By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: Symphony Silicon Valley
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Courtesy: Stanford University, Haydn-Patronage and Enlighten Program

SAN JOSË, CA –  During the eighteenth Century, Viennese FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-l809)  was, with MOZART and BEETHOVEN, one of the most prominent composers during the evolution of  the Classical Style music.  

HAYDN was prominent in the development of  the  Chamber Music such as the Piano Trio. He was the one who established the style and the form of “The String Quartet,” and  it was HAYDN who created  the structure of the symphony, when he was the “Chamber Composer and Music Director”  of an orchestra of l6 musicians  in  the Bohemian court  of  Count FERDINAND MAXIMILIAM VON MORZIN at the age of 17.    

But it was not until years later (l761) when As Music Director of the Royal orchestra  of  Prince  PAL  ANTAL  ESTERHAZY, who belonged  to one of the wealthiest and most-influential families in Austria,  that HAYDN  was given the opportunity to work in an atmosphere conducive to creativity, as a result, the prolific composer created many of his masterpieces: six Masses, considered the most-significant masses of the l8th Century, 68 String quartets, 32 Divertimentos for small orchestra, 126 Trios, for Baryton, viola and cello, 29 trios for piano, violin and cello, 21 Trios for two violins and cellos, 47 piano sonatas, about 20 Operas, 6 Oratorios, and the stirring song “got erhalte Franz den Kaiser (l797) (God Save the Emperor Franz) that for more than a century was used as the Austrian national anthem.

By the late 20thCentury, HAYDN’s  music took a deeper hue around the world. Even his Paris Symphonies (82, 83, 84, 85, 86, and 87 (l785-1786) started being recognized as for the  richness in their sound, their melodic lines and and the deep profundity in their slow movements.

Being a Christian, in his music, HAYDN always conveyed his optimism, his faith in God and  his joie de vie (joy of life)to the world. As a composer,  FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN, is the  true epitome of the ENLIGHTMENT,

And because of those joyful sounds transmitted in the composer’s orchestrations, two hundred and nine years after his death, HAYDN’s music still resound inside the world’s theatres.

On May 6, closing the  2017-2018  Season of  SYMPHONY SILICON VALLEY, HAYDN’s music from  THE CREATION, (l779) one of his  two greatest Oratorios was heard at the California Theatre in S.J. The concert, played by SYMPHONY SILICON VALLEY and masterfully sung by the 72  mixed voices of  SYMPHONY  SILICON VALLEY  CHORALE  directed by ELENA SHARKOVA, and three world famous singers: American bass ADAM LAU, tenor TIMOTHY BENTCH, and Puerto Rican soprano ABIGAIL SANTOS VILLALOBOS. The evening may be described as a firmament of musical stars.

And  to be able to interpret  HAYDN’s idea of  God’s creation of a flawless world’s order and universal harmony with no conflicts and adversity of any kind, in the  “voices” of  the instruments of an orchestra, SYMPHONY SILICON VALLEY selected a Conductor whose work has been centered  in the interpretation of  Sacred Choral Literature:  Maestro  JOHN NELSON.

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As Conductor of  the world’s top orchestras JOHN  NELSON has a varied repertoire that has taken him to many of the world’s major Opera Houses including the Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, the Opera National de Paris,  and the Netherlands Opera.

Born in Costa Rica, the Conductor studied in the United Stated at the prestigious JUILLIARD SCHOOL of Music in New York, where he won the IRVING BERLIN Prize in conducting.

He made his professional opera conducting debut at the New York City Opera in Bizet’s Carmen  and his METROPOLITAN OPERA  conducting debut, replacing an indisposed RAFAEL KUBELIK, in BERLIOZ’ Les Troyens. His being able to conduct BERLIOZ, catapulted NELSON  into the limelight and led him to  his European debut at GRAND THEATRE de GENEVE  conducting  Les Troyens, and to his French debut conducting the production of Beatrice et Benedict. at the BERLIOZ Festival in Lyon, France, 


HAYDN considered the music he created for his Oratorio THE CREATION the high point of his life. The idea of the work started nine years before he started it in l791, when he attended a HANDEL festival at Westminster Abbey in London, that presented oratorios which included thousands of performers singers and instrumentalists. He had never heard something like this.  

THE CREATION Libretto (written by an unknown) was intended for HANDEL who had read it, but did never set it o music. When the English gave it to HAYDN, who was honored in England as "the greatest living composer," he took it to Austria where BARON VAN SWIETEN translate it to German.

THE CREATION’s Libretto is based on GENESIS I The solo singers (called Angels) describing the days of the creation of the world that ends with the creation of Adam and Eve. The music of its Overture represents the chaos of an earth without form or shape where the darkness was upon the face of the earth before God’s creation of the world, the rest of the story, in the voices the Bass, the Tenor and the Soprano singing as a soloist.

Singing the Bass voice of Angel Rafael and Adam, in this performance was American Bass ADAM LAU, (picture below) who possess an smooth, deep sonorous tone of voice with fluid quality, His part in CREATION was sang with feeling and with perfect vocalization.
thumbnail (5).jpgBass LAU has an active career  which includes multiple operatic and concert dates His performances for  the 2017-2018 Season demonstrates his versatility.
As a Concert singer LAU has sang in Verdi’s Requiem with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, Performed with Maestro KENT TRITLE in the Mahler 8th Symphony, and at the Bershire Musica Festival.

Last Summer he made his debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, singing the role of Lodovico in their concert performande of Otello and returned to San Francisco to sing in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

As an Opera singer, LAU will be singing the dramatic  role of Creon in Medea At the Wesford Festival Opera, the comic role of Don Basilio in Il Barbieri di Siviglia with the Kentucky Opera and as the Old Hebrew in Samsom and Delila in North Carolina.

thumbnail (4).jpgThe part of  Angel Uriel in THE CREATION  was also masterfully performed  by Tenor TIMOTHY BENTCH  (pictured Left) who as a young tenor was called "A treasure in today's Hungarian musical life" by the critics in Hungary, where he lived for twelve years and whose first singing experience took place practicing scales on the tractor and in his silo as he worked in his family farm.

Years later, after a Master’s in music from the prestigious Curtis Institure of Music, he was recognized as “the most significant “Hungarian” lyric tenor of his generation."

In Hungary, he has sang at all the leading venues, appearing before presidents and prime Ministers with many television appearances and radio broadcasts.

As an opera singer, he had sang at the Hungarian State Opera, where he premiered in the new productions as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Belmonte in the Abduction, Nencio in L’Infelda de lusa by HAYDN and many other roles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Russia, Bulgaria, France, Malta, Israel, Russia, The UK and Germany.

His symphonic Repertoire includes the entire standard repertoire from Renaissance and Baroque music, to the large words of MAHLER and VERDI which he recorded for Naxos. His recording winning  “recording of the Month” by Sterophile Magazine.

The tenor has also sang with the Philharmonic orchestras of Lille, Strasbourg, Avignon, Saint Petersburg, Warsaw, Sofia, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra, and the Ars Nove Symphony in Chicago. 

His recent performances include the Britten War Requiem, with the HNP,  the Evangelist in the Saint Matthew Passion in Hong Kong, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Costa Rica National Orchestra conducted by JOHN NELSON.

thumbnail (3).jpg The Voice of  Angel Gabriel and Eve, in THE CREATION was provided by the pure lustrous sounding voice of  Puerto Rican soprano ABIGAIL SANTOS VILLALOBOS. (pictured left)

The multi-faceted performer, has gained recognition performing under conductors such as NELSON, PAAVO JARVI,  STEVN FOX, MARK GIBSON, GUIllERMO FIGUEROA, JAMES BAGWELL and DAVID HANHLON

The  highlights in her operatic career has been her recent debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Unlimited, San Diego Opera and Houston Grand Opera in the leading role of Amorita in the world’s premiere of El pasado nunca se termina, with Music by JOSË MARTINEZ and Libretto by LEONARD FLGLIA.

On the concert stage, SANTOS has performed in some of the most difficult classical works such as BACH’s St. John Passion, and in his Cantata No 202. In BRAHMS’s Requiem, in MOZART’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, and in HAYDN’s  The Creation with the Costa Rica Symphony.

At Emory University, SANTOS VIllA LOBOS has performed a great number of solo recitals and concerts with the Emory University Symphony Orchestra. She premiere a a new work: Cinco Canciones con los Ojos Cerrados by composer MIGUEL FRANCOLI  at CARNEGIE HALL,

In the Spring, the soprano will be performing a solo recital with ERIKA TAZAWA at the Schwarts Center in Atlanta Georgia, “A Girl” in West Side Story with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan and solo performances in the musical Festival “Poco a Poco” in Kennesaw State University in Georgia to name a few.

Among the many honors bestowed to the soprano during the years are: Finalist of the 2014 MONC Southeast Region, 2013, Promising Artist of the Santa Fe Opera ANNA CASE MACKAY AWARD, 20l2 Kentucky Bach Choir Competition 2011 Sam ADAMS AWAR, 2010 Italo Tajo Memorial Award and Metropolitan Opera National Finalist.

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HAYDN’s  THE CREATION at the California Theatre

With this masterful presentation of HAYDN’s THE CREATION closing its 2017-2018 Season, SYMPHONY SILICON VALLEY this year outranked itself.