Performance Friday, December 11, 2009 | 8 PM

Les Violons du Roy

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
To celebrate the holidays, here is the most beloved of oratorios, given new, fresh life by Les Violons du Roy, La Chapelle de Québec, and a world-class quartet of soloists. This ensemble from Québec plays modern instruments, but in the lively and festive style of the Baroque. “The result,” says the New York Times, is “powerful” and “invigorating.”


  • Alan Bennett, Tenor
  • Andrew Foster-Williams, Bass-Baritone
  • David Daniels, Countertenor
  • La Chapelle de Québec
    Bernard Labadie, Music Director and Conductor
  • Les Violons du Roy
  • Rosemary Joshua, Soprano


  • HANDEL Messiah

  • Program is approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes, including one intermission



    Lyric tenor Alan Bennett has performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and he also has made appearances in Central America, South America, and Asia, singing with prominent festivals and orchestras, as well as in recitals and opera. His performances have received consistently high critical acclaim.

    Mr. Bennett has sung with numerous symphony orchestras, including The Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, National Philharmonic, Calgary Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Indianapolis Symphony. He also has sung with many period instrument ensembles, including the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, Tafelmusik, and Apollo's Fire.

    An active recitalist and chamber musician,Mr. Bennett is currently collaborating with pianist Hye-Seon Choi in preparation for the 2010 Robert Schumann anniversary celebration, during which they will present all of the major Schumann song cycles for tenor and piano.

    Mr. Bennett is a frequent guest at music festivals and has developed a longstanding relationship with the Carmel Bach Festival, where he has performed for many seasons. He has appeared at the Tanglewood Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, Bethlehem Bach Festival, Boulder Bach Festival, Plymouth Music Series, Le Rendez-vous Musicale de Laterriere in Quebec, the Caramoor Festival, the Grand Tetons Music Festival, the Augsburg Mozart Festival, and many others.

    Mr. Bennett has collaborated with some of the world's most prominent conductors, including Bruno Weil, Sir DavidWillcocks, Christopher Hogwood, Helmuth Rilling, Nicholas McGegan, Bernard Labadie, and the late Robert Shaw. His recording credits include works of the medieval through contemporary periods, including premiers of works by Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt for Harmonia Mundi USA. He also has recorded for Nonesuch, Telarc, and Focus Records. Mr. Bennett is a member of the voice faculty of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
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    Widely acclaimed for his authoritative, sonorous, and regal voice, Andrew Foster-Williams is seen as an exciting emerging talent in the classical music world. Combining intelligent music making with an instinctual dramatic sense, Mr. Foster-Williams brings vocal agility and richness of tone to concert halls and opera houses alike.

    Recent opera appearances have included Leone (Tamerlano) for Washington National Opera; Goloud (Pelléaset Mélisande) for Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells in London; Nick Shadow (The Rake's Progress) with Kammerorchester Basel; Cold Genius, Aeolus, and Comus in a new Mark Morris production of Purcell's King Arthur for English National Opera; Il Conte (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Festival de Beaune; Publio (La clemenza di Tito) for English National Opera; Alidoro (La Cenerentola) at Welsh National Opera; and Jim Larkens (La fanciulla del West) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    In concert, Mr. Foster-Williams has sung Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten with the Netherlands Philharmonic under Colin McCreesh; Mendelssohn's Elijah with Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin under Andrew Manze; Haydn's Nelson Mass with The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra under Nicholas McGegan; Christus in the St. Matthew Passion with Sir Roger Norrington and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder and with the Gabrieli Consort.

    Current and future plans include the villains (Les contes d'Hoffmann) in Moscow; Zebul (Jephtha) for Opéra National de Bordeaux, and the bass arias in Purcell's Fairy Queen with William Christie at the Glyndebourne Festival. Also in his schedule are Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis (recorded for LSO Live) and Stravinsky's Pulcinella with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo under Yakov Kreizberg.
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    David Daniels is known for his superlative artistry, magnetic stage presence and a voice of singular warmth and surpassing beauty, which have helped him redefine his voice category for the modern public. The American countertenor has appeared with the world's major opera companies and on its main concert and recital stages. He made history as the first countertenor to give a solo recital in the main auditorium of Carnegie Hall. Gramophone magazine acknowledged his contribution to recorded excellence, as well as his expansion of the repertoire for his voice type by naming him one of the "Top 10 Trailblazers" in classical music today.

    Two highly anticipated European recital tours highlight Mr. Daniels's 2009-2010 season, taking him to Frankfurt, Paris, Belgrade, Berlin, London'sWigmore Hall, and the Prinzregententheater in Munich. He returns to Houston Grand Opera as Arsamene in Nicholas Hytner's renowned production of Handel's Serse opposite Susan Graham, and makes his debut with the Atlanta Opera in the title role of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice conducted by long-time collaborator Harry Bicket. In addition to the current tour of Handel's Messiah and Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Mr. Daniels will collaborate again with Maestro Labadie later in the season in Bach's St. John Passion for his Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut.

    Mr. Daniels was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the son of two singing teachers. He began to sing as a boy soprano, moving to tenor as his voice matured, and earned an undergraduate degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Dissatisfied with his achievements as a tenor, David Daniels made the daring switch to the countertenor range during graduate studies at the University of Michigan with George Shirley.
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    La Chapelle de Québec, founded by Bernard Labadie in 1985, is a chamber choir of professional singers recruitedmainly in Québec City, but also throughout Québec and Canada. It assembles for two or three concerts each season and joins Les Violons du Roy inmajor works fromthe repertory for choir and orchestra, especially fromthe 18th century. Its performances of cantatas, oratorios, andmasses by Bach, Handel,Mozart, and Haydn have been acclaimed throughout Canada and the United States, in particular thanks tomany broadcasts by Radio-Canada, the CBC, and NPR in the United States.

