SALT LAKE CITY — America’s beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and Europe’s pre-eminent baritone, Bryn Terfel, will share the stage as guest performers for this year’s Christmas concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
“Having two of the world’s greatest singers joining the choir and orchestra for our Christmas concerts is absolutely thrilling and a great honor. It is one thing to hear their incredible voices but blending them together with each other and the choir has the makings of an unforgettable evening of musical inspiration,” said Craig Jessop, music director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The concert will feature Christmas songs and sacred anthems appropriate for the season by the choir, von Stade and Terfel and the Orchestra at Temple Square.
Described by the New York Times as “one of America’s finest artists and singers,” Frederica von Stade is recognized as one of the most beloved musical figures of our time. She has enriched the world of classical music for three decades with her appearances in opera, concert and recital. When asked about her past appearances with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the latest taking place during the 2002 Winter Olympics and later rebroadcast nationwide on PBS, Frederica described it as “ just amazing. … I can’t quite believe how they make these amazing sounds.”
The Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel has already won many music awards and was recently named “Artist of the Year” by the BBC Music Magazine. He has become a regular star-performer in the most prestigious opera halls of the world and has been on numerous recordings. Describing his voice on one of his latest recordings, the London-based Sunday Times called it “as good as it gets today.” The Mormon Tabernacle Choir also has strong roots in Wales. The choir’s first conductor and a significant number of its first members were early Welsh converts to the Church with a strong choral singing tradition.
The Christmas concerts will be presented in the Conference Center on Thursday, 11 December (preview performance), Friday, 12 December and Saturday, 13 December, at 7:30 p.m. The weekly half-hour CBS radio broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday, 14 December, at 9:30 a.m. in the Conference Center will also feature von Stade and Terfel as guest performers. It will be followed by a mini-concert with additional music from the concert program.
Craig Jessop, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, along with Mack Wilberg, associate music director, will conduct the choir and orchestra. John Longhurst, Clay Christiansen and Richard Elliott will accompany at the organ.
All of the tickets for the concerts and the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast – over 80,000 in total – have already been distributed. Standby tickets will not be issued. However, patrons are invited to stand by for last-minute seating each evening and on Sunday morning for the Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. The standby line will form at the North Gate on Temple Square at 6:00 p.m. for the evening performances and at 7:30 a.m. for the Sunday broadcast.
The doors of the Conference Center will open at 6:30 p.m. for the 11 December preview performance and at 6:00 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday, 12-13 December performances. The length of the performance will be approximately 90 minutes. Seating is limited to those 8 years of age and older. Given the increase in traffic due to other scheduled downtown holiday events, guests are asked to allow extra time for travel and parking in order to be seated 30 minutes before the performance begins.