The cantata has the parable of the wise and foolish virgins as its literary theme, and the great German choral (hymn), Wachet auf, serves as its musical theme. This monumental work – one of Bach’s greatest cantatas – is in the form of what is known as a choral fantasia. In the first movement, the soprano section sings the choral melody with the other voice parts swirling around it in ornate and vivacious figures. This is followed by a recitative sung by our own Leroy Roberson and a duet sung by our two guest soloists, Kathryn Hedlund and Patrick Jacobs. Next, the tenors and basses sing another setting of the choral tune, followed by another recitative and another duet. Finally, it all comes together with a glorious rendition of the final verse of the choral. Line for line translations appear alongside the German text in the programs. Aside from the pure genius of the musical writing, this cantata allows us to deeply meditate on the relationship between Christ and the soul during the two duets. You will not want to miss this! Our musicians have been hard at work preparing this for our community, and it is sounding wonderful.
To help you get to know our guest soloists, I have printed their biographies below. See you Sunday afternoon!
Soprano Kathryn Drake Hedlund joined the voice faculty at University of Mobile as Assistant Professor of Music in Voice in 2012. A native of Big Rapids, Michigan, her recent performances include La Suora Infermiera in Suor Angelica with Mobile Opera, and the soprano soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Eastern Shore Choral Society. Dr. Hedlund represented the Southeastern region last summer at the the NATS Artist Awards National Semifinals in Chicago,IL. An active local and regional performer, other recent performances include Mobile Opera’s Winter Gala Concert, singing the role of La Ciesca in Mobile Opera’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as soloing with the Eastern Shore Choral Society, Mozart’s Requiem with Florence Camerata, and a Valentine’s Day concert for Mississippi Opera with tenor Robert Grayson. Favorite performances include Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust with Opéra Louisiane, the soprano solo in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, the role of Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with LSU Opera, and the soprano solo in the Brahms Requiem with the Memphis Symphony under the baton of Dr. Kenneth Fulton. She was the soprano soloist in the Fauré Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and sang the roles of Pamina in The Magic Flute and The Sandman in Hansel and Gretel with Opéra Louisiane.
Dr. Hedlund completed her Master’s of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from Louisiana State University, studying under soprano Patricia O’Neill. Roles with LSU Opera include Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice, Violetta in La Traviata, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Anne Stanton in Willie Stark (on DVD by Newport Classic, Ltd), the title role in Suor Angelica, Blanche in Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Micaëla in La Tragédie de Carmen. Other roles include Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Beth in Little Women. She earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan in 2003, where she studied with soprano Shirley Verrett. Dr. Hedlund spent the summers of 2007 and 2008 as an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. She was chosen as a Gulf Coast Regional Finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions from 2006 through 2008. She served as Associate Director of Opéra Louisiane until 2012.
Dr. Hedlund resides in Mobile with her husband Ryan, son Theo, and grumpy, giant cat Micio. She frequently adjudicates for local competitions, enjoys working with area high school choirs, and will begin her certification process in the Alexander Technique this fall. She serves in the choir and as a soloist at All Saints Episcopal Church. Other interests include running, soccer, languages, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.
DR. PATRICK JACOBS:
Dr. Patrick Jacobs is an established veteran of hundreds of performances in opera and musical theater. He excels as an actor and singer “with a smooth baritone and a special talent for shifting from comedy to darker mischief.”
Born in Louisiana, Dr. Jacobs attended Loyola University in New Orleans, and The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music before he finished his education in New York at SUNY Stony Brook. He is a two-time Metropolitan Opera regional finalist and winner of the Orpheus National Vocal Competition, Dr. Jacobs has performed principal roles with opera companies throughout the United States, including: New Orleans Opera, Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Fresno Grand Opera, and many others. He is a featured soloist on the debut opera recordings of Hangman, Hangman! and The Town of Greed by Leonardo Balada on the Naxos recording label.
As a stage director, Dr. Jacobs has worked with the University of Mobile, the International Performing Arts Institute (Kiefersfelden, Germany), LOOK Musical Theater (Tulsa, OK), and the Joe Jefferson Players (Mobile, AL). In June of 2018, he will direct Ragtime for the Joe Jefferson Players.Recent singing engagements include Simone in Gianni Schicchi with Mobile Opera, Baron Gondremarck in La Vie Parisienne with First Coast Opera, George Benton in Dead Man Walking with Pensacola Opera, as well as solos in Handel’s Messiah with Choral Society of Pensacola and a concert of contemporary art song with Crescent Chamber Artists in New Orleans. During the 2017-18 season, Dr. Jacobs sings Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Mobile Opera, solos in Messiah with the New Orleans Symphony Chorus, and Bach’s Wachet auf, BWV 140 at Christ Church Cathedral (Mobile, AL). Dr. Jacobs is the Director of Vocal Studies and Opera at the University of Mobile and the Classic Worship Leader / Choir Director at Saraland United Methodist Church. He lives in Saraland, AL with his wife, Stephanie, and their two children, Samuel and Allison. For more information on Dr. Jacobs, including audio recordings, visit: www.patrickjacobsbaritone.com