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December 2014
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Ryan Opera Center’s Holiday Program

J'nai Bridges

J'nai Bridges

Monday at 6:00 pm

(repeated Sunday at 11:00 pm)


The Ryan Opera Center Ensemble

Members of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center take WFMT listeners on an unusual journey through seasonal music on Monday evening. The recital offers holiday fare by the ever-popular John Rutter, but includes pieces you’re not likely to hear in shopping malls or telecasts or community concerts.

Benjamin Britten wrote a cycle of eight songs called Winter Words on a set of poems by Thomas Hardy in 1953. Ryan tenor Jonathan Johnson sings three of the songs.

Lyric Opera Orchestra violist Frank Babbitt joins J’nai Bridges and Craig Terry for an unusual trio of viola, voice, and piano by Brahms. Brahms wrote the two songs for his old violinist friend Joseph Joachim and Joachim’s wife, mezzo-soprano Amalie Schneeweiss. When the couple began to quarrel, Brahms offered the songs, hoping they would perform them together and reconcile; alas, they didn’t. The resulting Wiegenlied, however, is a sweet and tender cradle song for the newborn Christ child.

The program also includes works by Reger, Mozart, and Handel, as well as Gounod’s Ave Maria, composed over Bach’s C Major Prelude (see music below).

Hear the Ryan Opera Center’s Music for the Holidays program, Monday at 6:00 pm on WFMT.


Tracy Cantin and Craig Terry

Rutter: What Sweeter Music

Mozart: Vesperae solennes de confessore, Laudate Dominum
Tracy Cantin, soprano
Craig Terry, piano

Brahms: Two Songs for Alto, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91
Gestillte Sehnsucht (Stilled Longing)
Geistliches Wiegenlied (Sacred Lullaby)
J’nai Bridges
Frank Babbitt, viola
Craig Terry, piano


The first nine bars of Gounod’s “Ave Maria:” the piano part is by J.S. Bach (the C Major Prelude from Book 1 of the Well-Tempered Clavier). Gounod wrote the vocal line above Bach’s keyboard piece.

Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
Jesse Donner, tenor
Craig Terry, piano

Max Reger: Maria Wiegenlied
Laura Wilde, soprano
J’nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Craig Terry, piano

Britten: Winter Words
“At Day-Close in November”
“The Choirmaster’s Burial”
“Before Life and After”
Jonathan Johnson, tenor
Craig Terry, piano

Handel: Messiah
“Thus Saeth the Lord”
“But Who May Abide”
Bradley Smoak, bass

Handel: Messiah
“Comfort Ye”
“Every Valley”
John Irvin, tenor
Craig Terry, piano

Handel: Messiah
“Hallelujah” chorus
Ryan Opera Center ensemble
Laurann Gilley, piano

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