thy will be done
National Chorale marks 50th anniversary with new oratorio about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ
(Preview I wrote for the New York performance in 2018 of an oratorio I helped produce)
The National Chorale marks its 50th anniversary with the New York premier of Thy Will Be Done, an oratorio about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
It will be an amazing night of firsts: an African-American conducts a new Easter oratorio by one of the few modern-day female composers starring two winners of the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions -- and they're all from Kentucky!
Gregory Turay and Anthony Clark Evans, both winners of
the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council
Auditions, will be joined by mezzosoprano Catherine Martin,
praised for her “angelic vocals, perfect facial expressions,”
and Kevin Thompson, an American bass described by the
San Jose Mercury News as “brilliant in every regard.”
In addition, the production will feature musical theater and
opera star Kenneth Overton, and Rebecca Farley, a Julliard
master’s graduate who Broadway World hailed for a
“sensational” performance with the Julliard Opera.
Dr. Everett McCorvey, director of the National Chorale and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, will conduct the performance at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Friday, March 16, 2018.
Thy Will Be Done, a 90-minute work composed by Angela Rice, tells the story of the life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"The production is an amazing combination of Kentucky talents and world-class performers," McCorvey said. "Where else can you hear two Met audition winners perform a new classical work with the National Chorale?"
This year the composition continues its evolution since it premiered in 2012 in Lexington as a 16-song cantata accompanied only by a piano and a small ensemble.
With new orchestration by Kentucky composer Daniel Arnold, Rice has expanded the cantata over the years into a 36-piece oratorio with 16 soloists, chorus and a full orchestra.
This year for the first time, it will be performed with the National Chorale and select members of the Lexington Singers from Kentucky.
Rice, a gifted singer and pianist from an early age, studied piano under Robert Harris of the Julliard School, and voice at the New England Conservatory under Sahar Hassan after graduating from the University of Louisville.
While raising three children in Lexington, Ky., with her husband Tom, Rice continued her studies at workshops at the Tanglewood Music Center and under Phyllis Jenness, the founder of the Lexington Singers who also directed the voice program at the University of Kentucky until the early 1990s.
Turay, who originated the role of Jesus, has been hailed by The London Times as “one of the brightest natural talents to have emerged from the U.S. in recent years.”
The tenor shot into national prominence in 1995 when he won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions at the age of 21. He was awarded the Richard Tucker Foundation Award in 2000, the top American prize a classical American singer can win.
The UK graduate went on to win several other of classical music's most coveted awards, including the George London Foundation Award and an ARIA award, and has performed at the Met and other top opera companies around the world. He is currently Centre College’s Alltech Artist-in-Residence.
Evans, a baritone from Owensboro, Ky., plays The Devil. Like Turay, he began his meteoric rise by winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Before that breakthrough in 2012 he had been a car salesman and a Murray State University student. He also studied under McCorvey.
Evans made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2017 after two years at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and performances at the San Diego Opera and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He, too, has won numerous awards in vocal competitions and was awarded the prestigious 2017 Richard Tucker Career Grant of $10,000.
He was a finalist in the 2017 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Overton, also an award-winning baritone who has sung with operas around the world, is also known for his musical theater performances. He won critical acclaim for his starring role in Porgy and Bess and in his Broadway debut in Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème.
A UK alumnus from Henderson, Ky., Farley sings the role of Mary the Mother. She is a 2017 graduate of The Julliard School of Music where she received the prestigious Kovner Fellowship. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2016 as a featured performer with the Cecilia Chorus of New York.