Ars Lyrica Houston has always embraced this inquisitive attitude, in programming that offers a broad mix of dramatic and chamber music from the "Golden Age" of the 17th and 18th centuries, when all music aspired toward the lyric ideal. That trajectory continues during 2017/18 with Artful Women, a season of six subscription programs that explore women's role as muse, heroine, composer, performer, and patron. Individual programs spotlight female musical pioneers, their particular modes of musical expression and patronage, and the enduring power of female icons from mythology and history.
For the best seats and prices, subscribe now and take advantage of early discounts on either a four or six concert subscription.
Ars Lyrica invites patrons aged 21–50 to a deeper connection with the lively Houston arts scene. Members of Ars Lyrica's Young Professionals Society enjoy these benefits:
* Discount (per subscription) is offered for New Year's Eve Dinner, Concert, and Gala tickets purchased separately or as a package
September 22 - 7:30pm
Opening night of Ars Lyrica Houston's 2017/18 season of Artful Women features exotic musical works inspired by Philomela, mythical princess of Athens, whose transformation into a nightingale has fascinated poets and musicians for centuries. Soprano Sherezade Panthaki returns to the Zilkha Hall stage for evocative arias from Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato and Johann Adolph Hasse's lyric cantata L'Armonica, while Dennis James makes his Ars Lyrica debut on the glass harmonica, an instrument whose ethereal sounds fascinated both Hasse and Mozart. The ensemble of strings and winds soars as well, with one of C. P. E. Bach's vibrant symphonies for twelve obbligato instruments.
November 12 - 7:30pm
At prominent Italian courts and in forward-looking cities like Venice, the decades around 1600 saw a remarkable flowering of female musical talent—virtuoso singers especially—who took advantage of new opportunities for professional musicians. Italian Sirens is devoted to these unique voices, as realized in the work of three remarkable early 17th-century composers: Isabella Leonarda, Francesca Caccini, and Barbara Strozzi. This musical tricolore spotlights a trio of exceptional Houston singers in the company of a colorful continuo band of violins, cello, Baroque harp, theorbo, and harpsichord.
New Year's in Berlin
December 31 - 9:00pm
Ars Lyrica's annual New Year's Eve celebration—which includes an elegant dinner, musical program, and festive gala—is always our most popular event of the year. For New Year's Eve 2017 we visit the Berlin salon of Sara Itzig Levy, whose home was a meeting place for literary and musical giants, including Bach's eldest sons and the young Felix Mendelssohn, Levy's grandnephew. This Levy-inspired program includes several works from her legendary collection, including a W. F. Bach flute concerto and a C. P. E. Bach double concerto for fortepiano and harpsichord—a work closely connected with our legendary hostess, who played one of the solo parts at its 1788 première.
Esther & Jonah
February 16 - 7:30pm
Produced in collaboration with Bach Society Houston as part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, this program comprises two concise music dramas from opposite ends of the 18th century: G. F. Handel's Esther (1718) and Samuel Felsted's Jonah (1775). With gorgeous arias and stirring choruses, Handel's first English-language oratorio celebrates an Old Testament heroine's ultimate victory over the forces of evil. Such works provided valuable models for Samuel Felsted, a composer born to an English family in Jamaica in the early 1740s. His concise setting of the story of Jonah and the whale is the first American oratorio.
Long Live the Queen
April 7 - 7:30pm
This regal program commemorates two beloved female patrons with J. S. Bach's rarely heard Trauerode, written for the 1717 funeral of Christiane Eberhardine of Saxony, and Handel's 1713 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne. Both works call for multiple soloists, chorus, and unusually expressive orchestral forces, including two violas da gamba and lutes in the Bach cantata and an echo trumpet at the beginning of Handel's ode. A stellar array of soloists and the award-winning UH Moores School Concert Chorale join the ensemble for some noble and hauntingly beautiful music.
A Day with Marie Antoinette
May 19 - 7:30pm
Ars Lyrica Houston's season finale conjures up an artful day chez France's most famous queen, from intimate morning music lessons to a spectacular evening concert. By turns rustic and elegant, this program offers a violin concerto by Marie-Antoinette's music teacher Joseph Bologne (the Chevalier de Saint-Georges), a Mozart flute quartet, a dance suite from Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice, and Haydn's "Paris" Symphony No. 85, subtitled "The Queen."