Society for New Music and Syracuse University present
Society for New Music and Syracuse University present January 17, 2003Judy Holmesjlholmes@syr.edu
Editor’s note: “The Fourth Wise Man” is the first in the Spring 2003 Setnor Tuesday Concert Series. The February schedule is at the bottom of this news release. For further information about the Setnor Tuesday Concert series, call SU News Services at 443-3784.
“The Fourth Wise Man,” a Christmas opera composed by Randall Davidson and based on Michel Tournier’s “Gaspard, Melchoir et Balthazzar,” will be presented at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 in Syracuse University’s Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors and students and free for SU students with a valid ID.
The opera, a joint presentation of the Society for New Music and the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music in SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, will feature a cast of 20 of Central New York’s finest musicians and actors. The libretto tells the story of Rajar, who arrives in Bethlehem too late to visit the baby Jesus but in time to save another child from the Slaughter of the Innocents. As the story continues, Rajar experiences a number of mishaps in his quest to catch up with the Holy Family, including 33 years of enslavement in a salt mine.
Starring as Rajar is Ithaca tenor Mark Lawrence. The role of Melchoir will be sung by James Shults; Gaspard will be sung by William Black; and Balthazzar will be sung by bass-baritone Phil Eisenman. Also appearing in the production as angels and mourning women will be Alexandra Resnick, a sophomore at Manlius Pebble Hill School; sopranos Audrey Fletcher, Gayle Ross and Christy Visaggi, and mezzo-sopranos Lisa Frank and Jane Ondich.
Ross, Visaggi and Ondich will also appear in the production’s two solo quartets, along with Richard Pilgrim, Ed Mooney, Julie Pedro, Christine Shapiro, Tom Anthony and Bruce Ward. Lauren Hardee takes the part of the prisoner’s wife and Rachel Heyman, a third-grade student in Jamesville-DeWitt Central Schools, plays her daughter.
Accompanying the singers will be organist Lee Johnston, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra harpist Ursula Kwasnicka and percussionist Rich Ziemba. Neva Pilgrim is the musical director and Gerard Moses is the stage director.
“The Fourth Wise Man” was commissioned in 1995 by the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota with grants from the National Education Association Opera/ Music Theatre Program and the Meet the Composer Community Residency Program. The opera premiered in 1996 with a performance by the Plymouth Music Series that was broadcast on National Public Radio.
The Jan. 21 performance of “The Fourth Wise Man” in the Setnor Auditorium is part of the Spring 2003 Setnor Tuesday Concert Series. The series features performances by guest artists, Setnor School of Music faculty and student ensembles at 8 p.m. Tuesdays throughout the fall and spring semesters. The remaining concerts in the spring series are free and open to the public. Scheduled for February are:
- Feb. 4: Brahms Festival Concert featuring the Ying Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet and pianist Wei-Yi Yang in the Setnor Auditorium.;
- Feb. 11: The Kotchenga Dance Company from the Ivory Coast in the Setnor Auditorium;
- Feb. 18: The Syracuse University Jazz Ensemble in the Setnor Auditorium; and
- Feb. 25: The Kronos Quartet in the Setnor Auditorium.