Handel’s Messiah
December 9December 16, 2016

Meredith Hall, soprano | Amanda Crider, mezzo-soprano | Karim Sulayman, tenor | Jeffrey Strauss, baritone

AV2208_messiah_coverNow an acclaimed CD, Jeannette Sorrell’s interpretation of Handel’s Messiah has inspired audiences across the country on many national radio broadcasts. Taking their cue from Handel’s original conception of the piece as theatrical entertainment, Sorrell and her actor-singers take the listeners on a spiritual and emotional journey. The program heads to New York City following local performances.

Choose your length!
2-1/2 hours on December 10 & 16
2-1/4 hours on December 9, 11 & 12


    conductor & harpsichordist

These concerts are generously sponsored by Landerhaven Dental Associates
Dr. Bill Lavigna D.D.S. and Dr. Joe Leon D.M.D.


Friday, December 9, 2016, 8:00PM
St. Raphael Catholic Church, BAY VILLAGE
Saturday, December 10, 2016, 8:00PM
Maltz Performing Arts Center, UNIVERSITY CIRCLE
Sunday, December 11, 2016, 4:00PM
St. Noel Catholic Church, WILLOUGHBY HILLS
Monday, December 12, 2016, 7:30PM
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, AKRON
Friday, December 16, 2016, 8:00PM
First Baptist Church, SHAKER HEIGHTS
Fame (oil on canvas), Sementi, Giovanni Giacomo (1583-1636) / Galleria Sabauda, Turin, Italy / Bridgeman Images

“The U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band.” –CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE (UK)


Canadian Soprano Meredith Hall delights audiences internationally with her “lustrous sound and fluent legato” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “bravura musical performance matched by a riveting [sense of the] dramatic” (Boston Globe). Equally at home in Opera and Oratorio, she is especially in demand for Baroque and Classical works, particularly those of Mozart and Handel.

Recent and upcoming performances include the Leipzig Bachfest with the Ottawa Bach Choir, Handel’s Messiah for the Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener Waterloo), Guelph Chamber Choir, Toledo Symphony, and Amadeus Choir, Elgar’s The Apostles for Pax Christie Chorale of Toronto, “A Celtic Christmas” programme for Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland and New York. Other engagements include appearances for St. Paul’s Lyra Baroque Orchestra singing Mozart and Haydn, Bach’s Johannes Passion with the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival, his B Minor Mass with the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Matthäus Passion with the Grand Philharmonic Choir of Kitchener Waterloo, Hippolyte et Aricie for VOICEBOX: Opera in Concert, and Messiahs for Symphony Nova Scotia and the Newfoundland Symphony. She has also been featured by Music and Beyond in Ottawa and for the Sweetwater Festival in Ontario.

Past highlights include performances at the Göttingen Handel Festival in Germany, Messiah with the Toronto Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Victoria Symphony, Memphis Symphony, and a Handel programme for the Grand Rapids Symphony. Also on her schedule were performances with the Arizona Chamber Music Festival in Tucson and the Hot Earth Ensemble of Newfoundland. Ms. Hall has been heard in San Francisco in Rameau’s Pygmalion and Arne’s Comus with Philharmonia Baroque, toured Canada’s west coast with La Nef, starred as Dido in Dido and Aeneas for Apollo’s Fire and debuted with Boston Baroque in Rameau’s Pygmalion. Also on her schedule were, Purcell’s The Indian Queen for the Toronto Masque Theatre and concerts with the Montreal Baroque Festival, in Halle, Germany at the Handel Festival and recording projects with La Nef for CBC Radio Canada and with Toronto Masque Theatre for CBC Radio Two.

Ms. Hall appeared at the Shannon International Music Festival for Beethoven’s Irish and Scottish songs with Nicholas McGegan at the piano as well an all Mozart programme. She was heard at the Montreal Baroque Festival and at Domaine Forget in a programme with the Toronto Consort, in Memphis for Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Tucson for the Arizona Chamber Music Festival and Toronto with Pax Christi Chorale for Mendelssohn’s St. Paul. Of particular note was her recital debut in Toronto for the Women’s Musical Club with guitarist Bernard Farley.

Further credits include the title role in Rameau’s Zephyr for McGegan’s Philharmonia Baroque, a Baroque evening for the Windsor Symphony, Bach’s Johannes Passion for Orchestra London and the Toronto Operetta Theatre production of the zarzuela El barberillo de Lavapiés. She was also heard as Aristeo in Rossi’s Orfeo for the Toronto Consort and was featured in a Handel programme for I Musici de Montreal.

