Program Notes: Stabat Mater
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Symphony No.1 in C major, op.21
I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Finale: Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace
Gioachino Rossini (1792 – 1868)
I. Sabat Mater dolorosa
II. Cujus animam
III. Quis est homo
IV. Pro peccatis
V. Eja; Mater
VI. Sancta Mater
VII. Fac ut portem
IX. Quando corpus morietur
X. In sempiterna saecula, Amen.
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Born in Bonn, Germany, baptised December 17, 1770; died in Vienna, Austria, March 26, 1827
Symphony No. 1, in C, Op. 21 (1799–1800)
In 1800, with the shadow of Mozart (recently-deceased) haunting the concerto and opera and that of Haydn (still alive) hovering over the string quartet and symphony, it is hardly surprising that their successor approached the major musical forms with caution once he settled in Vienna, the city most closely associated with their greatest works. Beethoven waited seven years before staking a claim to the classical symphonic legacy and he prepared his offensive with care. The publication of his Op. 1 claimed the piano trio for his own. His first ten piano sonatas did the same for the piano sonata. Beethoven, meanwhile, honed his skills in writing for orchestra with the first two piano concertos and positioned himself as the rightful heir to the string quartet with the six quartets of his Op. 18. After drafting the opening movement of a C major symphony in 1795, he put it aside, eventually transferring its opening theme to the finale of a new C major symphony that he began in 1799. By the following year, with many substantial works under his belt, Beethoven, now approaching 30, announced his First Symphony. The beginning of a new century was an auspicious time for a new symphonic voice in Europe’s most important musical centre.
The symphony opens with a surprise and a disorienting, carefully calculated start to Beethoven’s symphonic career. The first two question-answer chords are unrelated to the home key of C major. Two more sets of chords on different notes and then a circling passage for violins keeps an audience guessing as to the true tonality of the symphony. By the time the Allegro arrives, the music has firmly landed in C major and a feeling of forward momentum and anticipation is in the air. The idea of alternating wind and string chords that we find in the introduction is carried forward into the Allegro. Indeed, the prominence of Beethoven’s wind writing throughout the symphony came in for criticism at the time – though it’s hard to imagine anyone taking issue with the lyrical, perfectly proportioned second theme on oboe and flute. Though not as revolutionary as the Pathétique Sonata that he wrote the previous year, the opening movement of the First is stamped with Beethoven’s individuality through its economy of means and his firm command of structure and proportion.
A similar certainty of touch colours the second movement, which has come in for criticism for the way it conforms to convention. The third movement, however, does not. A minuet in name only, Beethoven’s one-in-a-bar whirlwind immediately severs any ties with the courtly dance of old and plunges us into his first symphonic scherzo. Its bustle and humour is enhanced by the calm and openness of the trio where sonorous wind chords act like pillars, anchoring the structure while the strings scurry around. There’s more scurrying in the finale and a lot of humour, too, beginning with a slow-motion rising scale as the violins decide what the main theme is to be. But the humour has an edge and Beethoven’s confidence rings through. For all its caution and indebtedness to the Haydn of the London symphonies, Beethoven’s First Symphony marks an auspicious beginning. From now on, symphonies could no longer pour off a composer’s conveyor belt. For Beethoven, each subsequent symphony was to become a carefully crafted personal statement of increasing power and vision.
