Press Release - The Sun, the Wind, and the Man with the Cloak
July 2019, Toronto.
Pax Christi Chorale Artistic Director David Bowser is pleased to announce the upcoming world premiere of The Sun, the Wind, and the Man with the Cloak, a new cantata by Canadian composer and Pax Christi Conductor Emeritus Stephanie Martin, with words by Paul Ciufo.
The work is based on a fable by the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop (c. 620-564 BCE), in which the Sun competes with the Wind to see which of them can make the Man remove his cloak. The Wind blusters and rages, causing the Man to pull his cloak more tightly around his body. Then the Sun sends down warming rays, and the Man eventually removes his cloak of his own free will.
The story is entertaining and often light-hearted, yet its moral -- gentle persuasion is more effective than brute force -- is immediately understood by all ages. It remains a powerful metaphor and a lesson for resolving conflict, which has been retold countless times and in myriad ways over the millennia.
In this new work, The Sun, The Wind and The Man are portrayed by three superb soloists; mezzo-soprano Catherine Daniel sings the part of The Sun; baritone Brett Polegato portrays The Wind; and tenor Asitha Tennekoon performs the role of The Man. The Sun and The Wind are each encouraged by their “team-Sun” and “team-Wind” choral counterparts.
“It is a uniquely rewarding experience to premiere a new composition, to work with the composer and realize the score for the first time,” says David Bowser. “We are thrilled to share this music in the world premiere on November 2 at Yorkminster Baptist Church!"
To round out the program, Bowser has chosen favourite works from the modern English choral repertoire, including Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams; As Torrents in Summer and My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land by Sir Edward Elgar; and Rejoice in the Lamb by Benjamin Britten.
“I am very proud that Pax is an organization which supports new musical creations,” says Bowser. “We have committed to performing newly commissioned works by Canadian women composers over three years. After last season’s enormous success of Miziwe… (Everywhere…) by Odawa First Nation composer Barbara Croall, the first known oratorio in the Ojibwe language, we turn our focus to our second commission, Stephanie Martin’s The Sun, the Wind and the Man with the Cloak.”
The premiere of The Sun, the Wind and the Man with the Cloak will take place at 7:30 p.m., November 2, 2019 at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
David Bowser is Artistic Director and Conductor of Pax Christi Chorale and the Toronto Mozart Players. He is Founder and Artistic Director of the Mozart Project and Music Director of the Oakville Choral Society. David is also an active guest conductor, composer, university instructor and vocal coach.
Pax Christi Chorale is a 100-voice SATB choir known for delivering stirring performances with great polish and total conviction. Collaborations with outstanding guest artists and partners give audiences and performers a deep appreciation for choral masterworks and new Canadian music. The Pax Christi Chamber Choir placed first in its category in Choral Canada’s 2017 national competition for amateur choirs; the full choir was awarded an honourable mention in its category in the same competition.
Stephanie Martin (Pax Christi Chorale Conductor Emeritus) is associate professor of music at York University, and is much in demand as a composer, with commissions from across Canada and internationally. The Sun, the Wind and the Man with the Cloak was commissioned by Pax Christi Chorale in 2017 as a parting gift. She and librettist Paul Ciufo are the creative team behind the 2018 Canadian opera, Llandovery Castle.
Mezzo-soprano Catherine Daniel (The Sun) is a rising young star who has been busy travelling and singing Wagner, Strauss and other big opera roles. She also takes time to develop new Canadian works of a more modest nature. She created the role of Margaret Marjory “Pearl” Fraser in Stephanie Martin’s Llandovery Castle, and is currently working on a recording project, Sacred Christmas.
Baritone Brett Polegato (The Wind) has performed over 50 operatic roles at the world’s most prestigious venues, including La Scala, l’Opéra National de Paris, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, the Teatro Real, and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. His discography shifts through genres from Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, to his critically-praised solo disc, To A Poet. He has appeared with Pax Christi Chorale many times.
Sri Lankan tenor Asitha Tennekoon (The Man) has quickly established himself as a versatile artist since graduating from Glenn Gould School in 2015. Asitha won a Dora Award in 2016 for his stellar performance in The Rocking Horse Winner, a role he reprises with Tapestry Opera in 2020. Asitha sang the Evangelist in Bach’s St. John Passion with Ottawa Choral Society, and is tenor soloist in his upcoming debut with Grand Philharmonic Choir in Messiah.