Newsroom

March 9, 2017


 

TONY AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS PHYLICIA RASHAD JOINS HOUSTON SYMPHONY FOR NEW SEMI-STAGED VERSION OF BEETHOVEN’S FIDELIO

March 31, April 2, 2017

HOUSTON (March 9, 2017) – The Houston Symphony announced today that Tony Award winner and three-time Emmy Award nominee Phylicia Rashad will join the cast of its new semi-staged, concert version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, the composer’s only opera,March 31 and April 2.

 Houston-native Rashad joins the orchestra and Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada as a narrator in a streamlined production of Beethoven’s masterpiece, a politically-charged drama that follows the heroic struggles of a devoted wife who disguises herself as a man to rescue her husband, a political prisoner. Althoughthe music remains central in this version of Fidelio, the spoken German-language dialogue in the original score is replaced with Rashad’s narration of excerpts from iconic speeches, poetry and literature that engage with the timeless themes of the opera.

 Houston-based Tara Faircloth, a seasoned director of opera productions across the United States, worked closely with Orozco-Estrada to develop this fresh, exciting take on Fidelio. Commenting on the role Rashad will play in the production, Faircloth explains “I’ve created a character who sits outside of the action, but provides comments and thoughtful reflection on the events we see unfolding on the stage. Fidelio has so many themes to explore, but perhaps the strongest is the power of hope in the face of tyrannical oppression.”

 Newly-designed projections and atmospheric lighting and video effects, created by lighting and projection designer Sarah Tundermann, will be a significant component of the experience, framing the story and reflecting its emotional content. The singers’ clothes will be stylized in a way to support the unfolding drama as they perform on walkways and platforms in, around and in front of the orchestra musicians to support the incredible musical message and to focus the drama in specific areas of the stage.

 The concert will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

BEETHOVEN’S FIDELIO
Friday, March 31, 2017, at 8 p.m
Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 2:00 p.m
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
featuring Phylicia Rashad, narrator
Tara Faircloth, stage director
Rebecca von Lipinski, soprano (Leonore/Fidelio)
Russell Thomas, tenor (Florestan)
Lauren Snouffer, soprano (Marzelline)
Nathan Stark, bass (Rocco)
Joshua Dennis, tenor (Jaquino)
Alfred Walker, bass-baritone (Don Pizarro)
Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone (Don Fernando)
Houston Symphony Chorus Chamber Choir,
         Betsy Cook Weber, director
Sarah Tundermann, lighting and projection design

Beethoven: Fidelio
Tickets from $25

 

About Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Houston Symphony Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada began his tenure in the 2014-15 season. He immediately established a dynamic presence on the podium and a deep bond with the musicians of the orchestra. Andrés carefully curates his programs to feature engaging combinations of classical masterworks paired with the music of today, significant artistic collaborations with composers and guest artists, and innovative use of multimedia and visual effects, all in order to make meaningful connections with the audience.
            In the 2016-17 season, Andrés will continue to engage with audiences both with casual commentary from the stage and discussions with guests in “Behind the Scenes with Andrés” videos. On the recording front, Andrés and the Symphony will release the third disc in their critically acclaimed Dvorák Symphony series. Additional projects with Dutch recording label PENTATONE are recordings of the Music of the Americas, which will include Gershwin’s An American in Paris and Revueltas’ Sensemayá;Rachmaninoff’s complete orchestral piano works with Denis Kozhukhin; and Haydn’s The Creation.
            Born in Medellín, Colombia, Andrés began his musical studies on the violin and started conducting at age 15. At 19, he entered the Vienna Music Academy, where he studied with Uroš Lajovic (pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky), and completed his degree with distinction conducting the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Musikverein. Andrés burst on the international scene with two substitutions with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: the first, his debut in 2010, standing in for Esa-Pekka Salonen, and then in 2012, substituting for Riccardo Muti at the Musikverein. Orozco-Estrada now regularly appears with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, and Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestras, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome, and the Orchestre National de France.
            Recent debuts have included the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic. In the summer of 2014, he also made his debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera conducting Don Giovanni, which immediately led to an invitation to conduct La Traviata in 2017. The 2016-17 season includes debuts with the San Francisco Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
            In addition to his post in Houston, Andrés is chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

About Phylicia Rashad
Whether she is bringing laughter to millions of television viewers around the world, moving theatre-goers to tears, thrilling movie fans, offering new insights to students by teaching Master Classes at renowned learning institutions that include Howard University, Julliard, and Carnegie Mellon, serving on Boards of prestigious organizations, or breaking new ground as a director, Phylicia Rashad is one of the entertainment world's most extraordinary performing artists.
        A native of Houston, Texas, Rashad graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University.A versatile performer, Rashad became a household name when she portrayed “Claire Huxtable” on The Cosby Show, a character whose appeal has earned her numerous honors and awards for over two decades. She teamed up with Bill Cosby again on television as “Ruth Lucas” on Cosby. Currently, she has a recurring role as “Diana Dubois'”on the popular Fox TV series Empire and is slated to appear in the upcoming Amazon series, Jean Claude Van Johnson.
        While television was a catalyst in the rise of Rashad's career, she has also been a force on the stage, appearing both on and off Broadway, often in projects that showcase her musical talent such as Jelly's Last Jam, Into The Woods, Dreamgirls, and The Wiz.
        In 2016, Ms. Rashad was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as “Shelah” in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes at the Public Theater, and performed the role of George Seurat's mother in the highly acclaimed New York City Center production of Stephen Sondheim's  Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhal.
        On Broadway. Ms. Rashad has performed as “Violet Weston” in August Osage County, “Big Mama” in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ( a role that she reprised on the London Stage), “Aunt Ester” in August Wilson’s Gem Of The Ocean,( Tony Award nomination) and “Queen Britannia” in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline at Lincoln Center.
        Ms. Rashad received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her riveting performance as “Lena Younger” in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun. She appeared in Ryan Coogler's Creed, Tyler Perry's Good Deeds, and starred in Perry's highly acclaimed  version of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.
        Phylicia made her directorial debut at the Seattle Repertory Theater with August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Critics gave her first foray into the directing world rave reviews, saying "Rashad steers Seattle Rep's show with great sensitivity and understanding - for both the text and actors."
        Of her work at the helm of The Ebony Repertory Theatre’s production of A Raisin in the Sun in the Spring of 2011, the Los Angeles Times hailed Rashad’s California directing debut by stating that she “...nails the play's rich humor in a solidly rendered production." She remounted the production at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles and at the Westport County Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut. Ms.
        Rashad has also directed August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles( 2014 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director) and Fences at the Longwharf Theatre and the McCarter Theatre. She returned to the Mark Taper Forum in 2015 to direct Paul Oakley Stovall's Immediate Family.
        Respected in the academic world, Rashad is the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Spelman College where First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the 2011 commencement address. Ms. Rashad conducted Master Classes at the prestigious Ten Chimneys Foundation for the 2015 Lunt Fontanne Fellows. She also holds Honorary Doctorates from Fordham University, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, Providence College, Morris Brown College, Clark Atlanta University, Barber Scotia College, St. Augustine College, and Brown University.
        In 2015, Ms. Rashad received the BET Honors Theatrical Arts Award, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Spirit of Shakespeare Award, and the Inaugural Legacy Award of the Ruben Santiago Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center. Among the other awards that decorate her walls and shelves are the 2014 Mosaic Woman Legend Award of Diversity Woman Magazine, the Texas Medal of Arts, the National Council of Negro Women's Dorothy L. Height Dreammaker Award, AFTRA’s AMEE Award for Excellence in Entertainment, the Board of Directors of New York Women In Film and Television's Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement, Dallas Women In Film Topaz Award, Peoples’ Choice Awards, several NAACP Image Awards, and the Pan African Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award.
        Rashad serves on the Advisory Board of the PRASAD Project and the Board of Directors of True Colors Theatre, the Broadway Inspirational Voices, The Actors Center, the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University, and the ADEPT Center which is steering the restoration of the historic Brainerd Institute.
        Phylicia Rashad is also the mother of two adult children.

About Tara Faircloth
Stage director Tara Faircloth’s work has been seen in opera houses around the nation. Critics hailed her “incisive, tightly meshed direction” (Opera News) for The Rake's Progress at Wolf Trap Opera, calling it “a simple and elegant production” (The Washington Post). She directed two world premieres with the Houston Grand Opera's East+West series (The Bricklayer and Your Name Means The Sea) and has a thriving career in regional houses such as Wolf Trap Opera, Utah Opera, Arizona Opera, Tulsa Opera and Atlanta Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, Hänsel and Gretel, etc.). The baroque repertoire is of special interest to Tara, who made her directorial debut with Ars Lyrica Houston’s production of Cain: Il primo omicidio in 2003, and has since designed and directed a number of shows for the company. She has created productions of Dido and Aeneas for Ars Lyrica at the Festival de Música Barroca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and for Mercury in collaboration with the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater.
        This season, Tara is working on several new productions: Madama Butterfly with Wolf Trap Opera, L’enfant et les sortilèges with Utah Opera and Symphony, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dreamwith Boston University, and a reconfiguration of her 2014 Wolf Trap Carmen for Arizona Opera.  Following last year’s season, which included new productions of Il ritorno d’Ulisse, Eugene Onegin and Britten’s Midsummer, she is clearly in demand as an interpreter both for familiar works and those that are more obscure.
        Tara has worked extensively on directing staff with leading opera companies, and as such, has worked on some of the most complicated operas in the repertoire, assisting international directors and preparing cover casts of some of the best performers in the industry. She is increasingly sought out for her skills as an adapter and has created such pieces as the “Mini” Grapes of Wrath and the “Mini” Magic Flute, commissions of Opera in the Ozarks and Utah Opera and Symphony. She has a private coaching studio in Houston, and regularly works with the talented singers in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and Rice University. 

About Rebecca von Lipinski
Rebecca von Lipinski was born in Mansfield and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music‚ supported by the Peter Moores Foundation‚ and at the National Opera Studio in London. Her awards include the Clonter Opera Prize‚ the Audience Prize and the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award.
        Rebecca began a Fest Contract with Stuttgart Opera in 2011‚ with whom recent and future roles include Leonora in Fidelio‚ Tatyana in Eugene Onegin‚ Liza in Pique Dame‚ Míla in Osud‚ Thalie in Platée‚ Eurydice in Orphée et Eurydice‚ Fifth Maid in Elektra‚ Elvira in Don Giovanni‚ Third Norn in Götterdämmerung‚ First Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Chloé in Der Schaum der Tage (L’Ecume des jours). After her successful role debut as Leonora in Fidelio for Garsington Opera‚ she has since appeared there as First Lady in The Magic Flute and will return to sing Electra in Idomeneo. She reprised the role of Leonora with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall‚ Manchester.
        European engagements include LA Lola in Benedict Mason’s Playing Away (Bregenz and St. Pölten Festivals)‚ the title role in Micha Hamel’s Snow White‚ Oscar in Un ballo in maschera and Ursula in Klaas de Vries’ Wake (Nationale Reisopera‚ Netherlands). Operatic engagements in the UK include Leonora in Fidelio (Garsington Opera)‚ Musetta (Scottish Opera)‚ Karin in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (English National Opera)‚ Berthe in Euryanthe (Glyndebourne Festival Opera)‚ Countess and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte (Grange Park Opera)‚ Mimi (Mid Wales Opera)‚ Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance (Carl Rosa Opera Company) and Sophie in Flashmob for BBC Television.
        Concert highlights include Beethoven 9 with Manchester Camerata‚ Sibelius’ Luonnotar (Thomas Adès) and Harrison Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs. Kong (Martyn Brabbins) both with the BBC Symphony Orchestra‚ Carmina Burana (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra)‚ Vivaldi’s Gloria‚ Handel’s Messiah‚ Mozart’s Mass in C and Coronation Mass‚ Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle and Mahler’s Symphony No 2.
        Rebecca’s recordings include Fanny in Il Prigione di Edimburgo and Odetta in Emma d’Antiochia for Opera Rara.

About Russell Thomas
        An alumnus of The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program, American tenor Russell Thomas is fast-becoming one of the most sought after artists of his generation.
        He regularly expands his repertoire and debuts key roles such as the title roles in Stiffelio (Oper Frankfurt), Faust (Michigan Opera) and Don Carlos (Deutsche Oper Berlin) as well as Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Pollione in Bellini’s Norma (San Francisco Opera) and Florestano in Fidelio and Manrico in Il trovatore (Cincinatti Opera). Russell’s previous seasons have also seen notable house debuts: at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra, Canadian Opera Company in the title role in Les contes d’Hoffmann and English National Opera as Lazarus in Peter Sellars’ new production of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary. He has already earned considerable acclaim for his portrayal of Lazarus.
         This season, Russell embarks on an impressive string of returns to the top houses in North America, including performances as Ismaele (Nabucco) at The Met, Pollione at Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company, and Cavaradossi (Tosca) for LA Opera. In Europe, he makes his Salzburger Festspiele debut in the title role in La clemenza di Tito, in Peter Sellars’ anticipated new production conducted by Teodor Currentzis.
         In addition to his work in the opera house Russell is in great demand on the concert platform and recent performances include Verdi’s Messa da Requiem and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. He is a regular guest with the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert and will sing his first Loge in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with them this season. Elsewhere, he sings his first Mao in Adams’ Nixon in China with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by the composer himself. In Europe, his concert appearances have included Lazarus with Netherlands Radio Orchestra, the role of Erik in Der fliegende Holländer at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Donizetti’s Belisario with the BBC Symphony Orchestra., Russell is also developing his recital work and made his Wigmore Hall debut in the Rosenblatt Recital Series last season.

About Lauren Snouffer
American Lauren Snouffer is celebrated as one of the most versatile and respected sopranos on the international stage.
        Opera performances of the current season include two re-engagements. At the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, she sings the role of Héro in Béatrice et Bénédict, and at Seattle Opera, she presents her highly acclaimed portrayal of Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. She makes her debut with the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe in the role of Tusnelda in Handel’s Arminio. She recently joined an all-star cast to record the role of Teofane in Handel’s Ottone (Decca Classics). Concert appearances feature a return to the Cleveland Orchestra for Bach’s Johannes-Passion, Carmina Burana with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, a debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the San Francisco Symphony.
        Houstonians remember her Houston Grand Opera performances of Le nozze di Figaro as well as presentations of Carousel, Show Boat, The Rape of Lucretia and L’italiana in Algeri. Other highlights include Lyric Opera of Chicago productions of Rusalka and La clemenza di Tito, a Seattle Opera debut as La Comtesse Adèle in Rossini’s Le comte Ory and The Magic Flute at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She performed Max Emanuel Cencic’s new production of Hasse’s Siroe at the Opéra Royal de Versailles, with further performances in Budapest and Vienna; the project was recorded by Decca Classics.
        Highly sought-after for her consummate artistry in contemporary music, Lauren has sung the role of Agnès in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin under the composer’s baton at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, Gruber’s Gloria – A Pig Tale for the New York Philharmonic Biennial and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. She will add the title role of Berg’s Lulu in an upcoming season for the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile.
        A recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Lauren Snouffer was a winner of a 2013 Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a Richard F. Gold Career Grant bestowed by HGO and a grand finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She graduated from Rice University and The Juilliard School.

About Nathan Stark
American bass, Nathan Stark, has performed on operatic, concert and recital stages throughout the United States, Europe and China.  
        In addition to these performances, Nathan’s engagements in the 2016-17 season include Colline in La bohème with Hawaii Opera Theatre and Cincinnati Opera, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde for his Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra debut, Escamillo in Carmen with Dayton Opera, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with Madison Opera and Father Palmer in Puts’ Silent Night with Opera San José. His concert engagements include Defiant Requiem for his Chicago Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony Orchestra debuts, Missa solemnis with Pacific Chorale, and Verdi’s Requiem with Canton Symphony Orchestra and a New Haven Symphony Orchestra debut.
       Nathan has performed with leading opera houses throughout the United States. He is equally comfortable on the concert stage. In 2005, he was the featured soloist in the nationally televised opening ceremony of the Air Force One exhibit for President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Nancy Reagan and members of the United States Congress. He has performed at the Great Wall of China, the U.S. Colombian Embassy, U.S. French Embassy, U.S. Austrian Embassy and the Washington National Cathedral.  
        His many prizes include Fort Worth’s McCammon Voice Competition, Opera Columbus’ Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition, Brentwood Westwood Symphony Orchestra Artist of Tomorrow Competition, Sun Valley Opera International Vocal Competition, Westwood Vocal Competition, Burbank Aria Competition, Palm Springs Opera Guild Vocal Competition, Pasadena Opera Guild Competition and the Opera Buffs Competition. He is first place winner of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Corbett Scholarship Opera Competition, the Classical Singers Association vocal competition in Los Angeles and was district winner of the 2006 Metropolitan Opera vocal competition, San Diego District.  
        Nathan Stark holds degrees in vocal & opera performance from California State University, Long Beach (B.M. & M.M.) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (A.D.). His voice teachers have included Lewis Woodward, Cherrie Llewellyn, Shigemi Matsumoto, Marilyn Horne and Kenneth Shaw.

About Joshua Dennis
The Minneapolis Star Tribune praises tenor Joshua Dennis’ performances, exclaiming, “he made his sincerity believable, and his voice, a robust tenor with baritonal heft, rose to the high climaxes with ringing, ardent bravado.”
         This season, he makes his company debut as Alfredo in Konwitschny’s acclaimed production of La traviata with Seattle Opera. He also makes role and company debuts with Minnesota Opera as Rome´o in Rome´o et Juliette and Kentucky Opera as Belmonte in Die Entfu¨hrung aus dem Serail. He returns to Arizona Opera to create the role of Bern Venters in the world premiere of Bohmler’s Riders of the Purple Sage, Opera Idaho for his first performances of the title role of Werther and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra for further performances of Handel’s Messiah. Last season, he sang Tamino in Die Zauberflo¨te with Michigan Opera Theater, Alfredo in La traviatawith Opera Columbus and Opera Idaho, Roy Dexter in the American premiere of Arizona Ladywith Arizona Opera and Ferrando in Cosi` fan tutte with Ash Lawn Opera. Additionally, he joined Dallas Opera for its production of Heggie’s Great Scott and the Santa Fe Symphony for Handel’s Messiah.
        Joshua recently returned to the Santa Fe Opera as Jacquino in Fidelio and for its production of Rigoletto. Previously as an apprentice artist with the company, he sang Serano in La donna de lago, scenes of Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Ruggero in La rondine, in addition to joining the company for its productions of Arabella, La traviata and the world premiere of Morrison’s Oscar. He also recently sang Ferrando in Così fan tutte with Opera Naples and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with Eugene Opera.
        The tenor is a previous apprentice artist of Des Moines Metro Opera. He was a district winner and finalist in the northeastern region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the National Association of Teachers of Singing Singer of the Year in 2011 and first place winner of the graduate division in 2010.
        He holds a bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University where his performances included Handel’s Messiah, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and Sam in Susannah.

About Alfred Walker

This season, Alfred Walker sings his first performances of Wotan in Das Rheingold with North Carolina Opera and Méphistophélès in Berlioz’ La damnation de Faust at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago. He creates the title role of Josh Gibson in the world premiere of Sonenberg’s The Summer King with Pittsburgh Opera and makes his debut as Porgy in Porgy and Bess with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
        Last season, he joined Oper Köln and Seattle Opera for one of his most oft-performed roles, Der fliegende Holländer and the Komische Oper Berlin as the Four Villains in Kosky’s new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann. He returned to Utah Opera for Amonasro in Aida. Alfred also joined the New Japan Philharmonic for Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle and the Caramoor International Music Festival as Pizarro in Fidelio and sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Verdi’s Requiem with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra.
        A versatile concert artist, Alfred has sung Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and Verdi’s Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Utah Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Sun Valley Music Festival. He has joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra for Rossini’s Stabat Mater as well as previously for Porgy in Porgy and Bess, the Grant Park Music Festival for Shostakovich’s The Execution of Stepan Razin and Elgar’s The Kingdom, the Handel and Haydn Society for Mozart’s Requiem, American Symphony Orchestra for Mahler's Kindertotenlieder and Rückert-Lieder, and Los Angeles Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony Orchestra for Porgy in a concert performance of Porgy and Bess. He has also presented recitals at the Manchester Music Festival. His recording credits include a collaboration with Semyon Bychkov and the WDR Sinfonie Orchester Köln for Orestes in Elektra on the Hybrid label as well as performances on Placido Domingo’s CD of Verdi tenor arias for Deutsche Grammophon.
        A graduate of Dillard University, Loyola University and the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, the New Orleans native is the recipient of awards from the George London Foundation, Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, Houston Grand Opera's Eleanor McCollum Competition and the Sullivan Foundation career grant.


About Andrew Foster-Williams
Bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams enjoys a vibrant career on both the opera and concert stage and is graced with a vocal versatility that allows him to present a repertoire ranging from the classics of Bach, Gluck, Handel, and Mozart through to more recent masters such as Britten, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Wagner.
         Andrew Foster-Williams’ career, initially built on his strong Baroque credentials, has in recent seasons found a new dramatic direction with successes as Pizarro (Fidelio) at Theater an der Wien and Philharmonie de Paris and a unanimously praised debut as Telramund in Wagner’s Lohengrin under esteemed conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Lanaudière Festival.  A subsequent portrayal of Captain Balstrode in Christoph Loy’s divisive new production of Peter Grimes at Theater an der Wien alongside acclaimed performances as Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Gunther (Götterdämmerung), and Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) have further enhanced a highly regarded operatic profile.
        Mr. Foster-Williams’ dramatic capacity has earned the respect of many of the most acclaimed stage directors as he “holds the attention of the audience with the energy of someone who has great experience, and with sensational vocal ability, which he uses with total freedom…” (Opéra).  He frequently is sought after by David Alden, Barrie Kosky, Christof Loy, David Pountney, and Deborah Warner.
        An impressive line-up of concert invitations has taken Andrew Foster-Williams to major stages with the most celebrated orchestras and conductors of our day including the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst, Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Salzburg Mozarteum with Ivor Bolton, San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas, Concertgebouw Orkest with Richard Egarr, Hong Kong Philharmonic under Edo de Waart, and the London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Colin Davis.

About Sarah Tundermann
Sarah began her theatre career at age seven in her elementary school’s production of BEETHOVEN’S BOOKWORMS as a proud purple bookworm. Since then she has fallen in love with the performing arts, and found her niche in the blending of art and science as a lighting and multimedia designer. She is profoundly inspired by the storytelling and collaboration.               She thrives most when given the opportunity to discover with the inspired creativity and intelligence of those whom she has had the pleasure of working with.
        She is fond of children’s books, smokey single-malts, good coffee, colourful socks, negative space, and my delightful beast of a kitten named Rorschach.
        Sarah has been educated in Denver, Swindon, Providence, Amherst, and Washington DC, graduating with a BA in lighting and physics from Hampshire College in 2009 and an MFA in lighting design from the University of Maryland. She is currently bi-coastal, frequently bouncing between San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, DC.

About the Houston Symphony Chorus
The Houston Symphony Chorus, the official choral unit of the Houston Symphony, consists of highly skilled and talented volunteer singers. Over the years, singers in this historic ensemble have learned and performed the world’s great choral-orchestral masterworks under the batons of Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Michael Krajewski, Hans Graf, Robert Shaw, Christoph Eschenbach, Peter Schreier, Helmut Rilling and Nicholas McGegan, among many others. The Chorus looks forward to singing the closing subscription concerts with the Prague Symphony Orchestra in the Czech Republic in June 2017. The Houston Symphony Chorus holds auditions by appointment and welcomes inquiries from interested singers.

ABOUT THE HOUSTON SYMPHONY
During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony is one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas whose inaugural performance was held at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians and 4 community-embedded musicians is the largest performing arts organization in Houston, presenting more than 300 performances for 400,000 people, including 97,000 children, annually. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

MEDIA CONTACTS:           

Vanessa Astros: (713) 337-8560,
vanessa.astros@houstonsymphony.org

Lorena Cozzari: (713) 337-8548,
lorena.cozzari@houstonsymphony.org          

Kristen Bennett: (713) 337-8557,
kristen.bennett@houstonsymphony.org

 

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