Cecilia Chorus features soloists from around the world in Christmas Oratorio
by Jeffrey James for Vocal Area Network
Posted November 30, 2017

CCNY--Christmas OratorioThe Cecilia Chorus of New York will feature soloists from across the United States and around the world in its performance of J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on Saturday, December 9 at 8:00 PM at Carnegie Hall. The concert will be performed by the soloists, chorus and full orchestra, all under the direction of Maestro Mark Shapiro.

The soloists will be Kentucky native Rebecca Farley, soprano; California’s Renee Tatum, mezzo-soprano; Canada’s Charles Sy, tenor; and China’s William Guanbo Su, bass. Guest soloist Vivian Yau (from Hong Kong) will sing the role of "echo soprano." An important part of the chorus's mission is to present promising artists in hall and role debuts. This performance marks the Carnegie Hall main stage debuts of Sy, Yau and Su. The Cecilia Chorus of New York presented Farley in her Carnegie Hall debut in December 2016.

Rebecca Farley, soprano, who recently advanced to the regional (Chicago) round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, holds a master's degree from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard she appeared as the Controller in Flight, Bubikopf in Der Kaiser von Atlantis, and covered Amina in the Met+Juilliard production of La Sonnambula. Other recent roles include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Gilda in Rigoletto. As a concert soloist, she has sung in Orff's Carmina Burana, Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, Handel's Messiah, and premiered the role of Mary in Angela Rice's oratorio Thy Will Be Done, which she will reprise at David Geffen Hall this March. More recently, Ms. Farley has performed works of Bach and Handel conducted by international Bach authority Masaaki Suzuki. She participated in a ten-concert tour with Maestro Suzuki this May/June in New Zealand. Read an interview with her at ceciliachorusny.org/updates-contact/2017/9/21/rebecca-farley-prepared-and-ready and an article about her professional journey to New York from her home in Kentucky at ceciliachorusny.org/updates-contact/2016/11/14/rebecca-farley-soprano-from-henderson-ky-to-carnegie-hall.

Noted for her “commanding and dramatic presence” (Opera News), mezzo-soprano Renee Tatum is rapidly gaining critical acclaim on the most prestigious opera stages in the United States. This season’s engagements include Flosshilde in Das Rheingold with Tanglewood Music Festival; Flosshilde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung and Waltraute in Die Walküre with San Francisco Opera; Jenny in Threepenny Opera with Boston Lyric Opera; Flower Maiden in Parsifal at The Metropolitan Opera; and Ensemble for the Romantic Century’s production of Van Gogh’s Ear at The Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City. She also sang a concert entitled “Opera Italiana Forever Young” as part of the Central Park Summer Concerts series and Das Rheingold in concert with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. Read an interview with her at ceciliachorusny.org/updates-contact/2017/11/8/mezzo-soprano-renee-tatum-turning-the-corner. Her webpage is at www.uzanartists.com/portfolio/renee-tatum-2/.

Toronto native Charles Sy has been recognized internationally as a promising young artist with a “softly lyric sound, a natural sense of phrasing coupled with a rare willingness to project beyond the apron” (National Post). He is described as “vocally and dramatically mature with a delicious dark tenor sound that [stretches] easily into shining high notes” (Schmopera). Sy is a recent graduate of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio and received both First prize and Audience Choice in their 2014 Centre Stage Competition. He is currently completing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at the Juilliard School. A graduate of the University of Toronto (BMus, MMus), Sy is also an alumnus of several training programs including Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Art of Song Fellowship at the Toronto Summer Music Festival and the Opera as Theatre program at the Banff Centre. Visit him at charles-sy.com/.

Five years ago when he was 18, New York City based singer William Guanbo Su was featured on National Public Radio’s “From the Top” program, where he was praised for his “expressive sound,and the variety of (his)voice.” Since then, Mr. Su, who recently won first prize in the 2017 Gerda Lissner Lieder/Song Vocal Competition and a 2017 Opera Index Encouragement Award, has performed in solo recitals around Europe, Asia and the United States. His operatic roles range from Monteverdi’s L'incoronazione di Poppea to Janacek’s The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears. He has also concentrated on German Lieder at the Franz Schubert Institute in Vienna, where he was coached by Emmy Ameling, Olaf Bar, Helmut Deutsch, Robert Holl and others. Born in Beijing, China, Mr. Su moved to the United States at the age of 14 to attend The Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA. He continued his voice studies at the Manhattan School of Music, graduating last May. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at Juilliard under the guidance of Cynthia Hoffmann. Read an interview with him at ceciliachorusny.org/updates-contact/2017/9/21/william-guanbo-su-the-discipline-of-an-athlete.

Single tickets for the December 9 concert range from $25 to $85 and are available online at www.carnegiehall.org/, by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the box office at 57th Street and 7th Avenue. Season subscriptions are also available. For more information about this concert, visit ceciliachorusny.org/#/oratorio/ or call 646-638-2535. CCNY Carnegie Hall concerts are ADA accessible.

The Cecilia Chorus of New York is the 2015 winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award and the 2013 third-place winner for The American Prize in Choral Performance. New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs recently bestowed a generous grant of support on The Cecilia Chorus of New York for its 2017-18 season. Learn more about the Cecilia Chorus of New York and Music Director Mark Shapiro at ceciliachorusny.org/.

Jeffrey James heads Jeffrey James Arts Consulting.