Bach’s Passion

in collaboration with Choral Arts Ensemble

Matthias Maute, Artistic Director, Bach Society of Minnesota
Rick Kvam, Artistic Director, Choral Arts Ensemble

Anna Christofaro, soprano
Nerea Berraondo, alto
Nicholas Chalmers, tenor
Alan Dunbar, bass

March 15th’s performance in St. Paul is sold out.
Consider attending performances in Rochester on March 16th, or Winona on March 17th. 

Choral Arts Ensemble

Choral Arts Ensemble (CAE) has been inspiring audiences throughout southeast Minnesota with performances of outstanding choral music since its founding by Rick Kvam in 1985. The singers of CAE are active community members from a wide variety of professions, including teachers, farmers, doctors, bankers, computer technicians, and church leaders, all drawn together to create excellent music and contribute to the artistically thriving life in and around Rochester.

CAE has collaborated locally with the Rochester Symphony, Honors Choirs of SE Minnesota, Rochester Art Center, Janet Lang Dancers and regionally with the Great River Shakespeare Festival, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dale Warland Singers. For five years CAE’s Christmas at Assisi concert has been broadcast on KSMQ public television and the choir has selections played regularly on Classical Minnesota Public Radio on the daily playlist, the Choral Stream or the Regional Spotlight segment.

Since 1998 CAE has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to coordinate its Rosemary and Meredith Willson Harmony for Mayo Music Program – Monday noontime concerts in the Lips Atrium on the Mayo campus. These free concerts feature a wide variety of performers, including CAE, and music (e.g. bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, jazz, ethnic, classical); they are open to patients, staff, and the general public.

Anna Christofaro, Soprano

Praised for her vocal agility and clear tone, Minneapolis based soprano, Anna Christofaro, is gaining recognition as an interpreter of a wide range of repertoire from early to contemporary music.  She performed on the 2018 GRAMMY-nominated album, Tyberg Masses, with the South Dakota Chorale.  Other highlights include performing at the Olavsfestagene Festival in Trondheim, Norway with the GRAMMY award-winning ensemble, Conspirare, and performed on their national tour of Considering Matthew Shepard by Craig Hella Johnson.  She’s also performed under the baton of Bach-scholars, Helmuth Rilling and Hans-Christoph Rademann, at the Weimar Bach Academy and the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart in Germany.

Anna’s made her soloist debuts of Fauré’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the Minnesota Chorale, Vivaldi’s Gloria with Consortium Carissimi, and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb with the University of North Texas.  She was also featured on the Lakeville Coffee Concert Artist Series of music by local composer, Steve Heitzeg.  Other solo appearances include Handel’s Ulrecht Te Deum, and Mozart’s Regina Coeli, as well as numerous Bach cantatas with the Oratory Bach Ensemble.

A versatile performer, Anna has performed the role of First Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival in Italy.  Other opera credits include the role of Maguellone in Viardot’s Cendrillon, Serpina in Pergolesi’s La Serva Perdona, Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Gianetta in The Gondoliers.

Anna holds a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Nerea Berraondo, Alto

Ms. Berraondo has worked with early music conductors and orchestras including Eduardo López Banzo, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Alan Curtis, Jacques Ogg, Simon Carrington, Marcelo di Lisa, Matthias Maute, Pedro Gandía, Josetxu Obregón, Marian Rosa Montagut. Recently she has recorded Biagio Marini’s vocal music with her ensemble Aldatu on the Arsis recording label and Demofonte by Gluck with il Complesso Barocco conducted by Alan Curtis.

Reviews of her work in these roles include: “Nerea Berraondo is the new revelation. This Spanish mezzo has a seductive voice and a powerful low range” (trans. French, “One of the most powerful and evocative voices of the current Spanish vocal landscape… A golden contralto that thrilled knowledgeable and demanding audiences…a voice brimming with generous fiato subtleties, dramatic overtones, enough roundness to leave grupetos embedded without concessions in the listener” (trans. Spanish, La Cronica de Leon). “The voice moves perfectly in the style, in the force arias as well in the recitatives. The contained arias were very beautiful – also showing nuanced expressivity, with admirable outsets, in piano, of the messa di voce. The agilities, clean and spectacular. Nerea Berraondo – with one of these mezzo-textured voices with high notes – excelled in her breeches role of Count of Castilla” (trans. Spanish, Diario di Noticias).

Nicholas Chalmers, Tenor

Nicholas is thrilled to once again sing with the Bach Society of Minnesota! He has sung with The Rose Ensemble, the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, Glorious Revolution Baroque, The Singers-Minnesota Choral Artists, and the Minnesota Chorale. Recent solo engagements include the Oratorio Society, the Schubert Club, the Church Music Association of America, the St. Mark’s Cathedral Concert Series, Minnesota Center Chorale, and Border CrosSing. Nicholas received a B.M. in music from St. Olaf College, where he was section leader of the Saint Olaf Choir under the direction of Anton Armstrong, as well as an M.M. in Choral Conducting at the University of Minnesota, where he conducted several campus ensembles and held a Teacher’s Assistant position in the music theory department. Nicholas is the Director of Choirs at Chesterton Academy in Edina and is Director of Music at Annunciation Church in South Minneapolis.  He is also Artistic Director of the Mirandola Ensemble, which presents programs of rarely performed early music from the Medieval and Renaissance eras strategically juxtaposed with the compositions of 20th and 21st century composers. Sought after as an educator and clinician, during the 2018-2019 academic year Nicholas is piloting a high-school choral residency program in collaboration with Minnesota Public Radio’s Class Notes Artists program.   

Alan Dunbar, Bass

Baritone Alan Dunbar is a versatile performer, lauded for his beautiful tone and his nuanced musical and textual interpretation. His performances include the world premiere of Justin Merritt’s oratorio The Path, numerous productions with Madison Opera (including Papageno in The Magic Flute, Schaunard in La Bohème, Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking), bass soloist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Voices of Ascension, Dominick Argento’s The Andrée Expedition at the Ordway with the MN Source Song Festival, Barber’s Dover Beach and Othmar Schoeck’s Notturno at the Apollo Music Festival, the title role of Britten’s Noye’s Fluddeat Santa Fe Opera, and recitals at the Ravinia Festival Steans Institute. Alan made his European solo recital debut at the Oslo Grieg Festival after winning the grand prize at the 2009 Grieg Festival Competition in Winter Park, FL. As a Vocal Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival he performed as bass soloist in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, sang the role of Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin with Renée Fleming and Peter Mattei, and collaborated with choreographer/director Mark Morris in performances with the Mark Morris Dance Group, as well as in the Stravinsky chamber opera Renard.

Alan holds a BA in music theory and composition from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and an MM and DM in vocal performance from Indiana University. Alan was a founding member of the Minnesota-based internationally acclaimed male chamber vocal ensemble Cantus, and sang throughout North America and Europe with the ensemble from 1998-2004. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Voice at Winona State University.

Performance Dates & Locations

Friday, March 15 @ 7:30 pm
Sundin Music Hall

1536 Hewitt Avenue
St. Paul, MN

Saturday, March 16 @ 7:30 pm
Lourdes Chapel at Assisi Heights
1001 14th St. NW
Rochester, MN

Sunday, March 17 @ 3 pm
Central Lutheran Church

259 W. Wabasha Street
Winona, MN