Messiah Event Cover

Sunday, December 10 at 5:00pm

For the first time ever, BE Free Church is proud to present Part 1 of Handel’s triumphant oratorio, Messiah!

The performance will be held on Sunday, December 10 at 5:00pm at BE Free Church, 231 Leetes Island Road in Branford and will feature the BE Free Choir and soloists Jūratė Švedaitė, soprano, Cybil Jones-Juárez, alto, Andrew Potter, bass with Daniel Juárez, conductor and Alexis Zingale on piano. Join us afterwards for a reception in the Fellowship Hall!

In Messiah, “the chorus propels the work forward with great emotional impact and uplifting messages … the feelings of joy you get from the Hallelujah choruses are second to none…It will always lift your spirits if you are feeling down.” Laurence Cummings, director of the London Handel Orchestra

Jurate_Headshot_3Jūratė Švedaitė , soprano

Possessing a vocal artistry and stage presence capable of “transfixing audiences with moments of opera magic,” Lithuanian soprano, Jūratė Švedaitė, has performed on four continents with organizations such as the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Prolirica de Antioquia (Colombia), Kaunas (Lithuania) Chamber Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Piła (Poland), the Lithuanian National Ensemble “Lietuva”, Schlern International Music Festival (Italy), Greve Opera Festival (Italy), San Gimignano Music Festial (Italy), Pazaislis International Music Festival (Lithuania), among others, in venues as varied as Carnegie Hall, the Jerusalem Center (Israel), the Lithuanian National Philharmonic and Teatro Metropolitano de Medellin.

Her previous roles include the diva Tosca, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Bohème, Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Desdemona in Otello, Antonia/Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Marguerite in Faust, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Nedda in Pagliacci, Micaela in Carmen, the title role in Floyd’s Susannah and Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors.

An active perfomer of sacred works and oratorios as well, her credits include Monteverdi’s and Vivaldi’s Magnificats; Bach’s Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio, Coffe and Peasant Cantatas as well as numerous sacred cantatas; Mozart’s Requiem, Exsultate Jubilate, Solemn Vespers and Missa Brevis; Pergolessi’s Stabat Mater, Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, and Faure’s Requiem.

The granddaughter of one of Lithuania’s most revered composers and arrangers of traditional music, Jonas Švedas, she began performing at an early age and made her recording debut at the age of twelve; also at that time, she hosted several programs for children on national television. Ms. Švedaitė later attended the Lithuanian Music Academy where she earned Bachelors and Masters and Degrees in Opera Performance and Vocal Instruction. She now resides in SE CT where she an Associate Professor at Connecticut College as well as voice instructor at Thames Valley Music School.


Cybil JuarezCybil Jones-Juárez, alto

Originally from North Dakota, Cybil Jones-Juárez earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Northwestern in Saint Paul, MN.

She appeared in the premier of Libby Larsen’s opera Barnum’s Bird at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. with VocalEssence, founded as the Plymouth Music Series, with whom she sang for two seasons as a member of their professional choir, the “Ensemble Singers.”

Cybil maintains an active concert schedule. She recently appeared as a soloist with the Mystic River Chorale in a performance of Dvorak’s Requiem. She also performed with the Connecticut Chamber Orchestra in a concert as the alto soloist for their performance of J. S. Bach’s cantata Gott der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild. Other of her concert appearances includes Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Requiem.

Cybil is a sought-after voice and piano instructor and is on the faculty of the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven. She is also the pianist at BE Free Church.


DanielJuarezDaniel Juarez, tenor

Tenor Daniel Juárez is becoming well-known to New England opera audiences, having appeared in the past few seasons with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Connecticut Lyric Opera, MetroWest Opera, Western Connecticut State University Opera Studio, and in various recital and concert venues throughout the region. His recent operatic credits include Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca, Don José in Bizet’s Carmen, the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème, The Italian Singer in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and Erik in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

Daniel has also been featured as the tenor soloist in a number of oratorio and concert performances, including Antonin Dvorak’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, J.S. Bach’s Magnificat, Ariel Ramirez’ Misa Criolla, Heinrich Schütz’ Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, and Theodore Dubois’ Seven Last Words of Christ.

Daniel is a graduate of the Yale University School of Music, a former Minnesota Opera Studio Artist, and onetime finalist in the Southwest Region Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. He makes his home in New Haven and is the Director of Worship at BE Free Church in Branford, CT.


Potter_PhotoAndrew Potter, bass

A bass vocalist of increasing demand who towers at an imposing and athletic 6’10”, Andrew Potter is a true Basso who has been welcomed by audiences and critics across the country for a larger-than-life stage presence with a voice to match.

With years of studying under renowned teachers such as Dr. Wayne Kompelien, Rick Christman, and Braeden Harris; Andrew made a name for himself standing out in mainstage roles at several of the nation’s most prestigious Young Artist programs such as Des Moines Metro Opera, St. Petersburg Emerging Artist Program, and the Tyler Young Artist Program. He has since performed across the country proficiently demonstrating the vocal power and sonority to sing such roles as Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, the range and physicality to perform buffo roles like Don Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Don Magnifico (Cenerentola); and the flexibility and agility to sing challenging Handelian roles including Zoroastro in Orlando, Ariodate in Serse, and Argante in Rinaldo.

Having proven his vocal diversity on stage performing roles spanning from basso roles like Osmin in Die Entführung, to varying Bass-Baritone roles such as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen and Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca; his is truly a vocal range granting incredibly rare versatility – making him stand out among the growing community of low voices.

Role debuts in the 2017-18 season include Dr. Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Capellio in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Michele in Il Tabarro, and Cesare Borgia in the world premiere of The Borgia Infami.


AlexisZingale1Alexis Zingale, pianist and collaborative artist

Alexis Zingale is among the most actively sought-after collaborative pianists in New England and has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Her collaborative repertoire includes hundreds of sonatas, concert pieces, art songs, arias and orchestral transcriptions.

Ms. Zingale studied with Edward Auer, Russell Hirshfield, Patricia Lutnes and Leena Kareoja-Crothers, and she has had significant coaching with Vladimir Feltsman. Her collaborative studies have been with George Taylor, Wendy Sharp, Dan Stepner, Oleh Krysa, Jean Barr, and Jody Rowitsch. She has performed in masterclasses with such artists as Boris Berman, Peter Frankl, Claude Frank, Angela Cheng and John Perry, and in collaborative masterclasses with such artists as Graham Johnson, Melvin Chen, and the Lydian String Quartet.

Her recent performance experiences vary from finalist at the Hugo Kauder International Music Competition for Piano and the Sorel Medallion in Collaborative Piano, accompanying entrants to the Naumberg International and Young Concert Artists International competitions, to solo and collaborative performance on the University of Maryland New Music Maryland series, and numerous performances on Neighborhood Music Schools Bach’s Lunch and Faculty Fridays series. Notable venues for her performances include the Miller Theatre in New York City, Ed Landreth Hall at Texas Christian University, Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, and Sprague Hall, Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel in New Haven.

Ms. Zingale has performed as soloist and collaborator with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, the Hamden Symphony Orchestra, and t he Brevard Music Center Festival Orchestra, and with the Brevard Music Center faculty chamber ensemble. Ms. Zingale has given international and local premieres of new works by young composers. She performed on reed organ with the New Haven Oratorio Choir, and on harpsichord with new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. Ms. Zingale has recorded for Peer Music Classical and the Charles Ives Society, and her performances have been broadcast on Connecticut Public Radio. She is currently a piano faculty member and staff accompanist at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, CT and a faculty member at the Suzuki Music School of Westport.