Pacific MusicWorks conductor Stephen Stubbs takes a revolutionary approach to Handel’s Messiah, returning to the composer’s own practice of embedding soloists in the choir. With the Pacific MusicWorks Orchestra and the UW Chamber Singers.
Teresa Wakim, soprano
Reginald Mobley, counter-tenor
Zachary Wilder, tenor
Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Stephen Stubbs, Pacific MusicWorks
After a thirty year career in Europe, musical director and lutenist Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006. Since then he has established his new production company, Pacific Musicworks, and developed a busy calendar as a guest conductor specializing in baroque opera and oratorio.
With his direction of Stefano Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo at the 1987 Bruges festival, he began his career as opera director and founded the ensemble Tragicomedia. Since 1997 Stephen has co-directed the bi-annual Boston Early Music Festival opera and is the permanent artistic co-director. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee, and Psyché were nominated for Grammy awards in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
Stephen was born in Seattle, Washington, where he studied composition, piano and harpsichord at the University of Washington. In 1974 he moved to England to study lute with Robert Spencer and then to Amsterdam for further study with Toyohiko Satoh and soon became a mainstay of the burgeoning early-music movement there, working with Alan Curtis on Italian opera in Italy, William Christie on French opera in France and various ensembles in England and Germany particularly the Hilliard Ensemble.
With his return to Seattle in 2006 he formed the long-term goal of establishing a company devoted to the study and production of Baroque opera. His first venture in this direction was the creation of the Accademia de’Amore, an annual summer institute for the training of pre-professional singers and musicians in baroque style and stagecraft, now housed at the Cornish College of the Arts.
In 2008 he established Pacific MusicWorks. The company’s inaugural presentation was a revival of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia marionette staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return ofUlysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. After a warmly received 2010 presentation of Monteverdi’s monumental Vespers of 1610 at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, PMW presented a full subscription season, opening with a program based on the Song of Songs and ending with two triumphantly successful performances of Handel’s early masterpiece, The Triumph of Time (1707).
As a guest conductor Stubbs has led performances of Gluck’s Orfeo and Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto in Bilbao, Spain, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Amsterdam’s Netherlands Opera. Following his successful debut conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2011, he was invited back in 2012 to conduct the Symphony’s performances of Messiah. He will also debut with the Edmonton Symphony in Messiah this season.
Stephen Stubbs is Senior Artist in Residence and member of the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Washington.
Geoffrey Boers, UW Chamber Singers
Geoffrey Boers is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is the Mary K. Shepman Endowed Professor of Music. Under his direction, the choral program at the University of Washington has grown to include nearly twenty graduate choral conductors each year, as well as nine ensembles conducted by five faculty and many graduate students, with nearly 600 singers participating.
Geoffrey conducts the UW Chamber Singers, the university's premier ensemble of graduate and advanced singers. The Chamber Singers performs nationally and internationally, most recently having returned from Hungary for a concert tour. Last Spring, the choir performed Monteverdi's rarely heard masterpiece, 1610 Vespers. He also teaches graduate choral conducting and choral pedagogy, and serves as faculty advisor as part of the graduate choral curriculum. He is the recipient of the University of Washington's prestigious Royalty Research Foundation Grant, which allowed him to travel to the Baltic region and to establish the UW Baltic Choral Music Library, the first of its kind in the United States.
Geoffrey maintains an active conducting, teaching, workshop and clinic schedule. Recent engagements have taken him to Australia, mainland China, Thailand, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center, where he serves as Artistic Director for the Washington D.C. Choral Festival. He especially enjoys working with conductors and their choirs with focus on building communication through gesture and expressivity, and building community within the ensemble. Geoffrey is also exploring the idea spirare, or the connection between breath and spirit, in disciplines as far reaching as Yoga , Tai Chi and world faith systems. This study is leading to evolving thoughts of gesture as it relates to breath, evocation of sound, and touching the heart.
In addition to his position at the UW, Boers is the conductor of the Tacoma Symphony Chorus and will conduct the Tacoma Symphony in numerous performances this season.
Teresa Wakim, soprano
With “a gorgeous, profoundly expressive instrument,” and as “a bejeweled lyric soprano with an exquisite top register,” American soprano Teresa Wakim is perhaps best known as “a perfect early music voice.” Upon completion of her studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, Wakim was soon named a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music in Boston, and won First Prize in the International Soloist Competition for Early Music in Brunnenthal, Austria. The last several seasons have seen her make solo debuts at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Boston Symphony Hall, Grand Théâtre de Provence, Severance Hall in Cleveland, Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Opéra Royal at Versailles.
Ms. Wakim has appeared with many of the nation’s premier orchestras. She has sung Bach's Wedding Cantata Weichet nur betrübte Schatten and Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer with The Cleveland Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the Charlotte, Tucson, Alabama and San Antonio Symphonies, Bach’s Missa Brevis with the San Francsico Symphony, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate with New World Symphony, Vivaldi’s In furore iustissime irae with San Antonio Symphony, Bach’s Mass in B Minor with Louisiana Philharmonic, Orff’s Carmina Burana with Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and Brahms’ German Requiem with the Omaha Symphony.
