Continuing its tradition of hosting high-caliber operatic performers, the Bethany Oratorio Society is pleased to announce this year’s soloists for the 2016 Messiah Festival of the Arts.

The Bethany Oratorio Society will perform its historic and rich performances of J.S. Bach’s “Passion According to St. Matthew” on Good Friday, March 25, and G. F. Handel’s “Messiah” on Easter Sunday, March 27.   The Bethany Oratorio Society has been performing Handel’s “Messiah” since 1882, and Bach’s “Passion…” since 1929.  During Holy Week each year in Lindsborg, the more than 300 member community chorus and orchestra are joined by five professional operatic guest soloists.  Guest soloists for this year’s concerts include: Anders Jalkéus, bass; Alison Collins, soprano; Clea Huston, mezzo; Randolph Lacy, tenor; Leslie John Flanagan, baritone; Brian Stranghoner, tenor. Tickets are $22 or $25 for each concert, and are on sale now at www.messiahfestival.org or by calling the Festival office at (785) 227-3380, ext. 8229. 

AndersAnders Jalkéus – will perform the role of “Jesus” in Bach’s “Passion” and bass soloist in “Messiah.” Growing up in Tyresö (south of Stockholm), Jalkéus was introduced to folk music early in life as a result of his parents’ great interest in music. At age 6 he began violin and piano lessons and was accepted to Adolf Fredrik’s School of Music as a 10-year old. He continued with nine years of studies at The Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm, where he and four fellow-students formed an a cappella quintet – The Real Group – graduating together at the Masters level. They then completed together a 2-year postgraduate diploma on a specially designed coursed tailored to their vision.

In addition to his work within The Real Group, Jalkeus has achieved other impressive academic qualifications, including Masters Degrees in classical solo singing and in music education, and Bachelor-level Degrees in organ playing and choir conducting. He studied choir conducting with Professor Eric Ericson, and also sang with Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and The Swedish Radio Choir.

The Real Group has performed in more than 40 countries and recorded more than 20 albums, some of which were produced by Jalkéus. He has composed songs and written arrangements of well-known standards for The Real Group. During the last 10 years he has also been a frequent adjudicator and clinician in competitions the world over.

CollinsAlison Collins, soprano – Collins’ singing has been described as “an otherworldly sound of great beauty and purity,” (Nancy O’Connell, The Independent). In spring 2008, she traveled to Shanghai, where she sang the soprano solos in Carmina Burana with Ballet San José on their goodwill tour.  During the 2009-2010 season she performed as the soprano soloist (Mabel) with Ballet San José in their production of Pirates of Penzance. She has performed the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah with Symphony Silicon Valley, and the Fauré Requiem with the Winchester Orchestra.  Collins has appeared in the title role of Henry Mollicone’s Starbird.

She performed as a young artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, Virginia Opera, Portland Repertory Opera, and Sarasota Opera.  She has performed as a soloist with Opera San José, Stockton Opera Association, Intermountain Opera Chamber Ensemble, Berkeley Opera, American Opera Projects, West Bay Opera, Pocket Opera, and Townsend Opera Players.  She has served as member of the voice faculties of San José State University, and Chabot College.

Huston(2)Clea Huston, mezzo – Huston has a unique and powerful voice, “with formidable virtuosity over a wide range” (The Boston Globe). She was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist in San Francisco and an Alberta Heritage of Arts Scholarship recipient (a prestigious career grant). She equally enjoys the concert and operatic stage, and has been seen in these venues across the country and internationally.  Highlights of Clea’s oratorio solo engagements include performances with:  the Boulder Philharmonic, Cheyenne Symphony, Boulder Chorale, Aurora Symphony, Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, the Handel Society, and Con Brio Choral Society. She was also invited to sing as a soloist at the internationally attended Colorado MahlerFest and various concerts with the Boston Cecilia (including the role Delila in Handel’s Samson).  Operatic highlights include: the title role in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Jo (Little Women), La Principessa (Suor Angelica), Olga (Eugene Onegin), Flora (La Traviata), Lucretia and Bianca (The Rape of Lucretia), Marcellina (The Marriage of Figaro), Mère Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Zita (Gianni Schicchi), Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni).  As a young artist with Lyric Opera Cleveland, Huston had the honor of working with the beloved American operatic composer Mark Adamo. She was involved in the production of Little Women under his direction.  Huston has her Doctorate in Opera and Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and received her Masters and Undergraduate degrees from New England Conservatory of Music.  A native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she is both a Canadian and American Citizen.

FlanaganLeslie John Flanagan, bass – The Australian baritone has performed leading roles throughout Australia, Europe and the USA, including performances at the Sydney Opera House, in London at English National Opera’s Coliseum, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Janacek Theatre in Brno and at the Edinburgh Festival. Recent operatic performances include Mitrovsky in the première of Twice Upon a Birthday for The Metropolitan Opera Guild, and Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) with Southern Plains Opera. Dr. Flanagan earned the bachelor’s degree in music from the Queensland Conservatorium in Brisbane, Australia, and the master’s degree in opera performance from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Music) in Glasgow, Scotland. Upon completion of his master’s studies, he became an inaugural member of English National Opera’s prestigious Jerwood Young Singer’s Programme in London.   Roles with English National Opera, included Rossini’s Figaro, Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte, Schaunard La Boheme, Morales Carmen, Barney in the world première of Mark Anthony Turnage’s The Silver Tassie alongside Gerald Finley, Donner Das Rheingold, and Ned Keene Peter Grimes. Other credits included Guglielmo in Paris, Escamillo Carmen for the Longbourough Festival Opera, Silvio Pagliacci for Haddo House Opera, the title role in Don Giovanni(Edinburgh Festival), Smirnov The Bear, and Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Papageno The Magic Flute in Australia and Carmen and Dead Man Walking with the Fort Worth Opera. Dr. Flanagan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Australian Singing Competition’s RSAMD Award, the Sir Alexander Gibson Memorial Scholarship, the Texaco International Opera Prize, the Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition Delbert Chumley Award, and the Benton-Schmidt Competition; he was a Semi-Finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Quarter-Finalist in the Montreal International Singing Competition and the audience prizewinner and first runner-up in the Birmingham Opera Competition.   Concert engagements include Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the International Messiah Festival, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Canterbury Choral Society and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Carmina Burana with Sir David Willcocks at the Royal Albert Hall, London, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten’s War Requiem at the Bratislava and Brno International Music Festivals, a concert performance of Prokofiev’s War and Peace at the BBC Proms, and a recital of German Lieder with pianist Wolfram Rieger at London’s Wigmore Hall. He has worked with many of opera’s and classical music’s leading conductors, accompanists and directors, including Sir Charles Mackerras, Edward Gardner, Paul Daniel OBE, David Parry OBE, Graham Johnson, Sir Jonathan Miller, Keith Warner, Deborah Warner, David Freeman and Spanish director Calixto Bieto.   Dr. Flanagan’s professional recording credits include the First Apprentice on Chandos’ recording of Wozzeck, Barney in ENO’S live world premier recording of The Silver Tassie, also available on DVD from the BBC, Bach’s St. John Passion with the BBC, and on Roger Webster’s Travels with my Trumpet with English soprano Janis Kelly.

Lacy headshot 2016Randolph Lacy, Bach “Evangelist” – Tenor Randolph Lacy is noted for the lyrical beauty of his voice and his ability to interpret musical texts with intelligence and sensitivity.  His repertoire is large and diverse, ranging from the seventeenth century to the present.  Recently, he has sung with the Lone Star Lyric Theatre Festival in the world-premiere of the Simply Grimm Prologue; with Ars Lyrica, Houston in “Heaven and Hell,” a concert of Monteverdi’s Madrigali Guerrieri et Amorosi (in combination with the New York Baroque Dance Company), and in Bach’s Johannespassion; with the Bayou City Performing Arts company in the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël; with the Bach Society, Houston in Bach’s cantata # 201, Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan; with the Houston Chamber Choir as tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah; and with the Hope Stone Dance Company in Village of Waltz.  In the summer of 2008, Randolph co-starred with Neale Donald Walsch (the author of Conversations with God) in a tour of a new musical entitled Onebody by James Coventry.  Also in 2008, Randolph was featured as the tenor soloist in Bach cantatas # 19 & 131 on the first commercial recording made by the Bach Society, Houston.  In 2007, he sang with the Austin-based group Conspirare on their Grammy-nominated CD of music by the living British composer Tarik O’Regan entitled Threshold of Night, released in 2008 by Harmonia Mundi.

