Mercury is elated to welcome a Mercury-favorite, soprano Lauren Snouffer, to A Baroque Christmas tonight, Dec. 7 and the 8th at the Wortham Center, Cullen Theater. The repertoire is entirely Baroque, featuring both popular and unique Christmas favorites!
Lauren is a critically acclaimed soprano and graduate of both Juliard and the Rice Shepherd School of Music. Her bio is below; details about the program follow.
Lauren Snouffer graces the holiday season and the Mercury stage with vocal excellence that accents any season. In previous appearances with Mercury Lauren sang in Rameau’s opera-ballet Les Indes Galantes (Zima) and presented the roles of Phénice and La Gloire in the modern adaptation of the Lully opera Armide. Critical acclaim has greeted Lauren on many occasions. She performed as a New Horizons Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. The New York Times noted that in her performance of the arias in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus she was “adept at Handelian filigree and gave beautiful accounts” alone and together with the mezzo-soprano. In fact Lauren was a finalist in the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, selected to represent our region in the Grand Finals Concert and thereby securing a reputation as among the very best. By the way, the video of a Brahms Requiem with The Texas Medical Center Orchestra is well worth a listen and establishes a bit of Houston home-town pride.
In fact Lauren has performed many times with Houston based groups, among them the Bach Society and the Houston Grand Opera where she is currently a member of the Opera Studio. She appeared recently with the Opera as Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, as Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and as Thibault in Verdi’s Don Carlos. International credits include performance at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, with more overseas engagements scheduled soon. Her modern repertoire includes Conrad Susa’s two-act opera Transformations (as Princess). She embraces musicals as well; she appeared as Minnie in Annie Get Your Gun, and is scheduled in 2013 for Ellie in ShowBoat with The Houston Grand Opera.
Lauren did her undergraduate work in music at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, and holds a master's degree from the Juilliard School. She is a native of Austin, Texas, which is currently home base. On a national level, she sings soprano with Conspirare's Company of Voices, "a dream team of singers from around the country" headquartered in Austin, Texas. Coincidentally, Lauren has performed in a number of works associated with Christmas or the Christmas season, including Hansel and Gretel (Dew Fairy), Saint-Saens' Christmas Oratorio and of course Handel's Messiah.
The program features:
Corrette Noel Symphony No. 4
Bernhardt Christmas Concert: “Be Not Afraid”
Corelli Christmas Concerto
Scarlatti Christmas Cantata
Torelli Christmas Concerto
With so much music written over the past several centuries focusing on the Christmas season – everything from “Silent Night” to “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” – it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of holiday- oriented material.
Fortunately, A Baroque Christmas! provides a refreshing alternative to this typical sort of holiday fare, presenting a selection of seasonal gems from the 17th and 18th centuries by composers Michel Corrette, Christoph Bernhard, Alessandro Scarlatti, Arcangelo Corelli, and George Frideric Handel.
Michel Corrette (1707 – 1795) was known as a virtuoso organist and distinguished pedagogue. He wrote over 20 volumes of instruction, including method books for violin, cello, bass, flute, recorder, bassoon, harpsichord, harp, mandolin, and voice, amongothers. These instruction books contained more than just musical exercises, featuring humorous observations on the position of musicians in contemporary English and French society. Additionally, these books provide scholars with valuable information regarding performance practices during the 18th century.
Corrette wrote a great deal of music, though it has been observed that he was perhaps a better arranger than composer. His concerts comiques were based on popular songs of the day, scored for three melody instruments and continuo. Similarly, the Christmas concertos, one of which is included on this program, included melodies from Christmas carols. Corrette also wrote dance music for the stage, concertos for a variety of instruments, sonatas, chamber works, cantatas, and sacred vocal music.