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Bach's St. Matthew Passion at Stanford April 25 and 26

Bach's St. Matthew Passion, one of the great musical achievements of Western civilization, will be performed by the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Chorale, Early Music Singers, San Francisco Girls Chorus and invited soloists on Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, at 8 p.m. at Memorial Church. Tickets, priced at $15 general admission and $8 students, may be purchased at Tresidder Ticket Office or at the door. For more information, call 725-2787.

The vocal soloists include mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt, soprano Christine Brandes, bass Nathaniel Watson, baritone Kenneth Goodson, and tenors Gregory Wait and Mark Bleeke. In early rehearsals, Steve Sano conducted the Chamber Chorale and William Mahrt led the Early Music Singers. J. Karla Lemon will conduct the performance.

Goodson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been singing parts of the St. Matthew Passion, with his father at the piano, since he was 10. He first sang the bass solo as a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For this performance, he will perform the role of Jesus Christ.

Goodson has studied with Phyllis Curtin, Hans Hotter, Elly Ameling and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He says working in Germany with Fischer-Dieskau, who is widely regarded as a master of Bach, gave him valuable language and interpreting skills.

"Fischer-Dieskau's recordings are absolutely unparalleled in expressive nature," Goodson says. "He showed me how I could achieve a tremendous range of colors."

Goodson has been practicing for this performance with his wife, Laura Dahl, a professional pianist. He juggles work on his research in thermal phenomena at microscales with practice sessions in his car or in his office in Building 500.

Mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt is a recitalist, concert singer and operatic performer who has sung with the San Francisco, Houston, Boston and St. Louis symphonies. Recent successes include the role of Irene in Handel's Theodora at the Clyndebourne Festival and the solo role in Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ at Carnegie Hall. Her opera engagements have taken her to Europe, Australia, the Pacific Rim and many American cities.

Soprano Christine Brandes enjoys an active performance schedule in the United States and abroad. Later this year, she will appear as Suzanna in Le nozze di Figaro with the Opéra de Montréal and the Opéra de Quebéc.

Bass Nathaniel Watson has performed with symphony orchestras in Houston, Montreal, Baltimore, San Francisco and Boston, in addition to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada.

Tenor Gregory Wait enjoys a career as singer, conductor and teacher. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1990, singing the Requiem of Alfred Schnittke, and has been a soloist at the Carmel Bach Festival for more than 15 seasons.

Tenor Mark Bleeke is known for his performance of the role of the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion. Reviewer Gwendolyn Haverstock wrote that "it is difficult to imagine any singer better suited to this demanding role."


By Tienlon Ho