A northern light will shine through the performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, May 25.
York University music Professor Lisette Canton will conduct the New England Symphonic Ensemble; vocal soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano, and Rob McGinness, baritone; and a choir, more than 165 voices, including The York University Singers, the Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Coro Vivo Ottawa, and the Grand Choeur du Conservatoire de Musique de Gatineau.
“We recently performed in the Église de la Madeleine in Paris, where Fauré was organist and choirmaster, and where he composed the Requiem, so this appearance will be that much more special and personal for the singers,” said Canton. “For many, it will be their first time ever performing in Carnegie Hall, and, with their own conductor leading them in that magnificent venue, it will make for an unforgettable experience.”
For music alumna Kayla Ruiz, Carnegie Hall is the latest addition to an exciting list of places she has visited while performing under Canton’s baton. Ruiz sang in the York University Concert or Chamber Choirs every year of her undergraduate degree. In 2015, she went with the Chamber Choir on a European tour and visited Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. Canton also invited her to sing with the Ottawa Bach Choir (OBC) and she went with the choir on a tour of China.
“Carnegie Hall is one of the top places you want to sing at as a performer, it is a dream come true for me,” Ruiz said. “I’m so grateful to be asked to be a part of the concert and tour.”
Ruiz is currently pursuing her masters in historical performance for voice at the University of Toronto. She has had an excellent year, including singing in the chorus for Opera Atelier’s critically acclaimed performance of Idomeneo and performing as a soloist on the OBC’s recent CD release Handel, Bach & Schütz. This summer she’ll also be singing in a two-week Barque Summer Institute and festival with Tafelmusik. She credits Canton and her time at York University as both provided vital preparation and a foundation for her success.
The Fauré Requiem differs from settings by such composers as Mozart, Berlioz and Verdi, whose visions of death involved powerful, dramatic evocations of purgatory and damnation. To Fauré, death was a joyful deliverance to eternal rest: the soul at peace, in the eternal light of a forgiving God. While slow to catch on in the decades after its premiere, Fauré’s Requiem is now appreciated for its tranquility, clarity and delicacy, with arching melodies and exquisitely supple harmonies.
The four Canadian groups will be joined by the Whippany Park High School Choir, Whippany Park, NJ; the Sparta High School Honors Choir, Sparta, NJ; and the Lakeland Chorale and Chamber Singers of Wanaque, NJ.
The performance, part of MidAmerica Productions’ 36th concert season, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets can be obtained by calling 1-212-247-7800 or online through the Carnegie Hall Box Office at www.carnegiehall.org.
More about Lisette Canton
Canton is a choral and orchestral conductor, vocal coach, guest conductor, adjudicator and early music specialist. She is the Founder/Artistic Director of the internationally acclaimed Ottawa Bach Choir, and Associate Professor/Head of Choral Music at York University in Toronto, where she conducts three ensembles and directs the graduate program in choral music. Canton has been a guest conductor at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and taken the Ottawa Bach Choir on four European tours.
As a group, The York University Singers is the highest calibre choral ensemble at York University along with professional singers from the Ottawa Bach Choir, under the direction of Canton. The ensemble presents a varied repertoire, including a cappella works from all musical periods, as well as major choral works with orchestra. The choir has performed several concerts in Canada, as well as the U.S., Europe and China, to local and international acclaim.