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Masterworks concert to feature Haydn's 'Lord Nelson Mass' and U.S. premier of work by Moran
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Masterworks concert to feature Haydn's 'Lord Nelson Mass' and U.S. premier of work by Moran

The Fredonia School of Music’s Masterworks concert, featuring Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass” and the U.S. premier of Robert Moran’s “Eclipse” will be presented on Sunday, April 26 at 4 p.m.

The annual signature event, to be performed for the first time in Rosch Recital Hall on campus, will be under the direction of Dr. David Rudge, and features the 100-plus voice Masterworks Chorus prepared by Dr. Gerald Gray and the Fredonia Chamber Orchestra.

Seating is reserved and tickets are $15 ($8 for students with ID), available at the Fredonia Ticket Office at 673-3501, online at, or in person in the Williams Center. Seating is limited and early purchase is recommended. A reception will follow.

The Masterworks performance is a highlight of the year for Fredonia music students, offering a significant ensemble experience performing a large-scale work in an intensive setting.

"The program opens with the U.S. premiere of Robert Moran's mysterious ‘Eclipse,’" remarked Dr. Rudge, "and includes the lovely ‘Air’ by Arthur Foote and Schubert's ‘German Dances,’ exquisitely orchestrated by Anton Webern. The featured work is the Lord Nelson Mass by Haydn, which was regarded by H. G. Robbins Landon, his chief biographer, to be ‘arguably Haydn's greatest single composition.’"

Soloists for the Lord Nelson Mass include Janet Brown (soprano), and Fredonia faculty member and alumna Laurie Tramuta (alto), Dr. Gray (tenor) and Jan Opalach (bass).

Ms. Brown has been praised by critics for her warm, clear voice and direct expression. Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe has called her " of our most treasurable artists." She is equally at home on the concert and operatic stages. She has performed roles with the Syracuse Opera Company, the American Repertory Theatre, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Pepsico Summerfare music festival. On the concert stage she has performed the major oratorio roles with the Syracuse Symphony, the West Virginia Symphony, the Cantata Singers of Boston, the Spectrum Singers of Boston, the New England Bach Festival, the Northwest Bach Festival, Handel & Haydn Society, Emmanuel Music of Boston, and the Tallahassee Symphony, to name a few. Brown is also a frequent recitalist with the Skaneateles Chamber Music Festival and has appeared in concerts of new music with the Syracuse-based Society for New Music and Boston's Collage New Music. She has premiered works by composers Gunther Schuller, Andrew Imbrie, Philip Glass, Nicolas Scherzinger, Edward Cohen, Howard Boatwright and Ernst Bacon.

Ms. Tramuta has performed a variety of operatic roles with the Western New York Opera Theater at Artpark, the Greater Buffalo Opera, the Erie Opera Theater, the Fredonia Hillman Opera and with Opera Sacra. She has also appeared as soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Erie Chamber Players, the Buffalo Choral Arts Society, the Orchard Park Chorale, the Fredonia College Symphony, the Orchard Park Symphony and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. In the spring of 2004, she performed the role of Mrs. Grose in Benjamin Britten's opera “Turn of the Screw” as part of the university’s NuSound Music Festival. In April of 2006, Tramuta appeared as the alto soloist in the Mozart “Requiem” with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra under maestro Glen Cortese. In November of 2006, she performed the title role in Bizet's “Carmen” with the Hillman Opera at Fredonia. She has also appeared as alto soloist in Handel's “Messiah” with the Bethany College Choir in Wheeling, W.Va. Tramuta has been an adjunct member of the voice faculty at Fredonia for the past 12. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Fredonia.

As a tenor soloist, Gray has performed throughout the United States primarily in the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Highlights include the role of "Tempo" in Handel's “Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno” with the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra of Los Angeles and a European tour of Handel's “Acis and Galatea” with the Wiener Akademie, both under the direction of Martin Hasselböck. In a staged production of Monteverdi's 1610 “Vespers” with the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, the Wall Street Journal hailed the "sensuousness of his vocal line." This was followed with critically acclaimed performances in Bach's “St. Matthew Passion,” a one-per-part Bach “Sacred Cantatas” program, and a solo program of sacred Italian music – all with the American Bach Soloists of San Francisco under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas.

Gray is an alumnus of Emmanuel Music where he participated in weekly performances of Bach's “Sacred Cantatas” under the direction of Craig Smith. With Emmanuel Music he performed over 40 of Bach's cantatas as a soloist, over 100 as a chorister and has performed much of the music of Heinrich Schütz. He appeared in Emmanuel Music's evening concerts in Handel's “Saul and Brockes Passion,” Schubert's Mass in E flat, and Bach's “St. John Passion” (1725 version) which was subsequently recorded on the Koch International label. He has been a soloist for Seiji Ozawa, Christopher Hogwood, Harry Bickett, Christoph Wolff, John Harbison, Bruno Weil, David Hoose, Grant Llewellyn and others. Gray is on the voice faculty at Fredonia and serves as Director of Choral Activities.

Mr. Opalach has performed over 50 roles during his distinguished career. In 1980 he was invited by Beverly Sills to join the New York City Opera, where he was a principal artist for 30 years. He has been seen on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center with Dame Joan Sutherland and was heard at the Metropolitan Opera's World Premiere of Philip Glass' “The Voyage” for his company debut. He recently was seen in the 2014 Spoleto USA's critically acclaimed production of Janacek's “Kat'a Kabanova” (in Czech).

Opalach has won the Kosciuszko Foundation's Marcella Sembrich Award, prestigious Walter M. Naumburg Vocal Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, s'Hertogenbosch International Vocalisten Concours as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Soloist Recital Grant. He has been heard in recitals at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall (New York City), Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), Kosciuszko Foundation (NY), Music Mountain (CT), Miller Theater (Columbia University), Bruno Walter Auditorium, Morgan Library, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Edmonton Chamber Music Festival (Alberta, Canada), Library of Congress, Ambassador Auditorium (Pasadena, Calif.), Cape and islands Festival (Mass.), Hudson River Museum, Rockport (Mass.) Chamber Music Festival, Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum (Boston, Mass.), Lehigh, Pennsylvania State, Brandeis and Harvard universities, NATS National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and annually at the Eastman School of Music. He has been an adjudicator for The Walter M. Naumburg, Joy in Singing and Concert Artist Guild competitions.

Opalach was a member of the New York Vocal Arts Ensemble (a solo vocal quartet w/piano) performing little known quartet repertoire for a three concert series at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall, as well as the Waverly Consort, touring throughout the U.S. and South America. He was seen on a CBS TV special filmed at the Cloisters museum in New York City and can be heard on its recording of “A Renaissance Christmas.” Opalach was also a member of the renowned Bach Aria Group concurrently with Eastman Voice Professor Carol Webber and was the original bass soloist in Joshua Rifkin's Bach Ensemble, recording the B-minor Mass (with one soloist on a part), Solo Bass Cantatas #56, #82, and #158, and numerous other Bach cantatas. With conductor Helmut Rilling, he sang at the Oregon Bach Festival and the Hollywood Bowl and toured Bach's “St. John Passion” with Mr. Rilling's Gaechinger Kantorei in Germany. He was also heard in the Boston Early Music Festival's spectacular production of Luigi Rossi's rarely staged “Orfeo,” co-directed by Paul O'Dette and Steven Stubbs, with additional performances at the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Drottningholms Slottsteatre for a live broadcast on Swedish television.

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