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Anchorage Symphony Orchestra Season Finale: Damnation of Faust


Somewhere between a symphony and a tone poem, Berlioz described Damnation of Faust as a “dramatic legend.”

PHOTO: Courtesy of ASO

Featuring Alaska Chamber Singers, Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Children’s Choir
Soloists – Marlene Bateman, Mark Thomsen, Stephen Powell, and Dr. David Miller

Anchorage, Alaska – April 1, 2013 – This season the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra has presented audiences with music that is full of life. It has been festive, epic, sentimental, familiar and exotic. The Season Finale will be no exception. On April 20, the ASO will perform their premiere of the grandest of finales, Berlioz’ Damnation of Faust (sung in English). When asked why this piece was chosen as the Season Finale, ASO Music Director, Randall Craig Fleischer replied, Each season, when designing our program, I aspire to take you on a variety of colorful, engaging, emotional journeys. The season finale is the culmination of that journey and as such is developed to leave you with your heart pounding, wanting more. This season's finale is guaranteed to do just that.”

Somewhere between a symphony and a tone poem, Berlioz described Damnation of Faust as a “dramatic legend.” For this larger than life work, the ASO will be joined by the Alaska Chamber Singers, Anchorage Concert Chorus, Alaska Children’s Choir and 4 soloists. The soloists include some familiar voices.

Local favorite, Marlene Bateman will be joining the ASO once again, this time performing the role of Marguerite. Many patrons may remember her spectacular performance with the ASO in Verdi’s Requiem in 2007. Bateman has been lauded by critics as "superb" and "stunning" in her more than 20 operatic roles and concert repertoire. She has been featured as a guest soloist with the Anchorage Concert Chorus, Anchorage Youth Symphony, Anchorage Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Fairbanks Symphony, the Austin Symphony, Anchorage Opera, Opera Fairbanks, Alaska Dance Theater, Anchorage Festival of Music, the Alaska Chamber Singers, and the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra.

The title role of Faust will be performed by tenor Mark Thomsen. Thomsen has twice won the Pavarotti Award at the Metropolitan Opera's National Council auditions and received the New York City Opera Debut Artist of the Year award. An accomplished and versatile singer, Thomsen enjoys a successful career in the United States and abroad including engagements with the Metropolitan Opera to cover the roles of Don Ottavio in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Nicias in Massenet's Thais, Rossini's L'Armida, and others.

Stephen Powell is taking on the devious role of Mephistopheles. Opera magazine has hailed him, writing "the big news was Stephen Powell's gorgeously-sung Onegin: rock solid, with creamy legato from top to bottom and dynamics smoothly tapered but never exaggerated." The Wall Street Journal lauded his "rich, lyric baritone, commanding presence, and thoughtful musicianship." Powell now performs frequently with his wife, soprano Barbara Shirvis, in 3 recital programs they created together: Hearts Afire, love songs through the ages; Bellissimo Broadway!; and An American Celebration. They also give Master Classes at universities across the country.

Juneau surgeon, Dr. David Miller will change his scrubs for a tux to perform the role of Brander. Over the past decade Dr. Miller has sung several operatic roles in Southeast Alaska, and once donned drag for the role of Edna in Hairspray.  He has been a principal soloist for the Juneau Lyric Opera for several years and recently debuted with Opera Fairbanks as Colline in La Bohème with plans to return this summer as Zuniga in Carmen.

These veteran performers join the ASO to bring to life this alliance of drama and symphony that leaves audiences in astonished admiration. Based on the iconic poem by Goethe, the Damnation of Faust tells the story of Faust who falls in love with the lovely Marguerite. After a tragic mistake Marguerite is sentenced to the gallows. Mephistopheles offers Faust a chance to save her, in exchange for his soul. Faust agrees, but is quickly horrified to realize he is being taken straight to hell before he is able to see Marguerite one last time.

Anchorage Symphony Season Finale -Saturday, April 20 - 8pm in the Atwood Concert Hall, Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Infrared headphones for the hearing impaired are available concert night from the House Manager on the orchestra level. To purchase tickets, visit the CenterTix Box Office at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts or www.centertix.net or call 263-ARTS (2787), toll free at 1-877-ARTS- TIX.


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