Kairos performs rare “semi-opera” King Arthur


The choral group Kairos, which consists of 16 singers under the artistic direction of Ed Lundergan, who also is Director of Choral Activities at SUNY-New Paltz, is the permanent artist-in-residence at the Holy Cross Monastery, located in West Park, which is the perfect home for an ensemble specializing in unaccompanied choral music dating back to the Middle Ages. At least one concert a year is accompanied by a full orchestra, however; and this year the group has chosen a “semi-opera” – there are spoken as well as sung roles – by Henry Purcell, to be performed on November 5 and 6.

King Arthur was written in 1691, and the piece is right out of a fairy tale, describing Arthur’s rescue of the blind Cornish princess Emmeline, who has been kidnapped by his arch-enemy, the Saxon king Oswald of Kent. The music is wonderfully lyrical, inspired by French dance rhythms and harmonies. It will be narrated by David Tass Rodriguez, a professional actor who has performed extensively throughout the Hudson Valley and is also the founder and artistic director for Murder Mystery & Mayhem, LLC, which produces interactive theater packages for venues in the Hudson Valley.

“This wonderful choral music is not heard very much,” noted Lundergan. Back in the late 17th century, “It would have been done with lots of fancy elaborate stage machinery. We won’t be offering that, but we have a narrator who’s a fine actor filling the gaps, and audiences will also see some costumes and props to add to the fun. It’s very descriptive music; there’s a chorus of cold people, for example, and you can hear their shivering.”

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There will be two concerts: the first on Saturday, November 5 at 8 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, located at 20 Carroll Street in Poughkeepsie, followed by a performance on Sunday, November 6 at 4 p.m. at the Holy Cross Monastery, located on Route 9W in West Park. Tickets are $20 reserved in advance, $15 for seniors, $7 for students and youth and $25 at the door. To reserve, visit www.kairosconsort.org or call (845) 256-9114.

 

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