Handel’s Messiah

Sat, December 15, 2018 • 7:00PM

Christine Noel, conductor
Providence Singers, Christine Noel, artistic director
Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano
Margaret Lias, mezzo-soprano
Marc Molomot, tenor
Nicholas Laroche, baritone

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Providence Singers

Founded in 1971, the Providence Singers under the direction of Christine Noel celebrates choral art through concerts of masterworks and contemporary works, creative collaborations, recordings of American choral treasures, new music commissions and education programs. In addition to an annual concert series, the Singers has made frequent guest appearances throughout the region, including annual concerts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. The Singers performed with Kronos Quartet at FirstWorks, Dave Brubeck Quartet at Lincoln Center and Newport Jazz Festival, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New Haven Philharmonic, Aurea Ensemble, Brown University Chorus and New Bedford Symphony. It released four CD recordings of contemporary choral compositions and presented a choral festival of American masterpieces underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Singers commissions new choral works through its Wachner Fund for New Music; recognizes national leaders in the choral profession through its New Rhythmus Award; and fosters community education and participation through vocal workshops, concert discussions, and community sings. It supports emerging talent through its Fassett Fellowships for young adult singers and through the Junior Providence Singers and Young Men’s Choral Festival. It was awarded the Jabez Gorham Award from the Arts and Business Council of Rhode Island in 2008 for “unwavering commitment to excellence, significant impact on the community, and success in organizational development.”

Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano

Commended by the Boston Globe for her “crystalline tone and graceful musicality,” soprano Sonja DuToit Tengblad is a versatile performer whose recent highlights include Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernis barbarie (Abra and Ozias), Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (La Fortuna and Giunone; Grammy-nominated recording with Linn Records) and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (First Lady) with Boston Baroque. She has also appeared with the Handel and Haydn Society in Bach’s St. John Passion (soprano soloist), Purcell’s King Arthur (Cupid) and Handel’s Samson (Israelite Woman); Handel’s Acis and Galatea with the Blue Hill Bach Festival (Galatea); Knussen’s Symphony No.2 for high soprano with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and her Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center debuts, both with the New York City Chamber Orchestra. She was awarded second place in the 2014 American Prize competition’s art song and oratorio division.

A champion of new music, Ms. Tengblad curated Modern Dickinson, a program featuring 21st century settings of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was nominated for four Austin Critic’s Table Awards. A highlight for Ms. Tengblad was appearing in a concert celebrating the 80th birthday of composer Dominic Argento. The 2015-2016 season included performances with BeatSong, her recital project with percussionist Jonathan Hess, featuring world premieres by Matthew Peterson, ASCAP Nissim Prize winner, 2013, and Kareem Roustom, Emmy award-winning composer. Ms. Tengblad performs with the Grammy-winning ensemble Conspirare, based in Austin, Texas, the Yale Choral Artists, Boston’s Blue Heron, Lorelei Ensemble, Handel and Haydn Society and Boston Baroque.

Margaret Lias, mezzo-soprano

Margaret Lias has been celebrated for her “warm,” “arresting” and “rich-toned” singing. Since her Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2011 with the Handel and Haydn Society, Ms. Lias has been a frequent soloist under the baton of Harry Christophers. In 2015, she received praise for her Lincoln Center solo debut singing Mozart’s Requiem. Solo appearances in 2018 and 2019 include Portland Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, Masterworks Chorale, Cleveland Orchestra, Back Bay Choral, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Bach Festival and Emmanuel Music.

A passionate supporter of Anglican liturgical music, Ms. Lias has been a sought-after cantor for events such as bishop consecrations, priest ordinations and Holy Week services in major cathedrals and churches in the United States. Currently, Ms. Lias is a core member of Emmanuel Music, an ensemble-in-residence at Emmanuel Church, Boston. Ms. Lias was a founding member of Skylark Vocal Ensemble. She has performed frequently with Seraphic Fire, Boston Baroque, Voices of Ascension, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Emmanuel Music and Musica Sacra New York.

Sought after for her administrative talents, she was named chorus representative for Handel and Haydn Society in 2009 and served on the board of directors for Lorelei Ensemble. Additionally, Ms. Lias serves as development director for Emmanuel Music. She began vocal studies at the age of 13 but had already been a student of the Royal School of Church Music curriculum from age seven. As a teenager, Ms. Lias participated in community education studies and later collegiate coursework at the Eastman School of Music. Currently, she studies with Rebecca Folsom.

