ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Singers, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will open its 35th concert season with a three-day Mozart Festival Weekend from Aug. 24 to 26, joined by the Metropolis Chamber Orchestra and soprano Michelle Areyzaga as guest soloist.
Each festival day will feature a different concert of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, including two new installments of the choir’s Mozart Journey, its multiyear excursion through Mozart’s complete religious choral music, a news release stated.
All three, ticketed concerts will take place at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles. In addition, free festival events are planned Aug. 25.
The Mozart Journey XIII concert, set for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24, will include Mozart’s Missa in C Major, K. 262, with its large complement of woodwind and brass instruments; “Grabmusik,” K. 42, in which an Angel (soprano) and human soul (bass) sing solos and duets; and sacramental motet “Tantum ergo” in B-flat Major, K. 142. Areyzaga will sing in “Grabmusik” and “Tantum ergo.”
The Metropolis Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Hunt, will take center stage at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25, for an all-instrumental concert of Mozart’s orchestral music. The program will include the overture to Mozart’s unfinished opera, “Lo sposo deluso” (“The Deluded Bridegroom”), K. 430; the humorous Serenade in D Major, K. 320 (“Post Horn”); and Symphony in C Major, No. 41, K. 551 (“Jupiter”), Mozart’s final symphony.
The weekend’s finale will be the Mozart Journey XIV concert at 4 p.m. Aug. 26. The program will include the Missa in C Minor, K. 427, a cantata-style Baroque Mass inspired by the music of J.S. Bach; the Kyrie in D Minor, K. 341, whose unusual orchestration includes four horns; and arias for soprano and tenor soloists from the oratorio “Davidde penitente,” K. 469. Areyzaga will be heard in the Mass and the soprano aria from “Davidde penitent.”
The New York Times has hailed Areyzaga as “an appealing, expressive” singer. The American soprano has performed as soloist with the New York City Opera, New York’s Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and other organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad.
A former chorister with the St. Charles Singers, Areyzaga earned a spot in the choir while a high school senior, becoming the ensemble’s youngest-ever member.
“Her voice was remarkable,” Hunt stated in the release. “A natural gift.”
Jonathan Saylor, a music professor at Wheaton College, will present a 30-minute preconcert lecture one hour before each performance.
The St. Charles Singers will present free Mozart-related events Aug. 25.
Meredith Taylor Du Bon, a certified yoga instructor and soprano with the professional chamber choir, will lead a “Yoga to Mozart” session at 9 a.m. at Baker Community Center, 101 S. Second St., St Charles. Participants will practice yoga to a soundtrack of Mozart recordings.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. will be an open rehearsal of a Mozart Journey concert with the St. Charles Singers and Metropolis Chamber Orchestra at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church.
Pianist Robert Vander Schaaf and flutist Trish MacLachlan will give a recital of music by Mozart and other composers at 2 p.m. at Baker Community Center.
Members of the St. Charles Singers will perform solos and duets from Mozart operas at a 4 p.m. recital at Baker Community Center.
Single tickets to each of the three main weekend concerts cost $35 for adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students. A Wolfgang Pack festival subscription includes admission to all three concerts for $75.
For tickets and information about the St. Charles Singers, visit stcharlessingers.com or call 630-513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles; only checks or cash are accepted at this ticket venue. Tickets also may be purchased at the events, depending on availability.