Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Barihunk trio in Lakes Area Music Festival's La bohème

Andrew Lovato, John Taylor Ward and Nicholas Nelson
The Lakes Area Music Festival in Minnesota is featuring a barihunk trio in this summer's performances of Puccini's La bohème. The Festival features many of the most promising young musicians from America’s top conservatories who perform alongside members of the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in projects ranging from chamber music to orchestral repertoire and fully produced operas.

La bohème will feature Andrew Lovato as Schaunard, John Taylor Ward as Marcello and Nicholas Nelson as Colline. Lovato and Nelson have been featured numerous times on the site, including a recent post about Lovato making his Cincinnati Opera debut in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star as Harry Engel.

Lovato is no stranger to Minnesota audiences, having been a member of the Minnesota Opera’s Resident Artist Program and competing in the Upper Midwest Regional competition of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He made his Minnesota Opera debut as the role of Sonora in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West and performed the role of Young Raymond in the world premier of The Manchurian Candidate by Kevin Puts as well as the role of El Dancairo in Bizet's Carmen. He will be returning to Minnesota Opera to perform the role of Harlequin in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos as well as Sciarrone in Puccini's  Tosca.

Nicholas Nelson recently performed Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute in a co-production between the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Opera in the Rock. Last season he also appeared as Larkens in La Fanciulla del West with Minnesota Opera. From 2010-13, Nelson was a Resident Artist at Portland Opera. Roles in Portland include the Mandarin in Turandot, Inigo Gomez in Ravel's L'heure Espagnole, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Angelotti in Tosca and Pistola in Verdi's Falstaff. He also appeared in Portland as The Pope/ Cardinal Barberini in Philip Glass' Galileo Galilei. This production was the basis for the world premiere recording of the opera. Nelson also performs as a guitarist, thereminist, and actor in spoken theater.

John Taylor Ward performs Monteverd's: Ab aeterno ordinata sum with Voices of Music:

John Taylor Ward, who is new to this site, was born into a musical family in Boone, North Carolina that featured bluegrass and Broadway tunes. He is also the associate artistic director of the Lakes Area Music Festival.

Ward appeared as a boy soprano soloist at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Durham Cathedral in the United Kingdom and Claire and King’s Colleges in Cambridge. He received his Bachelor's Degree from the Eastman School of Music in and went on to pursue his graduate studies at the Yale School of Music, where he is currently a doctoral student.

Ward has recorded popular songs written in, around, and about Connecticut in the years 1880-1915. Taylor is a notable interpreter of the roles of Jesus in Bach’s Passions, having performed them across Europe and America with maestro Suzuki, Juilliard 415, and the Yale Schola Cantorum. His Carnegie Hall debut, singing Schütz’s Fili mi Absalon, was listed among Superconductor’s best concerts of 2012, and, in the realm of vocal chamber music, he has made numerous appearances with the eight-voice ensemble Roomful of Teeth, whose debut album recently topped many 2013 album-of-the-year lists, including WNYC’s Soundcheck. As a founding member of the New Haven-based Cantata Profana, Taylor recently performed Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ 8 Songs for a Mad King.

Performances of La bohème will be on August 8 and 9 at the Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd, Minnesota and are free to the public.

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