Valletta International Baroque Festival
San Giovanni Battista
by Alessandro Stradella
Stradella’s 1675 oratorio tells the familiar story of the irreverent murder of Saint John the Baptist at the incestuous court of King Herod. Herod's stepdaughter Salome demands the saint's head in return for her seductive dance. Hear the sublime musical utterances of St. John the Baptist, Salome’s vitriolic virtuosity, and a full string orchestra with concertino soloists. Don’t miss this fiercely compact oratorio (75 minutes in length) by one of the 17th-century’s most compelling Italian composers performed at the Valletta International Baroque Festival in Malta.
Reginald Mobley, countertenor, as San Giovanni
Sarah Gartshore, soprano, as Erodiade la figlia
Benjamin LeClair, bass, as Erode
Rosalind Lee, soprano, as Erodiade la madre
Lawrence Jones, tenor, as Consigliere
Craig Trompeter, Music Director
For tickets visit: Valletta International Baroque Festival
Countertenor Reginald Mobley has been hailed for his “crystalline diction and pure, evenly produced tone” (Miami Herald), as well as “elaborate and inventive ornamentation” (South Florida Classical Review). His natural and preferred habitat as soloist is within the works of Bach, Charpentier, Handel, and Purcell. He recently made his debut as alto soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Monteverdi Choir under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Not to be undone by a strict diet of cantatas, odes, and oratorios, Reggie finds himself equally comfortable in rep of later periods and genres. Such works as Haydn’s Theresienmesse, Mozart’s Requiem, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. He has also performed the title role of “Paris” in the Florida premiere of John Eccles’ Judgment of Paris, under the direction of Anthony Rooley and Evelyn Tubb. A longtime member of the twice Grammy® nominated Miami based professional vocal ensemble, Seraphic Fire, Reggie has also performed with the Dartmouth Handel Society, Apollo’s Fire, Vox Early Music, Portland Baroque Orchestra, North Carolina Baroque Ensemble, Ensemble VIII, San Antonio Symphony, Early Music Vancouver and Symphony Nova Scotia under direction of Alexander Weimann, and the Oregon Bach Festival. Reggie studied voice at the University of Florida with Jean Ronald LaFond, and Florida State University with Roy Delp.
Canadian Soprano Sarah Gartshore is much in demand on both the concert and operatic stages. As a Santa Fe apprentice artist she performed the role of First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and covered the roles of Fiordiligi (Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte) and Thalie/ La Folie (Rameau’s Platée). Concert appearances have included the symphonies of Muncie (IN), Jacksonville (FL), Richmond (VA), Elgin (IL), Southwest Michigan and La Porte (IN), as well as Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, Chicago’s Apollo Chorus, the Northwest Choral Society and the Tower Chorale. She performs regularly with the Handel Week Festival of Chicago where she has sung the roles of Galatea (Acis and Galatea), Esther (Esther) and Fulvia (Ezio) as well as numerous cantatas and oratorios. Recent career highlights include Donna Elvira (Mozart’s Don Giovanni) with the Soo Opera Theatre, Brahms’s Requiem with the Southwest Michigan Symphony, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum with Jane Glover and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, and Holiday Pops with the Elgin and La Porte Symphonies.
Tenor Lawrence Jones has sung roles with companies such as New York City Opera, Opera Saratoga, Amarillo Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. He has received praise for his portrayals of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Princeton and Aldeburgh Festivals. The New York Times wrote, “Tenor Lawrence Jones brought a light, sweet voice and lyricism to Tom”, while Opera News praised him for his “clean, ringing tenor”. On the concert stage, Mr. Jones has sung as a soloist with the Utah Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Boston Pops, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Bach Society of St. Louis, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Boston Baroque. His recent performances have included Messiah at Carnegie Hall with Musica Sacra, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the St. Thomas Choir and Concert Royal, and the role of the Evangelist in the St. John Passion with the Cathedral Choirs & Orchestra of St. John the Divine.
Rosalind Lee has been described as "a beautiful soprano with a glowing voice." She has appeared as the soprano soloist in Bach’s Magnificat, Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Haydn’s Paukenmesse and Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Schubert’s Mass in G, Mollicone’s Beatitude Mass, and Vivaldi's Gloria. She has appeared as a soloist with groups such as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Bach Week Festival, Chorus Angelorum, Elgin Choral Union, Handel Week Festival, North Shore Choral Society, Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in their Kraft Family Concert series. Ms. Lee has also covered soprano solos in Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Orff's Carmina Burana, and Verdi's Requiem for the CSO. On the opera stage, she has appeared at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glimmerglass Festival, Bloomington Early Music Festival, Music by the Lake, and Light Opera Works, among others.
Benjamin LeClair, bass, has given over 150 performances as lead bass soloist at the Oldenburg State Theater, appearing as King Mark in Tristan und Isolde, Laurence in Berlioz’s Romeo et Juliette, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, and roles in La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, Così fan tutte, and Eugene Onegin. LeClair's first professional engagement came the age of 23 when he was invited to the Pine Mountain Music Festival. He sang the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro at Opera in the Heights in Houston, returning to perform with the company as the Four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann where his performance was described as “an unmitigated triumph”. He was accepted into the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco two times, singing in productions of Così fan tutte and Albert Herring. He gave a performance described as “masterful” and “phenomenal” when he helped launch the Haymarket Opera Company, singing the role of the cyclops Polifemo in Handel’s Acis, Galatea and Polifemo. He has also sung with the Santa Fe Opera, Reis National Opera in Holland, Austin Lyric Opera, Birmingham Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Florentine Opera, St. Petersburg Opera and symphony orchestras in Knoxville, Indianapolis, and Bangor, Maine among others.