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66th CONCERT SEASON 2022-2023 • The Magical Sounds of the Orchestra

PROGRAM 2 • MASTERWORKS SERIES

Saturday, December 17, 2022 • 8pm | Regent Theatre Oshawa

the song of the earth

An evening of the great Gustav Mahler’s deepest symphonic expressions, including his Totenfeier followed by the composer’s masterpiece of earthly beauty The Song of the Earth. Two symphonic imperatives in one evening! These are works filled with expressions of the profoundest of human thoughts and experience.
Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
César Delgado, tenor  |  • Alexander Dobson, baritone
Intermission
Totenfeier
Gustav MAHLER
Gustav MAHLER

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CÉSAR DELGADO • biography

Mexican-born César Delgado, whom Opera News has praised for his “generous, lustrous tenor” and “committed, energetic acting” has been steadily building an active career that finds him regularly on the US and Mexican musical scenes. Mr. Delgado began the 2017-2018 season with a New York debut in New York City Opera’s production of La Fanciulla del West. Earlier in 2017, he sang Rodolfo in La Bohème with The Charleston Opera and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Mexico’s Mazatlán Opera. He is due to perform the tenor solos in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in New York in 2018. In 2016, Mr. Delgado appeared as Arcadio in the Latin American premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas, in a fully staged production in Mexico City. This production was also recorded for CD release. Mr. Delgado has won many prestigious vocal competitions, including the 1st Prize (Male Category) in the 2017 Sinaloa International Singing Competition and the “Murray Rosenthal” Major Award at the Opera Index International Voice Competition in 2016. In 2015, he was chosen to participate in Plácido Domingo’s 2015 New York Master Class, sponsored jointly by Opera News and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He was also invited to participate in the first International Residency of the Ryan Opera Center by Chicago Lyric Opera. A Mannes President Full Scholarship recipient, Mr. Delgado graduated with a Professional Artist Diploma from Mannes College in Spring 2015. While there, he sang such principal roles with Mannes Opera as Liebenskoff in Il Viaggio a Reims, Mario Ruoppolo in the New York City premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi.

ALEXANDER DOBSON • biography

British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson has been praised for his musical and dramatic artistry on both opera and concert stages.  He was lauded for his “gripping embodiment of Wozzeck” (Journal Voir) in a production of the Berg opera with Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and Orchestre Métropolitain, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other roles of note include the title role in Don Giovanni, the Count/Le Nozze di Figaro and Thomas Betterton/Prince of Players, all with Florentine Opera, and Guglielmo/Così Fan Tutte, Belcoré /L’elisir d'amore and Ned Keene/Peter Grimes, all with L’Opéra de Montréal.

Acclaimed for his accomplished blend of stagecraft and vocal ability, Mr. Dobson is particularly in demand for contemporary stagings. His recent performance as “The Master” in Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie’s production of Against Nature was praised for its “clarity and sustained feeling” (The Globe and Mail ) November 2021 will see Dobson return to Citadel for the premiere of The Machine Stops with Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, the final project in a trilogy directed by James Kudelka and composed by John Gzowski). Dobson was also acclaimed as “The Pilot” in Soundstreams’ production of Airline Icarus, a new opera by Brian Current. The recording of Airline Icarus was the winner of the JUNO for Classical Composition of the Year in 2015. The recording of Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players, with Florentine Opera and the Milwaukee Symphony, was released in April 2020 on the Reference Recordings label and received two GRAMMY(r) nominations. Alexander made his London debut at the Linbury Theatre with Royal Opera House Covent Garden in the premiere of The Midnight Court by Ana Sokolovic. He also was acclaimed for his appearances in a staged performance of Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony directed by Atom Egoyan at Spoleto Festival USA, and as King Karl in Schubert’s Fierrabras with Toronto’s VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert.

Other opera engagements include Raimbaud/Le Comte Ory for Edmonton Opera, Maximilian/Candide with Calgary Opera; “Guillaume” in the French version of Così fan tutte with Opera Lafayette; Count Almaviva/The Marriage of Figaro with Against the Grain; Marcello/La Bohème with Saskatoon Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, and on television in BRAVO’s Street Scenes version of the work; Silvio/Pagliacci for L'Opéra de Québec; Mercutio/Roméo et Juliette for L’Opera de Montréal and also for Opera Ontario; Harlequin/Ariadne auf Naxos for Calgary Opera,  Sonora/Lafanciulla del West with L'Opéra de Montréal; and Aeneas/Dido and Aeneas with The Theatre of Early Music. He has sung Escamillo/Carmen in concert with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony,