The Newfoundland native has sung the title roles of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Houston Grand Opera and Opera Atelier, Toronto) and Handel’s Partenope (Göttingen Handel Festival, Germany) as well as Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Opera Atelier, Toronto) and Phébé in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux (Opera in Concert, Toronto). Other Handel roles include: Semele (Handel & Haydn Society, Boston); Pleasure in The Choice of Hercules (Philharmonia Baroque, San Francisco) and Mary Magdelene in Resurrezione (Opera Atelier). In Mozart roles, Ms. Hall has appeared as Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Bastienne in Bastien und Bastienne with Tafelmusik in Toronto and as Elvira in Don Giovanni for Opera Atelier’s tour of Japan. Her performances as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro with the same company were received with great acclaim in Toronto and Tokyo. Previous operatic engagements have included Giunone in Cavalli’s Ercole amante in Utrecht, Tanglewood and Boston; Eurydice in Gluck’s Orfeo for Cleveland Opera; Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea for Opera Atelier; Dido in Dido and Aeneas for Apollo’s Fire (Cleveland); Messagiera in Monteverdi’s Orfeo for Vancouver Early Music; and Altisidore in Boismortier’s Don Quichotte for Paris’ Opera Comique.

Concert appearances include Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Arcadia Chamber Orchestra in Osaka, Japan; Handel’s Gloria with Pittsburgh’s Chatham Baroque; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Le grand Choeur de Montreal; Bach’s Mass in B Minor for the St. Lawrence Choir of Montreal and his Missa Brevis for the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Ms. Hall toured Japan appearing in a series of song recitals in Osaka and Tokyo with her husband, guitarist Bernard Farley. For Toronto Operetta Theatre she performed the role of Nanine in the Canadian premiere of The Widow by Calixa Lavallee.

She has recorded several albums on the ATMA label with the early music ensemble La Nef, including Songs of Robbie Burns, Oikan ayns Bethlehem and the Battle of Killiecranckie and her latest CD with Apollo’s Fire is Sacrum Mysterium. In release are discs for Deutsche Grammophon Archiv, Philips, Naxos (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Purcell’s The Tempest), Dorian, NPR Records and CBC Records with such groups as Les Musiciens du Louvre, Le Concert Spirituel, Opera in Concert/Aradia, The Musicians of the Globe, The Toronto Consort and Tafelmusik. Ms. Hall can also be heard in the title role in a recording of Handel’s Partenope with the Internationale Händel-Festspiele Göttingen, conducted by Nicholas McGegan.



Mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider has been recognized for her “gleaming vocalism” (Boston Globe), “star acting” (Urban Milwaukee), and “superbly clear diction and warmly burnished timbre” (South Florida Classical Review). In demand for performances of classical and contemporary opera alike, Ms. Crider created the role of Alma in Keeril Makan and Jay Scheib’s Persona in its world premiere with the Beth Morrison Projects and later at LA Opera, about which the New York Times raved, “The Mezzo-Soprano, Amanda Crider, made a winsome, vulnerable, and when the story turns dark, wildly volatile Alma, who for long stretches carries the entire opera,” and San Francisco Classical Voice declared, “Crider’s performance was a tour-de-force for its sustained vocal luster, dramatic variation, and sheer amount of singing.”

Most recently, Ms. Crider was seen as the title character in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Florentine Opera, a role that she “wielded with beauty and charisma” (Voix des arts). Boston University News Service declared her “the true star” for her leading role in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek, and Opera News lauded her “beautiful work” and “agility” playing the English Teacher in Gregory Spears and Kathryn Walat’s 2019 recording of Paul’s Case, a role which Crider premiered with the Prototype Festival and Urban Arias in 2013.

Ms. Crider’s 2019-20 season includes a debut with the Calgary Symphony, performances with the GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble Seraphic Fire, soloist in Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Penelope with Nu Deco Ensemble, a duo recital with countertenor Reggie Mobley, and two separate appearances with Jacksonville Symphony in Beethoven’s Mass in C and Manuel de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat.

