MasterVoices announces the release of the world premiere recording of The Road of Promise on Navona Records
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) announces the release of the world premiere recording of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel’s The Road of Promise on Navona Records. The recording captures the energy and vibrancy of MasterVoices’ live performances of The Road of Promise at Carnegie Hall on May 6 & 7, 2015, featuring soloists Anthony Dean Griffey, Mark Delavan, Ron Rifkin, Eli Tokash, AJ Glueckert, Lauren Michelle, Megan Marino, Justin Hopkins, Philip Cutlip, Michael Slattery, Sean Fallen, and Jose Pietri-Coimbre, MasterVoices, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, led by Artistic Director Ted Sperling.
“We at MasterVoices are passionate fans of Kurt Weill’s music, and have been for a long time,” said Ted Sperling, Artistic Director of MasterVoices. “We have produced concerts of Knickerbocker Holiday and The Firebrand of Florence, and in 2011 we made a commercial recording of Knickerbocker Holiday, starring Kelli O’Hara and Victor Garber (Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom Records). When the critical edition of The Road of Promise was finished, we felt it would be of great value to make the first recording of this work so that audiences around the globe, not just those in attendance at Carnegie Hall, will be able to hear it for years to come.”
The Road of Promise represents a concert adaptation of Kurt Weill’s 1937 opera-oratorio The Eternal Road, which premiered in New York City in 1937, and ran for 153 performances. Performed by MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale), under the baton of conductor Ted Sperling, this pseudo-allegorical work was conceived by European Jewish emigrants in the US as an attempt to inform the American public about Adolf Hitler’s persecution of German Jews. The storyline is set in a synagogue on a night of fearful waiting during the “timeless night of Israel’s persecution.” The Rabbi comforts his congregation by recounting for them iconic stories from Jewish scripture. These biblical scenes unfold through spoken dialogue, arias, ensemble pieces, and a chorus, and bounces between the Rabbi’s ‘present day’ conversations with his congregants and dramatizations of different Torahic stories.
A particularly interesting aesthetic facet of The Road of Promise is the use of references to popular music in the dramatizations of these stories. Modern rhythms in “At the Mountain” from Act 1 and “Ruth the Moabite” from Act II, demonstrate the seemingly motivated choice by Weill to draw clear parallels between the plight suffered by Jews in biblical times to that endured in Nazi Germany. The work represents one of the few positive, sympathetic portrayals of Jews in opera or oratorio, from the seventeenth century to the present.
For more information and to preview the album, visit: http://navonarecords.com/catalog/nv6059/
To purchase the digital album, visit iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-road-of-promise-live/id1168768511
To purchase the CD, visit Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M687SES
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Ted Sperling, conductor
Ed Harsh, concert adaptation
Ludwig Lewisohn, William A. Drake, Charles Alan, and Kelley Rourke, English translations
Noam Sheriff, additional orchestrations
Anthony Dean Griffey, the Rabbi; Mark Delavan, Abraham/Moses; Ron Rifkin, the Adversary; Eli Tokash, the Thirteen-Year-Old Boy; AJ Glueckert, Jacob/Boaz/David/Isaiah/Hananiah; Lauren Michelle, Rachel/Soul of Moses/Naomi; Megan Marino, Miriam/Ruth; Justin Hopkins, the Dark Angel; Philip Cutlip, Joseph/Solomon/Jeremiah; Michael Slattery, the Voice; Sean Fallen, Angel #1; Jose Pietri-Coimbre, Angel #2
The recording of The Road of Promise was made possible by financial support from the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music. Additional funding was made possible by The National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Kaplen Foundation, The Nash Family Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and the Eugene and Emily Grant Family Foundation.
Ted Sperling is the artistic director of MasterVoices and principal conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, My Favorite Year, and Sunday in the Park with George. Off- Broadway credits include A Man of No Importance, A New Brain, Saturn Returns and Floyd Collins. Opera work includes two NYC premieres by composer Ricky Ian Gordon: 27 starring Stephanie Blythe, and The Grapes of Wrath, starring Nathan Gunn; Dido and Aeneas starring Kelli O’Hara and Victoria Clark; and La Voix Humaine starring Audra McDonald. Mr. Sperling’s work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Striking 12, and Charlotte: Life? Or Theater?, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Recent gala performances include Show Boat with Vanessa Williams and Julian Ovenden, The Making of A Chorus Line with Zachary Quinto and Jonathan Groff, The Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, Glenn Close and Martin Short, Cabaret with Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, Song of Norway with Judy Kaye, She Loves Me with Santino Fontana, and The Mikado with Christopher Fitzgerald. Mr. Sperling received the 2006 Ted Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater, headed the Music Theater Initiative at the Public Theater, and is Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals. For more, visit tedsperling.net.
