AROUND TOWN: UNLV choirs to spread joy with concert

The UNLV Concert Singers and Chamber Chorale open their 2009-10 concert season with “Freude! Ode to Joy!” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway.

The performance includes more than 70 singers in a variety of music that celebrates joyful living. Highlights include a chorus from Johann Strauss’ waltz comedy “Die Fledermaus” as well as the first act finale from Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore.” Featured soloists are soprano Elizabeth Rasmussen as Josephine, the captain’s haughty daughter; tenor Joseph Nicosia as Ralph Rackstraw, a lovesick sailor; baritone Brian Myer as Dick Deadeye, the snarling villain; and soprano Pier Lamia Porter as Cousin Hebe, ringleader of a bevy of “sisters, cousins and aunts.”

Acappella masterworks by Cristobal de Morales, Francis Poulenc and Sergei Rachmaninoff portray the joyful colors inherent in sacred songs of praise and meditation. The featured trio in “The Heavens Are Telling” from Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation” is soprano Daniella Toscano, tenor Emanuel Mojica and baritone Randy Hughes. American composers Samuel Barber, David Brunner and Z. Randall Stroope describe aspects of passionate living and loving in their compositions. The Chamber Chorale continues a hallowed tradition of three decades in singing the English sonnet “Go, Lovely Rose”, this time in a new musical setting by UNLV music major, Brian Myer composed specifically for the Chorale last spring.

Solo arias will be performed by tenor Edwin Cotton and sopranos Christina Douglas, Isabella Ivy and Cecilia Lopez. All four students are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in vocal music performance.

Conductor David Weiller celebrates 26 years as director of choral studies at UNLV.

Tickets for “Freude! Ode to Joy!” can be purchased at the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office or by calling 895-ARTS. General admission is $10; senior citizens, military and UNLV faculty and staff tickets are $8. All students from the university and the Clark County School District receive one free ticket.

–Laura Emerson

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