What a Zoo!
Our Fifth Season concludes with a field trip to the zoo! Art song composers have looked to the animal kingdom for creative inspiration in their music for generations. We'll present a menagerie of animal-inspired songs by Schubert, Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Libby Larsen, Gwyneth Walker, and Richard Pearson Thomas. Join us as we imagine what life must be like as another creature in What a Zoo!
Die Forelle - Franz Schubert
Trois Chansons - Maurice Ravel
Les Trois Oiseaux - Léo Delibes
Die Vögel - Franz Schubert
Cuckoo - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Little Birds - Libby Larsen
Waterbird - Richard Hundley
The Waterbird - Gwyneth Walker
Ludions selections - Erik Satie
Le Bestiaire - Francis Poulenc
Fish 'n Chicks - Richard Pearson Thomas
Creatures in Green
The Green Eyed Dragon - Wolseley Charles
The Green Dog - Herbert Kingseley
The Little Turtle - John Alden Carpenter
The Crocodile - Benjamin Britten
I bought me a cat - Aaron Copland
Sarah van der Ploeg is an American lyric soprano who has been singing since before she could speak. Praised as a singing actor for her “thoughtful musicality”, “clarity of tone” and “versatility”, the New Jersey native has performed in London, New York, Chicago, Vienna, and elsewhere around the US and Europe. Equally at home on stage, in concert halls, and in recital, she particularly loves 20th Century & contemporary music and composer collaborations. Performance highlights: world premiere of staged Gary Fry work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; “Une bête” in Ravel’s L’Enfant with Esa Pekka Salonen and CSO; Stella/Muse in Pittsburgh Festival Opera’s Tales of Hoffmann: Retold; solo turns at the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall; Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream with Civic Orchestra of Chicago; Barber’s Knoxville with Lake Forest Civic Orchestra; staged production of David Lang’s the little match girl passion; Mozart’s Requiem with Chicago Chamber Orchestra & Elmhurst Choral Union; Rosalinda (Die Fledermaus) at Northwestern; Encouragement Award, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions; First place, Chicago NATS. Sarah holds degrees from the Royal Academy of Music (Diane Forlano), Northwestern University (Theresa Brancaccio & Alan Darling), and Princeton University (Public Policy & Music Performance). A Marshall Scholar, she believes deeply in the communicative power of the arts for cultural diplomacy and reconciliation, and works through music outreach and education in addition to performance in pursuit of these aims. sarahvanderploeg.weebly.com
American mezzo-soprano Bridget Skaggs frequently performs in concert halls throughout the United States and Europe. Critics have noted the way she “lights up the scene” onstage (Chicago Reader), and her “dynamic singing” (Schmopera) was named as a musical highlight of Chicago Fringe Opera’s world premiere of The Great God Pan in March 2018. A two-time recipient of the Vocal Chamber Music Fellowship from Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, Ms. Skaggs trained with art song teachers Martin Katz, Nicholas Phan, Michelle DeYoung, Craig Terry, and Shannon McGinnis. As co-founder of Fourth Coast Ensemble, she maintains an active schedule as curator and recitalist of art song programs throughout Chicago. On the operatic stage, this season she appears as the Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Steamboat), Giunone in Cavalli’s La Didone (Haymarket Summer Opera Course), and Austin in The Great God Pan (Chicago Fringe Opera). Other professional credits include Charlotte/A Little Night Music (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), Tangolita/Ball at the Savoy (Chicago Folks Operetta), Quickly/Falstaff (/kor/ productions), Carmen/Carmen (Lake Forest Civic Orchestra), concert soloist/Anton Bruckner’s Te Deum (Blue Lake International), and festival soloist/Baroque on Beaver Festival (Beaver Island, MI). Ms. Skaggs holds a B.M. and M.M. from Oklahoma City University, where she sang Flora/La Traviata, Prince Orlofsky/Die Fledermaus, and Secretary/The Consul. www.bridgetskaggs.com
Tenor Zachary Vanderburg has been heralded as singing “beautifully” (Chicago Classical Review) and “with vocal luster, dramatic fire, and lyrical sympathy” (Augsburger Allgemeine), and his performances have been called “very fine” (Chicago Tribune), “riveting”, “a knockout” and “sensational”(Chicago Classical Review). Performances last season included appearances with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra as Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen; an Alumni Recital at Roosevelt University with renowned pianist Dana Brown; appearances with Music of the Baroque, of which he is a member, under the direction of Jane Glover. Comfortable in opera repertoire as well as concert and recital, past seasons have seen Zachary’s role debuts of Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, The Visitor in Glass’ In the Penal Colony, and Leander in Nielsen's Maskarade; performances with the Chicago Opera Theater; Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2, “Lobgesang” at the Masterworks Festival; Bach’s Quodlibet, Cantata 147, and Beethoven's Choral Fantasy as an artist-in-residence at the Baroque on Beaver Island Music Festival; European tours of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Bruckner's Te Deum, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass headlining the Eutiner Festspiele, Festival Durance Luberon, Hamburg's St. Michael's Church, as well as other venues in Germany, France and Luxembourg; and appearances as a backup singer in Chicago with The Rolling Stones on their 50 & Counting tour. Zachary has a masters from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and recently completed a fellowship in vocal chamber music at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago. www.zacharyvanderburg.com
Chicago native David Govertsen has been active as a professional singer for fifteen years, portraying a wide variety of opera’s low-voiced heroes, villains, and buffoons. An alumnus of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, he has performed ten roles with the company, most recently appearing as Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and King Priam in Les Troyens. This past season he also appeared at Santa Fe Opera as Frank in Die Fledermaus, and he created the role of Stoever in Stewart Copeland’s The Invention of Morel for Chicago Opera Theater.
As a concert soloist Mr. Govertsen has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival among many others. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2011 as the Herald in Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera apprentice programs and holds degrees from Northwestern University, Northern Illinois University and the College of DuPage. Mr. Govertsen is currently on faculty at Valparaiso University, Lewis University, and the College of DuPage.
Pianist Kuang-Hao Huang has performed throughout the United States as well as in Europe and Asia. Mr. Huang is most often heard as a collaborator, performing concerts and radio broadcasts with Chicago's finest musicians, from instrumentalists of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to singers with the Lyric Opera. He has been a guest of the Chicago Chamber Musicians and has performed with the Avalon, Chicago, Spektral and Vermeer String Quartets. An advocate of new music, Mr. Huang gave the world premiere performances of solo works by Louis Andriessen and Chen Yi at Weill Hall as part of Carnegie Hall’s Millennium Piano Book Project. He has also premiered numerous ensemble works, including pieces by Jacob Bancks, Mason Bates, Kyong Mee Choi, Stacy Garrop, John Harbison, Daniel Kellogg, James Matheson and Laura Schwendinger. Mr. Huang is a member of Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has been involved with the Chicago Chamber Musicians Composer Perspectives series and has also played with MusicNOW and CUBE Ensemble. Mr. Huang can be heard in recordings on the Cedille and Naxos labels.