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
Jonathan Brandani, conductor
Amanda Opuszynski, soprano


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

Robert Brooks
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 Conductor


Italian born conductor Jonathan Brandani has been appreciated for his “fine regard for the score’s details,’ “his clear, purposeful indications” and “his enthusiasm” (Seen and Heard International). Recent engagements include his successful debut at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, (Düsseldorf, Germany) in L’elisir d’amore, as well as appearances at Minnesota Opera in Tosca and La bohème. Upcoming conducting engagements include Don Pasquale (the opening production of Minnesota Opera’s 2017 –2018 season), Haydn’s Il mondo della luna (at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain), Verdi’s Aida (at Daegu Opera House in South Korea) and appearances at the Caramoor Music Festival 2018 (New York City). He will also conduct Tamerlano, starting a collaboration with the University of Minnesota as music director of its Opera studio.

Mr. Brandani has been associate conductor of Des Moines Metro Opera, assistant conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale University, music director of the New Haven Chamber Orchestra and resident artist conductor at Minnesota Opera. In 2012 he was appointed music director of Lucca Opera Festival (Lucca, Italy), where he has been conducting new productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore. He conducted Le nozze di Figaro and Ariodante at the Opera House at Schönbrunn Castle in Vienna and worked as music director at the Sommertraum Festival am Semmering (Austria). He also worked as assistant conductor of Festival Oper Klosterneuburg, Austria (Don Giovanni, La Fille du régiment, Carmen). Among others, he has conducted the Düsseldorf Symphoniker, Wiener KammerOrchester, Russian National Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera Bruno Maderna and Haydn Sinfonetta.

A passionate interpreter and scholar of early music, Mr. Brandani has been playing harpsichord and organ continuo with several renowned European early-music ensembles, such as Concerto Köln, I Barocchisti, Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, ArteMusica and Oltremontano, playing regularly at major international festivals, including OudeMusiek Utrecht, Opéra Royal Versailles, Internationale Barocktage Melk, ArteMusica Milano and KölnOper. He has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Virgin Classics, ORF, Radio 4 Netherlands/AVRO, RSI and Bongiovanni. The founder, conductor and artistic director of the period-instrument orchestra L’Eloquenza;, he also received the bursary Theodor Körner Fonds 2010 of the Austrian Republic for his research in the field of baroque and classical music of composers from Tuscany.

A graduate in orchestra conducting with full marks and honors at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Mr. Brandani holds a Master of Music in orchestra conducting from Yale University. After graduating with a degree in piano performance from the Instituto Musicale P. Mascagni in Livorno, Italy, he studied harpsichord with Francesco Cera and Wolfgang Glüxam; and deepened his knowledge of the historically informed performance practice studying with Reinhard Goebel, Bob van Asperen and Fabio Bonizzoni, and won first prize at the National Harpsichord Competition “Terzo Musica” in 2010. Moreover, he studied composition at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and musicology at the University of Pavia (Italy). Mr. Brandani is also a laureate of the Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera.

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