Tickets & Events

The Handel and Haydn Society

The Handel and Haydn Society


Seiji Ozawa Hall - Lenox, MA View Map

On Wednesday, August 9, the Handel and Haydn Society performs Purcell's The Fairy-Queen. Often referred to as a semi-opera, The Fairy-Queen is based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Led by conductor Harry Christophers and narrated by Antonia Christophers, the performance also features countertenor Robin Blaze as Mopsa and bass-baritone Matthew Brook as the Drunken Poet, Corydon, and Hymen; along with a cast of vocal soloists. 

Featured Performers

Harry Christophers, conductor
Harry Christophers, conductor View biography in full page >

Harry Christophers has conducted the Handel and Haydn Society each season since his first appearance in September 2006, when he led a soldout performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Held in the same location where Haydn lived and worked for nearly 40 years, this Austrian appearance marked the Society's first in Europe. Handel and Haydn's 2009-2010 Season was Christophers' first as Artistic Director.

Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the United Kingdom-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen, and as guest conductor for major symphony orchestras and opera companies. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. His CD, IKON, was nominated for a 2007 Grammy. In 2009 he received one of classical music's highest accolades, the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination.

In 2000, he instituted the "Choral Pilgrimage," a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. The 2011 Choral Pilgrimage will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Spanish born renaissance composer, Tomas Luis de Victoria and will tour to some twenty five venues in the UK.

In addition to his Handel and Haydn Society and The Sixteen commitments, Christophers is Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and also a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid. Within the last few years, he has conducted the Hallé, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.

Increasingly busy in opera, Christophers launched a Monteverdi cycle in 1998 with new productions for the Lisbon Opera of Il Ritorno d'Ulisse, following his success there with Gluck's Orfeo. In 2000, he conducted Mozart's Die Zauberflöte for the Lisbon Opera as well as Purcell's King Arthur and Rameau's Platée. Christophers made an acclaimed debut with English National Opera (ENO) conducting Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, and has since conducted productions of Gluck's Orfeo and Handel's Ariodante at ENO as well as the UK premiere of Messager's Fortunio for Grange Park Opera. In 2006, Mozart's anniversary year, he conducted a new production of Mitridate for the Granada Festival. After the outstanding success of Handel's Semele and Hercules and Mozart's Ascanio in Alba at Buxton Opera, he returned in 2008 to conduct a highly successful new production of Handel's Samson.

In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.

Harry Christophers, conductor Antonia Christophers, narrator Antonia Christophers, narrator
Robin Blaze, countertenor (Mopsa) Robin Blaze, countertenor (Mopsa) Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Drunken Poet/Corydon/Hymen)
Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Drunken Poet/Corydon/Hymen) View biography in full page >

Matthew Brook returns to H&H after performing in Handel Messiah in 2009. Brook has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa, and the Far East. He has worked with Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, Sir Charles Mackerras, Harry Christophers, Christophe Rousset, and Paul McCreesh; and many orchestras and groups including the Philharmonia, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists, the City of London Sinfonia, Collegium Vocale Gent, the Gabrieli Consort, Les Talens Lyriques, the Sixteen, and Orchestra Nationale de Lille.

Recordings include: Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ with Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, broadcast on BBC Television; Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and the Edinburgh Festival Chorus on EMI; a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel's Dublin score of Messiah; Bach's St. Matthew Passion; and, most recently, Handel's Acis and Galatea and Bach's B Minor Mass with the Dunedin Consort for Linn Records. He has also recorded for DVD the acclaimed production of The Full Monteverdi with I Fagiolini.

Recent performances include Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder; Bach's Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion with Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe; recording the role of Friar Tuck in Sullivan's Ivanhoe for Chandos Records; Bach's St. John Passion with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Oleg Caetani; Bach cantatas with Marcus Creed and the Tonhalle-Orchester, Zurich; Elijah at the Three Choirs Festival with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Handel's Apollo e Dafne with Retrospect Ensemble and Matthew Halls at Wigmore Hall; Haydn's The Seasons with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir; Messiah in Boston with Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society, and with The Sixteen; a tour of Australia with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti; and Bach's St. John Passion with the Gabrieli Consort & Players and Paul McCreesh.

Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Drunken Poet/Corydon/Hymen)
Sarah Brailey, soprano Sarah Brailey, soprano Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano Sonja DuToit Tengblad, soprano
Teresa Wakim, soprano Teresa Wakim, soprano Sarah Yanovitch, soprano Sarah Yanovitch, soprano
Program Notes Audio
PURCELL - The Fairy-Queen (136 min, plus one intermission)