Susanna Phillips (soprano)

Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. The 2013-14 season saw Phillips return to The Metropolitan Opera for a sixth consecutive season. Starring roles with the company include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, under the baton of returning music director James Levine, Rosalinde in a new staging of Strauss’s Die Fledermaus as part of the annual New Year’s Eve gala, and Musetta in La bohème, a reprise of the role in which she made her house debut in 2008.

Phillips’ 2013-14 orchestral engagements included Fauré’s Requiem with Charles Dutoit and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra where it shared the program with Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5 with Alain Altinoglu. Phillips also joined the St. Louis Symphony to sing Ellen Orford in a concert performance of Peter Grimes, under David Robertson, at Carnegie Hall on Britten’s 100th birthday and in St Louis. Other orchestral engagements included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Jacksonville Symphony.

In recital, Phillips was joined by bass-baritone Eric Owens at Chicago’s Symphony Center for a program of Schubert lieder. Chamber music engagements included performances with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott in a trio concert tour that culminates at Boston’s Gardner Museum.

In 2012-13, Phillips sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Met and returned to Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Renée Fleming—a role she went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other operatic highlights included her return to Santa Fe Opera as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and a concert production of Idomeneo at the Ravinia Festival. Orchestral appearances included collaborations with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Alabama, and St. Louis, and with the Oratorio Society of New York. The soprano made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.

In 2011-12, Phillips sang Musetta at the Met; sang the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at Chicago’s Lyric Opera and the Minnesota Opera; and made her European debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona. In concert, she appeared with the St. Louis Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Santa Fe Concert Association, while the release of Paysages, her first solo album on Bridge Records, was hailed as “sumptuous and elegantly sung” (San Francisco Chronicle).

Highlights of Phillips’s previous seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances: as Pamina in Julie Taymor’s celebrated production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), and she was a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a trio of other Mozart roles there: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Figaro, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Phillips made two appearances with Boston Lyric Opera and three with Opera Birmingham. She portrayed Adina in Lyric’s L’elisir d’amore, and, as a participant in the company’s Ryan Opera Center, sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die Fledermaus. Phillips made her Minnesota Opera debut in the notoriously challenging role of Elmira in Tim Albery’s production of Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and later sang Euridice there opposite David Daniels in Orfeo ed Euridice. Phillips has also played Mozart’s Countess with the Dallas Opera and Donna Anna with the Fort Worth Opera Festival.

Highlights of Phillips’s previous seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances: as Pamina in Julie Taymor’s celebrated production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), and she was a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a trio of other Mozart roles there: Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Figaro, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Phillips made two appearances with Boston Lyric Opera and three with Opera Birmingham. She portrayed Adina in Lyric’s L’elisir d’amore, and, as a participant in the company’s Ryan Opera Center, sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die Fledermaus. Phillips made her Minnesota Opera debut in the notoriously challenging role of Elmira in Tim Albery’s production of Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and later sang Euridice there opposite David Daniels in Orfeo ed Euridice. Phillips has also played Mozart’s Countess with the Dallas Opera and Donna Anna with the Fort Worth Opera Festival.

 

Eric Owens (bass-baritone)

Bass-baritone Eric Owens has a unique reputation as an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Equally at home in orchestral, recital and opera performances, Owens brings his powerful poise, expansive voice and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the world.

Owens began his 2013-2014 season in Berlin, performing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle. After mentoring the next generation of opera stars at the American Singers’ Opera Project at the Kennedy Center with friend and collaborator Renée Fleming, Owens appeared as Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera. He makes another role debut as Vodnik in Rusalka at Lyric Opera Chicago at the start of 2014. In the spring, Owens joined what director Peter Sellars called his “dream cast” in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Handel’s Hercules as the title role alongside Alice Coote, David Daniels, and Richard Croft. 2013-14 also saw a duo recital with soprano Susanna Phillips presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout that season, Owens bowed as Alberich in the Deutsche Opera Berlin Ring Cycle. That summer, Owens performed in the Wiener Staatsoper Ring Cycle. Owens has created an uncommon niche for himself in the ever-growing body of contemporary opera works through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he performed the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars’s New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna and later with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Doctor Atomic was later recorded and received the 2012 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Owens made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of David Robertson in Adams’s Nativity oratorio Owens’s career operatic highlights include his San Francisco Opera debut in Otello conducted by Donald Runnicles; his Royal Opera, Covent Garden, debut in Norma; Aida at Houston Grand Opera; Rigoletto, Il Trovatore and La Bohème at Los Angeles Opera; Die Zauberflöte for his Paris Opera (Bastille) debut; and Ariodante and  L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the English National Opera. He sang Collatinus in a highly acclaimed Christopher Alden production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at Glimmerglass Opera. A former member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Owens has sung Sarastro, Mephistopheles in Faust, Frère Laurent, Angelotti in Tosca, and Aristotle Onassis in the world premiere of Jackie O (available on the Argo label) with that company. Owens is featured on two Telarc recordings with the Atlanta Symphony: Mozart’s Requiem and scenes from Strauss’ Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten, both conducted by Donald Runnicles. He is featured on the Nonesuch Records release of A Flowering Tree. Owens has been recognized with multiple honors, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, and second prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition.

