Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mezzo to Make Bach Week Debut

Mezzo-soprano Nina Heebink's wide-ranging credits include solo roles with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in works by Delibes and Vaughan Williams and with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Vivaldi's "Gloria."

“The stage brightens a bit every time she walks onto it,” said the St. Paul Pioneer-Press of her North Star Opera debut in Oscar Straus’s "The Chocolate Soldier. "

She sings in the choruses of Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Grant Park Music Festival.

Winner of the 2005 American Opera Society of Chicago Scholarship Competition, Heebink will be making her Bach Week Festival debut April 30 as a soloist in the Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243.

She says Bach sometimes springs surprises:
"I am a very good sight reader, but Bach is the only composer that stumps me when trying to learn a vocal line for the first time.

"You never know which way he will turn! But it's always a direction that leads to harmonic colors you could not anticipate and sound even more beautiful than one could imagine.

"I've actually never performed the Bach Magnificat, although I have had the alto aria 'Esurientes implevit bonis' in my vocal chords for a long time now. And the 'Et misericordia' duet between the alto and tenor is so haunting and beautiful -- it will be a treat to sing that with Bill Watson and to share the stage with soprano Amy Conn and baritone Douglas Anderson.

"I'm so glad that, even in the 21st century, there are organizations that pay homage to such an influential composer. Practically every composer who has come after Bach has referred back to him because of his genius at counterpoint and the way he expressed emotions through his music.

"It will be a privilege to work with music director Richard Webster, who has garnered rave reviews from my colleagues who have worked with him. And I've heard he runs the Chicago Marathon every year dressed like Bach, and I SO appreciate conductors with a sense of humor. That kind of spirit can really heighten the rehearsal process and make the performances an absolute treat.

"I'm very excited to be making my debut with Bach Week this year."

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