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2010 Bach Festival includes performance of Handel Opera

At Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center this weekend

August 26, 2010
A concert preview before the start of each performance will be presented for those audience members who wish to arrive a bit early to learn about the works included in the program. A Sunday morning Bach Worship service with a Baroque performance prior to the start of the service will begin at 9:30 a.m. at First Church of Christ Congregational in North Conway.

Since the 18th century, there has been a captivation and basic enjoyment of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach by people of all ages and backgrounds. Considered a prolific Baroque composer, Bach wrote music for all types of instruments and chamber groups as well as five cycles of church cantatas for every Sunday of the year and including special holy days.

When asked how people on Earth might communicate with the universe, scientist Lewis Thomas said, "I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging, of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later." The annual Bach Festival is sure to illustrate Thomas' idea.

Returning for his third year as Festival Conductor will be Dr. Robert Lehmann, Director of String Studies, Associate Professor of Music and Artist Faculty in violin and viola at the University of Southern Maine School of Music.

"I am delighted to return this year to continue the festival's celebration of Bach's music, as well as showcasing some choice works by other composers," Dr. Lehmann stated. "Bach remains front and center in the Festival presentations, however, and I'm eagerly awaiting a return to the White Mountains for another great weekend of music-making amongst great artists and friends," he said.

Each of the three concerts scheduled for the Festival Weekend will provide a different emphasis and will include music intended for enjoyment by both Baroque aficionados as well as the novice Bach listeners. Many guest artists are featured in the three festival concerts, including a performance by Festival Conductor, Dr. Lehmann, performing the Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 on violin, along with Peggy Vagts and Doris Henney, flute. Also on Friday evening, the audience will be treated to a performance by guest artist and nonagenarian, Frank Glazer, internationally acclaimed pianist, who will also perform Bach's concerto for Keyboard in D Minor on Sunday at the Festival Finale concert on Sunday afternoon. Additional performances by Floyd W. Corson, piano, and trumpeter, Barbara Prugh, are also programmed.

Saturday evening's performance will offer a unique presentation of Handel's "Acis and Galatea," a pastorale in two acts. Considered Handel's most popular dramatic work, this was the pinnacle of pastoral opera in England and will be performed in English featuring Metropolitan Opera performer, Ashley Emerson as Galatea and Brendan Daly, tenor, as Acis.

The Festival Finale performance on Sunday, in addition to the performance of Frank Glazer, will also highlight solo performances by Dr. Lehmann with Bach's Concerto for Violin No. 1 in A minor, and the series' Young Artist, Wilson Gabriel Bristol, piano, performing Bach's Prelude & Fugue No. XVIII in G# minor.

The full Festival Chorus, soloists and orchestra will bring the weekend to a close on Sunday afternoon, with a performance of Bach's Cantata, Unser Mund sei voll Lachens. The Bach Festival Chorus includes a diverse group of singers from the greater Mt. Washington Valley as well as Maine and Massachusetts. Coming from a varied set of experiences, the chorus includes amateurs to professionals, all of whom share the love of Bach's great choral music and the enthusiasm for having the opportunity to perform in a live, festival setting. The group has been rehearsing since June with rehearsal conductor, Nancy Farris, currently the Director of Music at Christ Church, Episcopal in North Conway.

Tickets for the 22nd Annual Bach Festival will continue to offer a choice of seating available at all performances. For those who wish to be seated as close as possible to the performers, there will be the Conductor's Circle seats with tickets for this section at $25 each. The middle Intermediate Section will provide seating at $17 and the customary general seating will also be available at $10. Tickets are available at the door.

For detailed information on the full festival schedule, visit www.mwvevents. com.

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