San Francisco (Herbst), Berkeley, Atherton, Walnut Creek
Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Zheng Cao, mezzo-soprano
REBEL: Les Caractères de la danse
HANDEL: “Scherza infida” from Ariodante
GLUCK: Selections from Orfeo ed Euridice, incl. Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Aria “Che faro senza Euridice,” and Ballet – Chaconne
STOOKEY: Into the Bright Lights (U.S. Premiere)
RAMEAU: Les Indes galantes, orchestral suite
Mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao, who garnered tremendous critical acclaim for her performance in Bonesetter’s Daughter at San Francisco Opera in 2008, will perform in the U.S. premiere of Into the Bright Lights, a cycle of three songs composed by Philharmonia Baroque Chorale alumnus and San Francisco native Nathaniel Stookey, with lyrics by Frederica von Stade which express her feelings on the process of singing and aging. Toronto’s Globe and Mail had this to say about the piece’s 2009 world premiere in Canada: “The surprise hit of the evening was Into the Bright Lights… in which the singer reflects with gentle, often wry honesty on singing and aging.”
Ms. Cao will also perform “Che faro senza Euridice” from Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice and “Scherza infida” from Handel’s Ariodante. These vocal works are complemented with suites composed for French baroque ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau and Jean-Féry Rebel.
Zheng says she will perform in these concerts “with tremendous admiration for Flicka, my mentor, my very treasured friend. It’s my great honor to replace Flicka to sing with the Philharmonia Baroque, and especially singing the U.S. premiere of the piece written by Flicka, and composed by Nathaniel Stookey.” Von Stade was originally scheduled to appear in these concerts, but has withdrawn for personal reasons.