Born in Pesaro, Italy, February 29, 1792; died in Passy, Italy, November 13, 1868
Stabat mater (1832, rev. 1841)
Like Verdi’s Requiem, Rossini’s Stabat mater comes from the pen of an Italian composer renowned for his work in the theatre. While writing the Libera me, Verdi’s original conception of a Requiem was for a composite work by 13 leading Italian composers to be performed on the first anniversary of Rossini’s death in 1869. And that, indeed, is how the first Verdi Requiem was written – by 13 composers! Almost four decades earlier, Rossini’s initial setting of the Stabat mater was, curiously enough, written by two composers. Six of the movements came from Rossini’s pen; the rest, at Rossini’s request, from that of Giuseppe Tadolini, director of the orchestra at the Parisian Théâtre Italien. The commission came about as a result of Rossini’s friendship with the Spanish banker, Alexander Aguado. In February 1831, both travelled to Spain where Aguado introduced the composer to the priest and state counsellor Don Francisco Fernandez Varela. The wealthy prelate requested a setting of the Stabat mater dolorosa, the 13th century Christian sacred poem to Mary at the foot of the cross. Rossini had doubts, largely because Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, written a century earlier, was still popular among Italian music lovers. He went ahead, anyway, writing six movements himself and assigning seven more to Tadolini. The 13-movement work was performed on Good Friday of 1833 in Madrid. Varela had his copy of the score. Rossini kept the original manuscripts of the sections he had composed and received both a gold snuff box studded with diamonds and an agreement that the score would never be published.
Varela died four years later and donated all his property to the poor. His executors then sold the manuscript, which quickly found its way into the hands of a Parisian music publisher eager to publish. Legal proceedings ensued, but the composite score was printed nonetheless. Despite having retired from the business of writing operas in 1829 at the age of 37, Rossini swung into action, reshaped the poem and completed the now ten-movement setting of the Stabat mater, losing no time in contracting his own publisher to release this new all-Rossini version. The première took place January 7, 1842 in Paris to great acclaim. The first performance in Italy in Bologna under the direction of Donizetti generated similar enthusiasm. The courts, meanwhile, ruled in Rossini’s favour and the 13-movement, joint composer version was withdrawn.
There was and sometimes still is some push-back to the ‘operatic’ qualities in Rossini’s score. A recent textbook [The Cambridge Companion to Rossini] refers to this as “puritan opinion (in Anglo-Saxon countries in particular), which argues that the sacred works of composers whose principal trade is opera are almost invariably ‘operatic’, that is to say, tuneful, extrovert, and spiritually insincere.” Rossini answered this not only with a carefully balanced and structured score, expressive word-painting, and ornamentation enhancing classically built vocal lines, but also when he told his biographer Zanolini that music should define the ‘moral atmosphere’ of a text. Pulled out of context and sung with swagger on a musical playlist, the tenor’s martial Cujus animam (No. 2) can turn one of Rossini’s most memorable melodies into an ‘operatic’ highlight. But the piece’s intricate harmonies and subtle scoring (violins and cellos doubling the melody, four-part horns providing the accompaniment) throw light on a more thoughtful side of the composer. Similarly, the beautifully austere, four-part unaccompanied writing of the Quando corpus morietur (No. 9) opens with a bass melody which echoes that heard at the beginning of the Eja, mater, fons amoris (No. 5) and which appears again, rhythmically altered, in the closing Amen. The first two iterations date from the early 1832 version of the score; the last, in the magnificent closing fugue, was newly written in 1841. Despite a bumpy road to completion, Rossini’s Stabat mater sensitively balances spiritual veneration with operatic finesse.
©2020 Keith Horner
All program notes are written by Keith Horner. Comments welcomed: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Stabat mater dolorósa
juxta Crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius.
2. Cuius ánimam geméntem,
contristátam et doléntem
3. O quam tristis et afflícta
fuit illa benedícta,
4. Quae mœrébat et dolébat,
pia Mater, dum vidébat
nati pœnas ínclyti.
5. Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si vidéret
in tanto supplício?
6. Quis non posset contristári
Christi Matrem contemplári
doléntem cum Fílio?
7. Pro peccátis suæ gentis
vidit Iésum in torméntis,
et flagéllis súbditum.
8. Vidit suum dulcem Natum
dum emísit spíritum.
9. Eja, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lúgeam.
10. Fac, ut árdeat cor meum
in amándo Christum Deum
ut sibi compláceam.
11. Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifíxi fige plagas
cordi meo válide.
12. Tui Nati vulneráti,
tam dignáti pro me pati,
pœnas mecum dívide.
13. Fac me tecum pie flere,
donec ego víxero.
14. Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociáre
in planctu desídero.
15. Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.
16. Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac consórtem,
et plagas recólere.
