LSM Newswire

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Baroque Celebration with Canadian Legend, soprano Nancy Argenta

The VSO Presents Canadian Soprano Nancy Argenta

In A Baroque Celebration

Vancouver BC – Canadian soprano Nancy Argenta will grace the Chan Centre stage on February 6th and 7th and the Centennial Theatre stage on February 9th for A Baroque Celebration – a celebration of beautiful baroque and chamber music by Muffat, Bach, Mozart and Schubert. All concerts take place at 8pm and will be conducted by Victoria Symphony Music Director Tania Miller, former VSO Associate Conductor.

Argenta’s voice possesses a bell-like clarity, but the tone has a natural, unforced lyricism … Feeling is released with simplicity, and no undue archness or artifice interferes with her appealing directness of manner.”

- Globe and Mail

…(Tania Miller) has absolute authority over the score, clarifying its dense textures, her long term thoughts giving it the shape it needs and bringing out every detail, its variety, its delicious orientalisms, the ravishments of the slow movement. She has the gift of disappearing into the music, the sign of a true conductor. It was 45 minutes of bliss."

- The Vancouver Sun

A true Canadian superstar, Nancy Argenta began her career in Vancouver taking voice lessons with Jacob Hamm and at the University of Western Ontario with Martin Chambers. After winning the S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatté Competition in 1980, she began her studies in Europe with her mentor Vera Rosza. Her professional operatic debut was in Hippolyte et Aricie at the 1983 Aix-en-Provence Festival. Since then, she has been in high demand world-wide for her clear and flexible soprano voice that is seen as ideal for classical-era music. Although Argenta is regarded as “the supreme Handel soprano of our age” she is also renowned for her interpretations of Bach, Mozart, Shubert and Purcell. The VSO is honoured to share the stage with this Canadian star in her element.

At only thirty-five years of age, Victoria Symphony’s Music Director Tania Miller is the youngest Music Director of any major Canadian orchestra today. She has also made history by being the first Canadian woman to be appointed to such a prestigious position within Canada. Prior to her appointment in Victoria, Maestra Miller was the VSO’s Associate Conductor and she is always a Vancouver audience favourite. Her expertise in baroque music from her work as the Assistant Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival is sure to impress both baroque enthusiasts and casual listeners of this concert.


Bach & Beyond and North Shore Classics Series:

A Baroque Celebration

Friday & Saturday, February 6 & 7, 8pm, Chan Centre

Monday, February 9, 8pm, Centennial Theatre

Tania Miller, conductor

Nancy Argenta, soprano

Muffat Concerto Grosso No.12, Propitia Sydera

Bach Cantata No.209, Non sa che sia dolore

Mozart Il re pastore, K.208: L’amero saro costante

Mozart Voi avete un cor fedele, K.217

Schubert Symphony No.6, Little C Major

Internationally-renowned soprano Nancy Argenta makes her VSO debut, with Victoria Symphony Music Director Tania Miller. This is an evening of beautiful baroque and chamber music at its best.

Tickets for February 6 & 7: $35 to $59 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets available ONLY through Ticketmaster outlets, Charge-by-Phone at 604.280.3311 or online at

Tickets for February 9: $37 (Student, Senior and Subscriber discounts available)

Tickets available by phone at 604.876.3434 or online at

The VSO’s Bach & Beyond Series Endowed By:

The Chan Foundation of Canada

The presentation of this series is made possible in part through the generous assistance of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts of the University of British Columbia.


Tania Miller, conductor

Tania Miller’s reputation as a consummate musician, leader, and communicator has grown rapidly in today’s orchestral scene. At the age of thirty-five, Ms. Miller is the youngest current Music Director of a major Canadian orchestra and the first Canadian woman to be appointed to such a significant position in Canada. The 2007/2008 Season will mark Ms. Miller's fifth season as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to her work in Victoria, Ms. Miller was with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2004, first as Assistant Conductor and finally as Associate Conductor. Her many North American guest conducting engagements include the Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Windsor, Oregon, Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montreal, Toledo, London (ON), and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras, and she recently made her European debut conducting the Berne Symphoniker in Switzerland where she will return in the 2008/2009 season.

Tania Miller co-founded the Michigan Opera Works in 1997 with a mandate to provide performance opportunities for emerging young professional artists. She also served as Artistic Director and conductor from 1997-2000, and led productions of Handel’s Semele, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte. Ms. Miller has also conducted with Detroit’s Friends of Opera in performances of Puccini’s La Boheme. In 2000, she was asked to conduct a production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann in 2000 with Opera McGill of Montreal on short notice when their conductor fell ill. The performances were such a success that she was invited back the following season to conduct Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.

Ms. Miller has worked extensively in the areas of Baroque and contemporary music. Her work as the Assistant Conductor of the Carmel Bach Festival from 1997-2001 gave her a unique opportunity to work closely with the internationally renowned conductor Bruno Weil and many of the world's leading Baroque artists. Tania began her work in the field of contemporary music as Assistant conductor of the Banff Festival of the Arts in 1997 in Banff, Canada. She has been a frequent guest conductor with the Toronto contemporary ensemble ERGO, with whom she premiered a number of compositions in Munich, Toronto and New York.

Originally from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, Tania Miller received her D.M.A and Master's degree in conducting from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan; studying with teachers Kenneth Kiesler and H. Robert Reynolds.

Nancy Argenta, soprano

With a repertoire spanning three centuries, Nancy Argenta has been hailed as the supreme Handel soprano of our age and praised for her performances of works by composers as diverse as Mahler, Mozart, Schubert and Schoenberg. Her ability to adapt from large scale orchestral works to chamber music and recitals has earned her great recognition and praise.

Conductors include Ozawa, Gardiner, Davis, Blomstedt, Pinnock, Hogwood and Norrington with orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Singapore Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Toronto, Montreal, Sydney and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. In opera, concert and recital she has appeared at many leading festivals including Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Mostly Mozart and the BBC Proms. Her discography of over 50 recordings includes Bach's St John Passion, B Minor Mass, Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio with Gardiner, Purcell's King Arthur and Haydn Masses with Pinnock and Hickox, Mozart's Requiem, Magic Flute and Don Giovanni with Norrington. As an EMI/Virgin Solo Artist she has recorded Schubert Lieder, Scarlatti Cantatas and two discs of Bach Solo Cantatas as well as two of Purcell songs, the first of which, O Solitude, was honoured with a Classic CD Award. Recent CD releases include Handel's Saul with Paul McCreesh (Archiv), Handel's Resurrezione with the Combattimento Consort and Lost is my quiet a collection of English Music from Purcell’s time.

As a devotee of the song repertoire of all periods, Nancy Argenta tours widely as a recitalist, presenting songs with their "original" keyboard accompaniment of harpsichord, fortepiano or modern piano. Recent recital locations with Maggie Cole, keyboards have included The Netherlands, Hungary, Israel, Canada and Spain.

Recent concerts include performances with Die Kölner Akademie for concerts in Spain with Michael Chance, a programme of Purcell and Handel with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, a programme celebrating 100 years of English Music with the NDR Radiophilharmonic Orchestra in Hannover and the St Matthew Passion in Hamburg. Future concerts include the North Carolina Symphony, the Vancouver Bach Choir and performances of the St Matthew Passion with the Baldwin Wallace Bach Festival in Ohio.

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