"Songs of Comfort": Justin Hopkins and Jeanne-Minette Cilliers on the newly discovered songs of Price and Bonds
Time & Location
About the Event
Hailed by Mark Swed of the L.A. Times for his "commanding presence" and "beautifully focused bass-baritone", Justin Hopkins continues to move audiences around the world with his performances. In the 2019/20 he will be engaged as a member of the ensemble at Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp, Belgium. Among the roles he will perform there throughout the season are: Un moine (Don Carlos); Lehrer (Der Jasager); Hunter (Rusalka); Petrus (Der Schmied von Gent), Don Iñigo Gomez (L’heure espagnole). He will also return to Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in spring 2020 to perform the role of Narumov (Pikovaya Dama).
Mr. Hopkins made his house and role debut at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2019 as Joe in Show Boat, for which he was hailed as “The soul of the production” by DC Theatre Scene. He made his debut with Opera Vlaanderen in 2018 as Lord Krishna and Parsi Rustomji in Philip Glass's Satyagraha. The 2017-18 season marked his Walt Disney Hall debut in Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the Brahms Requiem. Mr. Hopkins also made his debut with Opera Southwest as Gessler in Guillaume Tell and Oroveso in Norma. Recent engagements also include an acclaimed debut with The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in Lost In The Stars and Beethoven Symphony No. 9; a return to Dayton for the Mozart Requiem with the Dayton Philharmonic; a Florida and mid-west tour with the Boston Pops; and a return to Opera Saratoga in The Cradle Will Rock.
Mr. Hopkins is also distinguishing himself on the concert stage as a pops and musical theater performer. He can often be seen headlining with his hometown Philly POPS Orchestra at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Independence Hall and The Mann Music Center. A house favorite at Symphony Hall in Boston, he has performed numerous times as well with the Boston Pops. His 33-concert run with the orchestra for the 2015 Holiday Pops was met with great acclaim. A frequent collaborator with conductor Keith Lockhart, Mr. Hopkins has performed under his baton with the BBC Concert Orchestra in London; War Requiem with the Dayton Philharmonic; and Copland's Old American Songs with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Concert repertoire includes Messiah; Ein Deutsches Requiem; War Requiem; Elijah; Beethoven Mass in C; Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols; Bach Cantada 147; Israel in Egypt. Mr. Hopkins has performed under the batons of such conductors as Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Keith Lockhart, Leon Botstein, Alejo Pérez, Anthony Barrese, Francisco Noya, Paul Daniel, Paul McCreesh, Paolo Carignani, Steven Osgood, Joseph Illick and Jerome Shannon. He won second
South African-born pianist Jeanne-Minette Cilliers has been called “a pianistic poet”, garnering rave reviews for her color-rich and imaginative performances. From a young age, she won top prizes in national and international competitions. These successes culminated in numerous solo performances at prestigious venues such as the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago. She has recorded regularly for the South African Broadcasting Company, and has been featured on SABC television and radio programs.
In high demand as a collaborator, Ms. Cilliers has performed in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Israel, Japan, Sweden, South Africa, Barbados, and across North America, including festivals and venues such as the Irving S. Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York City. She has collaborated with artists such as Frans Helmerson, Janos Starker, Martina Arroyo, Håkan Hagegård, David Daniels, Eric Owens, Susan Graham, Joyce Castle, Lise Lindstrom, Lester Lynch, and directors Peter Sellars, David Alden, Peter Konwitchny and Calixto Bieito.
Ms. Cilliers fosters a strong interest in new music, and has presented several scores in world and North American premieres. Prominent contemporary composers with whom she has worked include Dominick Argento, William Bolcom, Jake Heggie, John Corigliano, Mark Adamo, Sven-David Sandström, Rolf Martinsson, and Mohammed Fairouz. She has recorded Dominick Argento's Andreé Expedition with baritone Håkan Hagegård. From 2011-2012 Ms. Cilliers has functioned as music director for American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice program. In the capacity of principal coach and pianist, she has played an integral part in Santa Fe Opera’s development and summer 2013 premiere of Oscar, a new opera by Theodore Morrison. As head of music, she assisted conductor Titus Engel at Opera Vlaanderen and IRCAM, Paris in the highly anticipated world premiere of Chaya Czernowin's opera Infinite Now. Also at Opera Vlaanderen, she worked with composer Héctor Parra and conductor Peter Rundel on the operatic adaptation of the controversial novel Les Bienveillantes. In this production, staged by Calixto Bieto, Ms. Cilliers also performed the on-stage piano part on a flying piano.
After five years as repetiteur for Opera Vlaanderen, Ms. Cilliers is currently spearheading the new Collaborative Piano program at The Royal Conservatory Antwerp, while additionally serving as Studienleiter for the voice department. Previously she has served on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, as well as music director for the Martina Arroyo Opera Foundation in New York City from 2005-2013. From 2009-2010 she was a principal coach and pianist at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival, and between 2011-2014, she joined the Santa Fe Opera as a member of their music staff. .
Ms. Cilliers earned her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan with pianist Anton Nel. As a student of Menahem Pressler, she earned an Artist Diploma from Indiana University. She remains the first and only recipient of an Artist Diploma in vocal accompanying from the Manhattan School of Music, where she worked with Warren Jones.