17. Fac me plagis vulnerári,
fac me Cruce inebriári,
et cruóre Fílii.
18. Flammis ne urar succénsus,
per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
in die iudícii.
19. Christe, cum sit hinc exíre,
da per Matrem me veníre
ad palmam victóriæ.
20. Quando corpus moriétur,
fac, ut ánimæ donétur
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother’s pain untold?
For the sins of His own nation,
She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
All with scourges rent:
She beheld her tender Child,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Saviour crucified:
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
be Thy Mother my defense,
be Thy Cross my victory;
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.
Translation by Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica (1849)
Aviva Fortunata, soprano
Twice named one of CBC Top 30 Canadian Classical Artists under 30, Italian-Canadian soprano Aviva Fortunata has been praised as being “blessed with a gorgeous voice of richness and amplitude.” As Leonore in Pacific Opera Victoria’s production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, Ms. Fortunata “unleashed a rich and powerful voice” and was hailed as “retaining beauty and suppleness throughout the rest of the difficult opera, soaring to the rafters when required.” As Countess Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble, Ms. Fortunata was described as a “powerful and gorgeous lirico-spinto that’s destined to go places.”
Ms. Fortunata begins her 2019-2020 season with Pacific Opera Victoria in Puccini’s Il Trittico, as the title role in Suor Angelica, Giorgetta in Il tabarro and Nella in Gianni Schicchi. She then joins Deutsche Oper Berlin as member of their company featured in Die Zauberflöte, Il barbiere de Siviglia, Nabucco and Aida. In Calgary she returns to the title role in Norma and later in the season will be in Victoria for a program of Mozart concert arias with the symphony.
Recent successes include stepping in as a last-minute replacement for the title role in Norma at Dallas Opera, as well as stepping in for the roles of Dritte Norn and Gutrune in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung at the Canadian Opera Company. Further credits include Tosca at Opera on the Avalon, excerpts from Lohengrin with the Victoria Symphony, Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte for the Canadian Opera Company, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Saskatoon Opera.
A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Ms. Fortunata’s main stage roles include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Helmwige in Die Walküre, Berta in Il barbiere de Siviglia, and Clotilde in Norma. Her cover assignments for the COC have included Anna in Maometto II, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. Other notable credits include Desdemona in Otello and the Lady with a Cake Box in Postcard from Morocco with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Concert Opera Group, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy and Poulenc’s Gloria with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
At the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre – Four Seasons Centre – Ms. Fortunata performed the Canadian premiere of John Greer’s piano quintet arrangement of Richard Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder; other performances for this popular lunchtime series include Olivier Messaien’s Poèmes pour Mi and Benjamin Britten’s Ekho poeta.
Chosen as a finalist in the 2016 Operalia Competition in Guadalajara, Mexico, she performed under the baton of Maestro Plácido Domingo in the historic Teatro Degollado. Representing Canada in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, she was a finalist for the Song Prize. Ms. Fortunata holds a master’s degree in opera from the University of Toronto.
Paula Murrihy, mezzo soprano
Irish Mezzo-Soprano Paula Murrihy received her Bachelor of Music from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin before continuing her studies in North America at the New England Conservatory. She also participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and as an apprentice at Santa Fe Opera.
A member of Oper Frankfurt’s acclaimed ensemble her many roles included Medoro Orlando Furioso, Dido Dido and Aeneas, Lazuli L’étoile, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, and her role debut as Carmen in Barrie Kosky’s iconic production.
Recent highlights include her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, as Stéphano Roméo et Juliette, and a return to Santa Fe Opera as Ruggiero in Alcina and Orlofsky Die Fledermaus. She made her first appearance at the Salzburg Festival as 2nd Dame in Die Zauberflöte, and opened the 2019 Salzburg Festival as Idamante in Idomeneo, in Peter Sellar’s production with Teodor Currentzis conducting. Paula has appeared with the Dutch National Opera as Octavian Der Rosenkavalier and Sesto La Clemenza di Tito, at Opernhaus Zurich as Concepcion in L’heure Espagnole and Cherubino Le Nozze di Figaro, at the Teatro Real in Madrid as Frances, Countess of Essex in Britten’s Gloriana and at Oper Frankfurt as the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos. She returned to her native Ireland to make her role debut as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle for Irish National Opera.
