Bach Society Houston, Kyle Stegall Present ‘Majestic’ Christmas Oratorio, Celebrate ‘The Spirit Within’

Bach Society Houston, Kyle Stegall Present ‘Majestic’ Christmas Oratorio, Celebrate ‘The Spirit Within’

Stegall (photo by Katherine Lin) and Bach Society Houston (photo by Kevin McGowan)

ON SATURDAY, DEC. 10, Bach Society Houston (BSH) celebrates the Christmas season and its 40th anniversary with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, an alternately majestic and intimate retelling of the nativity of Jesus.

The six-part oratorio, with each part originally conceived to be performed on the major feast days of the Christmas season, is an expansive, lavishly scored work for full orchestra, chorus, and soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists. BSH will be performing the first three cantatas on Dec. 10.

Missouri-based tenor Kyle Stegall is back in Houston by popular demand to sing the role of the evangelist, who narrates the gospel throughout the oratorio with declamatory recitatives and melisma-filled arias. The performance takes place at Rice University’s new Brockman Hall for Opera in the beautifully designed Lucian and Nancy Morrison Theater, a 600-seat, three-tiered, European-style opera theater with an orchestra pit big enough to handle the large number of instruments this oratorio requires. BSH director Rick Erickson conducts.

“Bach writes at the very edge of possibility,” says Stegall of the composer’s propensity to exploit the full range and technical potential of every instrument in the oratorio, including the voice. “It’s all somehow made expressively valid by the fact that I am constantly telling a story, and that story always exists in the melody as well as the ensemble.”

While Stegall’s repertoire includes plenty of other Baroque masterpieces, as well as Romantic-era lieder and contemporary opera, the music of Bach holds a special place in his heart. Stegall and his wife Holly Piccoli, a Baroque violinist, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Leipzig, where Bach composed hundreds of cantatas, despite the many tragedies he experienced. “No matter what was happening in his life and in his world, he always translated the spirit within him by putting ink to paper,” says Stegall.

The holidays are an especially busy time for historically informed musicians, and Stegall and Piccoli are no exception. They are currently on different tours, each performing different Christmas concerts until Dec. 22 when they return home to enjoy some “mediative time for the season.”

“I look forward to that just as much as I look forward to sharing this storytelling with audiences,” says Stegall.

Art + Entertainment
With Expertise in Blondes, Extensions and More, the Janelle Alexis Team Is a Go-To Salon

YOU CAN'T LIMIT Janelle to one title – Hairdresser. Her career and business has been established and built on a strong foundation. Using her two business degrees + one more in-process, this enables Janelle and the team to deliver not only a customer-focused experience, but a foundationally solid business. There is much more than meets the eye, and in sharing a little bit about Janelle, she was not only an international hair extension educator for over 14 years, but brings extensive expertise to blondes. She rounds this out with her previously launched namesake cosmetic line, which is a perfect complement to her belief that “Beauty is our Business”.

Keep ReadingShow less

East River 9 and Riverhouse Houston

IMAGINE EVERY RESIDENT being able to get most everything via a 15-minute-or-less walk, in a neighborhood convenient to major employment areas of Houston. That’s the vision for the fast-emerging East End district’s new multiuse development called The Plant/Second Ward, created by Concept Neighborhood, a Houston real estate investment, development and management company. Concept Neighborhood is focused on creating walkable communities combining accessible housing with innovative retail and creative maker space.

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places

A CHANGE OF scenery is good for the soul. And Thompson hotel’s newest location overlooking Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park has plenty to offer those in need of checking in and chilling out. This is the brand’s fourth luxury boutique Texas property since Hyatt acquired it and expanded its reach.

Keep ReadingShow less