This is more than just a healthy habit. Sometime around 1800, the public concert became a familiar ritual—in which a particular sequence of events is infused with an emotional arc or some other kind of symbolic significance. The musical world is rife with rituals large and small, from the pecking order of curtain calls at the opera to the standard orchestral program of overture/ concerto/symphony. Certain works in the repertoire are annual rituals as well: who hasn't heard at least Part I of Handel's Messiah at Christmas?
For 2015/16 Ars Lyrica explores ritual within a seasonal context, in six programs that mix beloved masterworks of the Baroque with rare gems from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. We invite you to savor Vivaldi's "Autumn" Concerto mixed with other works inspired by the hunt, or how a musical winter mingles fire and ice. Even Messiah makes an appearance, though during the Easter season and with a special event examining its peculiar place in our culture.
Ars Lyrica invites patrons aged 21–50 to a deeper connection with the lively Houston arts scene. Members of Ars Lyrica's Young Professionals Society enjoy these benefits:
September 13 - 6pm
Ars Lyrica's Seasonal Rituals begin with Antonio Vivaldi's Autumn, the first of four concerti constituting his beloved Four Seasons, each of which appears on its own program this season. Autumn Hunt also includes vocal fireworks aplenty, with Joseph Haydn's dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos for mezzo soprano and strings—in which the mythical figure Arianna imagines herself hunter's prey—plus a selection of Handel arias.
Homage to the Sun King: Louis XIV of France
November 20 - 7:30pm
Ars Lyrica's Homage to the Sun King comes exactly 300 years after his light finally faded in 1715. Our program features Marc-Antoine Charpentier's sparkling chamber opera Les arts florissans plus royal motets by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and chamber music by François Couperin. It's a rare chance to savor French Baroque masterworks in full historical dress, with instruments and dance steps from the Ancien Régime.
Fire And Ice
December 31 - 9:00pm
New Year's Eve 2015 brings a star-studded evening with music that is by turns both hot and cold. Vivaldi's Winter sets the stage for Handel's Apollo e Dafne, which tells the story of too-ardent love and a unique transformation. This very special evening begins with dinner at 7:30 pm in the Sarofim Hall Grand Lobby and continues in Zilkha Hall with the program at 9 pm. Ars Lyrica's annual gala (with silent auction) extends the festivities through midnight so that you can ring in 2015 with us—at Houston's most stylish New Year's Eve event!
All In a Garden Green
February 12 - 7:30pm
Songs about springtime animate our 2016 Houston Early Music Festival program, entitled All in a Garden Green after an English folksong. A menu of delectable tunes mixes items from English, Italian, French, and Spanish musical cultures and includes Vivaldi's Spring, along with songs and cantatas by William Byrd, Thomas Morely, Clément Jannequin, Juan del Encina and others. Love will definitely be in the air at this Valentine's weekend program!
An Easter "Messiah"
April 2 - 7:30pm
The critically acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Singers from Dallas return for a collaboration on Handel's Messiah with conductor John Butt, whose recent recording of the Mozart Requiem with the Dunedin Consort won a Gramophone Award in 2014. This Easter Messiah will be a performance of the complete work, with a cast of stellar soloists and full Baroque orchestra.
June 3 - 7:30pm
Ars Lyrica's 2015/16 Seasonal Rituals comes to a close with a program celebrating the warm and sometimes unpredictable winds of summer. Virtuosic flights of fancy abound on this program, which features Vivaldi's Summer, J. S. Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, W. A. Mozart's Exultate, Jubilate, and three outstanding soloists.