Picture nativity scenes by a great master, a Breughel or a Botticelli: landscapes filled with angels, people and animals; colour, movement, human touches and tiny incidental details all animated and elevated to a higher level by the mystery of the Holy Child at the heart of the scene. This is what Bach translates into such personal and colourful music in his Christmas Oratorio – a lavish sequence of choruses and arias featuring wonderful solos for the instrumentalists. Outstanding soloists under the direction of Jonathan Cohen, himself one of Britain’s finest young interpreters of Bach, promise an exceptional evening.
Please note that Soprano Soraya Mafi has replaced Julia Doyle for this performance. We wish Soraya a speedy recovery.
PRE-CONCERT INSIGHTS, 6.30pm:
Dr John Kitchen (City of Edinburgh Organist) discusses Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Jonathan Cohen is one of Britain's finest young musicians. He has forged a remarkable career as a conductor, cellist and keyboardist. Well known for his passion and commitment to chamber music Jonathan is equally at home in such diverse activities as baroque opera and the classical symphonic repertoire.
Soraya Mafi is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and winner of the 2016 Susan Chilcott Award and 2014 Maggie Teyte Prize. A Harewood Artist at the English National Opera, her roles for the company have included Mabel in Mike Leigh’s production of The Pirates of Penzance, Karolka in Jenufa and Papagena in The Magic Flute. She returns to the ENO in 2017/18 as Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Highlights on the concert platform include appearances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Ludovic Morlot.
Irish Mezzo-Soprano Paula Murrihy is a native of County Kerry. She received her Bachelor in Music from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin before continuing her studies in North America at the New England Conservatory.
British tenor Samuel Boden began his career as a chef and then went on to study singing with John Wakefield at Trinity Laban Conservatoire graduating with First Class Honours.
Neal Davies studied at King's College, London, and the RAM, and won the Lieder Prize at the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. He has appeared with the Oslo Philharmonic under Jansons, BBC Symphony Orchestra under Boulez, Cleveland and Philharmonia Orchestras under Dohnanyi.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus has built a reputation as one of Scotland’s most versatile choirs. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016, it is widely regarded as one of the finest orchestral choruses in the UK.
Gregory Batsleer has held the position of Chorus Director with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 2009, winning widespread critical acclaim for his work.