The Lexington Philharmonic opens its 2015-2016 Season, titled Monumental, with Mahler 2 on Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m. at the Singletary Center for the Arts.
Lexington-based soprano Karen Slack and J’nai Bridges, mezzo soprano, along with the combined college choruses of Transylvania University, Eastern Kentucky University, Asbury University and Berea College unite to fill the Singletary Center with the vocal power of Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection.”
The decision to open with Mahler 2 was easy for Music Director and Conductor Scott Terrell.
“It is a perfect piece to open our 2015-2016 season. Monumental certainly describes the repertoire, but more important, it encapsulates the work we’ve done to increase our capabilities and reach in the community,” he said. “Presenting such a massive piece can be an intimidating puzzle for a regional orchestra, but we have worked hard to arrive to a place where we can present a work this challenging and vast.”
Mahler’s score calls for a massive orchestra, two soloists and choir, for a total of almost 300 artists on stage and in the immediate wings. Nearly 80 minutes long, the symphony is a test of endurance for even the most seasoned musicians.
While the most difficult piece of the puzzle to solve is usually the choir, the opportunity to sing Mahler 2 as a student is rare.
“When I approached our regional college choir directors about the possibility of Mahler 2, it wasn’t a question of yes or no,” Terrell said. “The question was a resounding, ‘How do we make it work?’”
The choirs joining LexPhil for Mahler 2 are from Berea College (led by Stephen Bolster, Concert Choir director), Asbury University (led by Vicki Bell, Chorale director), Eastern Kentucky University (led by Richard Waters, Director of Chorale Activities), and Transylvania University (led by Karen Cooksey, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities).
“Another piece of this puzzle that we are so pleased came together, is the opportunity to feature soprano Karen Slack, who we have wanted to work with now for some time, as well as rising mezzo soprano, J’nai Bridges,” Terrell said.
Karen Slack has performed with major conductors in opera houses and concert halls around the world. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she was heard as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, Pamina in Die Zauberflote and as the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea. At age 18, Karen was the youngest winner in the history of the Rosa Ponselle International Competition for the Vocal Arts held in New York’s Alice Tully Hall.
J’nai Bridges has performed several times with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and is a member of the Lyric Opera’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Her most recent performances include the roles of Inez in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Vlasta in Weinberg’s The Passenger, with Lyric Opera Of Chicago, and Rebecca in Charlier Parker’s Yardbird with Opera Philadelphia. In her career, she has won numerous awards, most recently the 2013 Sullivan Award and 2013 Union League Award. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music.
Valet parking is available for $10 per car at the Rose Street entrance to the Singletary Center. Capacity for valet parking has been increased. Free parking is available in any E Parking Lot on the UK campus, as well as Parking Structure 5 located at 409 S. Limestone, with entrances on South Limestone and South Upper Street.
Tickets to Mahler 2 range from $35-$85 with $11 student tickets available.
Tickets to Opening Night at Apiary post-concert party, at 218 Jefferson Street, are available for $65.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the concert and the event at Apiary, please contact the Lexington Philharmonic Box Office at 859-233-4226, or visit www.lexphil.org.