In addition, Wakim’s affinity for the Baroque has brought her much success as a frequent soloist with many of the world’s best period instrument ensembles, including the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Wiener Akademie, the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Baroque, Dallas Bach Society, Pacific Musicworks, Early Music Vancouver, Handel Choir of Baltimore, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Tragicomedia, and Mercury Baroque Orchestra.
She has portrayed and recorded multiple operas from Monteverdi to Mozart, specializing in operas of the French Baroque with the Boston Early Music Festival, and sang the roles of Flore, Aréthuse, and Daphne on their 2015 GRAMMY-Winning Best Opera Recording of Charpentier’s La Descente d'Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleurs. She can also be heard on numerous recordings with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Early Music Festival, Musik Ekklesia, and Seraphic Fire.
Reginald Mobley, counter-tenor
Countertenor Reginald Mobley fully intended to speak his art through watercolors and oil pastels until circumstance demanded that his own voice should speak for itself. Since reducing his visual color palette to the black and white of a score, he has endeavored to open a wider spectrum onstage.
Particularly noted for his “crystalline diction and pure, evenly produced tone” (Miami Herald), as well as “elaborate and inventive ornamentation” (South Florida Classical Review), Reggie is rapidly making a name for himself as soloist in Baroque, Classical, and modern repertoire. His natural and preferred habitat as a soloist is within the works of Bach, Charpentier, Handel, Purcell, as well as other known Baroque Period mainstays. Not to be undone by a strict diet of cantatas, odes, and oratorios, Reggie finds himself equally comfortable in rep of later periods and genres. Such works as Haydn’s Theresienmesse, Mozart’s Requiem, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. He has also performed the title role of “Paris” in the Florida premiere of John Eccles’ Judgment of Paris, under the direction of Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb.
A longtime member of the twice GRAMMY® nominated Miami based professional vocal ensemble, Seraphic Fire, Reggie has had the privilege to also lend his talents to other ensembles in the US and abroad. Such as the Dartmouth Handel Society, Apollo’s Fire, Vox Early Music, Portland Baroque Orchestra, North Carolina Baroque Ensemble, Ensemble VIII, San Antonio Symphony, Early Music Vancouver and Symphony Nova Scotia under direction of Alexander Weimann, and the Oregon Bach Festival under the direction of Matthew Halls.
Not to be held to conventional countertenor repertoire, the “Barn-burning, [...]phenomenal” male alto has a fair amount of non-classical work under his belt. Not long after becoming a countertenor, he was engaged in several musical theatre productions as a principal or secondary role. Most notable among them was the titular role in Rupert Holmes’ Mystery of Edwin Drood, and “Jacey Squires” in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. In addition to his work in musical theatre, he performed many cabaret shows and sets of jazz standards and torch songs in jazz clubs in and around Tokyo, Japan. Reggie studied voice at the University of Florida with Jean Ronald LaFond, and Florida State University with Roy Delp.
Zachary Wilder, tenor
American tenor, Zachary Wilder, graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor’s in Music before completing a Masters in Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston. Additionally, Zachary was a Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson Fellow at Emmanuel Music, a Gerdine Young Artist at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis, an Adams Vocal Masterclass Fellow at the Carmel Bach Festival, a Tanglewood Music Centre Fellow, a Britten-Pears Young Artist and a member of the Les Arts Florissants academy for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix 2013.
Currently living in Paris, Zachary is a sought after performer both on the operatic and concert stage. He has worked with musical luminaries such as Leonardo Alarcón, Elliot Carter, William Christie, Harry Christophers, Philippe Herreweghe, James Levine, Stephen Lord, Mark Morris, Paul O’Dette, Christophe Rousset, Alexander Weimann and Stephen Stubbs. Zachary has also performed with numerous ensembles internationally, including Apollo’s Fire, Les Arts Florissants, American Bach Soloists, Ars Lyrica Houston, Back Bay Chorale, Blue Heron, Boston Early Music Festival, Les Bostonades, Cappella Mediterranea, Collegium Vocale Gent, Ensemble Clematis, Ensemble Médical de Munich, Emmanuel Music, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, A Far Cry, The Green Mountain Project, Handel & Haydn Society, Harvard Baroque Orchestra, Houston Bach Society, Les Talens Lyriques, Mark Morris Dance Group, Mercury Houston, Opera Omaha, Pacific Musicworks, Portland Baroque Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Tenet and Tesserae Ensemble.
