Welcome to UCA's new events blog!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Media Contact:
Hilarie Ashton | Public Relations Manager
hashton@usuo.org | (801)869-9027



SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Symphony and Music Director Thierry Fischer will usher in the Christmas season with Hector Berlioz’ biblical epic, “The Childhood of Christ.”

This sweeping and affecting Sacred Trilogy, featuring the Utah Symphony Chorus and vocalists John Tessier, Tamara Mumford, Benedict Nelson, Keith Miller, Christopher Clayton and Chad Millar, will be presented Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19 at 8 pm in Abravanel Hall (123 W. South Temple).

“The Childhood of Christ,” or “L’enfance du Christ,” is a choral work commonly performed during the Christmas season, with solo singers portraying characters in the story of Mary and Joseph’s flight from Bethlehem into Egypt with their newborn babe.

Drawing on memories of the music he heard while taking communion as a boy and of the religious oratorios exposed to him by his music teacher, Berlioz did not purposefully begin “L’enfance” with the vision of becoming what it is. Rather, he caught the idea after converting an organ piece he penned for a friend into a choral arrangement about shepherds saying farewell to the Christ child as he leaves Bethlehem. The rest took form over the next couple of years, with listeners proclaiming that Berlioz had found just the right color in which to set this biblical tale.

Tickets for the evening performances range from $17 to $51 and can be purchased by calling (801) 355-ARTS (2787), in person at the Abravanel Hall ticket office or by visiting www.usuo.org. Students can purchase discounted tickets with a student ID. Season ticket holders and those desiring group discounts should call (801) 533-NOTE (6683). Ticket prices will increase $5 when purchased on the day of the performance.

Fischer and Toby Tolokan, Utah Symphony Vice President of Artistic Planning, will present a free pre-concert lecture each night, 45 minutes prior to the start of the performance in the First Tier Room of Abravanel Hall.

Press photos available by logging in at http://www.utahsymphony.org/about/press-and-reviews/itemlist/category/35-media-kit. (Username: usuoimages, Password: media).

Artist Bios:

Tamara Mumford, Mezzo-Soprano
This season, up and coming mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford returned to the Metropolitan Opera for the new productions of Das Rheingold and Nixon in China, as well Ariadne auf Naxos, The Magic Flute and The Queen of Spades. Upcoming engagements include a return to the Opera Company of Philadelphia as the title role in the American premiere of Henze's Phaedra, a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and concerts with Donald Runnicles at the Grand Teton Festival. Next season she returns to the Met in it's new productions of Anna Bolena and the complete Ring Cycle, and appears in concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Utah Symphony.

A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. Mumford made her debut there as Laura in Luisa Miller, and has since appeared in their productions of Rigoletto, Ariadne Il Trittico, Parsifal, Idomeneo, Cavalleria Rusticana, the complete Ring Cycle, and The Magic Flute (which was broadcast live in HD in movie theaters around the world).   Other recent opera engagements have included her debuts at the Opera Company of Philadelphia as the title role in The Rape of Lucretia, Glimmerglass Opera as the title role in Dido and Aeneas, and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival and the BBC Proms as Ottavia in L'incoronazione di Poppea. She has also appeared Isabella in L'Italiana in Algeri at the Palm Beach Opera, the title role in The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival; Principessa in Suor Angelica and Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi with the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano in Italy; and the title role in La Cenerentola at Utah Festival Opera.

A native of Sandy, Utah , Ms. Mumford holds a Bachelors of Music from Utah State University.  Her many awards include the Arthur E. Walters Memorial Award in the 2005 Opera Index Competition, second place in the advanced division in the 2005 Palm Beach Opera Competition, and awards in the 2005 Sullivan Foundation Competition, the 2005 Connecticut Opera Guild Competition and the 2004 Joyce Dutka Foundation Competition.  Ms. Mumford was also a Mathias Winner and PBS Concert Soloist for the 2001 MacAllister Awards.

John Tessier, Tenor
On the international stages of opera, concert, and recital, Canadian John Tessier has gained attention and praise for the beauty and honesty of his voice, for a refined style and creative versatility, and for his handsome, youthful presence in the lyric tenor repertoire. The Juno Award winning artist has worked with many of the most notable conductors of our day including Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Plácido Domingo, John Nelson, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles, Robert Spano, and Bernard Labadie.

