Annapolis Chorale's season puts emphasis on diversity

The Baltimore Sun

The Annapolis Chorale's 2007-2008 season will feature musical works that include masterpieces of the choral repertoire, Broadway classics and grand opera.

Music director J. Ernest Green said he intends to "celebrate the wealth of musical talent this organization now boasts," a group consisting of the Annapolis Chorale, the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Annapolis Youth Chorus and guest artists.

"We've come a long way in 35 years," said Green, who has been around for 22 of them, "and we've got all musical tastes covered."

The 35th season starts Oct. 5 with the Chorale's popular "Broadway in Annapolis" series in a production of Cole Porter's perennially popular show Kiss Me Kate, inspired by Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. It will feature Ashleigh Rabbit as Lily/Kate and Shouvik Mondle as Fred/Petruchio playing the sparring show-biz couple, with Katie Hale as Lois Lane/Bianca. Classic tunes include "So in Love," "Wunderbar," "Too Darn Hot," "Why Can't You Behave?" and "Another Opening, Another Show."

The classical music program starts Nov. 2 and 3 with Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, a majestic work and audience favorite that contains beautiful choral music to convey a message of consolation in mourning based on Scripture. Shouvik Mondle will perform as baritone soloist and will be joined by soprano Leah Ann Myers.

The traditional Christmas concerts, scheduled for Dec 6 and 7, will feature singers Green describes as "three dynamic divas who are expected to wow audiences in three musical genres." Lyric soprano Amy Cofield, jazz singer Heather Venesile and folk singer Mollie Weaver will light up the holidays with their signature styles, joined by the full Chorale and Youth Chorus. This year's guest reader will be Gary Jobson.

Handel's Messiah will be performed Dec. 14 and 16 at St. Anne's Episcopal Church.

On Feb. 6 and 7, Green returns to offer the magic of another Broadway musical with a full orchestra. Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific tells two love stories against a backdrop of World War II in a haunting score that includes "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali Hai" and "Younger than Springtime."

On March 8, the classical program will feature the Chorale's Chamber Chorus in Gabriel Faure's Requiem to be matched with modern composer Morton Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna to offer messages of solace, hope and salvation.

Green, who conducts operas internationally for such groups as Teatro Lirico D'Europa and Hawaii Opera Theatre, will continue the Chorale's 15-year-old tradition of presenting opera. The grandest of them, Verdi's Aida, will be semi-staged with the Annapolis Chamber Orchestra and Chorale, and an international cast of young opera singers who will break from touring in the Middle East and Europe to perform at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts on April 25 and 26.

From its grand "Triumphal March" to its final scene where the entombed lovers, Aida and Radames, are united in death, Aida is a perennial favorite and also a psychological, intimate opera filled with tormented protagonists.

A master at communicating what the music dictates, Green will undoubtedly deliver the richness of grand opera. Judging by past performances, the music director will capture the sparkle of the Broadway musical. With minimal distraction of sets and props, he will concentrate on the essential of creating beautiful sound in grand opera and show tunes.

Subscriptions are available from full-season to custom packages. For information, visit the Annapolis Chorale office in Room 202 of Maryland Hall from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, call 410-280-5640 or visit www.anna

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