Shelburne’s Geoffrey Penar performs with the Burlington Choral Society

Geoffrey Penar

The Burlington Choral Society will cap its 40th season in April with performances of beloved music. Richard Riley, artistic director, will lead the chorus, soloists, and two pianists in Johannes Brahms’ “Requiem.”

Geoffrey Penar, a bass baritone hailing from Shelburne, will perform with the choral society. Penar is a product of the Eastman School of Music (BM) and McGill University (MM and AD), and he is often praised for his rich timbre and brilliant physical comedy. He specializes in both Britten and Mozart operas.

Recent credits include Frank in Johann Strauss’s “Die Fledermaus” with Opera 5, Papageno in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” with Pacific MusicWorks, Guglielmo in Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” with the Peoria Symphony, Tarquinius in Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia” with the Green Mountain Music Festival, Count Almaviva in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” with Hubbard Hall Opera and Lescaut in Massenet’s “Manon” with Eastman Opera Theatre. With Opera McGill, he sang the roles of Bottom and Puck in Britten’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Leporello in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.”

Geoffrey was the bass soloist with the Kingston Symphony’s concert of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony last year and is a frequent soloist with St. Andrew and St. Paul choir in Montreal. This summer, he will be singing a concert with Anya Matanovic in Rutland for the Vermont Opera Project.

Brahms’ “Requiem” is a musical journey from sorrow to consolation. The piece will be sung in English, as it was in 1871, just three years after its German premiere. Also on the program is Brahms’ passionate “Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny).”

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, April 22 at 7:30pm, at Elley-Long Music Center in Colchester and Sunday, April 23 at 4pm, at the Barre Opera House. This will be the chorus’s first performance in central Vermont.

Pianists Claire Black and Diane Huling will be side-by-side at the keyboard playing Brahms’ own four-hand piano arrangement. Sarah Cullins, soprano, and Geoffrey Penar, baritone, are the soloists.

Riley said, “Performing the Brahms ‘Requiem’ is one of the most profound experiences one can have in music. The music is gigantic, and yet intimate. Together, performers and audience create an environment where, through music, we share our most personal feelings about life and death.”

Tickets for the Colchester performance are at the Flynn Box Office, and 802 86-FLYNN. Barre tickets are at the opera house box office, and 802-476-8188. Prices are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors.

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