CHICAGO, Ill. — Third Coast Baroque, Chicago’s newest early music ensemble, has announced its 2019–2020 concert season, which will feature music of George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, and French Baroque masters at performances in Chicago and suburbs.

This season, the flourishing arts organization increases its subscription concert series from two to three distinct programs. Under the artistic direction of Rubén Dubrovsky, “Chicago's most accomplished period instrumentalists and singers” (Chicago Tribune) will perform concerts spotlighting heroines of Handel cantatas, 18th-century instrumental masterworks by Francois Couperin and Jean-Marie Leclair, and arias from Antonio Vivaldi’s opera Orlando furioso.

Handel’s Heroines

Third Coast Baroque’s season-opening program, “Wonder Women: Female Strength in Handel’s Cantatas,” features three of Handel’s dramatic secular cantatas for soprano, strings, and continuo, centered on female characters.

Third Coast Baroque will present the chamber cantatas “in dramatic fashion with semi-staged performances and dynamic presentation, with Maestro Dubrovsky providing his signature commentary from the stage,” according to Angela Young Smucker, executive director and ensemble artist.

Performers are sopranos Nathalie Colas, Kaitlin Foley, and Erica Schuller, with the TCB Chamber Ensemble. Dubrovsky will conduct the proceedings from the colascione, a long-necked Italian lute rarely seen or heard in North America.

Colas, praised for her “luminous soprano” (Chicago Classical Review) in TCB’s Chicago premiere of Handel’s first oratorio (Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno), will sing Handel’s Armida abbandonata, HWV 105, about a sorceress abandoned by her lover. Schuller, with her “luscious vocalism” (Chicago Tribune), will sing Lucrezia, HWV 145, a tale of rape, suicide, and the desire for revenge. Foley, “one of the truly great musicians of this city” (Vocal Arts Chicago), is soloist in Agrippina condotta a morire, HWV 110, about a Roman empress sentenced to death by her own son.

The chamber ensemble will play movements from Handel’s Trio Sonatas HWV 389, HWV 401, and HWV 386a between the cantata performances.

Concerts are 7:30pm Friday, September 6, 2019, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue, Evanston; and 5:00pm Saturday, September 7, at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple 77 W Washington Street, Chicago.

Audience members are invited to attend a post-concert discussion with Maestro Dubrovsky, the artists, and partners from local organizations that provide support for women.

Bounty of French Baroque

Guest artists Kathryn Montoya, oboe, and Charles Brink, flute, join Dubrovsky, conducting from the colascione, and the TCB Chamber Ensemble for “The French Connection: An Exquisite Exploration.” Montoya is recognized for her work across the country, including the Boston Early Music Festival, Tafelmusik, and Apollo’s Fire. Brink, a native Midwesterner, is the first of many collaborations to come with TCB’s sibling ensemble Bach Consort Wien, Dubrovsky’s Vienna-based ensemble.

Principal works are Francois Couperin’s Premier Ordre “La Françoise” from Les Nations, a nine-movement dance suite; and Jean-Marie Leclair’s seven-movement Deuxième recréation de musique, Op. 8, both of which with feature “the dazzling virtuosity of these world-class guest artists,” Smucker says.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, November 15, 2019 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston; 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 16, 2019, at First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple; and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, November 17, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E Chicago Ave, Naperville.

Vivaldi Opera Arias

Selected arias from Vivaldi’s Orlando furioso, RV 728, a three-act opera about romance, jealousy, and magic, take center stage in Third Coast Baroque’s season-finale program, “Welcome Back, Vivaldi: Revisiting Forgotten Treasures.”

The program features mezzo-soprano Angela Young Smucker, applauded for her “impassioned, virtuosic” singing (Chicago Classical Review) in TCB’s Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. Accompanied by the TCB Chamber Ensemble, she will present rarely-heard arias from Vivaldi’s opera, which received its U.S. premiere a mere 40 years ago.

Led by TCB concertmaster and violinist Martin Davids, the concert will also include works for strings by Vivaldi that feature some of TCB’s principal artists. Performances will be heard at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17, 2020, at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston; and 5:00 p. m. Saturday, April 18, at the Chicago Temple.

 

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