Poet-in-Residence Rhina P. Espaillat
Does anyone in Newburyport really need an introduction to Rhina?
Tickets for the 2021 NCMF Winter Baroque concert have gone live and, as promised, the concert will be a doozy. Nurit will be back, as will Eliana, and they’ll be joined by soprano/composer/performance artist Susan Botti for a mixed program that begins in a very different place from where it ends. Due to COVID restrictions we can only fit 90 people in St. Paul’s so act quickly if you want to get in the door!
The program starts in the High Baroque with Handel arias from “Messiah” and “Theodora,” Purcell’s “If Music be the Food of Love” and bits of a Bach cantata thrown in. We then jump forward in time with Susan Botti’s “When Dido Refuses to Speak,” an allusion backward to Purcell’s tragic early opera “Dido and Aeneas.” This is followed by “Dido’s Lament” from Purcell’s original opera, one of the most sublime (and tragic) arias written in any period.
Of course, we don’t want to dwell on sad music over the holidays and the program pivots quickly to 20th century America with Irving Berlin’s “Count your Blessings” and Fats Waller’s joyful “Jitterbug Waltz.” Lastly, we’ll then send you out the door with none other than Berlin’s “White Christmas” in an arrangement by Susan for soprano, violin, and cello.
It has been tremendous fun assembling this out-there holiday program and I realize I’m walking a fine line without crossing into kitsch. A lot has changed since 1689 and the premiere of “Dido and Aeneas” but who can resist a good croon once the leaves drop and the flurries start to fall?
David Yang, Artistic Director
If Music be the Food of Love
Dido's Lament (from Dido and Aeneas)
Oh! That I on wings could rise (from Theodora)
Oh Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me? (from Semele)
Pastorale Symphony (from Messiah)
I Know That My Redeemer Livest (from Messiah)
How Beautiful are the Feet (from Messiah)
Come into my Heart’s House (from Cantata 147)
Sheep may Safely Graze (from Cantata 208)
Presto from Sonata No. 1 in G Minor for solo violin
Words 2 & 3 (from Dido Refuses to Speak)
Count your Blessings