more soloists. With Marc Destrubé, Paul Leenhouts, Kathryn Montoya, and Matthew Dirst.

Magnificat 
Bach’s Magnificat plus ceremonial works by Gabrieli and Handel. In collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Singers.

A Vienneses New Year 
Festive music by the legendary composers of the Viennese royal court: Mozart, Gluck, Schmeltzer, Fux, and Strauss. With Lauren Snouffer and John Holiday.

Acis and Galatea 
Handel’s pastoral masterpiece directed by Tara Faircloth. With Blair Doerge, Ryland Angel, Derek Chester, Michael Kelly, and Timothy Jones.

Divine Recreation 
Musical settings of texts from the Song of Solomon by Monteverdi, Buxtehude, and Part I of Handel’s oratorio Solomon. With Melissa Givens, Ellie Jarrett Shattles, and Tony Boutté.


2011–2012

Paradise Found 
A journey from worldly torment to heavenly ecstasy with music of Scarlatti, Couperin, Rameau, and Handel

Musical Alchemy 
J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 5 with prize-winning soloists, and music of Frederick the Great’s personal composer, J.G. Janitsch

Bach and Time 
A seasonal all-Bach program on the subject of time in its multiple dimensions

La Resurrezione 
A telling of the Resurrection story by G.F. Handel, with vocal fireworks, beautiful melodies, and a stellar cast

Heaven and Hell
In collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company, some of Monteverdi’s most imaginative scores are brought to Houston in a staged program

2010–2011

La Dirindina 
A Domenico Scarlatti intermezzo and string concerti arranged from his keyboard sonatas

1610 Vespers 
On the 400th anniversary of Monteverdi’s grandest sacred work, in collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Singers

Musical Resolutions 
Handel'sApollo e Dafne plus instrumental works by Bach and Telemann

St John Passion 
Bach’s sacred drama, with the Moores School Concert Chorale

Forbidden Pleasures 
Music for the castrati from Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti


2009–2010

A Musical Offering 
Works by Bach and Telemann evoking far-flung locales

Hail! Bright Cecilia 
Purcell’s ode to the patron saint of music, in collaboration with the Houston Chamber Choir

A Neapolitan New Year 
The American première of J. A. Hasse’s serenata Marc Antonio e Cleopatra

Springtime in Paris 
French Baroque chamber works for voices and instruments

Les Plaisirs de Versailles
Chamber opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier at Rienzi

Roman Holiday 
Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno


2008–2009

Legendary Lovers 
Cantatas and operatic scenes by Clérambault, Handel, Hasse, and Gluck

Rockin’ Rococo 
CPE Bach, Cello Concerto No. 2 and “Der Frühling” Chamber works of J-Ph. Rameau

Bachanalia 2008–2009 
J. S. Bach wedding cantatas, oboe concerto

Women on the Verge 
Music for three sopranos by Rossi, Carissimi, and Haydn

Il Trionfo del Tempo
G. F. Handel

Messiah 
G. F. Handel. In collaboration with Moores School of Music Concert Chorale

A Musical Pleasure Garden
Songs and sonatas of Handel, Arne, Shield, and their contemporaries. Outdoor performance at Bayou Bend


2007-2008

Mad Women 
Baroque mad scenes by Purcell, Handel, and Clerambault

Wired Bach 
Instrumental music by the Bach family

Love and War 
Madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi

Clandestine Classics 
Handel’ Gloria and Bach’ Ich habe genug

A Marian Feast 
Religious music by A. Scarlatti

When in Rome 
Carissimi, Mazzocchi, and Gallerano

Duelling Divas 
Handel and Bach

2006–2007

Stravaganze! 
Scarlatti, Handel, and Vivaldi

Celestial Sirens 
Music for the Concerte delle donne

Biber, Bach, and Bubbly
Brandenburg V, Orchestral Suite II, “Non sa che sia dolore”

Flavio 
G. F. Handel

Portraits d’amour 
French Baroque portraits

La Resurrezione 
G. F. Handel


2005–2006

Suonare e cantare 
Music of the Scarlattis

Clori, Tirsi e Fileno 
G. F. Handel

La descente d’Orphée aux enfers 
M. A. Charpentier

Goldberg Variations 
J. S. Bach

..Mozart @ 250 
Sonatas and Trios

Lettere d'amore 
Monteverdi and his contemporaries

The Art of Buxtehude 
Vocal and instrumental chamber music

2004–2005

Actéon 
M. A. Charpentier

Piano Trios and Songs 
J. Haydn

Stabat Mater 
D. Scarlatti

La Concettione della Beata Vergine 
A Scarlatti

St John Passion 
J. S. Bach

Hagar and Ishmael 
A. Scarlatti


2003–2004

Il primo omicidio 
A. Scarlatti

Vespers of 1610 
C. Monteverdi

La Giuditta 
A. Scarlatti