Further appearances include Ino in Semele for Boston Lyric Opera, Ghosts of Versailles for Opera Theatre St Louis, Dido Dido and Aeneas for Los Angeles Opera, Tebaldo Don Carlo, and Mercedes Carmen for Covent Garden, Annio La Clemenza di Tito at the Théâtre Capitole Toulouse, Medoro Orlando Furioso for Opéra de Nice, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier at Staatsoper Stuttgart and Ascanio in Terry Gilliam’s production of Benvenuto Cellini at English National Opera.
On the concert platform Paula enjoys a close relationship with MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis and performances include Cosi fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Purcell’s Indian Queen, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Hindemith’s Die Junge Magd and Das Knaben Wunderhorn at the Marinsky Theatre and on a tour of Europe. She made her debut at the BBC Proms in 2016 in Haydn’s Paukenmesse and recently jumped in for performances of works by Tommaso Traetta with La Nuova Musica and David Bates, and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia. Further appearances include Messiah with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Elijah with the Spanish National Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Christmas Oratorio with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Solomon, Alexander’s Feast and Honneger’s Judith for the Nederlandse Programma Stichting, and Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the London Philharmonic Orchestra . In the United States she has worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she premiered John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra (Beethoven Symphony 9), the Handel and Haydn Society (Juno/Ino in Semele) and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra in performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
An accomplished recitalist, Paula has given performances at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Shannon International Music Festival, the Chancellor’s Concert at the University of Limerick, in Frankfurt and at the Diaghilev Festival in Perm. She recently made her debut at the Wigmore Hall with the pianist Malcolm Martineau.
In her 2019-20 season Paula returns to Frankfurt to sing the title role in Fauré’s Pénélope, Carmen for Irish National Opera, and Siebel Faust for Palau de les Arts, Valencia. On the concert platform she will perform a selection of arias in concert with Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, will sing Elvira in Don Giovanni with Orchestra of the 18th Century, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro and Dorabella Cosi fan Tutte as part of MusicAeterna’s Da Ponte tour, and returns to the US for Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra, St Matthew Passion with Handel & Haydn Society and title role Ariodante with Boston Baroque.
Andrew Haji, tenor
Canadian tenor Andrew Haji is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after voices on both the operatic and concert stage. Winner of the Grand Prix at the 50th International Vocal Competition in ‘sHertogenbosch and the Montreal International Music Competition’s Oratorio Prize, Haji recently performed Bach’s Matthäus Passion with Pinnock and the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Messiah for the Toronto Symphony – Debus conducting. Further appearances during the 2018/2010 season included Rodolfo in La bohème and Cassio in Otello for the Canadian Opera Company (COC), Bach’s Mass in B Minor for the Amadeus Choir and Alfredo in Die Fledermaus for Saskatoon Opera. His coming season begins with Alfredo in La Traviata for Vancouver Opera, followed by Messiah for the Edmonton Symphony, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 for the Victoria Symphony and Berlioz Messe Solennelle for the Belgrade Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony and a tour with the Winnipeg Symphony of the Netherlands, all conducted by Daniel Raiskin.
In 2017/2018, the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern winner was heard as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore in Toronto for the COC and for Vancouver Opera, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Toronto Symphony, Messiah for the Grand Philharmonic Choir of Kitchener Waterloo and the opening night gala at the Elora Festival. Haji is an alumnus of the COC Ensemble Studio and on the mainstage at the Four Seasons Centre he has been heard as Alfredo in La traviata and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. During his time as a member of the Ensemble Studio, his leading roles included Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Ferrando in Così fan tutte.
The Salzburg Festival featured Haji in its 2017 production of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, his festival debut. For the Wexford Festival he starred as Hélios in Félicien David’s Herculanum and for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème. The music of Beethoven and Handel claimed his attention in performances with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony and the Grand Philharmonic Choir.