A sought-after soloist and recitalist on the concert stage, Ms. Crider has appeared regularly with Seraphic Fire and Apollo’s Fire, as well as performed with the Bach Festival Society of Florida, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival, the Symphony Orchestras of Eugene, Savannah, Charlotte, Syracuse, Charleston, Amarillo, Southwest Michigan and Jacksonville, and Philharmonic Orchestras of Louisiana, Carnegie Mellon and Greeley. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in the fall of 2007 singing as mezzo soloist in Messiah with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, and returned the following season as soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. She has performed as a soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s B minor Mass, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Britten’s Phaedra, Bach’s St. John Passion, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses, and has been a featured recitalist on the Trinity Church Concerts at One Series and with Five Boroughs Music Festival. Of her New World Symphony performance of de Falla’s El Amor Brujo in 2014, South Florida Classical Review boasted, “Amanda Crider’s smoky mezzo-soprano assayed the flamenco vocal solos with gutsy abandon,” as well as celebrating “Her rhythmic acuity and incisive declamation.”

Ms. Crider’s first foray into the operatic world as L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2001 was hailed by Opera News as “delightful,” the Boston Globe stating she sang with “ineffable tenderness.” Since then, she has delighted audiences in the roles of Angelina (La Cenerentola), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Sesto (Handel Giulio Cesare), the title role in Carmen, Nellie Forbush (South Pacific), Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld), Speranza/Pastore #3 (Monteverdi L’Orfeo), Siébel (Faust), Olga (Eugene Onegin), Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Laurey (Oklahoma) and Mallika (Lakmé) at companies including the Dallas Opera, Orlando Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Omaha, Nevada Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Eugene Opera, Anchorage Opera and Opera Boston, New York City Opera, Castleton Festival and Glimmerglass Opera.

Ms. Crider was a 2012 grant recipient from the Pittsburgh Concert Society, and a 2011 finalist in both the Joy in Singing Debut Artist Competition and the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition. In addition she was a 2009 finalist in the José Iturbi International Voice Competition, the 2nd Place Winner in the 2008 Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition, 2007 Recipient of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition David and Ingrid Kosowsky Award, Finalist in the 2006 Oratorio Society of New York Vocal Competition and 2005 Center for Contemporary Opera Competition, and a 2003 Recipient of a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation. Ms. Crider is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Miami’s Art Song concert series, IlluminArts.



is consistently praised for his sensitive musicianship, vivid portrayals, and beautiful voice. With a vast repertoire that spans from the Renaissance to contemporary music, he has firmly established himself as a sophisticated and versatile artist of his generation. Recent highlights include engagements at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms, the Casals Festival, Aspen Music Festival and the International Bach Festival. Mr. Sulayman recently completed three seasons at the Marlboro Music Festival collaborating with Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode, and continues to focus on championing vocal chamber music under the auspices of Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Brooklyn Chamber Music Society, Cleveland ChamberFest, among other esteemed presenters, and earlier this season performed programs of French chamber works at the Roman River Festival in the UK which were recorded by the BBC. Also in the 2016-2017 season he debuted with Houston Grand Opera as Albert in the world premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges.

This season he looks forward to debuts with the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Messiah, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as Testo in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, his professional acting debut in Karin Coonrod’s groundbreaking production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (Off Broadway), and to a US national tour as the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo with Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra, along with the release of his debut solo album, Songs of Orpheus, of 17th-century Italian composers on the AVIE label. Next season he plays the role of Claudio Monteverdi at Stockholm’s beloved Drottningholms Slottsteater in the world premiere of The Voice of Europa. He also appears and sings “I go on” from Mass in the upcoming ARTE documentary Leonard Bernstein – The Composer, to be aired throughout Europe in the summer of 2018 and subsequently released on DVD.

His growing discography includes the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea, and two releases for NAXOS in works of Philidor and Grétry, as well as the release of Sephardic Journey with Apollo’s Fire on AVIE which debuted at the Number 2 slot on the Billboard World Music Chart and Number 7 on the Classical Chart. He is also featured on the album of Jonathan Dawe’s 21st-century chamber works, Piercing are the Darts, on the Furious Artisans label and on the future EP release of Matt Frey’s new chamber opera 111 Heavy with the ensemble Hotel Elefant.

Mr. Sulayman’s musical education began with violin studies at age three, and years as a boy alto soloist, which included performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Sir Georg Solti and the St. Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Rice University and also studied improvisation at the Second City Training Center in Chicago.