Operatic roles include Alessandro in Mozart’s Il Re Pastore (Grand Harmonie), Renaud in Lully’s Armide (Mercury Baroque), Grimoaldo Rodelinda, Osman in Handel’s Almira, Mordecai Esther, Coridon in Handel’s Acis and Galatea (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, La Fenice, Venice), Telemaco and Pisandro in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, Mercurio in Zamponi’s Ulisse nell’Isola di Circé, Testo in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Los Angeles), Iro in Cavalli’s Elena (Aix-en-Provence, Versailles, Lille Opera and Lisbon) and Tantalus and Ixion in Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with the Boston Early Music Festival and at the Wigmore Hall, London with Christian Curnyn.
On the concert platform, Zachary is internationally in great demand; his repertoire includes Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Madrigals, Book VII with Paul Agnew and Les Arts Florissants (Caen, Antwerp, Prague, Dresden, and Paris), Haydn’s Creation and The Seasons, the Evangelist in Bach’s Saint John and St Matthew Passions, Mozart’s Requiem, and Handel’s Messiah (Portland Baroque Orchestra, Mercury Houston, Virginia Symphony, and Alabama Symphony, Birmingham, USA).
Recent and future engagements include un Sylphe in Rameau’s Zaïs at the Festival de Beaune with Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset (Amsterdam, Versailles and Vienna), Tirsi in Gagliano’s La Dafne in Bruges with Cappella Mediterranea and Leonardo Garcia Alarcón, concerts at the Festival de Thiré with William Christie, a Bach programme with Mercury Houston, Damon Acis and galatea in California with The American Bach soloists, Septimus Theodora with Early Music Vancouver (USA and Canada), Haydn’s Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze in Paris with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris under the baton of Mo Alarcón, and LucanoL’incoronazione di Poppea and Telemaco Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria both for Boston Early Music Festival.
His discography with Boston Early Music Festival includes Lully’s Psyché (Grammy nominated), Rameau’s Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau with Le Jardin des Voix and William Christie, Zamponi’s Ulisse all’Isola di Circé (Ricercar) and Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine with Leonardo Alarcón.
Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Kevin Deas has gained international renown as one of America’s leading bass-baritones. He is perhaps most acclaimed for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, having performed it with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and the symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Calgary, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Montreal, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Utah, and Vancouver, and at the Ravinia, Vail and Saratoga festivals. He repeats the role during the 2014-2015 season with the symphonies of Columbus (OH), Detroit, Florida, and Hartford, as well as in his return to the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica.
Kevin Deas’ other engagements during the 2014-15 season include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Symphony, and Elgin (IL) Symphoies, as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico; Claudius in Handel’s Agrippina in a concert staging and recording with Boston Baroque; a return to the Winter Park Bach Festival for Bach’s Mass in B-minor and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem; Bach’s Mass in B-minor with the Louisiana Philharmonic and Vox AmaDeus; Messiah with the National Philharmonic; a concert of the music of Gershwin and Copland with Orchestra Iowa; Copland’s Old American Songs and a set of spirituals with the Columbus (OH) Symphony; and Christmas concerts with the Acadiana Symphony and Riverside Symphonia. He also joins PostClassical Ensemble of Washington, DC for a concert of Bach cantatas and a series of master classes in Washington’s Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
Kevin Deas’ recent concert performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Boston Baroque, Calgary Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, Pacific Symphony, and Richmond Symphony; Verdi’s Requiem with the Richmond Symphony, National Philharmonic, and Winnipeg Symphony; Handel’s Messiah with Boston Baroque, Cleveland Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, National Philharmonic, and Seattle Symphony; Mozart’s Requiem with the Alabama Symphony and Vermont Symphony; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Grand Rapids Symphony and Oratorio Society of New York; St John Passion with the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico; Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with the New York Philharmonic; and Copland’s Old American Songs and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Chicago Symphony.
A strong proponent of contemporary music, Kevin Deas was heard at Italy’s Spoleto Festival in a new production of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors in honor of the composer's eighty-fifth birthday, which was videotaped for worldwide release. He has also performed the world premieres of Derek Bermel’s The Good Life with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Hannibal Lokumbe’s Dear Mrs. Parks with the Detroit Symphony. His twenty-year collaboration with the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck has taken him to Salzburg, Vienna and Moscow in To Hope!, and he performed Brubeck’s Gates of Justice in a gala performance in New York during the 1995-96 season.
Kevin Deas has recorded Wagner’s Die Meistersinger for Decca/London with the Chicago Symphony under the late Sir Georg Solti and Varèse'sEcuatorial with the ASKO Ensemble under the baton of Riccardo Chailly. Other releases include Bach's Mass in B-minor and Handel's Acis and Galatea on Vox Classics; Dave Brubeck's To Hope! with the Cathedral Choral Society on the Telarc label; and Haydn's Die Schöpfung with the Virginia Symphony and Boston Baroque for Linn Records. June 2014 marks the release of “Dvorak in America” (Naxos), featuring Mr. Deas performing the world premiere recording of Dvorak’s “Hiawatha Melodrama” and Dvorak’s arrangement of “Goin’ Home” with the PostClassical Ensemble.