Ars Lyrica Houston 2017/2018 Artful Women season
February 16, 2018
Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby Street, Houston, TX
About the Event:
Ars Lyrica Houston
Kinga Ferguson, Executive Director
4807 San Felipe, Suite 202
Houston, TX 77056
Today’s musical world is increasingly diverse in virtually all spheres, from classical to pop. That artistic diversity encourages audiences and practitioners to reconsider ingrained habits and tastes; the art becomes newly relevant. Great Composers may still dominate the musical landscape, but lesser-known figures have made significant inroads into the repertory. We’ve also benefitted greatly from increased scholarly and popular enthusiasm for the musical customs and practices of past eras: “period-instrument performance” began in academia but is now a global phenomenon—one that we’re delighted to share with you. Ars Lyrica Houston has always embraced this inquisitive attitude, in programming that offers a broad mix of dramatic and chamber music from the “Golden Age” of the 17th and 18th centuries, when all music aspired toward the lyric ideal. That trajectory continues during 2017/18 with Artful Women, a season of six subscription programs that explore women’s role as muse, heroine, composer, performer, and patron. Individual programs spotlight female musical pioneers, their particular modes of musical expression and patronage, and the enduring power of female icons from mythology and history.
Produced in collaboration with Bach Society Houston as part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, this program comprises two concise music dramas from opposite ends of the 18th century: G. F. Handel’s Esther (1718) and Samuel Felsted’s Jonah (1775). With gorgeous arias and stirring choruses, Handel’s first English-language oratorio celebrates an Old Testament heroine’s ultimate victory over the forces of evil. Such works provided valuable models for Samuel Felsted, a composer born to an English family in Jamaica in the early 1740s. His concise setting of the story of Jonah and the whale is the first American oratorio.