Praised as “an authoritative artist” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) and “an elegant and energetic singer” (Seen and Heard International), baritone Jeffrey Strauss has performed with leading period music ensembles including Tafelmusik, the Consort of Musicke with Emma Kirkby and Anthony Rooley, the Taverner Consort under Andrew Parrott, The Handel & Haydn Society, Seattle Baroque, The Newberry Consort, and Tempesta di Mare, among many others. Trained at an early age in Jewish liturgical music by Cantor Daniel Gildar, he later studied voice and art song in London with Yvonne Rodd-Marling and Martin Penny, and in Paris with Gérard Souzay. He has been a regular soloist with Apollo’s Fire since 1995, and is especially known for his appearances in Handel’s Messiah, the Bach St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Sephardic Journey, O Jerusalem!, and music of Monteverdi including the 1610 Vespers, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, and the title role in L’Orfeo. A longstanding proponent of contemporary music, he has collaborated with Ralph Shapey and the Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago (Contempo), the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Pacifica Quartet, and Eighth Blackbird, and has premiered works by Babbitt, Bernstein, Axelrod, and Shapey. He has appeared twice with the Omaha Symphony, and performed the role of Mephistopheles in Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust. An accomplished stage actor, his 2014 performance as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Lancaster Opera House—reprising a role he first played at age 17—was hailed as “masterful” (Buffalo News).

conductor & harpsichordist

“Under the inspired leadership of Jeannette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire has become one of the pre-eminent period-instrument ensembles, causing one to hear baroque material anew.”

Jeannette Sorrell is recognized internationally as a leading creative voice among early-music conductors. She has been credited by the U.K.’s BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE for forging “a vibrant, life-affirming approach to the re-making of early music… a seductive vision of musical authenticity.” 

Hailed as “one of the world’s finest Baroque specialists” (ST. LOUIS DISPATCH), Sorrell was one of the youngest students ever accepted to the prestigious conducting courses of the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals. She studied conducting under Robert Spano, Roger Norrington and Leonard Bernstein, and harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam. She won both First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the 1991 Spivey International Harpsichord Competition, competing against over 70 harpsichordists from Europe, Israel, the U.S., and the Soviet Union.

Sorrell founded Apollo’s Fire in 1992. Since then, she and the ensemble have built one of the largest audiences of any baroque orchestra in North America. She has led AF in sold-out concerts at London’s BBC Proms and London’s Wigmore Hall, Madrid’s Royal Theatre (Teatro Real), the Grand Théâtre de l’Opéra in Bordeaux, the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), the Tanglewood Festival, Boston’s Early Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Library of Congress, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), among others.

As a guest conductor, Sorrell has worked with many of the leading American symphony orchestras. Her debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 2013 as conductor and soloist in the complete Brandenburg Concertos was met with standing ovations every night and hailed as “an especially joyous occasion” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW). She has also appeared as conductor or conductor/soloist with the New World Symphony (Miami), the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis with the St. Louis Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), the Omaha Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, and has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra as guest keyboard artist. In 2014 Ms. Sorrell filled in for British conductor Richard Egarr on 5 days’ notice, leading the complete Brandenburg Concertos and playing the harpsichord solo in Brandenburg No. 5 for the closing concert of the Houston Early Music Festival. In 2015 she returned to the Pittsburgh Symphony as conductor/soloist.

Sorrell and Apollo’s Fire have released 24 commercial CDs, of which six have been bestsellers on the BILLBOARD classical chart. Her recordings include the complete Brandenburg Concerti and harpsichord concerti of Bach (with Sorrell as harpsichord soloist and director), which was praised by the LONDON TIMES as “a swaggering version… brilliantly played by Sorrell.” She has also released four discs of Mozart and was hailed as “a near-perfect Mozartian” by FANFARE RECORD MAGAZINE. Other recordings include Handel’s Messiah, the Monteverdi Vespers and four creative crossover projects: Come to the River – An Early American Gathering; Sacrum Mysterium – A Celtic Christmas Vespers; Sugarloaf Mountain – An Appalachian Gathering, and most recently, Sephardic Journey – Wanderings of the Spanish Jews.

Sorrell has attracted national attention and awards for creative programming. She holds an honorary doctorate from Case Western University, two special awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for her work on early American music, and an award from the American Musicological Society. Passionate about guiding the next generation of performers, Ms. Sorrell has led many baroque projects for students at Oberlin Conservatory.


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