Thursday October 27 | 7:30pm
Mirror Visions Ensemble was founded from a desire to explore the relationship between music and text, initially through the creation of “mirror visions” — settings of the same text to music by different composers. The group’s passion for storytelling has produced thematic concerts on surprising subjects, based on scholarly research and laced with humor, leading to the revitalization of art song programming. Featuring soprano, tenor, baritone and piano, the Mirror Visions Ensemble’s programs take audiences on an imaginative journey through song, showcasing both well-known and oft-neglected pieces, set to texts by poets and historical figures.
Mireille Asselin – Soprano
Jesse Blumberg – Baritone
Scott Murphree – Tenor
Grant Wenaus – Piano
Thank you to Carol & Ted Brown for sponsoring this performance.
Photo: Kelvin Watkins
Mireille Asselin (Soprano)
A singer deemed “superb” by the Los Angeles Times, and praised by Opera Canada for her “vivacious stage presence” and as a “soprano that charms and brightens a room”, Mireille Asselin enjoys a diverse, international career spanning concert, opera, and recital work. To date, Mireille has sung five seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, where she debuted as Poussette in Manon. She then made waves by jumping in as Adele for opening night of Die Fledermaus under the baton of James Levine, giving a performance that critics raved “stole the show”, hailing it as one of New York’s “most enchanting” of the season. As a respected performer of early music she appears regularly with Opera Atelier, Boston Early Music Festival, and other period ensembles. She made her European operatic debut in 2014 at the Royal Opera of the Palace of Versailles in Lully’s Persée and her Carnegie Hall concert debut in 2012. In the 2018-19 season, Mireille sang with Champs Elysées Theater in Paris (Zerlina, Don Giovanni), Milwaukee Symphony (Handel’s Messiah), Caramoor Festival (Venus, Rameau’s Dardanus) and Orchestre de Chambre de Paris (Mozart’s Requiem), and returned to Carnegie Hall (Bach’s Christmas Oratorio), Columbus Opera (title role, Monteverdi’s Poppea), and Opera Atelier (Zerlina) in addition to performing extensively with the Mirror Visions Ensemble in recital across North America. Ms. Asselin’s discography includes two projects dedicated to Canadian music – “Inspired by Canada – Notre Pays” with the Amici Chamber Ensemble on Marquis Classics and “Ash Roses” on Centrediscs – as well as Haydn’s Harmoniemesse recorded with the Handel + Haydn Society to be released this year on the CORO label. Ms. Asselin is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Studio, Yale University, and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Jesse Blumberg (Baritone)
Baritone Jesse Blumberg enjoys a busy schedule of opera, concerts, and recitals, performing repertoire from the Renaissance and Baroque to the 20th and 21st centuries. His performances have included the world premiere of The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Bernstein’s MASS at London’s Royal Festival Hall, various productions with Boston Early Music Festival, and featured roles with Atlanta Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Atelier, Utah Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Recital highlights include appearances with the Marilyn Horne Foundation, New York Festival of Song, and Mirror Visions Ensemble. He has performed major concert works with American Bach Soloists, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Boston Baroque, Oratorio Society of New York, Apollo’s Fire, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and on Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. Jesse has been featured on over twenty commercial recordings, including Schubert’s Winterreise with pianist Martin Katz and the 2015 Grammy-winning Charpentier Chamber Operas with Boston Early Music Festival. He has been recognized in several competitions, and was awarded Third Prize at the 2008 International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, becoming its first American prizewinner in over thirty years. Jesse holds degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is also the founding artistic director of Five Boroughs Music Festival in New York City.
Scott Murphree (Tenor)
Tenor Scott Murphree is a distinguished singer of the concert, recital and opera stage. In addition to specializing in traditional opera repertoire, he has also created roles in several world premieres of operas including Allan Jaffee’s Mary Shelley, Christopher Berg’s Cymbeline, and Tina Davison’s Billy and Zelda. Highlights of recent engagements include performances with Central City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Delaware, Nevada Opera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, New York Festival of Song, Five Boroughs Music Festival, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Walter Reade Theater, Town Hall in Seattle, Eos Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony, Southeast Texas Symphony, Cape May Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival and Pacific Music Festival in Japan. He has worked closely with composers such as Ned Rorem, Ricky Ian Gordon, Robert Beaser and Richard Hundley, and has premiered songs written especially for him by Yehudi Wyner, Tom Cipullo, Richard Pearson Thomas and Christopher Berg. Murphree has served on the voice faculties of the University of Connecticut and the Yale School of Drama and currently serves as an adjunct professor on the voice faculty in the Steinhardt School at New York University. Murphree received his B.M. from the University of North Texas, his M.M. from Yale University, and his D.M.A. from State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Grant Wenaus (Piano)
Grant Wenaus, originally from Regina, Canada, is a pianist, vocal coach, conductor and professor. He created the Collaborative Piano Studies program at NYU, where he conducted productions including The Magic Flute, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Dido and Aeneas, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Merry Widow, Ragtime, City of Angels and The Light in the Piazza. Dr. Wenaus is a Principal Coach and Assistant Conductor at the Glimmerglass Festival, and has been a vocal coach for the UpNorth Vocal Institute, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Florence Voice Seminar and the College Audition Advantage program at Hartford University. At Glimmerglass, he has performed in recitals with Eric Owens, Jay Hunter Morris, Nathan Gunn, David Pittsinger, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Marietta Simpson and Peter Volpe. He has also been an accompanist for many concerts at Symphony Space in New York City, working with such Broadway luminaries as John Kander, Jason Robert Brown, Andrew Lippa, Carolee Carmello, Kate Baldwin, Rebecca Luker, Julia Murney and Brian D’Arcy James. He is currently on faculty at Montclair State University in New Jersey.