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THE DA CAPO CHAMBER PLAYERS WILL PERFORM LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME, A CHAMBER OPERA, AT BARD COLLEGE ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, AT 8:00 P.M. Staged Chamber Music Enactment of a Heart-Warming Medieval Legend with a Mime-Juggler and a Children’s Band

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY—The Da Capo Chamber Players, presented by The Bard Center, will perform Le Jongleur de Notre Dame, a chamber opera by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, on Tuesday, February 8, at Bard College. The chamber opera, to be performed in the Avery Scene Shop Theater Hall at 8:00 p.m., is free and open to the public.

"The performance held the audience enthralled, and there can be little doubt that Le Jongleur de Notre Dame . . . is a masterpiece," writes the critic for the Glasgow Herald. Considered to be family entertainment, Le Jongleur de Notre Dame is a staged chamber music enactment of a heart-warming medieval legend. A mime/juggler, Matt Ostroff, and the baritone soloist, André Solomon-Glover, interact with the ensemble and a twelve-piece children’s band. Flutist Patricia Spencer, clarinetist Jo-Ann Sternberg, and percussionist Pablo Rieppi take on simple roles as monks; violinist Eva Gruesser portrays the statue of the Virgin Mary, which comes to life in the touching climax of the story.

"Le Jongleur de Notre Dame is based on a medieval French legend which first appears in a poem by Goutier de Coinci called "Les Miracles de la Sainte Vierge," dating from the 1220s. It has been retold many times, most notably in modern times by Anatole France." Sir Peter Maxwell Davies continues describing the story of the chamber opera, "The original story concerns a juggler who joins a monastery, but who is incompetent at studies, singing, or any craft or skill suitable for the cloister. When the monks each bring a gift to the statue of the Virgin on the Virgin’s birthday he can bring nothing, but creeps alone into the chapel and performs his juggling act before the statue. Discovered by the monks, he is about to be reproved by the abbot when the statue of Mary speaks, saying that the juggler’s gift is acceptable to her."


Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, acknowledged as one of the foremost composers of our time, has published over two hundred works in every medium that are continually performed all over the world. "The power of the music of Davies lies both in its originality and the connection that it makes—connections with nature, with the continuum of music’s history, with the human psyche," writes a critic for the Boston Globe. He is the associate conductor and composer of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the composer conductor of the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester and the composer laureate of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He composed Le Jongleur in 1978.


Da Capo, winner of the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1973, is widely acclaimed for its virtuosity, stimulating programs, and openness to a wide spectrum of styles in new music. Its dedication to working with composers is matched by its commitment to rehearsing a piece as a living, moving, breathing entity, rather than a fixed blueprint to be executed precisely and perfectly. The Da Capo Chamber Players are Patricia Spencer, flute; Jo-Anne Sternberg, clarinet; Eva Gruesser, violin; Lisa Moore, piano; and André Emelianoff, cello.

André Solomon-Glover, baritone, is considered by critics to be a "remarkably communicative performer." He has appeared as a soloist at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and at Carnegie Hall in New York and has performed with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Pops, among others. Solomon-Glover recently completed a two-year nationwide tour as Joe in Hal Prince’s Tony Award-winning musical production of Showboat, in which his stirring rendition of "Ol’ Man River" caused a sensation both on Broadway and on tour. A student of art song, he has studied with Virgil Thomson, Betty Allen, Jorma Hynninen, and Robert McFerrin.

Pablo Rieppi, percussion, is an active chamber and orchestral musician in New York City. He has most recently performed with the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, American Composers Orchestra, New York New Music Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and the New York Percussion Quartet. He has performed abroad with the International Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Lorin Maazel. Rieppi has performed in the Broadway musicals Beauty and the Beast, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.

Jennifer Muller, director, has choreographed for operas, theatrical productions, and musicals, including Beth Henley’s Fame, for which she won a Carbonell Award for best choreography. She is the director of Jennifer Muller/The Works, a dance company she founded in 1974.

For further information about the chamber opera, call 914-758-7425. Funding for the concert is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Chamber Music America.

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This event was last updated on 03-02-2001