by Daniel Hathaway

AFatLECApollo’s Fire will present seven local subscription programs totaling thirty concerts during its 23rd season in 2014-2015. Additionally, Cleveland’s baroque orchestra will make its debut at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in December and at London’s BBC Proms next August, undertake a national tour of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers in November, and appear on the Pittsburgh Renaissance & Baroque Society series in April.

The subscription concerts, to be presented in several venues, will begin with “Orchestral Fireworks,” the first of two celebrations of Johann Sebastian Bach’s 330th birthday. The programs will include works new to Apollo’s Fire’s repertory: the double harpsichord concerto in c (featuring artistic director Jeannette Sorrell and Joe Gascho), the Violin Concerto in E (featuring Olivier Brault) and the second orchestral suite (featuring flutist Kathie Stewart). The four concerts will run from October 9-12.

Four performances of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 with Apollo’s Singers from October 31-November 7 will feature vocal soloists Oliver Mercer & Karim Sulayman, tenors & Molly Quinn & Nell Snaidas, sopranos.

The ensemble will revisit two of its traditional Christmas shows in December. Joined by Montréal’s La Nef, Sylvain Bergeron, director, Jeannette Sorrell will lead the ensemble in a pair of performances of Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers on December 3 and 7 featuring soprano Meredith Hall and dancer and guitarist Steve Player. Handel’s Messiah will receive five performances from December 11-15, when Apollo’s Singers will be joined by soprano Meredith Hall, mezzo-soprano Amanda Powell, tenor Ross Hauck & baritone Jeffrey Strauss.

Bach’s Birthday celebration will continue in the new year with four “Fireside Concerts” performed by Apollo’s Fire’s young apprentices, including soprano Madeline Healey and violinist Cynthia Black. The performances, from January 22-25, will invoke a day in the life of the Bach family, including a staged performance of the Coffee Cantata.

Apollo’s Fire’s “Blues Café 1610” will open its doors from February 12-16 for five performances of music by Monteverdi, Castello, Capricornus, Bertail and other early 17th century composers. Vocalists Nell Snaidas, Oliver Mercer, Karim Sulayman & Jeffrey Strauss, will be accompanied by plucked instruments and violins, with exotic percussion played by Rex Benincasa.

The final set of performances, “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Rediscovered,” will showcase Apollo’s Fire’s concertmaster, Olivier Brault in Vivaldi’s famous violin concertos, plus a Vivaldi work transcribed by J.S. Bach featuring violinists Johanna Novum and Julie Andrijeski and cellist René Schiffer. Those four concerts run from April 19-26.

Apollo’s Fire will also present three family performances during the season (“Christmas in Old Ireland,” December 7, and “A Day at Vivaldi’s Orphanage,” April 11 & 12), and in between its concert activities will record two new discs: Handel and Vivaldi arias with soprano Amanda Forsythe, and Sorrell’s “Shepardic Journey” program from last season. Those recordings will be released in the fall of 2015. The ensemble’s latest recording project, last June’s “Glory on the Mountain” is scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

For venues and ticket information, visit Apollo’s Fire’s website.

Published on ClevelandClassical.com July 28, 2014.

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