Thirsting for Hope

Sunday, June 3, 2018 • 3:00 p.m.
First Free Methodist Church (3200 3rd Ave W)

advance tickets: Brown Paper Tickets or 1-800-838-3006

Orchestra Seattle
Seattle Chamber Singers
Alastair Willis, conductor
Amanda Opuszynski, soprano


Felix Mendelssohn (1809 –1847)
Psalm 42, Op. 42

Robert Brooks (*1963)
The Migration and Death of Esperanza Soledad Hernández

— intermission —

Antonín Dvořák (1841 –1904)
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70

About the Concert

Antonín Dvořák wrote his seventh symphony during a time of personal turmoil and tribulation after the deaths of his mother and his beloved eldest child — one page of the manuscript reads, “From the sad years.” Throughout the symphony the composer searches for hope and joy: “What is in my mind is Love, God and my Fatherland,” he confessed to a close friend. The search for God and spiritual enlightenment is also at the core of Felix Mendelssohn’s sublime setting of Psalm 42: the image of a deer longing for fresh water is a symbolic representation of humankind’s ongoing search for spiritual comfort and joy in the light of God.

Please join us prior to the concert at 2:00 p.m. for a free “Behind the Music” discussion!

About the Guest Conductor


Grammy-nominated conductor Alastair Willis is the newly appointed music director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. In past seasons, Willis has guest conducted orchestras around the world, including the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfônica de Rio de Janeiro, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, China National Orchestra (Beijing) and Silk Road Ensemble (with Yo-Yo Ma), among others. His recording of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges with the Nashville Symphony and Opera for Naxos was Grammy-nominated for Best Classical Album in 2009.

Mr. Willis recently completed a successful four-year tenure as music director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Last season he was re-engaged by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfonica Barra Mansa, Symphonia Boca Raton, Pacific Northwest Ballet and OSSCS, and made his debuts with the Wichita Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Illinois Philharmonic, South Bend Symphony and Roosevelt Contemporary Ensemble. This season he returns to Gyor Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Boca Raton Symphonia, and makes his debut with Philharmonie Südwestfalen.

Previous positions include principal guest conductor with the Florida Orchestra’s Coffee Concert series (2008–2011), associate conductor of the Seattle Symphony (2000–2003), assistant conductor with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, and music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Mr. Willis lived with his family in Moscow for five years before settling in Surrey, England. He received his Bachelor’s degree with honors from England’s Bristol University, an Education degree from Kingston University, and a Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Mr. Willis currently resides in Seattle. Learn more:

About the Soloist


Soprano Amanda Opuszynski, hailed for her “luscious,” “powerful” voice and “dazzling technical facility,” returned to Seattle Opera during the 2016–2017 season as the Dew Fairy/Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, and made her Arizona Opera debut as Bess Erne in the world-premiere production of Riders of the Purple Sage. Notable past engagements include Frasquita in Carmen (Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera, Pacific Symphony), Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos (Seattle Opera, Virginia Opera), Musetta in La bohème (South Dakota Symphony), Micaëla in Carmen (St. Petersburg Opera), Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Virginia Opera), Oscar in Un ballo in maschera (Boston Youth Symphony) and Nannetta in Falstaff (Virginia Opera). Ms. Opuszynski has enjoyed apprenticeships with the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Festival and the Wolf Trap Opera Studio. She is the winner of a prestigious Career Development Award from the Sullivan Foundation and Santa Fe Opera’s Lilian Caroff Meyer Award, and is a two-time regional finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Learn more:, @SopranoAmanda

Program Notes