Handel's Messiah

Lisa Jablow, Conductor
Vermont Philharmonic Chorus

November 30, 2018, Friday, 7:30 pm
St. Augustine Church, 16 Barre Street, Montpelier

December 2, 2018, Sunday, 2:00 pm
Barre Opera House


Tickets: $20 / $15 Seniors / $5 Student

Sarah Cullins, Soprano

Wendy Hoffman, Mezzo Soprano

Erik Kroncke, Bass

Soprano Sarah Cullins returned to her native Vermont after enjoying a 10-year musical adventure in Bogotá, Colombia. The winner of the Colombian National Voice Competition in 2003, Sarah subsequently built an exciting career coast to coast, performing with all of the country’s prominent orchestras and opera companies in theaters and festivals nation-wide. In 2006 she was invited to create and lead a new voice and opera program at the Universidad Central in Bogotá, which over the last decade has guided the transformation of operatic development in Colombia.

Since her return to the Green Mountains in 2013, Sarah has been a featured soloist with a plethora of Vermont’s major vocal and instrumental groups, including the Opera Company of Middlebury (with whom she has sung 5 roles), the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Oriana Singers, the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Burlington Choral Society, Vermont Virtuosi and the Burlington Chamber Orchestra, and last year made her debut with Albany Pro Musica. Praised for the intimate connection she creates with her audience, Sarah loves bringing music of all styles and time-periods to life. She and her husband, Colombian guitarist Daniel Gaviria, frequently perform as the duo 8 Cuerdas, dedicated to the celebration and promotion of Latin American and Spanish song. Already a favorite of Vermont audiences, the duo has presented their unique mix of classical compositions infused with traditional folk elements at First Night Burlington, the Spruce Peak Center for Performing Arts, Stowe Performing Arts, Cathedral Arts at St. Paul’s, the Brick Church Music Series of Williston, and Pentangle Arts, and in the 2018/2019 will concertize in North Carolina and New Hampshire.

A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and Tufts University, Sarah also studied at Mannes College of Music.. She enjoys training singers of all ages and maintains an active private studio in South Burlington. www.sarahcullins.com

A Vermont native, mezzo-soprano Wendy Hoffman's career has spanned the range of concert, oratorio, and opera. After receiving both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in vocal performance, Wendy performed nationally with several opera companies, including the Atlanta Opera and the Southeastern Savoyards. Regionally, Wendy has been heard as a soloist with many Vermont-based organizations including the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Vermont Mozart Festival, Opera Company of Middlebury, The Green Mountain Mahler Festival, The Vermont Youth Orchestra, The Oriana Singers, and Vermont Virtuosi. She has premiered the work of several living composers, including Vermont's own Erik Nielsen. Wendy practices law in Burlington and spends the rest of her time snowboarding, sailing with her husband, and traveling west to visit their three children.

Erik Kroncke has been described as “engaging... a bass of astounding depth and warm timbre... an important voice and artist...” Erik has been in demand as Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra, Philip II in Don Carlo, Enrico VIII in Anna Bolena, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Ramphis in Aida, and Mephistopheles in Faust. He has appeared with Opera Colorado, Sarasota Opera, Opera San José, Chautauqua Opera, New Jersey Verismo Opera, Green Mountain Opera, and Austin Lyric Opera, among others. He was an award winner of the Gerda Lissner Wagner competition in 2010, the American Wagner and St. Bonaventura award winner from the Liederkranz competition in 2008, and a winner of the 2002 and 2003 Friedrich Schorr Vocal Competition. His symphonic and oratorio performances have included engagements with the National Choral, Sarasota Opera Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Korean Philharmonic, and the American Classical Orchestra, as well as appearances in “The Three Basses” concerts. Recently, Erik sang the bass solo in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center, and the role of Tackleton in the North American premier of Zandonai’s Il Grillo del Focolare with Teatro Grattacielo. He also opened the 27th season of the Capriccio concert series in recital with pianist Mary Jane Austin as well as sang the role of the King in Aidawith Opera Theater of the Rockies and Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Opera St. Petersburg. He will be premiering Michael Close’s Songs about Animals with the Longmont Symphony. He has performed in opera concerts in Oderzo and Feltre, Italy every summer since 2011. erikkroncke.com.