Renowned mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton performs with Atlanta Master Chorale this weekend
“Where Music Touches Spirit,” the motto of the Atlanta Master Chorale, captures the reflective mood of their latest presentation of classical choral music. With the world-renowned mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as guest soloist, the ensemble will give two concerts at Dunwoody United Methodist Church this weekend. Barton and Atlanta Master Chorale artistic director Dr. Eric Nelson joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to give a preview of the shows.
With a program composed primarily of works from the first half of the 20th century, the Chorale’s concert will highlight the “Requiem” by Maurice Duruflé, “one of the most beautiful pieces ever written,” according to Nelson. “One of the movements of the ‘Requiem’ is composed for a mezzo-soprano soloist,” he said. “Of course, if you can imagine the way that this might be sung by the greatest mezzo that there is, you would imagine that maybe Jamie Barton would be singing it.”
With the enthusiastic participation of their featured soloist and a lovingly curated repertoire, the concert still faced setbacks before its long-awaited staging. “This concert was supposed to take place during last season, which of course for all of us around the world was canceled because of the pandemic,” said Nelson.
“It was heartbreaking on my side of things too. I love this work in particular,” added Barton. “I have, quite literally, recorded the ‘Pie Jesu,’ along with the Duruflé ‘Requiem’ in Paris, in the church that Duruflé wrote it in, you know, with the organ that he wrote it for … I’m just so excited that we’ve found another area in the schedule for this to live.”
Barton supplemented the repertoire with other gems from her repertoire, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Five Mystical Songs” and others. “The task at hand was really, let’s showcase a little taster, like a little tapas portion of other things that [I] do,” said Barton. “The three pieces that came to me that we ended up programming [were] ‘Greeting,’ by Bernstein, from his ‘Arias and Barcarolles’ songs, ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me,’ from Dvorjak’s ‘Gypsy Songs,’ and ‘Var det en dröm,’ the wonderful Sibelius song.”
Barton, one of the most acclaimed among contemporary classical singers, expressed her admiration for the Atlanta Master Chorale. “I find myself an incredibly lucky woman to be living in the city where this organization is based. To be able to go and hear them live is just such a joy,” she said, later adding, “If I have any nerves whatsoever, it’s just the idea of singing these in front of the choir, these incredible musicians.”
Atlanta Master Chorale presents two performances featuring soloist Jamie Barton at Dunwoody United Methodist Church on Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 22. More information and tickets are available at atlantamasterchorale.org/concerts.