By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Canterbury Voices is scheduled to begin its 2020-21 season on November 1 with Johannes Brahms’ choral masterpiece, Ein deutsches Requiem, written after the deaths of his mother and composer Robert Schumann.
The Requiem became the central work of Brahms’ career, establishing him as a composer of major stature. Canterbury presents Brahms’ own piano transcriptions as the accompaniment: two pianos, four hands.
The concert will feature American soprano Sarah Coburn, who is captivating international audiences with her “precision placement, mercury speed, and a gorgeous liquid gold tone, gilded by a thrilling top and bottom register” (The Globe and Mail).
Following her performances as Lucie de Lammermoor at Glimmerglass Opera, the New York Observer noted “she turns out to have qualities that have made legends out of so many of her predecessors, from Adelina Patti to Maria Callas: stage charisma, a thrilling upper register and, crucially, a fearlessness about abandoning herself to opera’s most abandoned heroine … this is a palpably exciting voice … Ms. Coburn is a budding prima donna of exceptional promise.” We are thrilled to welcome back Sarah Coburn to the Canterbury stage.”
Also featured will be Grammy Award winning baritone Gabriel Preisser. He has been praised by Opera News for his “handsome voice, charismatic energy, and timbral allure” and The New York Times called his performance as Lt. Gordon“wonderful.”
Preisser’s resume features over 40 operatic and musical theater roles including Danilo in The Merry Widow with Utah Festival Opera, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia with St Petersburg Opera, Le Mari in Les Mamelles de Tiresias with Opera Parallele, and Harold Hill in The Music Man with Colorado Symphony. He has been praised for having a “matinee idol’s charm and charisma,” “a beautiful, luscious baritone,” and “a compelling, commanding stage presence.” This will be Gabriel’s third appearance with Canterbury Voices.
On December 6, Canterbury Christmas will feature traditional Christmas favorites and new holiday classics, as well as an audience sing-a-long.
With the Civic Center Music Hall decked out with Christmas trees, holiday poinsettias, and special guests, the OCU Faculty Brass Quintet and the Canterbury Youth Voices Chorale, directed by Stephen Ziegler.
The Canterbury Youth Voices Central Apprentice Choir will sing carols in the lobby in front of the Civic Center Christmas tree.
Originally scheduled for the spring of 2020, Of Perpetual Solace, a powerful new choral work of remembrance, resilience, and hope will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on March 28, 2021.
Canterbury Voices commissioned this epic 45-minute piece, created by award-winning Oklahoma composer Edward Knight and librettist MJ Alexander. Canterbury musicians will be joined by the Oklahoma City University Chamber Choir, University Singers, and the OCU Symphony Orchestra.
The performance will feature soloist Lisa Reagan Love, an American mezzo-soprano, composer, and classical-crossover artist. She has performed in 15 nations, most recently at the Salzburg Music Festival, and has been a featured soloist at the White House and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. A former Miss Oklahoma, Lisa holds a master’s degree in opera and vocal performance from the University of Maryland’s Opera Studio.
Her stage roles include Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka, and the leads in operas by Puccini (Mimi in La Boheme, the title roles inMadame Butterfly, Manon Lescaut and Tosca) and Verdi (the title role in Aida; Leonora in Il Trovatore and La Forza del destino).
Knight is composer-in-residence, director of composition, founder of Project 21: Music for the 21st Century at Oklahoma City University, and OCU’s 2013 Faculty Member of the Year.
Creating works ranging from fully staged musicals to sonatas, Knight’s music is featured on five commercial recordings, including a solo CD from Albany Records: Where the Sunsets Bleed: Chamber Music of Edward Knight.
Regarding Of Perpetual Solace, Ed said, “I’ve been waiting my entire life to write this piece.”
During this extended intermission due to the COVID pandemic, Canterbury Voices thanks the public for their patience, stating, “the safety of our patrons and artists is our top priority.”
“As we approach the start of our 52nd season, please know that Canterbury Voices has been carefully developing a plan in coordination with the Civic Center Music Hall to welcome you back,” their press release states. “We have a set of safety guidelines that we will share with you very soon.”
For more information, visit canterburyokc.com.