Christian Baldini, California, Soloist, Singer, Beauty, mezzo-soprano

Julie Miller in Conversation with Christian Baldini

On Sunday, March 12, 2023, I will have the great pleasure of conducting Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, with soprano Carrie Hennessey as our soprano soloist, and Julie Miller as our mezzo-soprano soloist at the Mondavi Center. We will include the University Chorus, Alumni Chorus, Chamber Singers, and the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, including also several UCDSO alumni, for a total of about 300 performers on stage. Here are some questions I asked Julie about the Mahler, and below are her answers:

Christian Baldini: Julie, the Urlicht (fourth movement of the symphony) is probably one of the favorite works in the entire repertoire. All of a sudden, we hear this solitary human voice appear out of nowhere, almost like facing an abyss. How do you approach the Urlicht? What is behind it for you?

Julie Miller: Urlicht, to me represents a moment of simplicity and faith. The beautiful, effortless legato lines, and lush harmonies make this movement one of my favorite pieces to sing. As a vocalist, I have to focus on consistent air flow and a spinning vibrato to create the seemingly endless sound and legato required to successfully present this piece. However, the most import thing for me as an artist is to take the audience on a journey from desparate need to the final destination of hope and eternal rest.

CB: You and I collaborated first many years ago, when we were both a lot younger. Please tell us, how were your beginnings with music? Did you start out as a singer, or by playing an instrument? What has made your musical path so special?

JM: I remember our first collaboration with great fondness. It was Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the UC Davis Symphony. I remember your kindness, clarity and love of the piece guided me through my first performance of the piece with ease and confidence.

My musical beginnings started quite young with my mother teaching me piano and continued through High School and early college with me singing in choirs and playing the violin. I actually didn’t decide to pursue voice in a serious way until my 2nd year of college when I “caught the stage bug” during a performance of Monteverdi’s L’incoronzione di Poppea. From that point on, I was hooked. 

My musical path has had its ups and downs, and like every path, has been different than I initially thought it would be. However, what has made this journey special for me has been the people I have encountered along the way that have supported me during the “growing pains” and inspired me to continue to be the best musician and performer I can be.

CB: Thank you for sharing those wonderful memories, I also very fondly remember our Mozart C minor mass together! Now, what would be your advice for young singers? How do you face auditions, competition, and/or any other frustrations or fears that may come your way?

JM: My advice to young singers would be to know your instrument and be prepared musically. You never know who will be in the audience and when that connection will provide an opportunity down the line. Also, remember that you and your voice are in progress, so be kind to and patient with yourself. You are going to be learning and growing as a vocalist and musician throughout the rest of your career.

CB: Why is symphonic music, and why is opera relevant nowadays?

JM: Symphonic music and opera speak to us at our cores. We connect to the stories that they tell through the music and texts on a deep level and they elicit thought and conversation that lasts long past the ending of the performance. They are art forms that have survived, adapted and thrived for centuries, and their longevity continues to prove their relevance within today’s society.

CB: Thank you for your time Julie, I look forward to making music with you!

JM: Thank you for inviting me to be a part of the tour de force that is bringing this beautiful work to life! It’s always a pleasure to work with you.

Mezzo-soprano Julie Miller recently stepped in last minute on opening night to make her role debut as Ariodante (Ariodante) at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her performance was hailed as “an extraordinarily composed and possibly career-changing performance” (Chicago Sun Times) and her singing was described as “deeply musical” (Chicago Tribune). 

​Ms. Miller has appeared as a soloist with wonderful organizations such as the Lyric Opera of ChicagoKalamazoo Symphony OrchestraOregon Mozart PlayersGrant Park Music Festival and Ravinia Festival. Recent appearances include Baroness Nica (Charlie Parker’s Yardbird) with Madison OperaLyric Unlimited/Lyric Opera Chicago and English National Opera/Hackney Empire Theatre; Charlotte (Werther) with Opera Idaho; the Mezzo Soloist with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago (Duruflé: Requiem); the Mezzo Soloist with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera (Beethoven: Mass in C); and the Mezzo Soloist with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (Janacek: Glagolitic Mass). In the coming months, Ms. Miller looks forward to appearing as Maddalena (Rigoletto) with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera and as a Mezzo Soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Madison Symphony Orchestra.

