The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston continues its 10th anniversary Discoveries season with Venetian Carnival on New Year’s Eve 2013. This event begins at 9 pm on December 31 with a festive musical program in the Hobby Center’s Zilkha Hall; a gala reception follows immediately at 10:30 pm in the Hobby Center’s Sarofim Hall Grand Lobby.
In celebration of Venice and its carnival tradition, Ars Lyrica rings in the New Year with exotic music from the City of Masks. Sopranos Melissa Givens and Blair Doerge plus Baroque flautist Colin St Martin and guitarist Richard Savino share the stage with the Ars Lyrica ensemble, led by artistic director Matthew Dirst from the harpsichord. Venetian Carnival spotlights the music of the Most Serene Republic’s finest composers, including Monteverdi and Vivaldi, in vocal duets, chamber concertos and opera excerpts. As always, Ars Lyrica’s annual holiday gala features flowing champagne plus tasty hors d’oeuvres and sweets, as well as a silent auction for beautiful baubles, luxury services, vacation homes and more. Because of this year’s Venetian theme, masks are encouraged! Bidding is closed at the stroke of midnight, as the sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” fill the Grand Lobby.
“Where else in Houston can one find amazing music, a wonderful party and some serious swag all at the same venue on New Year’s Eve?” Dirst asks. “Artista Restaurant at the Hobby Center is even open for dinner before the concert, so you park once and spend the entire evening with us!”
Tickets for the performance only are $22 for students (with valid ID) and $35, $45 or $55 per person for the general public. A separate ticket for the Annual Gala is $75 per person. To experience the entire magical New Year’s Eve, tickets to both the performance and the gala must be purchased. The full evening event starts at $97 per person. Tickets for the concert and Gala may be purchased on the Ars Lyrica Houston website at http://www.arslyricahouston.org or by calling the Hobby Center Box Office at 713-315-2525. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.arslyricahouston.org or call the Hobby Center box office at 713.315.2525.
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston is a Texas-based ensemble that performs world-class Baroque music on period instruments. Ars Lyrica’s world premiere recording of J.A. Hasse’s Marc Antonio e Cleopatra brought the ensemble its first Grammy nomination for “a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality” (Early Music America). Ars Lyrica’s distinctive programming, drawn from the rich chamber and dramatic repertories of the 17th and 18th centuries, “sets the agenda for imaginative period instrument programming in Houston,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
The ensemble’s first commercial release, on Naxos International, features the world première recordings of Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Concettione della Beata Vergine and Euridice dall’Inferno. This disc brought international recognition to the ensemble: Gramophone, the leading journal of the classical recording industry, praised this CD for its “exemplary skill and taste,” and Ars Lyrica’s musicians for their “impassioned performance” of never-before recorded works. Ars Lyrica’s latest Sono Luminus recording of Domenico Scarlatti’s comic intermezzo La Dirindina and his chamber cantata Pur nel sonno was released in August 2012. For more information visit www.arslyricahouston.org.
Photo by Anthony Rathbun