Marc Molomot, tenor

Possessed of a rare high-tenor voice and a winning stage persona that comfortably embraces both comedic and dramatic roles, Marc Molomot enjoys an international career in opera and on the concert stage. Originally known for appearances with the world’s leading early music ensembles and conductors, including William Christie, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nicholas McGegan and Andrew Parrott, Mr. Molomot is now praised as “an excellent actor-singer” in repertoire of all eras. Recent and upcoming engagements of note include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Chicago Opera Theater and a COT co-production with Long Beach Opera, Bard Music Festival in Busoni’s Turandot, Berg’s Wozzeck with Houston Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Magnificat with Israel Camerata Jerusalem, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Britten’s Serenade with Omaha Symphony and the Berkshire Choral Festival.

Among baroque roles, his performance as the nurse Arnalta in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea “brought down the house” (Opera News) and was hailed as “touching and hilarious” (Opera japonica). A 2012 production of Charpentier’s La descente d’Orphée aux enfers was “dominated by the wondrous high tenor of Mr. Molomot.” The Chicago Tribune reviewer concluded, “It was hard to imagine French Baroque singing more beautifully or stylishly alive to music and text.” Known for his heartfelt portrayal of the Evangelist in Bach’s Passions with New York Collegium, Mr. Molomot’s exploration of the role continued with St. John Passion with Mr. Parrott in Kraków and Tel Aviv, a St. Matthew in Trondheim, Norway’s historic Nidaros Cathedral, and a St. John Passion with John Nelson and Soli Deo Gloria in Chicago. In addition, Mr. Molomot’s recordings include the Grammy-winning release of Berg’s Wozzeck with the Houston Symphony, and Grammy-nominated Lully’s Thésée with the Boston Early Music Festival.

Nicholas Laroche, baritone

Rhode Island baritone Laroche is establishing himself as a new voice in New England. Mr. Laroche has been a featured soloist in many oratorio and opera engagements, including the Bach B-Minor Mass and St. John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Britten’s Albert Herring and The Rape of Lucretia, Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmélites and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. Mr. Laroche has performed solo and choral repertoire with many area ensembles including Schola Cantorum of Boston, Capella Nova Mundi, Collegium Ancora, Ecclesia Consort, Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra, and Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Providence Singers.

As an avid recitalist, Laroche has produced and performed numerous well-received solo concerts throughout New England and abroad, including Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Vienna and Salzburg. He holds a master’s from McGill University and a bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire, both in Solo Voice Performance. Recently, Laroche was the director of music ministry at Blessed Sacrament Church in Providence. He was an adjunct voice faculty member at Rhode Island College, where he was also the conductor and director of the Rhode Island College Men’s Chorus. Mr. Laroche is the music director for The Chorus of Kent County in southern Rhode Island.

Christine Noel, Artistic Director, Providence Singers

Christine Noel is delighted to return to the Rhode Island Philharmonic for the annual performance of Messiah with the Providence Singers. She recently conducted the Singers with orchestra in J.S. Bach’s Cantata 140, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass. Dr. Noel  has led the Providence Singers through world premieres, commissions and, most recently, the Singers’ fourth commercial recording—Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living. She has served on the music faculty and as director of choral activities at Clark University, Worcester, and as musical director at Trinity Rep. She has prepared choruses for Larry Rachleff, Ann Howard Jones, Robert Page and Bramwell Tovey. She is founder and artistic director of the award-winning Rhode Island Children’s Chorus, which has performed at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators’ National Conference and will make its debut at Carnegie Hall this season. An active guest conductor, festival clinician and adjudicator, she holds a master’s in music and Ph.D.  in conducting from Boston University, where she studied with Ann Howard Jones. She holds an undergraduate degree in music education from Rhode Island College, where she was awarded a grant from the Ridgway F. Shinn, Jr. Study Abroad Fund enabling her to spend a year of study at the Kodály Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary. Dr. Noel completed the superior level of Italian studies at the Università degli Studi di Firenze and served as assistant conductor and vocal coach for two Italian choirs, Animae Voces and Coro Polifonico di Caricentro di Firenze.