November 28, 2005

More Information:
Eastman Office of Communications, 585-274-1050

Rochester, NY — Approximately 150 years after he completed it, Robert Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s “Faust” will finally get its Rochester premiere on Friday, December 9 at 8 p.m. in the Eastman Theatre. Under the direction of William Weinert, the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra will join in presenting this monument of Romantic choral music.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s powerful story of redemption is considered a masterwork of German literature, and translating seven scenes from “Faust” into music took Schumann nine years. “He referred to it as his most significant composition, as well as the one that cost him the most effort,” explains Dr. Weinert.

Part opera, part oratorio and part symphony, this imaginative masterpiece did not receive a full performance until 1862, six years after Schumann’s death. And, despite the prestige of the author and the popularity of the composer, it is seldom performed in Germany and is an even greater rarity in American concert halls.

“I believe ours is one of only two performances in the U.S. this season,” says Weinert, who is director of choral activities at the Eastman School of Music, as well as professor of conducting and ensembles. “The Cleveland Orchestra will perform it in January, with baritone Thomas Hampson — so I guess we’re in pretty good company!”

Rochester’s debut will feature baritone Jonathan Rohr in the demanding title role, as well as sopranos Erin Matson and Kathryn Blomshield, tenor Kyle Knapp and eight other soloists — all Eastman School of Music students.

The Eastman Rochester Chorus is a select chorus made up of some of Eastman’s rising vocal stars along with a number of the Rochester community’s finest voices. Each season, it presents two large-scale choral masterpieces in Eastman Theatre, accompanied by an Eastman orchestra. Recent performances include the premiere of Dominick Argento’s Four Seascapes, the Britten War Requiem, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, and the Beethoven Missa Solemnis.

The 8 p.m. Friday, December 9 th performance of Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s “Faust” in Eastman Theatre is free and open to the public.


Note : Photos of the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and William Weinert are available on request. Interviews and photo/footage preview opportunities can also be arranged.