(November 17, 2014)

Centenary's Camerata presents Handel's Messiah

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Centenary College Camerata choral ensemble, in conjunction with members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, will present George Frideric Handel's Messiah Sunday, November 30, at 3 p.m. in Centenary's Anderson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Handel\'s Messiah
Soloists include Dr. Gale Odom, Twyla Robinson, Dr. Horace English, and Aaron Sheehan

Under the direction of visiting assistant professor of music and Camerata conductor Dr. Cory Wikan, members of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and Camerata will combine to perform one of the most popular works in the Western choral literature.

"I have chosen a smaller, chamber-sized orchestra to play, which aligns well with the size of Camerata," said Wikan. "Both ensembles are quite similar in size to those Handel likely led in performances of Messiah during his lifetime. I hope this performance will be a unique and rewarding experience for the Centenary, Shreveport, and Bossier communities."

Featured soloists include soprano Dr. Gale Odom, dean of the Hurley School of Music; soprano Twyla Robinson, artist in residence; twice Grammy-nominated tenor Aaron Sheehan; and baritone Dr. Horace English, Centenary College professor emeritus of voice.

Odom has been dean of the Hurley School of Music at Centenary since 1998. She has performed over 30 opera roles, including Marie in Daughter of the Regiment, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Micäela in Carmen, and Hanna in The Merry Widow. Her numerous oratorio and concert appearances include Mahler's 4th Symphony, Mozart's Great Mass in C, and Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder. Musical theater roles have included Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Cinderella in Into the Woods, and she was the church singer in the motion picture Steel Magnolias.

Robinson's career was firmly launched when she won the Grand Prize of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 2002. Under management with Columbia Artists, Robinson has sung opera, oratorio, and symphonic solo concerts all over the world. Recent performances include the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra. In the summer of 2010, she was seen in a performance of Mahler's Symphony no. 8 at the opening night of the BBC Proms, broadcast worldwide on BBC television. In 2012, Robinson sang Dvorak's Te Deum with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Known especially for his Baroque interpretations, Sheehan's voice has been described by the Boston Globe as "superb: his tone classy, clear, and refined, encompassing fluid lyricism and ringing force," and the Washington Post praised his "polished, lovely tone." In the concert world, Sheehan has made a name as a first rate interpreter of the oratorios and cantatas of Bach and Handel. He has appeared in concert with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Bach Soloists, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, North Carolina Symphony, New York Collegium, Charlotte Symphony, Boston Cecilia, Charleston Bach Festival, Baltimore Handel Choir, Les Voix Baroque, Pacific Chorale, Boston Early Music Festival, Tempesta di Mare, Aston Magna Festival, Bach Collegium San Diego, Washington National Cathedral, Pacific Music Works, Boston Museum Trio, Magnificat, Tragicomedia, the Folger Consort, and Concerto Palatino.

English has enjoyed wide acclaim for his artistic singing and dramatic interpretations in concert and on the stage. Notable operatic performances have included leading roles in Carmen, Faust, Rigoletto, Tosca, and Le Nozze di Figaro, among many others. He has also received the Shreveport Times Drama Award for his performances of the title roles in Sweeney Todd and Man of La Mancha. A well-known performer, he is frequent guest artist in orchestral concerts across the country. While on tour in Israel in 2007, English performed Handel's Messiah at Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. His musical tour in Greece in May 2009 concluded with a performance of Felix Mendelssohn's "Elijah" in Athens.