While by Dec. 15 or so most of the world is exhausted from Christmas celebrations, which started in August, those who waited until the day was actually upon them might still have the energy left to enjoy Epiphany.
Remember the “Twelve Days of Christmas?” Those 12 days fall after the 25th of December, so today, Jan. 6, is Epiphany, the day for celebrating Jesus’ baptism and his revelation to the Gentiles.
Allegro’s directors, oboist David Dutton and harpsichord player Beverly Biggs, assemble a biennial observation of this occasion, titled “Feast of Lights,” which occurs Tuesday at The Met. Joining Allegro for the performance are alto Elizabeth Kopczynski Moore, violinist Ann Christensen and cellist Wayne Smith.
Although this is a wonderful and certainly less exploited theme for a concert, Biggs says that coming up with music that commemorates Christmastide without being specifically Christmas or Advent music presents a challenge.
It helps to look back to the days of the purists, when all the specifics of the seasons were better delineated than they are today - and music was written accordingly. This time period happens to be the niche of Allegro.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” for example, is actually six cantatas strung together, which were originally to be performed over the course of the Christmas season. A couple of arias from this incredible work will be included on Tuesday’s program, sung by Moore.
In addition to Bach, Moore will sing some Telemann. The aria “Jauchzet, frohlocket,” from his Christmas cantata of that title, includes the violin, and his Advent cantata, “Vor des lichten Tages Schein,” will be with oboe. Maybe it also helps the programming not to be too uptight about the Christmastidespecific bit and to be flexible enough to mix in just a bit of Advent and other music.
Moore, although currently living in New York, is a native of Spokane. She made her professional singing debut with Biggs and Dutton and has appeared locally with Uptown Opera, the Spokane Symphony and the Bach Festival, among other venues. She has performed many operatic roles and has been involved in television and radio broadcasts in the United States and Europe.
Christensen holds violin degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University. She has toured as concertmaster of the Goldovsky Opera Theatre and participated in many festivals, including Grand Teton, Peter Britt, Graz and Oregon Bach Festivals. She lives in Portland and is on the faculty of Lewis and Clark College.
In addition to participating in the Telemann work, Christensen will solo in Anne Danican-Philidor’s Sonata in D minor.
The program will be rounded out with a Charpentier Noel for harpsichord and Biggs and Dutton performing some more Bach, including his famous “Air on the G String.”
This season, Allegro directors have been incorporating pre-concert lectures with their programs. Doing the honors this time around is Ann LaBarre, a history instructor at Eastern Washington University, who will begin her remarks at 7 p.m. on The Met stage.
ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos
MEMO: This sidebar ran with story: Allegro will present “Feast of Lights,” Tuesday, 8 p.m., The Met Tickets: $8, $11.50 and $14.50
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