The KU School of Music will sponsor concert performances of the opera Venus and Adonis by John Blow (1649-1708) on Sunday, September 27, at 2:30 PM in Swarthout Recital Hall and on September 28, at 7:30 PM at Forbis Recital Hall at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Both performances are free and open to the public. The concerts are part of the Baroque Song Project, an effort to give vocal students in the KU School of Music the chance to perform music from the Baroque period with instrumentalists playing on period instruments. After last year’s successful performance of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, this year will be offered an opera by Purcell’s teacher John Blow. Venus and Adonis was performed for the English royal court in about 1684. It is thought that Purcell was in the orchestra for the premiere, and there are segments of Blow’s opera that Purcell clearly took to heart while composing the more famous Dido and Aeneas.
The performances will involve seven of KU’s students in voice. Emily Bennett and Joshua Markley, both DMA students, will sing the title roles. Caitlin Laird, a senior in vocal performance, is Cupid, and undergraduates Nathan Ferrell, Juan Gonzalez, Lindsey Mayberry, and Ashleigh Sizemore will perform roles as hunters, shepherds, and shepherdesses, along with serving as the vocal ensemble. The “Little Cupids” will be sung by Gabriela Carttar, Willa Myslivy, Ashton Rapp, and Gemma Waldron of the Lawrence Children’s Choir. Paul Laird, professor of musicology, is director of the Baroque Song Project and assembled the orchestra. Julia Broxholm, associate professor of voice, serves as vocal coach for the performances. Elizabeth Berghout, associate professor of organ and university carilloneur, will play harpsichord. The accompanying ensemble will draw on period string players, flutists, and harpsichordists from Lawrence, the Kansas City area, and St. Louis, Missouri. The concert will also include a Vivaldi flute concerto with Joy Laird the soloist on Baroque flute.