​Highlights of Ms. Miller’s operatic career include Jo (Little Women) and Ma Joad (The Grapes of Wrath) with Sugar Creek Opera; Emilia (Otello), Ida (Die Fledermaus), Annina (La Traviata) and Krystina (The Passenger) with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) with Vero Beach Opera; Annio (La clemenza di Tito) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) with Ryan Opera Center; Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette) with Townsend Opera; and Flora (La Traviata) with Festival Opera. She has also been heard with orchestra as a Soloist in performances of  Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata No. 6, Handel’s Messiah, Duruflé’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and both Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Requiem.

Ms. Miller is the recipient of the the Jerome and Elaine Nerenberg Foundation Scholarship (Musicians Club of Women), the Rose McGilvray Grundman Award (American Opera Society of Chicago), the Richard F. Gold Career Grant (Shoshana Foundation) and the Edith Newfield Scholarship Award (Musicians Club of Women). She is an alumna of the renowned Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a member of the inaugural class of Dawn Upshaw’s Graduate Program in Vocal Arts at the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Beauty, Buenos Aires, California, Christian Baldini, composer, Music, Singer, Soloist, soprano, Teatro Colón, tenor

Rising Star Tenor Edward Graves in Conversation with Christian Baldini

On February 5, 2023, tenor Edward Graves will sing Rodolfo for our upcoming Barbara K. Jackson Rising Stars of Opera program at the Mondavi Center, in collaboration with the San Francisco Opera Center. Here is a conversation we had with Edward about Puccini, the prestigious Adler Fellowship, auditions, opera in general, and his advice for young singers.

Christian Baldini: Tell us, how did you start singing? When did you first get exposed to the operatic genre, and when did the “bug” first get you about becoming an opera singer?

Edward Graves: I feel like I’ve been singing my whole life. I started singing when I was in church and sang in choirs all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I also took private piano and voice lessons up until I graduated high school. When I got to college, I intended to be a music education major, but ended up getting cast in Mozart’s “The Goose of Cairo” my freshman year. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but I realized that the other singers in my class didn’t get cast. After that experience and through the encouragement of my professors, I switched my major to vocal performance and have been on this Opera path ever since. 

CB: What are some of your favorite operas, and why?

EG: That’s such a hard question because I feel don’t know enough operas to have definitive and favorites. I am drawn to operas that have lasting tuneful melodies (or “earworms”) that get stuck in my head. Some operas that come to mind are Don Giovanni, Werther, Manon, Rodelinda,  La Bohème, Tosca, La Fanciulla del West, Rigoletto, La Traviata, and Aida. Sometimes my scope of appreciation is narrowed in on what I’m studying so in addition to La Bohème, I’m studying and preparing the role of Anatol in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa. As I’m getting to know this opera, I’m also gaining a newfound appreciation for its gorgeous melodies as well. 

CB: Have you worked with living composers? If so, how was that experience?

EG: Yes—I’ve had the opportunity to work with two well-known living composers. In 2019, I was a in the premiere of Blue at The Glimmerglass Festival. Jeanine Tesori not only attended many of the rehearsals, she also made revisions during the rehearsal process. At the beginning of one staging rehearsal, she handed the cast sheet music to read through and added it to the show. I remembered thinking how cool it was to be in the room with the composer of the show that I was working on because I normally don’t have that luxury. Last week I performed in a workshop of Jake Heggie’s new opera, Intelligence. I really enjoyed the collaborative process of the workshop and being empowered to speak up if something was written in an awkward way or wasn’t working for me. In the aria that my character sang, Jake encouraged me to use my head voice in the last few bars instead of singing full voice which better helped to convey the character’s vulnerable emotional state. A nice thing about premiering a role or workshopping a piece is that you really get to make it your own. You don’t have other singers to compare yourself to or a standard to live up to.  

CB: You are a part of one of the main young artist program in the world, as an Adler Fellow for the San Francisco Opera Center. What are some of your favorite perks of this position? 

EG: In addition to the resources of the company (in the form of language classes, acting classes, voice lessons, coachings, and steady paycheck,) I have the opportunity to see and go be a part of the process of what it takes to get an opera from the rehearsal room to the stage. It has been really cool to apply what I do in the studio and bring it to the rehearsal room, and then to the stage. It has also been an incredible learning opportunity to watch guest artists throughout a rehearsal process. I feel like I’ve learned so much just by watching!  I’ve gained an appreciation for the process that it takes from learning a role embodying a character. There are so many layers and nuances of characterization and I feel like I’m just beginning to tap into discovering my own artistry.

CB: Tell us about the auditioning process. How was your preparation for it? Is it extremely competitive? How is the atmosphere once you are in the program?

EG: Auditioning is a skill. It can be hard to try and give your all in a ten minute time slot and then prepare yourself for not getting the job that you’re auditioning for. It can also be intimidating to sing for a panel that has never heard you before or isn’t familiar with your work. Prior to an audition, I try and remind myself to just think about communicating the text of whatever aria I’m singing. I know that I’ve done all the technical work so I try just have “fun.” Adler Fellows are chosen from the Merola Opera Program which I think is more competitive to get into because over one thousand singers, pianists, and stage directors apply annually. I haven’t found being in the Merola Opera Program or the Adler Fellowship to be competitive because the only person I’m in competition with is myself. I’m always trying to improve—my vocal technique, my languages, my acting, stage craft, etc. Being in Merola and now the Adler Fellowship has helped me to improve in those areas. Each artist has their own path and it’s hard to not compare yourself to your colleagues, but our paths are different and we are all at different stages of our development.

CB: Why is opera important to you? What does it mean in today’s world?

EG: At its best, opera is the combination of music, spectacle, and incredible singing. When I go to see an opera, I’m looking for those three things. I want to be entertained, moved, and to leave the theater a little better than when I came in. I liken it to going to any other live theater event. 

CB: What would you say about La Bohème, and about Mimì or Rodolfo to someone who does not know the opera? What should people listen for in this kind of music?

EG: La Bohème is a great “first” opera. The music is beautiful and lush and the plot is easy to follow. It is a love story between Mimì and Rodolfo that I  think that a new audience member could relate to. 

CB: Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for young singers?

EG: I think it’s important to always remember why you love to sing and in times of doubt, come back to that. A voice teacher told me once that “this a is marathon, not a sprint” and I began to understand what she meant the more I kept singing. This is a very long journey full of ups and downs—there might be times where you question if you want to pursue singing after facing a setback. Another piece of advice I would offer a young singer is to develop interests outside of singing. Sometimes singing can be all consuming and it can be easy tie your identity and worth to your ability to sing.

CB: Thank you very much for your time, we are delighted to feature you at our Rising Stars of Opera program!

EG: Thank you so much for having me. I hope that folks are able to come and enjoy the performance.

Praised by Opera News as a tenor of “stunningly sweet tone,” Edward Graves is a second-year Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera. His most recent Bay Area performances include a workshop of Jake Heggie’s upcoming world premiere opera Intelligence with Houston Grand Opera, as well as Stone/Eunuch in Bright Sheng’s Dreams of the Red Chamber and Gastone in La traviata, both on the San Francisco Opera mainstage. At SFO, he also covered the roles of Alfredo in La traviata and Lensky in Eugene Onegin before engaging in a “thrilling who-can-sing-it-higher face-off from Rossini’s Otello” (San Francisco Chronicle) in the Adler Fellowship’s The Future Is Now concert.

Elsewhere, he has recently joined Virginia Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, Detroit Opera as Policeman 2 in Tesori’s Blue, and Berkshire Choral International as the title role in Judas Maccabaeus. His appearance in Merola Opera Program’s What The Heart Desires earned a San Francisco Chronicle rave for his “superbly bright, clarion sound.” Upcoming performances with San Francisco Opera include Rodolfo in Bohème out of the Box, Ruiz in Il trovatore, and Nobleman in Lohengrin. He also covers the title role in Rhiannon Giddens’ Omar at SFOand makes his Spoleto Festival USA debut as Anatol in Vanessa.

Additional credits include Rinuccio in a double bill of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost with Michigan Opera Theatre, Robbins in Porgy and Bess with Seattle Opera, and Policeman 2 in the world premiere of Blue at the Glimmerglass Festival, where he also sang Fred in Oklahoma! and Peter in Porgy and Bess. As a Baumgartner Studio Artist at Florentine Opera, he performed roles in The Merry WidowVenus and Adonis / Dido and Aeneas and The Magic Flute.

