Bach Choir Family Concert with Mock Turtle Marionette Theatre
World premier of an enchanting adaption of
Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale
Sunday, February 26, 2017. 3pm.
Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University
420 E. Packer Ave, Bethlehem PA 18012
Tickets are $17 for adults, $7 for students. Contact (610) 866-4382, ext. 115 or bach.org.
Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale is set in Japan, but this version, set in 17 th century Germany is a perfect vehicle for J.S. Bach’s transcendent choral and instrumental music to contribute to the central theme of the story. What unfolds is a triumph of the spirit as the nightingale lifts sickness and death from the heart of the Emperor through its loyalty and the beauty of its song.
Greg Funfgeld has invited virtuoso recorder player Tricia Van Oers, a favorite of Bach Choir audiences, to embody the voice of the nightingale. Her music includes Le Rossignol en Amour by Francois Couperin and Engels Nachtigaltje by Jacob van Eyck as well as the wonderful recorder duet accompanying Bach’s “Sheep may safely graze.” These selections perfectly capture the feel of the nightingale improvising and creating its charming song anew in every moment and provide a perfect contrast between the living song of the little brown bird and the Emperor’s gold and ruby encrusted artificial nightingale, whose song never changes. Other choral and instrumental music interwoven with the story include choruses from Bach Cantatas, movements from the Art of Fugue, the “Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Graceful Ghost Rag played by Greg Funfgeld and Elizabeth Field, violin, as the music of the ghosts.
Joining Artistic Director Doug Roysdon as actors and puppeteers are assistant director Anna Russell, Willow Reichard-Flynn, Jamil Joseph, Grace Spruiell Hochella, Sabrina De Weerdt, and Sonya Hennet.
About The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
The oldest American Bach Choir, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem gave the first complete American performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor in 1900 and Christmas Oratorio in 1901. Since its founding in 1898, The Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and beyond to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. Under the direction of Greg Funfgeld since 1983, the 85 volunteer singers of The Bach Choir, performing with the Bach Festival Orchestra and distinguished soloists, have received international acclaim. Performances include the Thomaskirche in Leipzig; the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall; Carnegie Hall, Saint Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church Wall St. in New York City; the Kennedy Center and the Music Center at Strathmore in the Washington D.C. area; and Severance Hall, Cleveland. Programs include Bach to School, Bach at Noon, the annual Family Concert, and most recently, the launching in January 2016 of an alliance with an outstanding children’s chorus under the direction of Joy Hirokawa, which is now the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem.