Messiah, an oratorio by George Frideric Händel was composed in 1741 and premiered in Dublin in 1742. Since then, it has gained in popularity and is today among the best known and most performed choral works in Western music. The text, based on excerpts from the Bible, provides a commentary on the birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, beginning with God’s promise of a Savior and ending with Christ’s glorification in heaven.
The BE Free Church Choir and soloists are pleased to present the first part of Händel’s Messiah, comprised of 19 musical numbers that begin with the foretelling of the Messiah by the Old Testament prophets and culminate with the story of His birth as described in the Gospel according to St. Luke. Featuring The BE Free Choir and soloists: Kate Norigian – Soprano, Cybil Juárez – Alto, Daniel Juárez – Tenor, Andrew Potter – Bass, Alexis Zingale – Piano.
This event is free and open to the public.
Sunday, December 17 at 5pm
231 Leetes Island Rd. Branford, CT
Reception to follow.
SCENE 1: ISAIAH’S PROPHECY OF SALVATION
2. Comfort Ye My People (tenor)
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:1-3)
3. Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted (tenor)
Ev’ry valley shall be exalted, and ev’ry mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain. (Isaiah 40:4)
4. And the Glory of The Lord (chorus)
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)
SCENE 2: THE COMING JUDGMENT
5. Thus Saith the Lord of Hosts (bass)
Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts: Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come. (Haggai 2:6-7)
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in; behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
6. But who may abide the day of his coming? (bass)
But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire. (Malachi 3:2)
7. And He Shall Purify the Sons of Levi (chorus)
And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)
SCENE 3: THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST’S BIRTH
8. Behold, a Virgin Shall Conceive (alto)
Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
9. O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion (alto and chorus)
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God! (Isaiah 40:9)
Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
10. For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth (bass)
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:2-3)
11. The People that Walked in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light (bass)
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
12. For Unto Us a Child Is Born (chorus)
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
SCENE 4: THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS
13. Pastoral Symphony (instrumental)
14A. There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Field (soprano)
There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. (Luke 2:8)
14B. And Lo, the Angel of the Lord (soprano)
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2:9)
15. And the Angel Said unto Them (soprano)
And the angel said unto them: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
16. And Suddenly there Was an Angel (soprano)
And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: (Luke 2:13)
17. Glory to God in the Highest (chorus)
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men.” (Luke 2:14)
SCENE 5: CHRIST’S HEALING AND REDEMPTION
18. Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion (soprano)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is the righteous Savior, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen. (Zechariah 9:9-10)
19. Then Shall the Eyes of the Blind Be Opened (alto)
Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and
the tongue of the dumb shall sing. (Isaiah 35:5-6)
20. He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd (alto and soprano)
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and
gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
Come unto Him, all ye that labor, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
21. His Yoke Is Easy (chorus)
His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
44. Hallelujah (chorus)
Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. (Revelation 19:16)
Bass Andrew Potter has garnered increasing demand across the country for his larger-than-life stage presence and voice to match. This season is set to establish him as one of the premier basses in the opera world today, with major house débuts at the Dallas Opera as Angelotti in Tosca, Detroit Opera as Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen, and the Santa Fe Opera for both Der Rosenkavalier and the world premiere of The Righteous, in which he covers Greer Grimsley’s lead role of Paul. Andrew also returns to Opera Santa Barbara as Ferrando in Il trovatore, Livermore Valley Opera as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Vero Beach Opera as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, and joins the Fort Work Symphony as Hundig in Act I of Die Walküre.
Last season Andrew had several important house débuts: joining Seattle Opera as Abimelech in Samson et Dalila and in their world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns, as well as Portland Opera as Vodnik in Rusalka. Additionally, Andrew joined Livermore Valley Opera as Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, performed Scarpia in Indianapolis Opera’s Tosca, Don Pizarro in Fidelio with Mid-Ohio Civic Opera, returned to Opera Grand Rapids as The Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance and to Pacific Opera Project as Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia as well as for their unique take on Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte: Superflute. Other recent engagements for Andrew include Simone in Gianni Schicchi for Tulsa Opera, Sarastro in The Magic Flute for Eugene Opera, Sparafucile in Rigoletto for Opera Orlando, Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Indianapolis Opera, and René in Iolanta with Pacific Opera Project. Concert engagements include Mozart’s Mass in C Major for Mid-Ohio Civic Opera, and Verdi’s Requiem for Michigan State University.
Andrew was one of the lucky opera artists to be able to continue performing during the pandemic: in addition to a series of virtual concerts, he joined Opera Santa Barbara in the title role of Don Pasquale, Pacific Opera Project as Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and Southern Illinois Festival for Minna Lindgren’s Mozart parody Covid fan Tutte. Previous engagements have included Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera, Poo-Bah in Mikado with Opera Grand Rapids, Sulpice in The Daughter of the Regiment and Dr. Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Winter Opera St. Louis, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant with American Lyric Opera, The Bonze in Madama Butterfly with St. Petersburg Opera, Hunding in Die Walküre, Fafner in Das Rheingold and Colline in La bohème with Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Vodnik in Rusalka with Steamboat Opera, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Orlando, Colline in La bohème with Anchorage Opera and Indianapolis Opera, his Tulsa Opera début as The King in The Little Prince, Sarastro in The Magic Flute and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Pacific Opera Project, the role of Death in the world premiére of Rick Sowash’s Death and the Everyman, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and Escamillo in Carmen with Mid-Ohio Opera, and Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Ferrando in Il trovatore with Southern Illinois Music Festival.
Additionally, Andrew has 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 in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola; and the flexibility and agility to sing challenging Handelian roles including Zoroastro in Orlando, Ariodate in Serse, and Argante in Rinaldo.
With years of studying under renowned teachers such as Rick Christman, Braeden Harris, and Kenneth Shaw, Andrew became a standout 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.
Learn more about Andrew Potter at https://awpotter.com/.
Soprano Kate Norigian’s voice was described by Grammy nominated mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore as sounding, “Old school and throwback”, and similarly was described as “Sounding like a Golden Age singer” by the Internationally acclaimed bass baritone, John Relyea. She has a bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance from Rhode Island College and has participated in such programs as the Crittenden Program in Boston, MA, the V.O.I.C. Experience Program in Tampa, FL, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.
This past October Kate performed the role of Dorabella in performances of Cosi Fan Tutte in Ecuador produced by Vox Nouveau and the Symphonic Orchestra of Guayalquil. This past June, Kate appeared as Mimi in Providence, RI in a concert performance of Puccini’s La Boheme produced by Coffee Milk Opera. Other roles Kate has performed include Nedda (I Pagliacci), Kate Chase Sprague in the World Premiere of William Sprague and His Women, Mrs. Gobineau (The Medium), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Cathleen (Riders to the Sea). She has also covered the roles of both Carmen and Micaëla in Carmen.
Kate has sung many concerts within the Armenian community, including for the Armenian Ambassador to the U.N where she was credited for ‘thrilling the audience with two lyrical renditions of Armenian folk melodies. Kate received a second-place award in the Annamaria Saritelli- Di Panni Bel Canto Competition and in the MCO International Competition organized by Opus Artis Paris. She was also a Finalist in the Talents of the World Competition in Newton, MA and in the recent Music International Grand Prix Competition.
Tenor Daniel Juárez is well known to New England opera audiences, having appeared in recent seasons with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Connecticut Lyric Opera, MassOpera, Western Connecticut State University Opera Studio, and in various recital and concert venues throughout the region. His recent operatic credits include Radames in Verdi’s Aida, Canio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Cavaradossi in 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, Erik in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, the title role of Verdi’s Don Carlo, and Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio.
Daniel is regularly featured as the tenor soloist in a number of oratorio and concert performances, including Antonin Dvorak’s Requiem, G.F. Handel’s Messiah, W.A. Mozart’s Requiem and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, various cantatas by J.S. Bach (including Magnificat in D Major, the “Coffee Cantata,” and BVW 8 – Liebster Gott, wenn werd ich sterben?), Ariel Ramirez’ Misa Criolla, Heinrich Schütz’ Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, and Schubert’s Mass in G maj.
Daniel is a graduate of the Yale University School of Music, a former Minnesota Opera Studio Artist, and one-time finalist in the Southwest Region Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Since 2004, Daniel has directed the music ministry at BE Free Church in Branford and makes his home in New Haven with his wife Cybil and their two sons.
Learn more about Daniel Juarez at: www.daniel-juarez.com
Mezzo-soprano Cybil Juárez is a respected piano and voice instructor and has been on the faculty of the New Haven’s Neighborhood Music School for twenty years. Cybil holds a BA in vocal performance from Northwestern College, Saint Paul, Minn. Her vocal formation was guided by teachers Carol Eikum and Elizabeth Mannion. She is a past member of the Plymouth Music Series (Vocal Essence) and The Ensemble Singers. She appeared in Plymouth Music Series’ world premiere of Libby Larsen’s opera Barnum’s Bird in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. She was a concert soloist with Connecticut Chamber Orchestra, performing Bach’s Gott der Herr, ist Sonn und Schild. She has also performed Handel’s Messiah, Dubois’ The Seven Last Words of Christ, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Mozart’s Requiem.