Graves is a 2022 San Francisco District winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s Laffont Competition. Following his bachelor studies in Voice Performance at Towson University, he received his Performer Diploma and Master of Music in Voice Performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

While at IU, Graves participated in a Game of Thrones-inspired production of Rodelinda and has since been drawn to the virtuosic music of Handel. He strives to create the perfect combination of text, music, and spectacle required to impact audiences emotionally, and he advises that all new works be seen at least twice.


Claudia Pereira en diálogo con Christian Baldini

Christian Baldini: Estimada Claudia, es un placer tenerte como nuestra soprano solista junto a la Orquesta de Cámara de Chile en nuestros próximos conciertos el 6, 7 y 8 de Julio, en Las Condes, Requínoa y Padro Aguirre Cerda respectivamente.

Vamos a presentar contigo cuatro arias de Mozart que son muy celebradas y que han entrado en el repertorio central operístico de fines del siglo XVIII. ¿Qué me podrías decir de estar arias, y de su significado? ¿Y por supuesto, qué me podrías decir de los tres personajes que vas a representar en ellas? (Susanna, la sirvienta del Conde de Almaviva en Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina, una joven campesina a punto de casarse con su prometido Masetto en Don Giovanni, y finalmente Despina, una joven sirviente de Fiordiligi y Dorabella en Così fan tutte) 

Claudia Pereira: Bueno, primeramente ha sido un placer estar haciendo este repertorio con esta orquesta y con su batuta al mando. Respecto de este repertorio y más precisamente de estas cuatro arias, encontramos a tres personajes femeninos que ostentan ciertas similitudes en cuanto a posición social, en rango etario y en ciertas visiones o conducciones con el género masculino. Tanto Susanna en Bodas, Zerlina en Don Giovanni y Despina en Così, son jóvenes, sirvientas y mujeres de gran carácter. Curiosamente, en estas cuatro arias se encuentran cada una de ellas en una acción en torno al poder de manipulación femenino frente a los hombres. Primeramente en el aria de Susanna, ella se encuentra esperando al Conde, a quien engañado ha citado a un falso encuentro amoroso mientras Fígaro espía a su supuesta infiel prometida, en este momento ella canta un amoroso texto sobre la espera de este encuentro sabiendo que es oída por Fígaro, a quien decide castigar por osar dudar de su fidelidad, manipulando sus celos a través de las apasionadas palabras del aria, escena en al cual finalmente ella está manipulando a los dos hombres. Zerlina por su lado, en sus dos arias dirigidas a su prometido Masetto, manipula a través de sus encantos y palabras seductoras, la ira y celos de éste por su poca resistencia a los avances amorosos de Don Giovanni. En ambas ocasiones logra ella revertir una situación que le es adversa, a través de la manipulación y conocimiento de los instintos primarios de su prometido. En el aria Una donna quindici anni, Despina, una joven sirvienta explica y da lecciones de manipulación sobre el género masculino, a sus dos patronas, Dorabella y Fiordeligi.

Conociendo el carácter político y contestatario de Mozart, y siendo Lorenzo Da Ponte, el libretista que colaboró con él en estas tres óperas, podemos inferir que ninguno de estos personajes aparecen por azar o de manera ornamental. Las tres jóvenes son mujeres fuertes, de carácter decidido, de orígenes humildes y con gran conocimiento del género masculino. Sin duda, hay tanto en  una intencionalidad de poner en relieve esta supuesta superioridad femenina en el arte de la manipulación frente a su género opuesto, pero no lo hace precisamente en las mujeres de alta alcurnia en estas tres óperas, sino en las simples aldeanas y sirvientas. Este “conocimiento” del género masculino a través de la manipulación de las “artes femeninas”, puede hoy en día ser leído de múltiples maneras, algunos dirán que se trata de un prejuicio sobre el género femenino y de igual manera, otros podrán creer que pone en evidencia la superioridad femenina en el conocimiento sicológico de lo masculino, pero ciertamente, lo indiscutible es que Mozart usaba siempre su música como un acto tanto político como artístico, tan aparentemente ligero como profundo a la vez, tan hermoso como brutal, y siempre sin duda alguna, admirable y polémico a la vez.

CB: ¿Cómo fueron tus comienzos con el canto? Estuviste siempre interesada en la ópera y el canto lírico?

