Ars Lyrica's 2016/17 season of Fables & Follies celebrates these two fundamental aims of music with six programs that juxtapose potent stories with spontaneous fun. The season opens on September 9 with a work that is both fable and folly: Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Les Plaisirs de Versailles, in which Music herself tries to prove her superiority to mere Conversation, with hilarious results. A much darker tale animates Handel's Jephtha, which will be given its Houston première on October 15 & 16. This composer's final oratorio, Jephtha brings its Biblical characters to life with great power and poignancy. Bachanalia on New Year's Eve 2016 features seldom-heard seasonal works from the great Leipzig cantor plus a folly-filled holiday gala.
Spring offerings include a February 12 program of virtuosic Baroque showstoppers, an April 2 evening of musical apparitions from J. C. F. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven; and a May 21 season finale featuring music inspired by Miguel de Cervantes' beloved Don Quixote.
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
Les Plaisirs de Versailles
September 9 - 7:30pm
Ars Lyrica's 2016/17 season opens with a trip to Versailles, where French kings and their courtiers cultivated pleasures of all kinds, including musical follies. Marc-Antoine Charpentier's witty chamber opera pairs nicely with motets, drinking songs, and chamber works by François Couperin & Jean-Philippe Rameau, for a sumptuous and quintessentially French musical feast. Unusually for its era, Les Plaisirs de Versailles is a comedy—and an ode to both wine and chocolate!
October 15 - 7:30pm
October 16 - 2:30pm
Handel's final masterpiece sets an Old Testament tale about a warrior's foolish promise to God and its terrible consequences. The austere subject matter (from the Book of Judges) becomes pure gold in Handel's hands; his oratorio is full of beautiful melodies, searing choruses, even a surprise ending. These performances feature a stellar cast of soloists and the award-winning Moores School Concert Chorale from the University of Houston.
December 31 - 9:00pm
A festive program rings in the New Year with cantatas J. S. Bach wrote specifically for this holiday plus other celebratory works. This special evening at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts begins with a decadent pre-concert dinner and continues at 9:00 pm in Zilkha Hall with Bachanalia. Ars Lyrica's annual gala and silent auction follows; it's a holiday tradition for our Houston patrons!
February 12 - 6:00pm
Fast passagework? High notes? No problem for the greatest virtuosos of the early 18th century, whose talents inspired some of the most spectacular music of the late Baroque. J. S. Bach's Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, one of the great showpieces of the soprano and trumpet repertoire, headlines a program that also includes showstoppers by Vivaldi and Scarlatti.
April 2 - 6:00pm
Interest in the uncanny brought about all manner of oddities during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, from wax museums to gothic fiction. In chamber works from this era, musical depictions of the supernatural took on a life of their own outside the opera house. Shorn of traditional theatrical trappings, the purely aural spectres of J. C. F. Bach and Beethoven make powerful impressions, indeed.
Don Quixote's Excellent Adventures
May 21 - 6:00pm
One of history's greatest literary figures, Don Quixote has inspired many musical works over the years, from Renaissance songs to a Broadway musical. Ars Lyrica's 2016/17 season finale features core string players and singers in a pan-European survey of Baroque music devoted to this Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha.