Berkshire Choral International to perform Mozart in Asheville accompanied by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra

Lusha Martin

Berkshire Choral International to perform Mozart in Asheville

In its 36th season, Berkshire Choral International comes to Asheville for the first time, accompanied by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra.

Sheffield, MA, April 13, 2017—Berkshire Choral International (BCI), a non-profit educational organization that provides amateur singers with professional-level choral immersion experiences, will soon be bringing a chorus to Asheville for the first time in its history.

One hundred and forty singers from across the U.S. and the world will arrive in Asheville in early June and spend a week at UNC Asheville rehearsing for their concert on June 10.  Conductor Erin Freeman will lead the chorus.  Hailed by the press as engaging, elegant, and entertaining, Freeman holds a joint position with the Richmond Symphony, where she serves as Director of the Richmond Symphony Chorus, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is Director of Choral Activities. In addition to her work in Richmond, Freeman just completed her first season as Artistic Director of Wintergreen Performing Arts.

Freeman has been a frequent guest conductor with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and served as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. She has also Guest Conducted the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Savannah Symphony, the Richmond Ballet, and other ensembles in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, and Illinois. In summer 2015, she made her debut with Berkshire Choral International.

The chorus will be performing Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor and Mozart opera choruses. The Mass in C minor, written in 1783, might have been inspired by Mozart’s meeting the year before with Baron Gottfried van Swieten, who was an aficionado of Baroque music. Mozart became interested and decided to incorporate fugues in the style of Bach and Handel into the mass. He apparently lost his zeal, though, and along with many other works of the time, he left it unfinished.

The opera choruses are from Idomeneo, which was commissioned and premiered in Munich in 1781. Based on Greek tragedy, and reminiscent of Handel’s oratorio Jephtha, it tells the tale of King Idomeneo of Crete, his son Idamante, and the two women in love with Idamante. Struggling back to Crete after the Trojan War, King Idomeneo vows to Neptune to sacrifice the first person he sees if he is delivered from a shipwreck. The first person he sees is Idamante. The choruses from Act II that will be sung, Godiam La Pace, Placido e il mar, and Corriamo fuggiamo fuel mostro spietato, celebrate Idamante’s release of the Trojan prisoners and the quiet sea before turning to terror at Neptune’s fury that Idomeneo has not yet fulfilled his vow.

The BCI chorus will be accompanied by the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and the performance will be at First Baptist Church of Asheville.  The open-seating concert begins at 7:30pm on Saturday June 10.

Berkshire Choral International

Berkshire Choral International (BCI) was founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit educational institution with a unique purpose: to provide amateur singers with professional-level choral immersion experiences. During weeklong singing experiences at culturally rich US and international locations, knowledgeable amateurs study, rehearse, and perform masterpieces of the choral repertoire under the direction of world-class conductors, with professional symphony orchestras.