We return to Live Performance After 20 Months of COVID-Imposed Silence
The season will begin with J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on Sunday, December 19th, to be followed by performances of James Whitbourn’s Annelies on Sunday, March 6, 2022 and Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem on Sunday, May 1st, 2022.
“The three masterworks featured in the 2021–2022 season offer an eloquent riposte to the many months of imposed musical silence,” says Jean-Sébastien Vallée, OCS’s Artistic Director. “They form a creative arc expressing, in succession, hope and renewal; endurance and self-realization; and reverence and remembrance. Through these concerts, we will be celebrating the return of live music and its vital role in our lives.”
The more than 100-strong choral ensemble of the OCS has been maintaining its musicianship and morale throughout the pandemic with a series of on-line rehearsals, workshops and lectures dubbed OCS@Home, but the singers are eager to gather together again for the rehearsal and presentation of live performances.
Bach’s majestic oratorio, capturing the joy and solemnity of the year-end holidays, will be a fitting opening to a season free at last of the most onerous public health restrictions. The oratorio will feature soloists Stéphanie Manias (soprano), Daniel Cabena (counter-tenor), Asitha Tennekoon (tenor and evangelist) and Clayton Kennedy (bass) backed by the Ottawa Music Company orchestra.
The OCS had been preparing Annelies, a musical evocation of the diary of Anne Frank, when live concerts were prohibited in early 2020. Aline Kutan will be the soprano soloist for Annelies supported by a quartet of Kimball Sykes, clarinet; Marjolaine Lambert, violin; Timothy McCoy, cello; and Andrew Tunis, piano.
Brahms has described Ein Deutsches Requiem as a “human” requiem. It eschews religious judgement and instead offers consolation and solace in our time for the many lives lost to Covid-19. The work is one of the greatest masterpieces in the choral and orchestral repertoire. Suzanne Taffot (soprano) and Brett Polegato (baritone) will take on the solo roles in Requiem supported by the OCS and the Ottawa Music Company.
Jean-Sébastien Vallée, in his final season as OCS’ Artistic Director, will conduct the Christmas Oratorio and Requiem. Vallée has led the OCS with distinction since 2016. His musical vision has propelled the choir to higher standards and superior performances. During his tenure he revitalized the ensemble’s association with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and led an extraordinarily successful tour through the Baltic countries, a region renowned for superb choral music. Andrew Hon, OCS’ new Associate Artistic Director, who has a depth of musical experience leading choirs and orchestras in Hong Kong, the United States and Canada, will conduct Annelies.
All performances will take place at St. François d’Assise Church, 20 Fairmount Avenue. The OCS will comply with Ottawa public health guidelines in force at the time while striving to ensure audience members have the most enjoyable experience possible.