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May Festival Concludes with Bach Masterpiece

The second and final weekend of the annual Cincinnati May Festival will take place Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 at the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati. The choral festival, the oldest of its kind on the continent, will incorporate choral masterpieces performed by the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) alongside world-renowned guest conductors and soloists, as well as an immersive new concert experience dubbed “The Dream Project” curated by 2017 May Festival Creative Partner Gerard McBurney.

The Dream of Gerontius - Friday, May 26, 2017The second “Dream Project” performance curated by Mr. McBurney will feature Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, a work that has not been performed at the May Festival since 1981. The first Dream Project performance took place Saturday, May 20, and was called by the Cincinnati Enquirer, “a multimedia experiment that worked. It complemented – rather than competed with -- Mendelssohn’s brilliant score.” Regarded by many as Elgar’s masterpiece, the two-part oratorio draws on text from a poem by John Henry Newman. Elgar himself introduced this masterpiece to Cincinnati audiences at the 1906 May Festival. Leading the May Festival Chorus and CSO in this performance will be Michael Francis, Music Director of The Florida Orchestra and the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, as well as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden). Mr. Francis most recently conducted the CSO in 2015.

Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey return after glowing 2016 May Festival performances, while bass-baritone Matthew Brook (“who turns anything he sings to gold” according to The Guardian) makes his debut.

Finale – Saturday, May 27, 2017The 2017 May Festival concludes with Bach’s beloved B Minor Mass. As one of the composer’s final works, it is widely regarded as one of the finest works of music ever created. The Baroque setting is particularly suited to the more intimate setting of the Taft Theatre. Conducting the May Festival Chorus and CSO in this work will be Harry Bicket. As Artistic Director of The English Concert and Chief Conductor of The Santa Fe Opera, Mr. Bicket is considered a leading expert of baroque and classical music.

Joining Mr. Bicket, the CSO and the Chorus will be five renowned vocal soloists. Soprano Andriana Chuchman will make her May Festival debut, along with mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle, whose “warmly expressive” voice has been praised by Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, and who recently recorded Bach’s B Minor Mass. Also making his debut is widely-recorded and sought out countertenor Daniel Taylor. Tenor Thomas Cooley and bass-baritone Matthew Brook also return for this performance.

Tickets for the 2017 May Festival are on sale now and start at $12. Subscribers receive discounts and other benefits including free guaranteed parking compliments of Western & Southern Financial Group. For both tickets, visit mayfestival.com or call the Box Office at (513) 381-3300.