Selected recent and upcoming concert engagements include performances of Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, and Mozart’s Requiem, Mass in C Minor, and Coronation Mass.
Andrew Haji holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music where he performed in productions of Les mamelles de Tirésias, Don Giovanni, Candide, Il mondo della luna and Rob Ford—The Opera, among others. He was invited to participate in young artist programmes at the Salzburg Festival Young Singers Project, the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, the Music Academy of the West and Accademia Europea dell’Opera where he was influenced by some of the world’s finest musicians. A native-born Ontarian, he has received awards from the Marilyn Horne Song Competition in Santa Barbara and the COC’s annual Ensemble Studio Competition.
Stephen Hegedus, baritone
Hailed by the Ottawa Citizen as a singer possessing “…an instrument of rare beauty, majestic and commanding from the bottom of his range to the top,” Stephen Hegedus is that rarest of bass-baritones, totally at home in the works of Puccini and Weill as well as those of Bach and Mozart. Especially appreciated for his performance in MESSIAH, he has been heard in Handel’s masterpiece with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Seattle Symphony, Houston Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, the Vancouver Chamber Choir, Naples Philharmonic, and Victoria Symphony.
The upcoming 2019/2020 season includes multiple appearances with Opera Atelier, first as Leporello in Don Giovanni, and as Lucifer in Resurrezione. He will also sing the role of Rocco in Beethoven’s Leonore for Opera Lafayette. Upcoming concert highlights include Messiah with the Winnipeg and Okanagan symphonies, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, along with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
The role of Leporello in Don Giovanni was also a feature of Hegedus’ schedule in 2018-2019, when he performed it at Manitoba Opera. In Edmonton he was heard in Le comte Ory by Rossini as well as Messiah for the symphony. He appeared for I Musici de Montréal in Bach’s Magnificat, with the Vancouver Chamber Choir for a repeat of Messiah, and performed Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.
Fluent in French, English and Hungarian, Stephen Hegedus’s 2017/18 season included Messiah with Nezet-Seguin and l’Orchestre Métropolitain, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore for Vancouver Opera, the Count in Le nozze di Figaro and Neptune/ Time in Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses, both for Opera Atelier, Colline in La bohème for Pacific Opera Victoria and with the Thunder Bay and Regina symphonies.
Hegedus’s 2016/17 season included Mozart’s Requiem for the Seattle Symphony, Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust with the Grant Park Festival in Chicago, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for the Florida Orchestra, Bach’s WeihnachtsOratorium for I Musici de Montréal and Masetto In Don Giovanni for Opera de Montréal. As well, he was featured in Weill’s Sieben Todsünden for the Toronto Symphony, Alidoro in La Cenerentola for Edmonton Opera, Mozart’s Requiem for Mercury Baroque in Houston and Créon in Medée for Opera Atelier in Toronto and Versailles.
A prize winner at the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Competition, hosted by the Oratorio Society of New York, his extensive concert experience includes appearances with the Vancouver Symphony (Mozart’s Requiem), Winnipeg Symphony (Haydn’s Creation), the Grant Park Festival (Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride, Brahms’ Requiem), l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Bernstein’s A Quiet Place), the Victoria Symphony (Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium), l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec (Bach’s Magnificat and Bruckner’s Te Deum), and the Aldeburgh Festival (Bach’s B Minor Mass). Operatic roles include the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello and Masetto (Don Giovanni), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Albert (Werther), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia), Talbot (Maria Stuarda), Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte) and Angelotti (Tosca). He has been engaged by the Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Canadian Opera Company, l’Opéra de Montréal, and Against the Grain Theatre. Further credits include Lully’s Armide with Opera Atelier, Opera Columbus and at Versailles, St. Matthew Passion with the Vancouver Bach Choir, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pacific Opera Victoria, and Field Marshall Haig in the premiere of Estacio’s Ours, at Opera on the Avalon. A finalist at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, Stephen made his Carnegie Hall debut singing Bach’s Mass In B-Minor with the Oratorio Society of New York and later returned for Handel’s Messiah.