A performance of Handel’s Messiah by La Chapelle de Québec and Les Violons du Roy is always a cause for rejoicing. This year, for the very first time, Les Violons du Roy music director Jonathan Cohen will lead the celebrations. And he’s invited an extraordinary quartet of soloists to join him for the event.
Conductors and soloists
Jonathan Cohen 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. He is the new Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society, in addition to continuing as Artistic Director of Arcangelo, Music Director of Les Violons du Roy and Artistic Director of Tetbury Festival.
Throughout the 23-24 season, Jonathan continues to have a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe he guest conducts Budapest Festival Orchestra, Kammerorchester Basel, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege and Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorhcester. In his first season as their new Artistic Director, Jonathan leads the Handel & Haydn Society in Baroque masterpieces including Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah. He conducts further performances of Messiah with San Francisco Symphony whilst projects with Les Violons du Roy include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a US tour with Milos Karadaglic.
Jonathan founded Arcangelo in 2010 to create high quality bespoke projects. The ensemble was the first named Baroque Ensemble in Residence at Wigmore Hall, where it enjoys a continuing close association, and has toured to exceptional halls and festivals including Philharmonie Berlin, Vienna Konzerthaus, Barbican Centre, Kölner Philharmonie, Salzburg Festival, MA Festival Bruges, with three appearances at the BBC Proms including the premiere of Handel Theodora (2018) and a televised performance of Bach St Matthew Passion (2021).
Arcangelo’s founding commitment to the recording studio has produced 28 critically lauded albums including Arias for Guadagni and Bach Cantatas with Iestyn Davies (Hyperion; Gramophone Award 2012 and 2017), Mozart Violin Concertos with Vilde Frang (Warner; ECHO Klassik Award 2015) C.P.E. Bach Cello Concertos with Nicolas Altstaedt (Hyperion; BBC Music Magazine Award 2017), Buxtehude Trio Sonatas Op.1 (Alpha Classics; GRAMMY Nominee 2018), Tiranno with Kate Lindsey (Alpha; Sunday Times Records of the Year 2021). Arcangelo’s latest recordings include Sacroprofano with Tim Mead (Alpha; released 2023), Handel Theodora and Buxtehude Opus Posthumous (Alpha; releasing 2024), Handel Chandos Anthems (Alpha; releasing 2025) and a landmark project with Nicolas Altstaedt to make the first survey on period instruments of Boccherini’s Cello Concertos (Alpha).
A native of Bolivar, New York, soprano Joélle Harvey has established herself as a noted interpreter of a broad repertoire anchored by Handel, Mozart, and new music.
Her engagements during the 2021–2022 season include debuts at Opernhaus Zürich (Aristea in Pergolesi’s L’Olimpiade), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, conducted by Jakub Hrůša), and the University Musical Society at University of Michigan (Handel’s Messiah). She joins Les Violons du Roy for further Messiah performances, returns to the North Carolina Symphony (Mahler’s Symphony No. 4), the Indianapolis Symphony (Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9), and continues her close collaboration with Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society in two appearances: Vivaldi’s Gloria and CPE Bach’s Magnificat, conducted by Jonathan Cohen; and Haydn’s The Creation, led by Harry Christophers in his final performances as H&H Artistic Director.
During the 2020–2021 season, Joélle Harvey filmed a performance of Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 with the Cleveland Orchestra as part of their re-configured season, made her Cincinnati Symphony May Festival debut, performing Britten’s Les Illuminations and joined the Handel & Haydn Society for a filmed production of their annual Messiah concert. Additionally, she collaborated with Los Angeles Opera on Anna Clyne’s The Gorgeous Nothings, a setting of Emily Dickinson texts for their On Now initiative, and later in the summer joined the Elgin Symphony for Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, and Bard Summerscape for performances of songs by Nadia Boulanger as well as excerpts of Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes.
Original engagements for Joélle Harvey’s 2019–2020 season included important debuts, as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with the Metropolitan Opera. She returned to the Cleveland Orchestra for Mahler’s 4th Symphony as well as Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. Mahler’s 2nd Symphony featured prominently as well, , with a return to the St. Louis Symphony. Her season also included appearances with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society for their Emerging Voices series, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for a concert in Alice Tully Hall featuring songs of Schubert, Chausson, and Harbison.
A unique vocal colour and commanding stage presence are the hallmarks of performances by mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy. Hailed by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle as “a singer of enormous imagination and versatility,” she has appeared with the Paris Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, St. Louis Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival, San Francisco Opera, Boston Symphony, Canadian Opera Company, Les Violons du Roy, Warsaw Philharmonic, and Théâtre capitole du Toulouse. Adam Fischer, Seiji Ozawa, Jeremy Rohrer, Kent Nagano, Emmanuelle Haim, Bernard Labadie, Trevor Pinnock, Ludovic Morlot, Carlos Kalmar, and Johannes Debus are among the conductors with whom she has collaborated for performances of works such as La clemenza di Tito, L'enfant et les sortilèges, Hippolyte et Aricie, Mozart’s C minor Mass, Matthäus Passion, Das Rheingold, The Dream of Gerontius and Messiah. Ms. McHardy is a Prix Opus winner for Opéra de Montréal’s Dead Man Walking and Opéra de Québec’s Der Fliegende Holländer, and she was nominated for a Juno Award for the Canadian Art Song Project’s disc, Summer Night, featuring the music of Healey Willan.
