Performance Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | 7:30 PM

The Theater of Early Music


Weill Recital Hall
Under the direction of esteemed countertenor Daniel Taylor, The Theatre of Early Music is unique in its commitment to interpreting and exploring repertoire that spans four centuries. Grammy Award–winning coloratura soprano Deborah York joins Taylor and his group for arias and duets from some of Handel’s finest operas, including Giulio Cesare, Rodelinda, Rinaldo, and Tolomeo.


  • The Theatre of Early Music
    Daniel Taylor, Conductor and Countertenor
  • Deborah York, Soprano


  • Passacaglia for Violin and Viola from Suite No. 7 in G Minor
  • "Scherzano sul tuo volto" from Rinaldo
  • "Bel piacere" from Rinaldo
  • "Cara sposa" from Rinaldo
  • "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Rinaldo
  • "Se il cor ti perde" from Tolomeo
  • Overture to Giulio Cesare
  • "Tu la mia stella sei" from Giulio Cesare
  • "Dove sei" from Rodelinda
  • "Se pieta di me non senti" from Giulio Cesare
  • "Domero la tua fierezza" from Giulio Cesare
  • "Io t'abbraccio" from Rodelinda


  • The Theatre of Early Music

    Founded by Artistic Director Daniel Taylor and based in Canada, the choir and orchestra of The Theatre of Early Music are sought-after interpreters of captivating, lesser-known choral and instrumental repertoire that spans over four centuries. The ensemble, comprising some of the world's finest musicians who share a passion for early music, presents thought-provoking, passionate, and committed reconstructions of music for historical events and major oratorio works. The Theatre of Early Music performs in the world's most renowned concert halls and festivals, and is building an exciting discography in partnership with Sony Masterworks.

    Leading international musicians in the field perform with the ensemble in its regular series in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto; on tours around the world; and on recordings. The Theatre of Early Music recently performed on stages in France, Argentina, Brazil, England, and China; this season brings the ensemble on its first tour of the US.

    The Theatre of Early Music released its first album on BIS Records in 2005, featuring Couperin's Leçons de ténèbres. This highly praised disc was followed by an imaginative Renaissance program, Love Bade Me Welcome, featuring poetry readings by actor Ralph Fiennes and countertenor duets. Stabat Mater was released by BIS Records in 2009, with music by Bach, Pergolesi, and Vivaldi. In 2011, Come Again, Sweet Love was released worldwide on the Sony label.

    Daniel Taylor

    An exclusive recording artist for Sony Masterworks, Daniel Taylor is one of the most sought-after countertenors in the world. He has made more than 90 recordings, including an album of Bach cantatas with the English Baroque Soloists and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel's Rinaldo with the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood, a Sony recording of Ryuichi Sakamoto's pop opera Life with the Dalai Lama as narrator, and a BIS recording of Bach cantatas with the Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki.

    Mr. Taylor's debut at Glyndebourne in Handel's Theodora drew critical praise, following his operatic debut in Jonathan Miller's production of Rodelinda. His North American opera debut took place at the Metropolitan Opera in a production of GiulioCesare. Mr. Taylor has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He has sung under the batons of conductors Helmuth Rilling, Nicholas McGegan, Peter Oundjian, Trevor Pinnock, Charles Dutoit, and Valery Gergiev.

    In recent seasons, Mr. Taylor made his debuts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Madrid National Orchestra. He also performed with the Handel and Haydn Society; the Nashville, San Diego, and San Francisco symphonies; Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra; and Orchestre symphonique de Québec. Mr. Taylor toured Europe with the Academy of Ancient Music and appeared in recital at Wigmore Hall. He also toured Europe performing Purcell's odes with the Gabrieli Consort & Players and Paul McCreesh, appeared in recital on Polish television, performed Purcell's Dido and Aeneas on tour, and sang in Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich. Mr. Taylor appeared in Handel's Israel in Egypt with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir in a televised performance at the BBC Proms; he returned later to perform in recital with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

    Mr. Taylor is a voice professor at the University of Toronto and University of Ottawa, an adjunct professor at McGill University, and a visiting scholar at the University of Victoria. He is the artistic director of The Theatre of Early Music, which performs more than 30 concerts a year in concert halls all over the world.

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  • Deborah York

    Lyric-coloratura soprano Deborah York has established a reputation as one of the finest singers of her generation, performing 17th- and 18th-century repertoire. Born in Sheffield, Ms. York graduated from The University of Manchester with a first-class honors degree and went on to study with Laura Sarti and Janice Chapman in London. She now lives in Berlin and works with vocal coach Annette Goeres. In addition to her busy performing schedule, Ms. York teaches at her Berlin studio and gives master classes. She is artistic director of the Austria Barock Akademie in Gmunden.

    Ms. York has performed in opera houses throughout the world, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Glyndebourne; Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires; Sydney Opera House; Semperoper Dresden; Bayerische Staatsoper; and at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin. As a renowned Handelian, she has sung with conductors Marcus Creed, Ottavio Dantone, Marc Minkowski, Christophe Rousset, Paul McCreesh, and Trevor Pinnock. She regularly performs with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and La Stagione Frankfurt. She has also performed and recorded works by Vivaldi and Scarlatti with Rinaldo Alessandrini, The King's Consort, and Alessandro de Marchi. With her own group, the amritaensemble, Ms. York performs Baroque cantatas with strings. Recent concerts were enthusiastically received at the Aldeburgh Festival and Radialsystem in Berlin.

    Ms. York's extensive discography includes recordings of Bach cantatas with Philippe Herreweghe for Harmonia Mundi, and with Ton Koopman and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Recent releases include a live recording of Handel's Alcina with the Bayerische Staatsoper with Ivor Bolton, and a DVD of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Sasha Waltz dance company. She was awarded a Grammy for her Deutsche Grammophon recording of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in the role of Anne Truelove, with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

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Handel Rinaldo (Cara sposa)
Daniel Taylor, Countertenor; Arion Ensemble; Stephen Stubbs, Conductor
ATMA Classique

At a Glance

Opera was central to Handel’s career for more than three decades. His first opera, Almira, was staged in Hamburg in 1705 when he was just 19 years old. He took his final bow on the operatic stage in 1741 with the London production of Deidamia, a lightweight mythological love story based on the early life of Achilles. For most of that time, Handel’s reputation as an opera composer was second to none. It was largely thanks to his indefatigable creativity that Georgian London became one of Europe’s operatic capitals.

Virtually all of Handel’s operas were written to Italian librettos. Italy was opera’s birthplace and Italian its lingua franca. For much of the 18th century, Italy supplied the lion’s share of star singers upon whom the vitality and popularity of the art form depended. Handel worked and crossed swords with the best of them, such as soprano Francesca Cuzzoni and mezzo-soprano Faustina Bordoni, as well as castratos Senesino and Giovanni Carestini.

Tonight’s program demonstrates how Handel transcended the limitations of opera seria while working within its conventions. When he finally decided to devote himself to sacred drama and oratorio, he applied the lessons he had learned in the operatic house. Messiah and Samson illustrate his genius for dramatic characterization just as much as his operas Giulio Cesare and Orlando. All his works attest to what Alexander Pope called Handel’s power “to stir, to rouse, to shake the soul.”
Program Notes