A native of Philadelphia, Owens began his musical training as a pianist at the age of six, followed by formal oboe study at age eleven under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University, and then as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.

Yusuke Fujii (tenor)

Japanese tenor Yusuke Fujii has established himself as one of the leading tenors in oratorio repertoire in Japan, and is rapidly expanding his international career, especially through a decade-long relationship with Bach Collegium Japan—one of the most celebrated period instrument ensembles worldwide.

Born and raised in Oita, Japan, Yusuke began his voice training at the age of 14 with Kanako Togawa, and earned his doctorate from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2011, studying along the way with recognized teachers such as Kazuya Edagawa, Kan-ichi Suzuki, Chieko Teratani, Olga Warla-Kolo, Makoto Okuda, and Brian Parsons.

The cornerstone of his career has been sacred vocal works that require stylistic sensitivity and extensive knowledge in performance practice; however, his repertoire is not limited to early music. He frequently performs oratorio and passion works such as J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Passions, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, and Dvorak’s Stabat Mater. His recent solo works also include Schumann’s oratorio The Pilgrimage of the Rose and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He has collaborated with conductors Kotaro Sato, Kenichiro Kobayashi, Jun-ichi Hirokami, and Rolf Beck, and with orchestras such as Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.

His reputation as a professional vocalist, with solid technique and a clear voice, has kept him busy with numerous recording projects and international tours with Bach Collegium Japan (BCJ), directed by Masaaki Suzuki, the foremost Bach expert of our time. His solo appearances with BCJ include Handel’s Israel in Egypt (2007) and Mendelssohn’s St. Paul (2012) oratorio productions.

Mr. Fujii has also explored operatic roles and recitals. His recent opera appearances include the role of Luciano in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (the New National Theater production, 2009). Giving two solo recitals in 2013, he continues to strive for informed, insightful and sentimental performances of art song. His current research interest is the Lieder by Schumann.

Open Rehearsal – January 14, 2015 6:30pm

DSC00548with Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
Settlement Music School, 4th and Queen St.

January 14, 2015 | 6:30pm

Don’t miss your opportunity to get to know Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia! Get a sneak peek at one of our rehearsals and see Alan Harler’s artistic magic in action. Meet members of Mendelssohn Club’s family and enjoy a friendly reception before we sing. These open rehearsals are fun and provide a great introduction to the world of choral music.

This event is free and open to the public. Please register here so we can make sure we have enough snacks!

St. Matthew Passion Symposium

XZL151530January 24, 2015 at 3PM

The Ethical Society of Philadelphia
1906 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Join Alan Harler and a panel of prominent experts for a lively discussion of Mendelssohn’s revival performance of St. Matthew Passion and its context.

  • Alan Harler, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
  • Tanya Kevorkian, Millersville University
  • R. Larry Todd, Duke University
  • Steven Zohn, Temple University
  • ..and Koji Otsuki, to moderate the discussion

This symposium will be informal and accessible to novices and experts alike and will be followed with a friendly reception.

Click here to make free reservations

After learning about Mendelssohn’s revisions, please consider attending our North American Premiere on February 8th, 4pm.

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Organist Michael Stairs introduces the Æolian-Skinner organ at Girard College Chapel

Organists Michael Stairs and Doug Backman introduce the renowned Aeolian-Skinner organ at the Girard College Chapel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. Stairs will accompany the North American Premier of Mendelssohn’s version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on February 8th, 2015.

North American Premiere by Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia