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Handel festival and opera highlight spring season at Bienen School of Music

Award-winning baritone Dwayne Croft leads Tichio Vocal Master Class on May 2

Handel's 'Theodora' runs May 17 to 20 in the Ryan Opera Theater. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.
Handel's 'Theodora' runs May 17 to 20 in the Ryan Opera Theater. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

EVANSTON - George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759) is the focus of the biennial Evelyn Dunbar Early Music Festival, hosted by Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, May 17 to 20 on the Evanston campus.

The 2017/2018 Robert M. and Maya L. Tichio Vocal Master Class Series concludes with baritone Dwayne Croft on May 2 at 7 p.m. in Galvin Recital Hall.

Spring opera and early music performances are as follows:

 

Dwayne Croft Vocal Master Class

   Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m.
   Galvin Recital Hall, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

Dwayne Croft headshotThe Classical Review praises baritone Croft’s “booming, lustrous voice” and “exemplary clarity.” With title roles ranging from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” to Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” Croft has appeared in more than 500 performances, establishing himself as a leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera. This season at the Met, he appears as Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly,” Peter in “Hansel and Gretel,” Orest in “Elektra” and Capulet in “Roméo et Juliette.” Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students with valid ID. 

Handel’s “Theodora

   Thursday-Saturday May 17-19, 7:30 p.m.
   Sunday, May 20, 2 p.m.
   Ryan Opera Theater, 70 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

Northwestern Opera Theater offers special performances of Handel’s dramatic oratorio “Theodora,” directed by Joachim Schamberger, at Ryan Opera Theater. “Theodora” is a story of love, religious persecution and heroic resolve, based on the story of the fourth-century Christian martyr Theodora. In Roman-occupied Antioch, Theodora and her converted Christian lover, Didymus, endure punishment and sacrifice but remain true to their faith. Although it was not immediately successful following its premiere in 1750, it is now considered one of Handel’s finest works for its sumptuous arias, sublime choruses and brilliant orchestration. Stephen Alltop conducts the Dunbar Festival Orchestra. Tickets are $18 for the general public and $8 for students with valid ID.

• Pre-performance talks will be held prior to each performance of “Theodora”:
   Thursday and Friday, May 17 and 18, 6:45 p.m.
   Saturday, May 19, 6:45 p.m.
   Sunday, May 20, 1:15 p.m.

• Panel Discussion on “Theodora”:
    Friday, May 18, 3:30–5 p.m.

Alice Millar Spring Festival Concert: The Young Handel

   Sunday, May 20, 5 p.m.
   Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston

This year’s Spring Festival Concert explores two youthful and boldly imaginative works of the young Handel. Stephen Alltop conducts this performance featuring the Alice Millar Chapel Choir and soloists and the Baroque Music Ensemble. The composer’s setting of Psalm 113, “Laudate pueri Dominum,” and his famous “Dixit Dominus”date from 1707, his 22nd year. “Te Deum for the Peace of Utrecht”of 1713 was the first sacred music composed by Handel for his adopted country of England. This event is free and open to the general public; an offering will be accepted.

For more information on these performances and other events this spring, call 847-491-5441 or visit www.concertsatbienen.org. Tickets can be ordered at 847-467-4000 or by visiting www.concertsatbienen.org.

The Bienen School is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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