CP: La verdad es que el canto estuvo siempre presente desde la etapa escolar y de una forma muy natural. Pero cuando comencé a estudiar música lo hice a través del piano en un comienzo, alrededor de los 9 años y posteriormente, con la guitarra clásica, instrumento que había aprendido a los 8 años a tocar por influencia familiar. El canto era una actividad que desarrollaba paralelamente tanto en coro como solista pero sin pensar en estudiarlo realmente sino recién a los 17 años, cuando salí del colegio. Para ese entonces, en la Escuela de Música en donde estudiaba guitarra, llevaba ya 3 años cantando en un grupo vocal de cámara, en donde tuve la oportunidad de ser solista en obras barrocas principalmente. En ese  entonces mi gusto por la ópera era absolutamente nulo, es más, de lo poco que conocía de ópera, me había hecho una muy mala idea del género. Decidí estudiar Canto Lírico para poder dedicarme a la música barroca y de cámara. Ya en la universidad vine a conocer la ópera francesa y con ella se despertó mi gusto por el género operístico.

CB: ¿Por qué crees que la ópera sigue siendo relevante hoy en día?

CP: Creo que desde lo estético, la ópera es el género capaz de convocar a diferentes públicos a través de sus muy diferentes estímulos. Por un lado a quienes se sienten atraídos por la música y los sonidos en sí, también a los que sus estímulos visuales los apasiona, a quienes ven en ella esta especie de relato teatral, a los que buscan gozar de vestuarios, maquillajes y escenografías, a los amantes del canto propiamente tal y a quienes las sonoridades de tal o cual compositor los convoca. Por otro lado, ha sido históricamente, un espacio de expresión de sus propias épocas, en lo estilístico, literario, político, social y por supuesto, en lo artístico y musical. La ópera es por sobre todo, un espacio de expresión artística capaz de generar múltiples estímulos y significancias en las muy disímiles audiencias que genera trascendiendo aún a su propio origen.

CB: ¿Qué consejos le darías a jóvenes cantantes que están comenzando y aspiran a una carrera como solistas de ópera? 

CP: Lo primero que suelo compartir a mis jóvenes alumnos es  que pongan su deseo en ser por sobretodo intérpretes, que la obtención de sus conocimientos musicales y vocales, estén al servicio de aquello que se quiere decir o transmitir. Luego, podría decir que la voz, como la herramienta para interpretar, debe ser cultivada y cuidada con respeto a su naturaleza, que la técnica debe buscar siempre maximizar lo que se tiene, lo natural y auténtico y siempre lo saludable. De esta forma el instrumento a través del cual nos desarrollamos nos podrá acompañar por más tiempo de forma óptima en el camino de la música. A veces, en el ansía de comenzar pronto en este camino, olvidamos quienes somos y qué tenemos para ofrecer en qué momento de nuestra carrera, y este olvido, puede finalmente llevarnos al extravío en nuestro camino.

CB: Desde ya muchísimas gracias querida Claudia, será un verdadero placer compartir tu musicalidad y talento con nuestros públicos en la Región Metropolitana y en la Región de O’Higgins.

CP: Es realmente un placer para mí volver a estar con esta querida Orquesta de Cámara de Chile, después de un largo periodo pandémico, con esta hermosa música, estos atractivos y entretenidos personajes y bajo una batuta tan certera y conocedora del género. Muchas gracias Maestro.

Claudia Pereira

Claudia Pereira – Soprano

Destacada soprano nacional, Intérprete Musical en Canto y Licenciada en Música. Realizó sus estudios en la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile con los maestros Mary Ann Fones y Patricio Méndez. Primer Lugar Concurso Internacional de Canto Lírico de Trujillo, Perú, Nominada Mejor Figura de Ópera APES año 2000 y Premio a la Crítica del Círculo de Críticos de Arte en 2019.

Desde 1995 ha sido solista habitual en las temporadas de las principales agrupaciones de nuestro país.Entre sus actuaciones destacan las más reconocidas obras del repertorio sinfónico universal realizadas junto a las más reconocidas agrupaciones como Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile, Orquesta de Cámara de Chile, Orquesta de la Universidad de Santiago, Sinfónica de la Universidad de Concepción, Sinfónica de Cuyo, Sinfónica de Santa Fe, Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Chile, Sinfónica de la Universidad de Concepción, Orquesta de Cámara de Valdivia y Filarmónica de Santiago, entre otras.

En el ámbito operístico ha interpretado numerosos roles, entre los cuales se destacan Lucy en El Teléfono de Gian Carlo Menotti, Musetta en La Bohème y Lauretta en Gianni Schicchi de G. Puccini, Susanna en Las Bodas de Fígaro, Reina de La Noche en La Flauta Mágica de Mozart, Rosina en El Barbero de Sevilla, Adina en Elixir de Amor, Rodelinda de Händel, entre otros.

Entre sus actividades musicales como solista figuran también numerosos recitales y galas en los más importantes escenarios, en compañía de destacados músicos y conjuntos de cámara connotados.

Desde 2011 se desempeñó como Profesora de la Cátedra de Canto Lírico del Conservatorio de Música de la Universidad Mayor y en la actualidad es Académica del Instituto de Música de la Pontificia Universidad Católica De Chile desde 2018, donde se desempeña como profesora de cátedra e intérprete en sus distintas temporadas.

Conductor, Music, Singer, Soloist, Symphony Orchestra, tenor, Uncategorized

Kyle Stegall in Conversation with Christian Baldini

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, tenor Kyle Stegall. Click on these links for interviews with Ms. Piccolino and Mr. Yoder.

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?

Kyle Stegall: I’ve been interested in professional singing and in teaching singing since my senior year of high school.  All three of my degrees are in Vocal Performance, and were granted by the Universities of Missouri, Michigan, and Yale.  My passion for communication is what has driven my studies, and the development of my performance and teaching career.

CB: What do you find remarkable about this work by Beethoven? What are your favorite moments in it?

KS: I am so looking forward to performing this dramatic and heroic work with Maestro Baldini and the musical forces at UC-Davis.  I am particularly fond of the moment in which the clarinet introduces the prayer theme in Christ’s opening aria.

CB: What are some of your favorite pieces of music, whether in the operatic realm, chamber music, or on the concert platform? Which works would you like to be singing next?

KS: I am lucky to have a career engaged with a great breadth of the classical repertoire.  I sing opera, recital, and concert work in equal proportions, which is actually quite rare.  I value the opportunity to communicate in such varied stylistic-idioms and performance environments.  Everything from the haute-contre repertoire of the French Baroque to world premieres of new repertoire for the solo voice, to staples of the recital canon, to large orchestrated works such as Christus am Oelberge hold consistent spots in my performance seasons.  I am particularly fond of the Bach evangelists, the cycles of Benjamin Britten, and orchestrated masses/oratorios of the classical and bel canto repertoire.  I’d like to find a spot for Britten’s War Requiem and Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’ete in coming seasons.

CB: What does art, and music in particular, mean to you? Is it relevant in our society today?

KS: Art and music are and will forever be relevant.  Art is an intensely potent force for awakening in large numbers of people a dormant respect for our shared, vulnerable humanity. What our world needs is community. What our world needs is emotional honesty.  Music is the crystallized sonic manifestation of these things.  The question isn’t whether or not art is relevant.  The question is whether or not we will make room in our hearts, budgets, schedules, and priorities for it.

Kyle Stegall2
tenor Kyle Stegall (courtesy photo)


Kyle Stegall’s performances around the world have been met with accolade for his “blemish-free production” (Sydney Morning Herald), and his “dramatic vividness” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). A career spanning concert, opera, and recital stages has grown out of successful collaborations with many of the world’s most celebrated artistic directors including Manfred Honeck, Joseph Flummerfelt, Masaaki Suzuki, William Christie, and Stephen Stubbs.

In demand as an opera and concert soloist, Mr. Stegall is a celebrated interpreter of the Bach evangelists, and is often heard in the great oratorios of Handel and Haydn.  His operatic repertoire spans the haute-contre heroes of the French Baroque to modern premieres.

Mr. Stegall  is a proud alumnus of the universities of Missouri, Michigan, and Yale.


Christian Baldini, Concert Hall, Conductor, Singer, Uncategorized

Daniel Yoder in Conversation with Christian Baldini

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?

Daniel Yoder: 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.

Daniel Yoder HR


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.