Agrippina
Nov
16
7:30 PM19:30

Agrippina

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An instant sensation at its premiere in Venice in 1709, Agrippina established the young Handel’s reputation as a theatrical genius. Its tuneful score, abundant humor, and classic Roman intrigue make for a delightful evening at the opera. The cast for Ars Lyrica’s production of this early masterpiece includes: Sofia Selowsky, Agrippina, John Holiday, Nero, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Ottone, Camille Ortiz, Poppea, Timothy Jones, Claudio, Tara Faircloth, stage director.

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Agrippina (matinee performance)
Nov
18
2:30 PM14:30

Agrippina (matinee performance)

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An instant sensation at its premiere in Venice in 1709, Agrippina established the young Handel’s reputation as a theatrical genius. Its tuneful score, abundant humor, and classic Roman intrigue make for a delightful evening at the opera. The cast for Ars Lyrica’s production of this early masterpiece includes: Sofia Selowsky, Agrippina, John Holiday, Nero, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Ottone, Camille Ortiz, Poppea, Timothy Jones, Claudio, Tara Faircloth, stage director.

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Baroque Razzle-Dazzle
Dec
31
9:00 PM21:00

Baroque Razzle-Dazzle

Our New Year’s Eve spotlight shines on violinist Adam LaMotte and Ars Lyrica core instrumentalists, as we ring in 2019 with three dazzling concertos. The first and third “Brandenburg” concertos are brilliant ensemble works for strings and winds. Baroque Razzle-Dazzle pairs these works with an equally extravagant violin concerto by Bach’s close contemporary Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello, who served the Württemberg court in Stuttgart.
New Year’s Eve dinner and gala are separately ticketed events.

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Scherzi musicali
Feb
15
7:30 PM19:30

Scherzi musicali

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Need a novel gift for your Valentine? Ars Lyrica offers an out-of-the-box treat: Claudio Monteverdi’s spirited Scherzi musicali (“musical jokes”). These game-changing publications from 1607 and 1632 gave life to one of the most famous debates in music history: Monteverdi’s experimental style of vocal writing favored the words, whose careful expression justified the occasional compositional impropriety. Love in all its delicious colors is on the menu, as served up by soprano Dominique McCormick, mezzo-soprano Cecilia Duarte and baritone Brian Shircliffe.

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San Giovanni Battista
Mar
30
7:30 PM19:30

San Giovanni Battista

This 1675 oratorio tells the story of the death of John the Baptist with great flair and vivid drama. The prodigiously gifted Italian composer Alessandro Stradella took no prisoners in life or in art: his vocal lines, by turns acrobatic and deeply expressive, resemble his brief but spectacular career. Our cast for this performance, the Houston premiere of San Giovanni Battista, includes counter-tenor Jay Carter in the title role, soprano Sherezade Panthaki as Herodiade, and bass-baritone Sam Handley as Herod.

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From Brandenburg to Esterházy
May
19
6:00 PM18:00

From Brandenburg to Esterházy

Ars Lyrica’s 2018/19 season finale travels from Brandenburg to Esterházy, with Bach’s two remaining concertos and a concerto by Franz Joseph Haydn. The second “Brandenburg” concerto offers the set’s oddest combination of soloists—recorder, oboe, violin, and trumpet—while the fourth is a stealth concerto, ostensibly for violin and two recorders, though the violinist leaves everyone in the dust. Baroque violinist Ingrid Matthews joins harpsichordist and artistic director Matthew Dirst at center stage, along with Paul Leenhouts(recorder), Kathryn Montoya (Baroque oboe), and Nathaniel Mayfield(natural trumpet).

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Re-Gifting with Royalty
Sep
21
7:30 PM19:30

Re-Gifting with Royalty

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Leading composers of the Baroque era often repurposed their own works, especially when a royal patron needed a special gift. Bach and Couperin were expert re-gifters: Bach’s “Six Concertos for Diverse Instruments” (as he titled them) were assembled, not composed afresh, for the Margrave of Brandenburg, while Couperin collected his chamber music at regular intervals for the royal seal of approval from Louis XIV. The fifth and sixth “Brandenburg” concertos turned the genre on its head, with an unprecedented harpsichord cadenza (in No. 5) and a violin-free texture of lower strings only (in No. 6). Soloists for this program include violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, flautist Colin St-Martin, harpsichordist and artistic director Matthew Dirst, and soprano Lauren Snouffer.

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A Day with Marie Antoinette
May
19
7:30 PM19:30

A Day with Marie Antoinette

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A Day with Marie-Antoinette

Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 pm

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.”

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Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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Long Live the Queen!
Apr
7
7:30 PM19:30

Long Live the Queen!

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Long Live the Queen!

Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 pm

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.

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Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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 (713) 315-2525
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Esther and Jonah
Feb
16
7:30 PM19:30

Esther and Jonah

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Esther & Jonah

Friday, February 16 at 7:30 pm

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 eighteenth 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.

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Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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 (713) 315-2525
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Dec
31
9:00 PM21:00

New Year’s in Berlin

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New Year’s in Berlin

Sunday, December 31 at 9 pm

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!

Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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 (713) 315-2525
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Italian Sirens
Nov
12
6:00 PM18:00

Italian Sirens

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Italian Sirens

Sunday, November 12 at 6 pm

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 seventeenth-century composers: Isabella Leonarda, Francesca Caccini, and Barbara Strozzi.

Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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 (713) 315-2525
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Sweet Philomela
Sep
22
7:30 PM19:30

Sweet Philomela

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Sweet Philomela

Friday, September 22 at 7:30 pm

Ars Lyrica’s season opener introduces exotic musical works inspired by Philomela, a mythical princess of Athens whose transformation into a nightingale has fascinated poets and musicians for centuries. Its primary offering, Johann Adolph Hasse’s 1769 lyric cantata L’Armonica, combines the ethereal sounds of the glass harmonica with a soprano soloist and full Baroque orchestra.

Zilkha Hall, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
800 Bagby Street
Houston, Texas 77002

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 (713) 315-2525
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Don Quixote's Excellent Adventures
May
21
6:00 PM18:00

Don Quixote's Excellent Adventures

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One of history's greatest literary figures, Don Quixote 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.

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Scalable Heights
Feb
12
6:00 PM18:00

Scalable Heights

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Fast passagework? High notes? No problem for the greatest virtuosos of the early 18th century, whose talents inspired some of the most spectacular music of the late Baroque. Bach's Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, one of the great showpieces of the soprano and trumpet repertoire, headlines this program, which also includes showstoppers by Vivaldi and Scarlatti.

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Bachanalia
Dec
31
9:00 PM21:00

Bachanalia

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A festive all-Bach 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!

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Handel's Jephtha
Oct
15
7:30 PM19:30

Handel's Jephtha

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Handel’s final masterpiece sets an Old Testament tale about a warrior’s foolish promise to God and its terrible consequences. The austere subject matter (from the Book of Judges) becomes pure gold in Handel’s hands; his oratorio is full of beautiful melodies, searing choruses, even a surprise ending. These performances feature a stellar cast of soloists and the award-winning Moores School Concert Chorale from the University of Houston. 

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Les Plaisirs de Versailles
Sep
9
7:30 PM19:30

Les Plaisirs de Versailles

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Ars Lyrica's 2016/17 season opens with a trip to Versailles, where French kings and their courtiers cultivated pleasures of all kinds, including musical follies. Charpentier's witty chamber opera pairs nicely with motets, drinking songs, and chamber works by François Couperin & Jean-Philippe Rameau, for a sumptuous and quintessentially French musical feast. Unusually for its era, Les Plaisirs de Versailles is a comedy — and an ode to both wine and chocolate!

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Summer Zephyr
Jun
3
7:30 PM19:30

Summer Zephyr

Ars Lyrica’s 2015/16 season comes to a close with a program celebrating the warm and sometimes unpredictable winds of summer. Virtuosic flights of fancy abound on this program, which features Vivaldi’s Summer, J. S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, W. A. Mozart’s Exultate, Jubilate, and three outstanding soloists.

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An Easter “Messiah”
Apr
2
7:30 PM19:30

An Easter “Messiah”

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The critically acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Singers from Dallas return for a collaboration on Handel’s Messiah with conductor John Butt, whose recent recording of the Mozart Requiem with the Dunedin Consort won a Gramophone ward in 2014. This Easter Messiah will be a performance of the complete work, with a cast of stellar soloists and full Baroque orchestra. 

At 6:45 pm, please join us for a pre-concert lecture, featuring Michael Marissen, author of “Tainted Glory in Handel’s Messiah: The Unsettling History of the World’s most beloved Choral Work.” 

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All in a Garden Green
Feb
12
7:30 PM19:30

All in a Garden Green

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Songs about springtime animate our 2016 Houston Early Music Festival program, entitled All in a Garden Green after an English folksong. A menu of delectable tunes mixes items from English, Italian, French, and Spanish musical cultures and includes Vivaldi’s Spring, along with songs and cantatas by William Byrd, Thomas Morely, Clément Jannequin, Juan del Encina and others. Love will definitely be in the air at this Valentine’s weekend program!

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Fire and Ice
Dec
31
9:30 PM21:30

Fire and Ice

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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. This very special evening at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts begins with dinner at 8:00 pm at Artista Restaurant and continues in Zilkha Hall with the Fire and Ice concert at 9:30 pm. Ars Lyrica Houston’s annual gala (with silent auction) extends the festivities past midnight at the exclusive Founders Room, so that you can ring in 2016 with us — at Houston’s most stylish New Year’s Eve event!

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Homage to the Sun King
Nov
20
7:30 PM19:30

Homage to the Sun King

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Ars Lyrica’s Homage to the Sun King comes exactly 300 years after his light finally faded in 1715. This program features Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s sparkling chamber opera Les arts florissants plus royal motets and chamber works by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and François Couperin. It’s a rare opportunity to savor French Baroque masterworks in full historical dress, with instruments and dance steps from the Ancien Régime.

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Autumn Hunt
Sep
13
6:00 PM18:00

Autumn Hunt

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Our 2015/16 Seasonal Rituals begin with Antonio Vivaldi’s Autumn, the first of four concerti constituting his beloved Four Seasons, each of which appears on its own program this season. Autumn Hunt also includes vocal fireworks aplenty, with Joseph Haydn’s dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos for mezzo-soprano and strings—in which the mythical figure Arianna imagines herself hunter’s prey—plus a selection of Handel arias.

Featuring: mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, 2013 Cardiff Singer of the World

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