Symphonic performances of the recent past have included John Corigliano’s A Dylan Thomas Trilogy with Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony (recorded and commercially available on Naxos), Stephen Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra (recorded and commercially available on BIS Records), Berlioz’ L’enfance du Christ under the baton of John Nelson in Spain, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings with Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Itzhak Perlman and the Russian National Orchestra at Festival of the Arts Boca, Haydn’s Mass in the Time of War with Bernard Labadie and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with Donald Runnicles and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s at Carnegie Hall, Mozart’s Mass in C with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic, Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, and Haydn’s The Creation with Jane Glover and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque and with John Nelson and Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He has given performances of Messiah with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Carmina Burana and Szymanowski’s Symphony No. 3 with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Mozart Requiem with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (recorded and commercially available on Telarc), Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Nicholas McGegan and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

Benedict Nelson, Baritone
Hailed by Rupert Christiansen in the Daily Telegraph as Best Newcomer in his “Opera Highlights of 2009”, British baritone Benedict Nelson is one of the most exciting singers of his generation and is attracting comparisons to Gerald Finley and Simon Keenlyside among others.

Born in London, Nelson studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. In 2007 Benedict won second prize in both the Kathleen Ferrier awards and the Guildhall Gold Medal at the young age of 23.

Benedict has amassed a considerable number of operatic roles, including Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Count Almaviva and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro), Masetto and Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni), Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Marcello (La Bohème), Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Sid (Albert Herring), Don Parmenione (L’occasione fa il ladro), Baron Gondremarck (La Vie Parisienne) Christian (Un ballo in maschera), Morales (Carmen) and Tarquinius and Junius (Rape of Lucreatia).

Keith Miller, Bass-Baritone
A graduate of Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts, bass-baritone Keith Miller joined the Metropolitan Opera in 2006. He made his Met debut on opening night of Peter Gelb's first season as The Imperial Commissioner in Anthony Minghella's HD production of Madama Butterfly.

Since then, he has sung in nearly 200 performances for the company. These include the Opening Night Galas of Madama Butterfly and Tosca, as well as HD performances of Tosca, Il Trittico, Eugene Onegin, Macbeth, Turandot, Carmen, Armida, and Salome. In addition, he has performed the King in Aida, Monterone in Rigoletto, Zuniga in Carmen, Ashby in La Fancuilla Del West, Jago in Ernani as well as various other roles in War and Peace, Manon Lescaut, Faust, Andrea Chénier, Gianni Schicchi and Die Zauberflöte. He also performed with the Met in the Parks in the Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series and was featured on the company's Grammy-nominated recording of Madama Butterfly.

Other opera engagements include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Florida Grand Opera, Monterone in Rigoletto, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, and Ramfis in Aida at the Portland Opera, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Monterone and Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and Colline in La Bohème at the Crested Butte Music Festival; Alidoro in La Cenerentola with the Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Colline in La Bohème with the Poughkeepsie Opera company.

Christopher Clayton, Bass
Utah native Christopher Clayton received a Master’s Degree and Professional Studies Certificate at the Manhattan School of Music. Prior to his studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Mr. Clayton received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah.

For Chautauqua Opera, Mr. Clayton performed the role of Betto in Gianni Schicchi as well as covered the roles of Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Gianni Schicchi, and the Doctor in Vanessa. He also performed in Madam Butterfly and The Music Man.

Other operatic performance highlights include the title role in Don Giovanni; Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute; Somarone in Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict; Jupiter in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld and John Sorel in The Consul. Along with various recitals at the Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Mr. Clayton has participated in numerous master classes with Lauren Flanigan, Catherine Malfitano, Bo Skovus and Martin Katz.

Chad Millar, Tenor
Chad Millar, tenor, has been singing professionally since the age of 9. He debuted in the role of Amahl in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. His roles include Belmonte in Die Entfurung aus dem Serail with California Chamber Opera, Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte with Mission City Opera, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with Sam Houston Lyric Opera, Lt. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Livermore Valley Opera, Arturo in Lucia Di Lammermoor with West Bay Opera, Josef in Wiener Blut with Ohio Light Opera as well as numerous other roles in a cover capacity with San Francisco Opera and Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Millar was in the full time chorus of San Francisco Opera from 2002-2005. He is a Metropolitan Opera district winner and a two time winner of the Igor Gorin award. His concert work includes Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation.


Hector Berlioz
L'Enfance du Christ, Opus 25
I. Herod's Dream
II. The Flight into Egypt
III. The Arrival at Sais


Hilarie Ashton
Public Relations Manager
801.869.9027 office
801.335.9387 cell

No comments:

Post a Comment