Concert performances of note include Walton’s Belshazzar's Feast with Toronto Symphony and Sir Andrew Davis, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfayer with Orchestre Métropolitain, Faure Requiem with the Windsor Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducting the combined National Arts Centre Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain. He has sung Mozart’s Requiem with the Milwaukee Symphony and San Antonio Symphony; Haydn’s Seasons with Cleveland Orchestra; and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the St. Lawrence Choir, Toronto’s Aldeburgh Connection, the Vancouver New Music Festival, and with Montréal’s Theatre of Early Music. Alexander has sung Handel’s Messiah with Philadelphia Orchestra (Cristian Macelaru, conductor), Calgary Philharmonic (Nicholas McGegan), Kansas City Symphony (Julian Wachner) Orchestra London, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Paul Goodwin), St. Thomas Church in New York, Edmonton Symphony, Grand Philharmonic Choir, Elmer Isler Singers, Boris Brott Festival, and Spiritus Chamber Choir, Brahms Requiem with Pacific Chorale, and Bach’s St. John Passion with Bach Society of St. Louis. Among his many Canadian engagements this past season were Bruckner’s Te Deum and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 with the Hamilton Philharmonic. Abroad, he performs in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Warsaw Philharmonic, a piece he previously performed with the Naples Philharrmonic.

Mr. Dobson is also a dedicated recital artist. Composer Derek Holman wrote the song cycle Daybreak and a Candle End especially for Alexander and the Talisker Players. Mr. Dobson has also performed Dichterliebe with Talisker Players Chamber Music and Coleman Lemieux Dance Company, and Schubert’s Winterreise to great acclaim in Montréal, Victoria, England, Paris, and, with Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the piano, in Toronto. Alexander has also been heard frequently on CBC Radio Canadian recital and concert.

Alexander graduated from the University of Toronto Opera Division and the Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario with Honours.  He is also an alumnus of the Music Theatre Program at the Banff Centre, Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, and L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opéra de Montréal.  Alexander is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including those from the International Voice Competition of Paris (including the Edward Marshall Association Award for Outstanding Baritone), the Jeunesses Musicales National Competition, the Marilyn Horne Competition (Music Academy of the West), and the Jacqueline Desmarais Competition.

An ardent singer since childhood, Alexander's solo début was at twelve years old, as a treble soloist in the Canadian premiere of Lloyd Webber's Requiem under conductor Elmer Isler.

MARCO PARISOTTO • biography

Born in Montreal of Italian lineage, Marco Parisotto is among Canada's foremost conductors on the international scene. A guest with orchestras around the globe, with unrelentingly high standards of performance, he continues to thrill audiences with his passionate music making. He is the winner of seven major international competitions and crowned these achievements at the1997 “Besançon International Competition for Conductors”, being awarded both the Grand Prix as well as the Prix du Public - a historical first at this elite event.

As Artistic Director of the Ontario Philharmonic (OP), a title he has held for over two decades, he has earned praise for the orchestra’s development and adventurous performances, and he is credited with building OP to the high standard it enjoys today. Under his leadership, Ontario Philharmonic has received superlative audience and media recognition.

“…a fantastic orchestra [Ontario Philharmonic] being led by a first-rate conductor” • Musical Toronto.

Marco Parisotto’s close association with orchestras is manifested through the strong relationships he has maintained with ensembles under his leadership. In 2013, he was unanimously elected as Music Director of the Jalisco Philharmonic, transforming this ensemble into one of Latin America’s most distinguished orchestras. Under his direction, the Jalisco Philharmonic garnered international attention with its virtuosic performances and participated in recordings, tours, international festivals and major events such as Operalia, The World Opera Competition. During his tenure, the orchestra undertook major concert tours eliciting great critical and public acclaim as they visited Germany, Austria, the USA and Mexico in leading concert halls of Berlin, Munich, Essen, Vienna, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Busan and Mexico City. As well, through Maestro Parisotto, the orchestra completed significant commercial recording projects, starting with the Philharmonic’s first release under the SONY Classical label.

“Amidst this exciting pillar of sound growing constantly, stands Marco Parisotto. Under his control, directing the orchestra with the greatest finesse, like an architect he gives precise instructions that develop into a majestic edifice of sound…  He ingeniously manages the full spectrum of colors of his orchestra… We hope that this fantastic orchestra with this dynamic conductor will visit our German concert halls more frequently, bringing with them their style of spicy and fiery music-making.” • Klassik Begeistert, Raphael Eckardt

Following a special concert celebrating Canada-China relations in 1999 at the Grand Theatre in Shanghai, Marco Parisotto was appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, a position he held until 2003.

Marco Parisotto has won critical and public praise for his interpretations of the great Austro-German repertoire - as R. Strauss, Bruckner, Wagner, and as an avid Mahlerian. He has also been acclaimed for his readings of Russian masters as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and for his passionate performances in the operatic field. He has led productions including, among others, Pagliacci, Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmen, Otello, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Boheme, Aida, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni and Turandot.