    La Chapelle de Québec has performed regularly on tour with Les Violons du Roy, in particular in Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Toronto, in an all-Vivaldi program in France, and inMozart's Requiem in Toronto and throughout the United States. The choir is often asked to appear with Mr. Labadie in the concerts he conducts with US orchestras, including the Los Angeles Symphony, with which it performed Handel's Messiah in 2004 and Bach's Magnificat in 2006.
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    The chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy borrows its name from the renowned string orchestra of the court of the French kings. The group was founded in 1984 by Music Director Bernard Labadie and specializes in the vast repertoire of music for chamber orchestra, performed in the stylistic manner most appropriate to each era. Although the ensemble plays on modern instruments, its approach to the works of the Baroque and Classical periods has been strongly influenced by current research into 17th- and early 18th-century performance practices, and in this repertoire, Les Violons du Roy uses copies of period bows. In recent seasons, under the leadership of guest conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, the orchestra has begun to explore 19th- and 20th-century repertoire in more depth.

    Les Violons du Roy has been in residence at the Palais Montcalm de Québec since 2007. It performed in Europe in 1988 and has since given dozens of concerts in France, Germany, England, Spain, and the Netherlands, with internationally renowned soloists. It also has been invited to perform twice at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The next European tour is scheduled for 2011. Since its first performance in Washington, DC, in 1995, Les Violons du Roy has extended its performance network in the United States and now makes regular trips to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

    Recordings made by Les Violons du Roy have been acclaimed by critics and earned various distinctions and awards at the national and international levels. Since 2004, the ensemble's association with the Québec label ATMA has led to four CDs, including the critically acclaimed Water Music, winner of a Félix Award in 2008; Piazzolla, conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni and winner of a Juno Award in 2006; and Bartók, also directed by Mr. Zeitouni and released in fall 2008. The group's first collaboration with the multinational Virgin Classics label led to the release in fall 2006 of cantata arias by Handel and Hasse with American mezzosoprano Vivica Genaux. Another collaboration with Virgin Classics, featuring the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, was recorded in November 2008.


    Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as one of the leading conductors of the Baroqueand Classical repertoire, a reputation that is closely tied with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, which he founded and continues to lead as Music Director. With these two ensembles, he regularlytours Canada, the United States, and Europe, in major venues such as CarnegieHall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, Barbican, and the Concertgebouw, among others.

    Passionate about opera, Mr. Labadie also has been artistic director of l'Opéra de Québec and l'Opéra de Montréal. As a guest, he conducted Handel's Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart's Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera. This past September marked his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

    Ever since his triumphant debut with theMinnesota Orchestra in 1999,Mr. Labadie has become a sought after guest conductor with major North American orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Saint Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver-many on a regular basis. His debut with The Cleveland Orchestra is scheduled for later this season.

    Increasingly active outside North America-reflected by recent guest appearances with the Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia in Newcastle, the NDR Orchestra in Hannover, and the Melbourne Symphony-Mr. Labadie's upcoming seasons will feature debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Academy of Ancient Music, among others.

    Mr. Labadie's extensive discography includes many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel's Apollo e Dafne and Mozart's Requiem in collaboration with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both winning Canada's Juno Award. A complete recording of C. P. E. Bach's cello concertos with Truls Mørk andLes Violons du Roy is slated for release this year, as well as a recording with Ian Bostridge and The English Concert, both for Virgin Classics.

    For his achievements, the Canadian government honored Mr. Labadie with an appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, and Quebec made him a Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Québec in 2006.
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    Soprano Rosemary Joshua was born in Cardiff, Wales, and studied at the Royal College of Music,of which she is now a fellow.

    Her recent operatic appearances have included Adèle (Die Fledermaus) at the Metropolitan Opera; Vixen (The Cunning Little Vixen) and Tytania (A Midsummer Night's Dream) at La Scala; Anne Trulove (The Rake's Progress) for the Glyndebourne Festival; Zerlina (Don Giovanni) for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Oscar (Un ballo in maschera) and Vixen for the Netherlands Opera; and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Welsh National Opera, and in Cologne. She also has sung Ilia (Idomeneo) in Lisbon; Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) in Brussels; Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin; and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) in San Diego.

    Ms. Joshua has built her international reputation above all as a Handel singer. She has sung Ginevra (Ariodante) in San Diego; Poppea (Agrippina) in Cologne, Brussels, and Paris; Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare in Egitto) in Paris, Amsterdam, and Florida; and the title role in Semele at the Aix-en-Provence and Innsbruck festivals, and the English National Opera, where she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in the category for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Most recently, she has sung the title role in Partenope at the English National Opera and Nitocris (Belshazzar) at the Deutsche Staatsoper and the Innsbruck and Aix-en-Provence festivals.

    Recent concert appearances include performances with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, Roger Norrington, and René Jacobs; the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Mackerras; the Royal Scottish National Opera with Stéphane Denève; the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Mark Elder; Concentus Musicus Wien with Nikolaus Harnoncourt; the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with Daniel Harding; the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra with Colin McCreesh; both the City of Birmingham Symphony and Frankfurt Radio Symphony orchestras with Emmanuelle Haïm; and her debut with the New York Philharmonic under Nicholas McGegan.

    Ms. Joshua's recordings include the title roles in Handel's Partenope and Semele with Christian Curnyn for Chandos; the title role in Handel's Esther for Somm; Dido and Aeneas with René Jacobs for Harmonia Mundi; Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier ) for Chandos; Sandman (Hänsel und Gretel) for Teldec; and Anne Trulove for Glyndebourne Live.
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