On stage, Randolph has appeared with the Houston Grand Opera, Chamber Opera Chicago, Opera Memphis, Anchorage Opera, Kentucky Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Houston, and Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars.  His operatic roles include:  Tamino in The Magic Flute; Tito in La Clemenza di Tito, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Fenton in Falstaff, Count Almaviva in The Ghosts of Versailles; the Conte di Libenskof in Il Viaggio a Reims, Beppe/Arlecchino in I Pagliacci; Don Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro; Luiz in The Gondoliers; Toni in Elegy for Young Lovers; and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi.  In the realm of musical theatre, Randolph has performed as Pirelli in Sweeney Todd; Jake in The Most Happy Fella; and The Artist in Onebody.

Randolph’s concert work includes performances with the Austin Symphony, Anchorage Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Chicago String Ensemble, Da Camera, Fresno Philharmonic, Houston Chamber Choir, Houston Symphony, Michigan Bach Festival, Orpheus Ensemble (Fresno), Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería (Mexico City), Sacramento Ballet, and at the Festival at Roundtop.  His solo performances with orchestra have included:  the Evangelist roles in J. S. Bach’s Johannespassion, Matthäuspassion, Weihnachtsoratorium; in the newly rediscovered St. Matthew Passion by C.P.E. Bach; in the Berlioz Requiem; Britten’s Saint Nicolas and Les Illuminations; in Corigliano’s Poem in October; in the Dubois Seven Last Words of Christ; in Handel’s Acis & Galatea, Israel in Egypt, Messiah, La Resurrezione, Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità; in Haydn’s The Creation and Harmoniemesse; in Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda; in Mozart’s Requiem and  Vesperae Solennes de Confessore; in Orff’s Carmina Burana; in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle; and in the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël, among others.  In the world-premiere of Wrestling with my God by jazz pianist and composer Paul English, Randolph performed solos composed specifically for his voice.

As a narrator, Randolph has performed with the Houston Symphony (in the role of Hector Berlioz) in a series of young persons’ concerts entitled, Symphony? Fantastic!; with the Orpheus Ensemble in William Walton’s Façade; and in the world-premiere of Parizade and the Singing Tree, by Rice University composer Karim Al-Zand.

Randolph holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, and Master and Bachelor Degrees in Music (Vocal Performance) from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.  His education included Fellowships to the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival, an apprenticeship with the Glimmerglass Opera, and Italian language study at the Università per Stranieri in Siena, Italy.

Dr. Lacy formerly taught at California State University, Fresno as a Professor of Voice and the Director of its opera program.  He has also worked as a Lecturer at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where he taught Vocal Pedagogy, Song History & Literature, Singing Diction, and private voice lessons.

StranghonerBrian Stranghoner, tenor for Bach – Stranghoner is in his 25th year of teaching public school vocal music in Kansas. He currently teaches Vocal Music at Rose Hill High School. His groups have consistently received “Superior” ratings at the Middle School and High School levels. The Rose Hill
“Rocketaires” were selected to perform for the Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service this past February and the Douglass High School Madrigals were selected to perform in 2102. His solo work includes opera and oratorio: Handel’s “Messiah” with Manhattan Concert Productions, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City, the Reno Choral Society, Hutchinson, Kansas and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. Tenor Solos in Schubert’s “Mass in A-flat” for the Masterworks Chorale in Aiken, South Carolina. Other solo appearances have included recording with Janeal Krehbiel and her internationally known Lawrence Children’s Chorus, the Kansas City-based Allegro Community Children’s Chorus, Christy Elsner, Artistic Director. Brian was a Resident Artist with Wichita Grand Opera, serving as Chorus Master and singing minor roles in Rigoletto, Carmen, The Mikado and Die Zauberfloete.

Stranghoner is a member of National Association for Music Education, Kansas Music Educators Association and was on the Board of Directors and current member of the Kansas Choral Directors Association, a state affiliate of the American Choral Directors Association.

His greatest achievement was being selected, through an international audition, to perform Verdi’s Requiem under the direction of Robert Shaw in Carnegie Hall, New York.

Stranghoner is Director of Music Ministries at Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Derby, Kansas.