This coming season, Allyson McHardy looks forward to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Handel’s The Resurrection with Opera Atelier, Messiah with Nicholas Kramer for Music of the Baroque in Chicago, and Riders to the Sea in a co-production with BOP and Opéra de Montréal. In 2019–2020 her schedule included performances of Bach cantatas for Music of the Baroque, Messiah with the Florida Orchestra and Newfoundland Symphony, and Flight for Pacific Opera Victoria.
Allyson McHardy’s discography includes the Juno-nominated Summer Night-Healey Willan with the Canadian Art Song Project (Centrediscs). Other CDs include the Juno-nominated Orlando by George Frideric Handel with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Alexander Weimann (ATMA), the Juno- and ADISQ-nominated recording of Caldara’s La Conversione di Clodoveo, Re di Francia (ATMA), Bellini’s Norma with the Warsaw Philharmonic (Philharmonia Narodowa), two works by Harry Somers—Serinette and A Midwinter Night’s Dream (Centrediscs)—and Ukrainian art songs by composer Mykola Lysenko in a six-disc collection on the Musica Leopolis label.
A prolific concert performer, Andrew Staples has appeared with Berliner and Wiener Philharmoniker, Akademisten Berlin, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with Sir Simon Rattle; Orchestre de Paris, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Harding; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; the Gävle Symphony with Robin Ticciati; Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Orcherstre Métropolitain, and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; and Accademia Santa Cecilia with Semyon Bychkov.
Andrew Staples made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Jacquino (Fidelio), returning for Flamand (Capriccio), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Tichon (Katya Kabanova), and Narraboth (Salome). He has also appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, the National Theatre in Prague. La Monnaie in Brussels, Salzburger Festspiele, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Theater an der Wien, the Lucerne Festival, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Recent and future engagements include his Metropolitan Opera debut as Andres (Wozzeck), Nicias in concert performances of Thais with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Das Lied von der Erde with the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Budapest Festival Orchestra. Further future engagements include returns to Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Bayerischer Rundfunk Munich.
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, the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Boulez, the Cleveland and Philharmonia orchestras under Dohnanyi, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Harnoncourt, the OAE under Brüggen, the English Concert with Harry Bicket, the Gabrieli Consort under McCreesh, the Hallé Orchestra with Elder, Concerto Koeln under Bolton, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with Adam Fischer, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with Edward Gardner, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin with David Zinman, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis, and the London Symphony and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras under Harding. He has been a regular guest of the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms.
Recent concert appearances include Shostakovich 14 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits, a return to Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin for King Arthur, concert performances of Peter Grimes with the Bergen Philharmonic, and Messiah with the Lucerne Symphony. Previous seasons highlights include the Edinburgh Festival with Edward Gardner (Creation) and the BBC Proms (Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem), as well as concerts with David Afkham and the Spanish National Orchestra, and with Maxime Pascal conducting the Hallé Orchestra. The 2018/19 season saw appearances with Les Violons du Roy and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (Jonathan Cohen), the Bach Collegium Japan (Masaaki Suzuki), Music of the Baroque (Jane Glover), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (Bernard Labadie).
Neal Davie’s wide discography includes Acis and Galatea under Christian Curnyn (BBC Music Magazine Award, 2019), Messiah, Theodora, Saul and Creation (Gramophone Award, 2008) under McCreesh, Jenufa and Makropulos Case under Sir Charles Mackerras, Barber’s Vanessa under Leonard Slatkin, Messiah under René Jacobs, the Hyperion Complete Schubert Edition with Graham Johnson, and Britten’s Billy Budd with Daniel Harding (Grammy Award, 2010).
La Chapelle de QuébecChamber choir
Created in 1985 by founding conductor and music director Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec is one of North America’s premiere voice ensembles. The group is made up exclusively of professional singers who are hand picked from all over Canada. This unique chamber choir specializes in the choral/orchestral repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. The choir performs regularly with its other half, chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, and as a guest choir with some of the finest orchestras in North America. Its interpretations of the oratorios, requiems, masses, and cantatas of Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, as well as Fauré and Duruflé, are frequently hailed in the Canadian and international press.
La Chapelle de Québec is heard regularly at Palais Montcalm in Quebec City and Maison symphonique in Montreal, as well as at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The choir’s concerts are often broadcast by the CBC and Radio-Canada in Canada and by National Public Radio in the United States.
La Chapelle de Québec is also known for its role in Chemin de Noël, an annual event that brings music lovers from throughout the Québec City region together every December.