All Press Releases for April 02, 2015

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Presents - Elijah

For their 2014-15 Symphonic Season Finale, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will present Mendelssohn's Elijah

    KALAMAZOO, MI, April 02, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- For the final performance of the 2014-2015 Symphonic Series, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents Elijah. Since its enthusiastic premiere in 1846, Elijah has assured its place in the choral repertoire, second only to Handel's Messiah. Recounting the Old Testament story as told in the Book of Kings, this powerful work is a vivid depiction of scenes from the prophet's life.

For the expansive Elijah, Op. 7, the KSO welcomes a number of guests to the Miller Auditorium stage. Composed on the heels of his highly successful first oratorio, St. Paul, Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah calls for four vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra to regale the tale of the Biblical prophet, Elijah. Under the direction of Music Director Raymond Harvey, the KSO performs with soprano Carla Thelen Hanson, mezzo-soprano Ariana Chris, tenor Charles Reid, baritone Jason Stearns, and Western Michigan University's Cantus Femina, led by conductor Dr. Delores Gauthier, and Western Michigan University's Grand Chorus, led by its director, Kimberly Dunn Adams.

In this work, Mendelssohn uses the chorus to serve as a narrator, commentating and reacting to the actions in each scene. The dialogue throughout the piece offers an intense and dramatic retelling of the Israelites' diminishing faith in God amidst a long-lasting drought, as they resort to worshipping an alternate God, Baal. But ever-strong in his belief and at the urging of several angels, Elijah seeks to restore his people's faith. Bass-baritone Jason Stearns will sing the title role of Elijah. Dramatic moments abound throughout the work as Elijah continues to battle for the Israelites' restored faith in God and against the false prophets following Baal. It will ultimately be Elijah's call to God that brings the rain, but not before much more excitement and drama ensues. This rousing work will certainly offer a thrilling finale for the KSO's Symphonic Series.


Raymond Harvey, conductor
With an immediately noticeable style that has been described as "elegant, but suffused with energy," Raymond Harvey (conductor) has garnered critical acclaim on symphonic podiums throughout the United States. Maestro Raymond Harvey has served as Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and recently renewed his commitment to the KSO for an additional four years. Mr. Harvey was previously Music Director of the Springfield Symphony in Massachusetts and the Fresno Philharmonic in California.

Equally at home in the world of opera, Mr. Harvey served as Artistic Director of the El Paso Opera in Texas. Among the many productions he has conducted are Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Boheme, Turandot, Aida, La Traviata, The Tales of Hoffman, The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi Fan Tutte.

Recognized as an outstanding pianist, choral conductor and teacher, Raymond Harvey holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Yale School of Music. He has been a frequent guest teacher for the Conductors Institute at Bard College, and for the American Symphony Orchestra League's Conducting Workshops. He also serves as adjunct faculty conductor with the University of Houston's opera department.

Carla Thelen Hanson, soprano
American soprano Carla Thelen Hanson is garnering attention for exciting and vocally thrilling performances of opera's leading heroines throughout the country. Of her New York City Opera debut as Puccini's Tosca, The New York Times noted, "Ms. Hanson made a strong debut as Tosca, by turns fiery and vulnerable, her voice agreeably dark in its middle range and sufficiently full on top" and the New Yorker exclaims "her dark-grained, strongly felt "Vissi d'arte" sailed right up to the uppermost balcony." She received equal praise for portrayals of Maddalena de Coigny in Andrea Chenier for Mobile Opera, as well as the title roles of Ariadne auf Naxos and Norma, both with Union Ave Opera Theatre. Other roles in her repertoire include Verdi's Aida, Leonora (Il Trovatore and Beethoven's Fidelio), and Amelia (Boccanegra and Un ballo in Maschera), as well as the recent additions of Strauss' Salome, Puccini's Turandot, Wagner's Senta and Sieglinde.

Ariana Chris, mezzo-soprano
Of a performance given recently in Toronto, the Toronto Star had the following to say of Greek-Canadian Ariana Chris, "[she has] a beautifully burnished mezzo-soprano voice, a fine way with a musical phrase and a strong stage presence." She continues to delight audiences nationally and abroad with her vocal artistry and engaging stage presence. The 2008-2009 season marked two important international operatic debuts; in France as Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte with Angers Nantes Opera, and in China as Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro with Opera Hong Kong. Selected to sing at the televised Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Ariana Chris' performance of the Greek National Anthem for the Closing Ceremonies was heard by millions of viewers worldwide. Earlier in 2009, she performed the role of The Composer in the Polish national premiere of Ariadne auf Naxos with the Opera Baltycka in Gdansk, Poland and Szeged, Hungary. Part of the 2009 international Armel Opera Competition and Festival with Mezzo and Duna/Mezzo International Festival, the production was televised in 39 countries. In the 2011-2012 season Ms. Chris returned to Opera Hamilton to reprise the role of Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, to Poland to debut the role of Lucrecia in The Rape of Lucretia, to Opera de Quebec to debut as Orlovsky Die Fledermaus and to Indianapolis Opera for the title role in La Tragedie se Carmen. Last season she made her Kentucky Opera debut singing the title role in Cendrillon as well as Dorabella in the world premiere of Cosi faran Tutti with Company XVI at the Teatro Theater at the Italian Academy New York and the title role of CARMEN with Opera Baltycka. Other recent engagements include Meg Page Falstaff with Opera Hamilton as well as Garcias Don Quichotte with the Canadian Opera Company.

Charles Reid, tenor
Versatile lyric tenor Charles Reid has performed a wide array of concert literature with such ensembles as Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, the National, Harrisburg, Madison, Nashville and Virginia Symphonies; Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonics; Lincoln Center's "Mostly Mozart" and Berkshire Choral Festivals; Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), Orchestre National de Lyon and Beethoven Orchester Bonn. JoAnn Falletta, Bertrand de Billy, Adam Fischer and John Nelson are among the many distinguished conductors with whom he has collaborated. Equally present on the world's operatic stages, his engagements include the Metropolitan and San Francisco Operas, Oper Frankfurt, Bayreuth, Salzburg, Spoleto USA, and Glimmerglass Festivals. Tamino (Die Zauberflote), Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Alfredo (La Traviata), Nemorino (L'Elisir d'Amore) and the Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto) are among the roles he performed at the houses of Mannheim, Dusseldorf, Wiesbaden, GieBen and Winterthur (Switzerland). Of special distinction was his performance of the title role of Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito in Madrid and Barcelona and the composer's lesser-known Ascanio in Alba in Mexico City.

Jason Stearns, baritone
Jason Stearns has steadily built a reputation as a distinguished interpreter of the most unique and challenging roles in the dramatic baritone repertoire. Over the past several seasons, Mr. Stearns has made impressive appearances with the Metropolitan Opera (Barnaba in La Gioconda, where he appeared on less than one hour's notice), Washington Concert Opera as Ezio in Attila, the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde), the Savonlinna Festival (title role in Der fliegende Hollander), Baltimore Opera as Germont in La traviata, and the Los Angeles Opera (Biterolf in Tannhauser and the title role in Britten's Noye's Fludde, both under James Conlon). Recent engagements include a return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for Tonio in Pagliacci, to the Met for Monterone in Rigoletto, and appearances as Iago in Otello with Utah Festival Opera, the title role in Macbeth at Palacio das Artes in Belo Horizante, Brazil, and Monterone in Rigoletto under Maestro Conlon at the Ravinia Festival. The baritone covered the role of Scarpia in Luc Bondy's new production of Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera as well as the title role in Der fliegende Hollander and Stankar in Stiffelio and Donner in Das Rheingold. He made his debut at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, as Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West and sang the High Priest in Samson et Dalila with Bob Jones University. Jason Stearns was the First Prize winner of the first annual Chester Ludgin American Verdi Baritone Competition. Other recent notable engagements include the High Priest in Samson et Dalila opposite Denyce Graves at Florida Grand Opera, Lohengrin with the Leipzig Opera, Tonio in Pagliacci with Boston's Chorus Pro Musica, Scarpia in Tosca with Summer Opera, and the Mill Foreman in Jenufa at Los Angeles Opera.

Western Michigan University Grand Chorus
The Grand Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, is the largest choral ensemble at Western Michigan University, involving approximately 200 singers. Membership includes the three major vocal ensembles - the University Chorale, Women's Chorus, and Collegiate Singers - and also comprises a dedicated core of singers from the Kalamazoo and University communities. Kimberly Dunn Adams is the chorus' eleventh conductor.


Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents

KSO Symphonic Series


Carla Thelen Hanson, soprano
Ariana Chris, mezzo-soprano
Charles Reid, tenor
Jason Stearns, baritone
Western Michigan University Grand Chorus, Kimberly Dunn Adams, director

Since its enthusiastic premiere in 1846, Elijah has assured its place in the choral repertoire, second only to Handel's Messiah. Recounting the Old Testament story as told in the Book of Kings, this powerful work is a vivid depiction of scenes from the prophet's life.

Friday, April 10 at 8pm

Miller Auditorium

Tickets: $60 - $24

For tickets, visit

Visit for up-to-date information, details and schedules. Prices, artists, dates, time and program are subject to change without notice.

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra also receives generous support from other local, state and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support. For more information, visit

About the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1921, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is Southwest Michigan's premier musical organization, providing musical enrichment to over 80,000 adults and youth per year. The third-largest professional orchestra in the state, the KSO has won numerous awards and grants, including the Met Life Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts for its extensive education programs, and a major Ford Foundation grant to found its innovative Artist-in-Residence program.

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Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Kalamazoo, MI
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