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Cincinnati May Festival

Each May, Cincinnati is surrounded with song as the May Festival Chorus presents the oldest, and one of the most prestigious, choral festivals in the Western Hemisphere.

Bach's St. Matthew Passion

Sunday October 4, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Juanjo Mena, conductor
Berit Norbakken Solset, soprano
Carlos Mena, countertenor
Werner Güra, tenor
Ben Bliss, tenor
James Newby, baritone
Hanno Müller-Brachmann, bass-baritone
May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Originally performed on May 25, 2019

Leonard Bernstein described Bach's St. Matthew Passion as "a revered masterpiece." This is "drama at the boiling point." Bach's Passion is an opportunity to marvel at the reach of human invention and perfection in all its forms. Bach colors a vision of a gospel and each brush stroke dispels the mists of separation between mere mortals and divine revelation.


BACH: St. Matthew Passion

Verdi's Requiem

Sunday October 11, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Eun Sun Kim, conductor
Michelle Bradley, soprano
Ekaterina Semenchuk, mezzo-soprano
Matthew Polenzani, tenor
May Festival Chorus
Robert Porco, Chorus Director

Originally performed on May 18, 2018

Verdi's Requiem is a ''bucket list'' experience. A timeless work of raw emotion and musical genius, this performance by the May Festival Chorus features Michelle Bradley, a soprano of "gorgeous voice, rich, rounded, and violet colored" (New York Classical Review), the "rare dramatic depth" (Mundo Clasico) of mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk, and Matthew Polenzani, "perhaps the finest tenor voice of his generation" (The Phoenix).


VERDI: Requiem Mass

Mahler and Mussorgsky: Games Of Thrones

Sunday October 18, 2020 at 8 p.m.

James Conlon, conductor
Morris Robinson, bass
Sarah Vautour, soprano
Taylor Raven, mezzo-soprano
Richard Trey Smagur, tenor
Donnie Ray Albert, baritone
May Festival Chorus
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati Youth Choir

Originally performed on May 24, 2019

Music mysteriously connects us to the past and sounds the truths to be found in fables. Here three masters lead us through a gallery of cautionary tales which warn of love for the throne and the sure weight of the crown. Mahler's grim vignettes from German fairy tales, Boito's devilish take on Faust and Mussorgsky's telling of Russian rule bring the dramatic ends of these desirous searches very much to life.


MAHLER: Das klagende Lied
BOITO: Prologue from Mefistofele
MUSSORGSKY: Prologue and Farewell from Boris Godunov

Bach's Mass In B Minor

Sunday October 25, 2020 at 8 p.m.

Harry Bicket, conductor
Joelle Harvey, soprano
Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Matthew Brook, bass-baritone; Robert Porco, Director of Choruses; May Festival Chorus; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Originally performed on May 27, 2017

Experience Bach's monumental B Minor Mass, from the intricate intertwining of voices in the ''Crucifixus,'' to the explosive ''Et resurrexit'' and the vigorous ''Hosanna in excelsis,'' to the exquisitely soaring ''Dona nobis pacem.'' This music — which Bach developed throughout his entire life but never heard performed — is among the finest expressions of the choral Mass ever written. It is a masterwork for all times in the hands of a true master, esteemed Baroque interpreter Harry Bicket.


BACH: B Minor Mass

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