The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston envelopes its guests with festive music by the legendary composers of the Viennese royal court at 9 p.m. tonight, December 31, 2012 at 9 p.m. at Zilka Hall, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The concert program featuring two rising stars of the opera stage - soprano Lauren Snouffer and countertenor John Holiday - will include arias and duets by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Christoph Willibald Gluck. The magnificent instrumentalists of Ars Lyrica Houston will perform works by J.H. Schmeltzer, Johann Joseph Fux and Johann Strauss, the "Waltz King."
The concert is followed by the Ars Lyrica Annual Gala at 10:30 p.m. in the Grand Lobby of the Hobby Center. Guests will enjoy flowing champagne, delicious hors d'oeuvres from Artista Restaurant, Viennese waltzes, and the opportunity to bid on a distinctive silent auction. At the stroke of midnight everyone will join in singing "Auld Lang Syne."
Tickets for the performance are $35, $40 or $45 per person. Student tickets for the performance are $22 with valid ID. A separate ticket for the Annual Gala is $60 per person. This magical New Year's Eve experience can be enjoyed for as little as $95 per person. Tickets for the concert and Gala may be purchased on the Ars Lyrica Houston website at http://www.arslyricahouston.org or by calling the Hobby Center Box Office at 713-315-2525.
A Viennese New Year Guests will enjoy an enchanting evening of Viennese music including a suite by Fux; a programmatic work by Schmeltzer that depicts a fencing lesson; the Pizzicato Polka by Strauss; and operatic excerpts by Mozart and Gluck featuring soprano Lauren Snouffer - a 2012 finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and currently a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio- and countertenor John Holiday, a native Houstonian who makes his Carnegie Hall and Metropolitan Opera debuts this season.
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston is a Texas-based ensemble that performs world-class Baroque music on period instruments. Ars Lyrica's world premiere recording of J.A. Hasse's Marc Antonio e Cleopatra brought the ensemble its first Grammy nomination for "a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality" (Early Music America). Ars Lyrica's distinctive programming, drawn from the rich chamber and dramatic repertories of the 17th and 18th centuries, "sets the agenda for imaginative period instrument programming in Houston," according to the Houston Chronicle. The ensemble's first commercial release, on Naxos International, features the world première recordings of Alessandro Scarlatti's La Concettione della Beata Vergine and Euridice dall'Inferno. This disc brought international recognition to the ensemble: Gramophone, the leading journal of the classical recording industry, praised this CD for its "exemplary skill and taste," and Ars Lyrica's musicians for their "impassioned performance" of never-before recorded works. Ars Lyrica's latest Sono Luminus recording, of Domenico Scarlatti's comic intermezzo La Dirindina and his chamber cantata Pur nel sonno, was released in August 2012. For more information visit http://www.arslyricahouston.org.
About the Soloists
Lauren Snouffer, named a "standout singer" by the Wall Street Journal, sings Elvira in The Italian Girl in Algiers and Ellie in ShowBoat with the Houston Grand Opera. Her previous HGO credits include Thibault in Don Carlos, Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia, performances of Rosina in The Barber of Seville , and third prize in HGO's 2011 Eleanor McCollum Competition Concert of Arias.
Ms. Snouffer was a grand finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Her discography includes the Grammy-nominated Threshold of Night and Christopher Berg's Four Nabokov Songs.