PITTSBURGH – Audiences at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO)’s first BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts in March will get a rare opportunity to sing along during the encore, the well-known “Anvil Chorus” from Verdi’s opera, Il Trovatore.
The concerts – at 8 p.m., Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, and 2:30 p.m., Sunday, March 3, at Heinz Hall – will celebrate the operas of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi. Tickets, ranging from $20-$93, can be purchased by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412.392.4900, or visiting www.pittsburghsymphony.org.
PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck will lead the orchestra in selections from Wagner’s Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Gotterdämmerung, and Die fliegende Holländer, as and Verdi’s La Traviata, Nabucco, Rigoletto, Don Carlo and Aida. The concert concludes with the sing-along of the “Anvil Chorus.”
Ticket holders should arrive one hour early to participate in a free choral session on Verdi’s “Anvil Chorus” with the PSO’s Singing City Project Coordinator Christine Hestwood at Heinz Hall. For more information, visit www.pittsburghsymphony.org/verdi&wagnerworkshop, where sheet music for the “Anvil Chorus” can be downloaded. To register for the workshop, call 412.392.4876, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and total number of ticket holders attending the workshop by Friday, March 1. Registration will be confirmed by email.
Pittsburgh Opera General Director Christopher Hahn will host the concerts and introduce the selections from each of the operas. The concerts also will feature soprano Simona Šaturová, baritone Gregg Baker, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, directed by Betsy Burleigh. Baker most recently performed with the PSO during Thanksgiving weekend at Heinz Hall.
The PSO would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2012-2013 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics. Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the PSO. Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the PSO.
Simona Šaturová studied singing at the Bratislava Conservatory and attended various master classes, most notably with the Romanian soprano singer Ileana Cotrubas. Besides her numerous appearances at the National Theatre Prague, the soprano singer has also performed on the stages of the Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), the Théâtre du Châtelet Paris, the Opéra de Monte Carlo and the Megaron in Athens. She is a popular guest performer at the Frankfurt Opera where she has sung in revivals of Rossini’s Il Viaggio à Reims and Verdi’s A Masked Ball and, most recently, was heard as a wonderful Lucia di Lammermoor. She appeared as Ilia (Idomeneo) at the beginning of 2010 in the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels as a sudden stand-in and was invited once again in the spring of 2011 as a guest in the role of Sandrina (La Finta Giardiniera) with Ursel and Karl-Ernst Herrmann. She has also earned an international reputation as a concert and oratorio singer. She made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2006 and, in the same year, sang the soprano part in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony under Christoph Eschenbach on the occasion of the reopening of the famous Salle Pleyel in Paris. As a result of her spectacular performance, the Philadelphia Orchestra immediately invited her to appear at concerts in Philadelphia and in New York’s Carnegie Hall.
A Baritone of imposing voice and stature, Gregg Baker continues to make an indelible mark on the world of Opera Theater. Since his opera debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, he has performed leading roles at The Vienna Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Hamburg Opera, New Israeli Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Vancouver Opera, Baden-Baden Opera, Scottish National Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and the Berkshire Opera. The past two seasons held important role debuts for Baker: title roles in Verdi’s Macbeth and Rigoletto. A successful veteran of Broadway and a Lawrence Oliver Award nominee, Baker discovered his gift for and love of opera while performing the role of Crown in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The Metropolitan Opera heard his performance in the Radio City Music Hall production and engaged him immediately for their production of the opera. He has since returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the roles of High Priest in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Silvio in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Donner in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amore. In addition to his operatic performances, Baker has performed and recorded with leading orchestras and conductors, including, the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Danish Symphony, Radio Stuttgart Symphony, James Levine, Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, André Previn, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Roger Norrington, Jesus Luis Cobos, Daniel Oren, Eric Kunzel and the late Anton Guadagno and Robert Shaw. Baker has worked with the renowned stage directors Otto Schenk, the late Pierre Ponelle, Nathaniel Merrill, and Franco Zeffirelli.