Our 2019-20 Soloists
Transformation and Celebration
A world premiere commemorating David Carrier’s 40th anniversary
Susan Consoli, Soprano
American soprano SUSAN CONSOLI has led an active and versatile career throughout the United States and abroad, performing repertoire ranging from Bach to Harbison to Gershwin. She has worked under such notable conductors as Grant Llewellyn, Paul Goodwin, Harry Christophers, Bruno Weil, Laurence Cummings, Odaline (Chachi) de la Martinez, David Angus, Craig Smith, John Harbison, and John Finney. Additional collaborations include directors/choreographers Chen Shi-Zheng, Tero Saarinen, and Betsi Graves and composers Peter Child, David Patterson, and John Harbison (Boston premiere, A Clear Midnight and Vocalism). Festivals include Festival Classique au vert, Boston Early Music Festival, Movimentos Internationales TanzFestival, LAOKOON Festival, Ribeauvillé Festival de Musique Ancienne, Carmel Bach Festival, Rome Opera Festival, and Great Waters Music Festival. Appearances with Boston Camerata and Tero Saarinen Dance Company include Borrowed Light in Paris (Théâtre National de Chaillot), Berlin, Hamburg, Wolfsburg, Oulu, and Tampere; An American Vocalist and Saw ye my hero in Paris; and Travellin’ Home in Ribeauvillé. Ms. Consoli made her Carnegie Hall debut performing Handel Messiah under the direction of Chris Shepard. This is Ms. Consoli’s 17th season with Emmanuel Music. Ms. Consoli’s recordings include Handel and Haydn Society All is Bright (Avie Records) and David Patterson Loon’s Tail Flashing (Albany Records). Upcoming highlights include Weill Firebrand of Florence (Emilia) at Jordan Hall and Tanglewood with Emmanuel Music, Bach BWV 1, 4, 14, 140 at Bachfest Leipzig at the Nikolaikirche, and Bach Mass in B minor with Emmanuel Music. Ms. Consoli resides north of Boston with her husband, Ryan Turner, and their two children. “Many congratulations to David, my friend and colleague for more than 20 years!! Thank you for all of the beautiful music-making and the laughter, too!”
Commonwealth Chorale thanks the Phillips Fund, in memory of Virginia Phillips, for making this position possible.
Matthew Anderson, Tenor
MATTHEW ANDERSON has been praised for the warm tenor voice and polished musicality he brings to oratorio, opera, and musical theater. An accomplished interpreter of the music of Bach, Mr. Anderson sings regularly as a soloist in Boston’s renowned Emmanuel Music Bach Cantata Series. He has received particular acclaim for his portrayals of the Evangelists in Bach’s Passions, which he has performed throughout the United States. Mr. Anderson is a two-time prizewinner in the American Bach Society Competition and winner of the second prize in the Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition, in which he also won the Westenberg Award for 18th Century Stylistic Interpretation. He has appeared as soloist with ensembles such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mark Morris Dance Group, and the Handel Choir of Baltimore. Also recognized as a gifted performer of the American songbook, Mr. Anderson has won high praise for his performances with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. Highlights of his 2019-2020 season include concerts with the Boston Symphony and performances with Emmanuel Music at Tanglewood and Bachfest Leipzig. Mr. Anderson spent two seasons as a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was a Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow with Emmanuel Music. He is a Kansas native and resides in Boston with his husband, John, and their daughter, Nora. More information is at www.matthewandersontenor.com. “Heartfelt congratulations, David, on 40 years of fantastic music-making with Commonwealth Chorale! I'm so happy to be able to be a part of this special celebration.”
Reverence and Joy
Bruckner, Bernstein, and Chilcott
Chelsa Basler, Soprano
Grammy Award-nominated soprano CHELSEA BASLER continues to make her mark in an extensive array of operatic roles due to her unique combination of vocal appeal and artistry. Praised for her "luminous voice" with its "easy soaring range," she has also been noted for her "wonderful acting" and ultimately deemed "simply superb." In spring 2019, Ms. Basler returned to Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) for the East Coast premiere production of Poul Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale as Moira and made a company debut with Boston Midsummer Opera as Clorinda in La cenerentola. In fall 2019, Ms. Basler joined the Metropolitan Opera roster, covering Poussette in Manon; rejoined BLO to sing Mary Johnson in the New England Premier of Fellow Travelers; made her Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra debut as the High Priestess in Aida; and returned to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Musetta in La bohème. In fall 2020, Ms. Basler will make her Arizona Opera debut as Julia Lowell in The Copper Queen. Ms. Basler’s talents have been recognized throughout the vocal competition circuit. Most recently she was awarded second place for the 2017–2018 American Prize in Vocal Performance (Friedrich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Award) and first place in the National Opera Association's prestigious Carolyn Bailey and Dominick Argento Vocal Competition. Ms. Basler earned her Artist Certificate (Opera Institute) and Master of Music from Boston University and her Bachelor of Music from New England Conservatory.
Vera Savage, Mezzo-soprano
American mezzo-soprano VERA SAVAGE has earned praise from critics for her “thrilling power” and “rich, mellifluous, mezzo voice.” Her singing has been described as “a dream; supple and powerful with a deep velvet shimmer” and “heart-stoppingly gorgeous.” Ms. Savage’s past season included a “cold and gleaming” (Opera News) portrayal of handmaid New Ofglen in Boston Lyric Opera’s highly acclaimed production of The Handmaid’s Tale; Salieri’s Requiem with the Commonwealth Chorale; Leonard Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony and Arias and Barcarolles with the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra; and the Verdi Requiem with the Metropolitan Chorale and Commonwealth Chorale. Ms. Savage has performed with numerous opera companies, festivals, and orchestras across the United States, including Opera Saratoga, Florentine Opera, the Spoleto Festival USA, Opera on the James, and Seiji Ozawa Hall at the Tanglewood Institute. A frequent soloist with Boston Lyric Opera, she was the 2016 winner of BLO’s annual “Stephen Shrestinian Award for Excellence.” Recently, she placed fourth in Shreveport Opera’s “Singer of the Year” competition, was a finalist in the Bel Canto Scholarship’s annual competition, and was a semi-finalist in the "Joy of Singing” art song competition. Ms. Savage’s 2019/2020 highlights include engagements with White Snake Projects, the world premiere of the new Spanish opera En la Ardiente Oscuridad, and performances with American Lyric Theatre. In addition, she will be featured on the upcoming albums Music to Hear and Who is Sylvia by the Shakespeare Projects, scheduled for release in May of 2020. Please visit www.verasavage.com for more information and full season details.
Commonwealth Chorale thanks the Fabiano Fund, in memory of Susan L. Fabiano, for making this position possible.
Neal Ferreira, Tenor
Praised for his "rich, powerful voice" and "bravura-filled stage presence," NEAL FERREIRA is a nationally recognized lyric tenor based in Haverhill, MA. Dubbed a “Boston mainstay” by the Boston Globe, he most recently appeared with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall as Tamino in The Magic Flute, and with Emmanuel Music as Macheath in Benjamin Britten’s version of The Beggar’s Opera. Mr. Ferreira made his Tanglewood debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the summer of 2018 as Parpignol in a concert performance of La bohème under the baton of Maestro Andris Nelsons. A much sought after interpreter of new music, Mr. Ferreira recently triumphed as Mr. Sengupta/Khattam-Shud in Charles Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in Jordan Hall, the recording of which will be released by BMOP/sound in 2020. His successful performance as the Visitor in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony was called “poignant” by the Wall Street Journal and “perfect” by Opera News. Mr. Ferreira has also appeared with Florida Grand Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Colorado, Virginia Opera, Odyssey Opera, Anchorage Opera, Syracuse Opera, American Repertory Theatre, and Guerilla Opera. Current and upcoming engagements include concert performances with Symphony New Hampshire, Chorus North Shore, and the Orchestra of Indian Hill in the 2019-2020 season. Mr. Ferreira will return to the Boston Symphony Orchestra for performances at Symphony Hall and Carnegie Hall in the spring of 2021.
David Cushing, Bass
DAVID CUSHING’s versatile bass-baritone range is effortlessly demonstrated in a variety of roles including recent appearances in the title roles of Don Pasquale and Le nozze di Figaro, Frère Laurent in Roméo et Juliette, and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Of a recent performance, the Boston Herald exclaimed, “His portrayal of hoodwinked old Pasquale, filled with pathos and unselfconscious humor, was a revelation. He could easily specialize in Italian opera’s wealth of foolish-old-man roles and become the basso buffo of his generation.” Last season, Mr. Cushing performed the role of Commander in The Handmaid’s Tale with Boston Lyric Opera, Mr. Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera with Emmanuel Music, Colline in La bohème with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Mobile Opera. Next he will perform as a soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with Savannah Philharmonic, reprise Basilio with PanOpera, perform Archbishop in Henry VIII with Odyssey Opera, and return to Emmanuel Music to sing the Magistrate in Weill's The Firebrand of Florence. In his recent debut at Symphony Hall as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the Boston Herald described his performance as “dynamite, with spine-tingling resonance.” Additionally, he has performed as the soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, the Brahms Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Bruckner’s Te Deum, and Schubert’s Mass in G.
LEO BALKOVETZ, counter-tenor, is a performer of operatic, choral, and chamber music in the Boston area with local groups including Triad, Canto Armonico, Commonwealth Chorale, and Carduus. In 2018, he graduated with a Master's of Music in Historical Voice Performance from the Longy School of Music, where he sang the role of Vaguas in Vivaldi's Juditha Triumphans with Early Music group Eudaimonia. He has also performed in La Clemenza di Tito (Annius), Cendrillon (6th Spirit), and La Sonnambula (Notary) with Promenade Opera Project and the alto soloist in Bach's Cantata BWV 54 with First Lutheran Church in Boston. He is the alto section leader of Commonwealth Chorale in Newton, MA, where he was a featured soloist in Menotti's The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore. He is also a member of the Schola Choir at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Boston, where he recently sang as a soloist for Handel’s Messiah.
LAURA THOMAS is a Boston-based soprano specializing in early and sacred music. She holds an M.M. in Historical Performance (Voice) from Boston University, where she studied with Aaron Sheehan. Recent solo appearances include Monteverdi’s Vespers at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, and the American premiere of J.A. Hasse's oratorio Sanctus Petrus et Sancta Maria Magdalena with the Harvard Early Music Ensemble. Ms. Thomas is also an avid performer of choral music. In addition to her work with Commonwealth Chorale, she sings with local ensembles Vox Futura, Ensemble Altera, and Analog Chorale. Ms. Thomas has performed extensively with the Marsh Chapel Choir of Boston University, singing a diverse mix of sacred music spanning from Renaissance motets to Bach cantatas to contemporary premieres. She is excited to be joining Commonwealth Chorale for the 2019-2020 season.
JILL JACOBS, narrator, got her start in the world of voice-over on a New York City playground pushing her infant daughter in a stroller when she met another new mom who was a video producer. Upon learning that this producer was in need of voice-over talent for a children’s animated video, Ms. Jacobs presented her newly recorded demo, got the gig, and the rest is history. As a professional voice-over actor based in the Boston area, she has spent the last 20+ years voicing numerous projects in a wide variety of industries, including corporate, medical, TV and radio commercials, e-learning, K-12 textbooks, documentaries, interactive voice response telephone systems, political narration, and character and animation. You have probably “met” her as the North American 1-800 voice of FedEx and Delta Dental. Ms. Jacobs is a member of Commonwealth Chorale and studies voice with renowned baritone Thomas Jones. Contact her for samples of her work at: [email protected].