“The star of the evening was without a doubt Marco Parisotto…inspired, passionate and in a virtual state of grace, impressing a supreme flow and agility to this extremely challenging opera [Puccini’s Turandot].” • Opera World.

Marco Parisotto has appeared in major concert halls throughout the world, conducting many leading orchestras including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano "La Verdi", Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano, New Jersey Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Busan Philharmonic, Osaka Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Erfurt Philharmonic, Belgrade Philharmonic, Georges Enescu Philharmonic, Janacek Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Opéra de Bordeaux, Opéra de Marseille, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and Philharmonique de Liège. He was received with great enthusiasm at the international Festivals of Evian, Menton, Besançon, Festival Cervantino, Wieniawski International Festival (Poland), May Festival of Guadalajara, Festival of Opera in Jalisco, Skaneateles Festival New York, Busan Maru International Music Festival and Bolzano Festival; at the Montreal Opera, Shanghai Opera, Opera Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, Serbian National Theatre; in Mexico with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquesta Filarmonica de la UNAM, Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes, Orquesta Sinfonica de UANL, Camerata de Coahuila, Sinfonica Carlos Chavez, Camara de Bellas Artes, Orquesta de Baja California; in China with the Shanghai Symphony, China National Symphony and Gui Yang Symphony. He has also led to acclaim the Polish National Radio Symphony, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Orchestra Nazionale della RAI of Torino, Orquesta de Cordoba, Orchestre de Bayonne Côte-Basque. On several occasions, at Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris, he was a guest of Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux.  

Marco Parisotto is the winner of seven important international competitions. Aside from his noteworthy awards at the prestigious Besançon Competition, joining the ranks of maestros like Seiji Ozawa and Michel Plasson, other top prizes have included the Tokyo International Conductors' Competition in Japan, Constantin Silvestri Competition in Romania and the Antonio Pedrotti in Italy. He was moreover honored with all other special awards at these events.  

He took his training both as a violinist and pianist and studied conducting with eminent maestros including Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Brück, Yuri Temirkanov, Georg Tintner and, initially, with Raffi Armenian at the Conservatoire de Musique du Québec in Montreal.

PROGRAM NOTES
by John Green

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Totenfeier


The poem Totenfeier (Funeral Rites) was set to music in 1888 by German composer Gustav Mahler. Originally intended as the first movement of his second symphony, the piece has taken on a life of its own. In fact, the piece was performed as a stand-alone a number of times with Mahler himself conducting. It is music that asks, what is the meaning of life? Mahler believed music could answer these kinds of questions, and about Totenfeier he wrote:
“We are standing at the coffin of a well-loved man. His life, struggles, suffering, and passions pass by our mind’s eye for the last time, and now, in this solemn and most shattering moment, when the confusions and distractions of everyday life are stripped away, a terrible grim voice, which we usually ignore in life’s daily hustle and bustle, grips at our heart: Now what? What is this life? — and this death? Does it continue for us? Is it all just an empty dream, or does this life and this death have a purpose? — And we must answer this question, if we are to continue living.”

If Mahler were alive today and commissioned to write the soundtrack for a scary Hollywood blockbuster, Totenfeier would fill the bill nicely. One critic has described the piece as a “huge symphonic funeral march.”


Gustav Mahler
The Song of the Earth


Although described as a symphony when it was first published The Song of the Earth is actually a song cycle for two voices and orchestra. The six pieces that make up the work alternate between the two soloists. It was composed following an extremely difficult time in Mahler’s life: his struggle against antisemitism, which cost him his job as director of the Vienna Court Opera; the death of his daughter from scarlet fever; and the diagnosis of his own congenital heart defect. To his friend, conductor Bruno Walter, he wrote, “With one stroke, I have lost everything I have gained in terms of who I thought I was, and have to learn my first steps again like a newborn.”

In the midst of these difficulties, Mahler became enthralled by a translation of verses titled The Chinese Flute. The poems rekindled his compositional efforts and he chose seven of  them to set to music. The work was originally titled Symphony for Tenor, Contralto and Orchestra and would have been his ninth symphony. However, history reminded him that both Beethoven and Schubert had died after completing their ninth symphonies. As he contemplated his own death, superstition dictated the title be changed to The Song of the Earth, a work of “earthly beauty and transience.”

As Mahler pointed out shortly before his own death: “Don’t bother looking at the view, I have already composed it.”

The Song of the Earth is widely performed today and is considered one of the great masterpieces of symphonic music with its genius instrumental colouration and expression of the deepest of human thoughts and experiences.


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