Soprano Rosa Lamoreaux joins Rogue Valley Symphony and Southern Oregon Repertory Singers to perform works by Rutter and Handel. Photo courtesy of RVS

Holiday music for choir and orchestra

The Rogue Valley Symphony, conducted by Martin Majkut, will perform John Rutter's "Magnificat," along with the Christmas portion of George Frideric Handel’s "Messiah" with the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, for its series of three holiday concerts.

Washington, D.C., soprano Rosa Lamoreaux will be the featured soloist for Rutter's "Magnificat," a piece that praises Mary. "Messiah," an oratorio, is a piece for choir and soloists that depicts the life of Jesus Christ. Lamoreaux, countertenor Jose Luis Munoz, tenor David Walton and baritone Jeffrey Fields will be the featured soloists.

Rutter’s "Magnificat" follows in the footsteps of Bach and his setting of the same text. Rutter includes elements of Latin American music that praises Mary through joyous celebrations of singing, dancing and processions.

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Grants Pass Performing Arts Center, 830 N.E. Ninth St.; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford; and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Music Recital Hall, 405 S. Mountain Ave., on the Southern Oregon University campus in Ashland.

Tickets are $15, $22, $30 or $37 for the Grants Pass show; $15, $25, $31, $36, $42 or $48 for the Medford show; and $36, $42, $48 or $55 for the Ashland show. Tickets are $10 for ages 6 through 18 at all shows. Tickets can be purchased online at rvsymphony.org or by calling 541-708-6400. Tickets for the Medford show also can be purchased online at craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.

Lamoreaux is known for a flawless sense of style. The Washington Post described her singing as “a voice whose pure beauty is one of Washington’s greatest national resources.”

She has presented critically acclaimed performances at the Bethlehem Bach Festival, Carmel Bach Festival and California Bach Festival. She has performed in Leipzig, Berlin and Halle, Germany, as part of the 300th anniversary celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach’s birth with the Washington Bach Consort.

The Washington Post wrote, "A wonderfully rich timbre and an amazingly flexible voice … combined with (Lamoreaux's) excellent diction, technical mastery and engaging personality makes for a first-rate performer.”

Majkut keeps the symphony's holiday offerings fresh by choosing a new selection of pieces from Handel’s "Messiah" each year.

"It is a genius work. Every movement is inspired," he said in a press release.

Adding Rutter's "Magnificat" seemed an obvious choice to Majkut, as one piece tells the story of Mary and the other of Jesus.

"John Rutter is a very popular British composer. He succeeds in making sophisticated music remain accessible to every listener. This piece is simply gorgeous,” Majkut said.

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