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) was founded in 1941 by the legendary American choral conductor Robert Shaw, and is currently under the artistic direction of Ted Sperling. For 75 years, the organization has presented varied programming, with emphasis in three areas: choral masterpieces, operas in concert, and musical theater. Choral classics performed by MasterVoices have included Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, Brahms’ Requiem, Britten’s War Requiem, Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem. The company has presented several important premieres, including the U.S. premieres of Dvorak’s Dmitri and Handel’s Jupiter in Argos, and the NY premieres of Respighi’s La Fiamma, Glass’s The Juniper Tree, and Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath. Other rarely heard operas presented in concert have included Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Joplin’s Treemonisha. Throughout its history, MasterVoices has specialized in presenting rarely heard works of musical theater and standard works with a fresh approach, including Bernstein’s A White House Cantata, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Weill’s The Firebrand of Florence, Knickerbocker Holiday, and the world premiere of a concert version of The Road of Promise.
MasterVoices has performed in prominent NYC concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, New York City Center, and Geffen Hall, under the batons of many esteemed conductors, including Serge Koussevitzky, Arturo Toscanini, Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, and Alan Gilbert. The company has also attracted many world-class soloists, including Bryn Terfel, René Pape, Stephanie Blythe, Deborah Voigt, Eric Owens, Thomas Hampson, Kelli O’Hara, Paulo Szot and Victoria Clark. Because of its reputation of excellence, MasterVoices has been hired to perform with many top orchestras over the years, including the NBC Symphony, The New York Philharmonic and The Israel Philharmonic, and has been invited to appear abroad in Israel and at the Verbier and Salzburg festivals.
MasterVoices considers education and outreach to be important aspects of its work. Its Side-by-Side program offers gifted high school students the opportunity to rehearse and perform with guidance from singing members and professional artists in New York and abroad. Additionally, MasterVoices gives complimentary tickets to hundreds of high school students and seniors from New York each season, and invites young soloists to perform at top venues as a part of the Faith Geier Artist Initiative. In June 2016, MasterVoices launched “Bridges: Connecting Communities Through Music”, a new outreach program that provides people in a New York community with the opportunity to come together to make music with MasterVoices, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds.
In August 2015, the organization transitioned from The Collegiate Chorale to MasterVoices, a name that better represents the current mission of the company as a performing arts organization that celebrates storytelling through the masterful voices of its chorus and world-class soloists, and the creative voices of composers, librettists, designers and directors. For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).
Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) is one of America’s most versatile and distinguished orchestras, collaborating with the world’s greatest artists and performing approximately 80 concerts each year—including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at Caramoor Music Festival. In its 41-year history, OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres; and has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke’s Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado is OSL’s principal conductor. OSL grew out of a chamber ensemble that began giving concerts at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, the 21 virtuoso artists of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble make up OSL’s artistic core. OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City’s premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, including more than 400 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, James Taylor, and Sting. OSL hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and school children at its home each year for free community events. Through its Education & Community programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free interactive music programs at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adult amateurs; and engages 10,000 public school students each year through its Free School Concerts. In 2013, OSL launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL), an intensive in- and after-school instrumental coaching program emphasizing musical excellence and social development, in partnership with community organizations and public schools in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
MASTERVOICES’ 75TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON CONTINUES WITH:
St. John Passion
By Johann Sebastian Bach
Featuring Michael Slattery, Jesse Blumberg, Adam Lau, Latonia Moore, Tamara Mumford, Ben Bliss, and Daniel Okulitch
MasterVoices, with New York Baroque Incorporated
Conducted by Ted Sperling
February 9, 2017 at 7pm
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
St. John Passion tickets ($20-$130) are available at Carnegie Hall (carnegiehall.org | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th and Seventh).
Babes in Toyland
Music by Victor Herbert and libretto by Glen MacDonough
Featuring Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, and Christopher Fitzgerald
MasterVoices, with Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Conducted by Ted Sperling
April 27, 2017 at 7pm
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
Babes in Toyland tickets ($20-$150) are available at Carnegie Hall (carnegiehall.org | CarnegieCharge 212-247-7800 | Box Office at 57th and Seventh).
MASTERVOICES ABOUT TOWN:
MasterVoices will collaborate with American Lyric Theater and Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post for additional appearances in the 2016-17 season.
The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing
Concert of a new opera in development, with music by Justine F. Chen and libretto by David Simpatico
Presented by American Lyric Theater
January 12, 2017 at Merkin Concert Hall
For more information and tickets, visit altnyc.org.
Babes in Toyland at Tilles Center
MasterVoices will reprise Babes in Toyland
April 29, 2017 at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, Brookville, NY
For more information and tickets, visit tillescenter.org.
Major funding for MasterVoices’ 2016-17 season has been generously provided by The Geier Foundation; The Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation; the Howard Gilman Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and The Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund.