Arias and Sinfonias from Biblical Oratorios at Aston Magna

Dominique Labelle (photo Lino Alvarez)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., and ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – Soprano Dominique Labelle will perform works by Caldara, Handel, Purcell and Clerambault in Arias and Sinfonias from Biblical Oratorios, accompanied by the Aston Magna string ensemble, at Bard College on Friday, June 30 at 8pm, and at Saint James Place in Great Barrington on Saturday, July 1, at 6pm, as part of Aston Magna Music Festival.

Pre-concert talks take place an hour before the program with Aston Magna artistic director Daniel Stepner. The Saint James Place concert is followed by a wine and cheese reception with the artists.

Throughout her career, soprano Dominique Labelle has fearlessly plumbed the technical and emotional depths of music, turning in performances of “almost alarming ferocity” (San Francisco Chronicle), possessed of “conviction but without exhibitionism” (De Telegraf), that have “the audience hanging on every note” (Boston Globe). Her passionate commitment to music-making has led to close and enduring collaborations with a number of the world’s most respected conductors and composers, such as Iván Fischer, Nicholas McGegan, Jos van Veldhoven, Jean-Marie Zeitouni, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner. She also treasures her long association with the late Robert Shaw.

Labelle first came to international prominence as Donna Anna in Peter Sellars’ daring production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, set in Spanish Harlem, which she performed in New York, Paris, and Vienna.

She could easily lay claim to the title “diva.” Instead, Ms. Labelle simply calls herself a musician, and takes greatest pride not in her rave reviews, but in her work with colleagues and in her probing explorations of the repertoire from the Baroque to new music.

Labelle’s collaborations with Nicholas McGegan at Göttingen and with his Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra have included Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 “Lobgesang” and Handel’s Atalanta, Orlando, Alexander’s Feast, and Teseo. Her appearances with Iván Fischer include the Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro in Las Palmas and Budapest; a Bach B Minor Mass in Washington, D.C.; a Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; as well as Mozart’s Requiem and a Bach St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. She has also sung Britten’s Les Illuminations with Jean-Marie Zeitouni and I Musici de Montréal; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Brahms Requiem, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Zeitouni and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to her renowned Handel, Mozart, and Bach interpretations, Labelle is drawn to contemporary music. Her longtime collaborator, Pulitzer Prize winning composer Yehudi Wyner, accompanied her in a March 2015 recital at Dumbarton Oaks which included Wyner’s own works, some composed expressly for Ms. Labelle. Her performances of Seven Romances on Poetry of Alexander Blok by Shostakovich were “in perfect sync,” creating “an uncanny blanket of sound that resonated everywhere at once.” The Boston Globe called her interpretation of Britten’s Les Illuminations  “heated” and “voluptuous”. She has also performed and recorded John Harbison’s The Rewaking with the Lydian String Quartet.

Among her numerous recordings of opera and concert repertoire is Monsigny’s Le Déserteur with Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown (Naxos), and three recordings with Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (Handel’s Teseo and Atalanta and Scarlatti’s Cecilian Vespers).  She can also be heard on recordings on the Virgin Veritas, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, RCA Victor Red Seal, Koss, Denon, New World, Carus and Muisica Omnia labels. Her recording of Handel’s Arminio (Virgin Classics) won the 2002 Handel Prize. Labelle’s latest recording, Moments of Love, is her recital with pianist and composer Yehudi Wyner on a program of Britten, Hahn, Ravel, Saint-Saëns and Wyner.

Born in Montreal and trained at McGill and Boston Universities, Dominique Labelle enjoys sharing her technical and musical insights with young singers, and is Professor of Voice at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University. She has also taught master classes at Harvard University, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts.

The Aston Magna Music Festival concerts runs on Fridays at Bard through July 6, and on Saturdays in the Berkshires through July 22.




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