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The Four Tenors

Dan Hutchings, Chris LeCluyse, Paul Elliott & Mirko Guadagnini

The parts designated ‘Alto’ or ‘Septimus’ in Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, like all music from the period, encompass a vocal range that in later music is most often sung by high tenors. The ‘counter tenor’ of the later Baroque would typically sing in a slightly higher register. As a result together with the ‘Tenore’ and ‘Quintus’ parts, we will have four tenors for our performances April 23-25.

Three of these tenors are very familiar to Magnificat audiences – Daniel Hutchings, Christopher LeCluyse, and Paul Elliott have appeared frequently in a wide variety of repertoire over the past decade. For these performances we are welcoming Italian tenor Mirko Guadagnini, who will be making his American debut.

Monteverdi’s alto, extending from e to b flat’, coincides much more closely with a modern tenor than with a modern alto, and we can assume the part would habe neem sung in the seventeenth century by what today would be called a tenor. Monteverdi’s tenor on the other hand, approximates a modern baritone, except that the highest few notes are beyond the reach of most baritones and wide-ranging tenor, like the four in Magnificat’s concert, are essential for the performance of the 1610 Vespers.

Dan Hutchings first sang with Magnificat in a program of music by Charpentier in 2003. He has since been a regular contributor, both as a high tenor “alto” and as a tenor. performs extensively with early music ensembles throughout the Bay Area. He is a regular member of the American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Chorale, and of the acclaimed Schola Santorum of the National Shrine of St. Francis, a twelve-voice ensemble specializing in a repertory of Gregorian chant and renaissance style liturgies. Dan frequently performs solos with the San Francisco Bach Choir, including Bach’s Magnificat, Mass in B Minor, and as the Evangelist in Schütz’s Christmas Oratorio.

Christopher LeCluyse has performed with Magnificat on several occassions since his appearance in the Schütz Auferstehungshistorie in 2005. Chris holds a PhD in English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied bilingual poems and songs from medieval England. While in Austin he sang with Conspirare, the Texas Early Music Project, La Follia Austin Baroque, and the Schola Cantorum at St. Mary’s Cathedral and appeared as a guest artist with the Houston-based groups Ars Lyrica and Canzonetta.

In the Bay Area, Chris has performed with Voices of Music, Conspirare, the San Francisco Early Music Society, and Voces Musicales. He has recently formed Utopia Early Music in Slat Lake City, where he is an assistant professor of English and writing center director at Westminster College.

One of the most celebrated early music tenors, Paul Elliott has been a core member of Magnificat since our program of Cassisimi cantatas and oratorios in 2005.  Since his solo debut in 1972 Paul has performed with such world-class orchestras as The London Bach Orchestra, The Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra, The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, The English Chamber Orchestra and The London Mozart Players. He is perhaps more widely known for his performances of Early Music, having performed with European early music groups including The Academy of Ancient Music, The Early Music Consort of London, The London Early Music Group, Musica Antiqua Köln, The Deller Consort, Pro Cantione Antiqua and The Hilliard Ensemble, of which he was a founder member.

Paul’s discography lists over one hundred recordings of music ranging from Perotin to Weber. Amongst his best-known recordings are two CDs of Handel’s Messiah and the video recording of that work filmed in Westminster Abbey and conducted by Christopher Hogwood. He also appeared in the TV series Music in Time hosted by James Galway, now a standard music-history teaching-tool in many U.S. colleges. Some more recent recordings include Proverb by Steve Reich for Nonesuch and Fragments, Hoquetus, The Age of Cathedrals and Monastic Song for Harmonia Mundi (USA).

Mirko will be appearing with Magnificat for the forst time in these performances. Born in Milan, he studied at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi and privately with Bianca Maria Casoni. In 1998 he won the As.Li.Co. competition. His repertoire ranges from Baroque to twentieth-century music. Major operatic rôles have been in The Rake’s Progress, Falstaff and Kiss me Kate, Dido and Aeneas, Il matrimonio segreto, Il pirata, Don Giovanni, L’Olimpiade, Wolf-Ferrari’s La vedova scaltra, Die Zauberflöte, Handel’s Alcina and Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. His recordings include medieval music, Peri’s Euridice, Marcello’s Arianna, Sammartini’s Memet, and Wolf-Ferrari’s La vedova scaltra. He has sung with famous orchestras, including La Scala, Radio France, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Pomeriggi Musicali, the Orchestra of the Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome, and the Accademia Bizantina. In 2003 he took part in the re-opening of La Fenice in Venice with Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Caldara’s Te Deum conducted by Riccardo Muti.

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