On Friday, March 6, I will conduct Beethoven’s only oratorio, ”Christus am Ölberge” (”Christ on the Mount of Olives”) at the Mondavi Center with the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra and University Chorus, on a program that will also include Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, with Andrei Baumann, and the world première of “what remains” by composer Laurie San Martin. Below is a brief Q&A session with one of our three vocal soloists, bass-baritone Daniel Yoder. Click on these links for interviews with Ms. Piccolino and Mr. Stegall.
Christian Baldini: Please tell us about your education and training. How did you start with music, and when did you decide to become a singer?
My musical training started in 5th grade when I first held my trumpet and began assailing my family with the unavoidable tones of the beginning trumpet player. Thankfully, I became proficient and learned the French horn, piano, and drums. Music was always in the house, and I basked in all genres of music. I began singing in the chairs and less of my church and then began singing in the choir.
CB: What do you find remarkable about this work by Beethoven? What are your favorite moments in it?
DY: What I find most appealing about this work is the operatic quality of the music, which serves to convey the gravity and value of the libretto and Messianic message. As a Christian, I feel the textures and strength of the composition help the listener and performer alike understand the highs and lows of the drama preceding the coming Crucifixion and Resurrection.
CB: What does art, and music in particular, mean to you? Is it relevant in our society today?
DY: Art, and the free expression of it in its many forms, is indispensable to me. Society only benefits from the ability to sing, paint, sculpt, and it is a blessing to have the opportunity, as artists, to share what is inside us with the world. While math and the sciences have their intrinsic value in society, art has its relevance in its ability to transform, edify, calm, encourage, and challenge us as humans.
Native-American bass-baritone Daniel Yoder is delighted to be singing again with the UCDavis family! He is a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus, and has performed recently with companies including West Edge Opera, Pocket Opera, Diablo Symphony, Fresno Grand Opera, Sacramento Choral Society, Music in the Mountains, Sacramento Opera, Sinfonia Spirituosa, and Capella Antiqua of Sacramento.
Mr. Yoder has performed the bass solos of Handel’s Messiah, as well as the Requiems of Mozart, Fauré, Duruflé, and Malcolm Archer. He has also recently performed the Mozart Mass in C.
Favorite operatic roles include Zurga in Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, Gugliermo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutti, Figaro in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Silvio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Leporello and Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Achilla in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Betto in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Claudius in Handel’s Agrippina.