December 8, 2017 — 7:00 PM

The Messiah returns for its eighth year at Blackhawk Church on Madison's west side. We welcome the return of last year's outstanding vocal quartet who knock our socks off, and the combined WCO Chorus and Festival Choir of Madison under directors Scott Foss and Sergei Pavlov. This seminal holiday tradition of Handel's masterpiece is a must for everyone.




Sarah Lawrence is enjoying a widely varied career. Her rapidly expanding repertoire includes oratorio, operetta, opera and musical theatre. The release of her CD, Sweet Hello, marks her debut as a recording artist.

Sarah’s concert repertoire shows her versatility. She has performed Handel’s Messiah with the symphonies of Omaha, Madison, Cheyenne, and the Apollo Chorus in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall. With Wisconsin’s Peninsula Music Festival she has sung Haydn’s Creation and Bach’s B Minor Mass. Other Haydn performances have included the St. Cecilia Mass with the Rochester Oratorio Society, the Lord Nelson Mass with the North Shore Choral Society, and Paukenmesse with the Sheboygan Symphony. With the Madison Symphony Orchestra she has also performed Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor. She sang Prokofiev’s The Ugly Duckling and Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared in pops concerts with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Southwest Michigan Symphony.

Equally comfortable on the stage, Ms. Lawrence has performed the role of Masha in The Music Shop, Norina in Don Pasquale, Gretel in Hansel & Gretel, Frasquita and Micaela in Carmen, and Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor. She has appeared with Madison Opera, Opera for the Young, Light Opera Oklahoma, Dorian Opera Theatre and Lyric Opera of the North. With Minnesota’s Colder By The Lake, she created the role of Missy in the world premiere of Tyler Kaiser’s Les Uncomfortables, and the role of Pristine in The Phantom of the Norshor. She appeared with Lyric Opera of the North in their production of The Magic Flute as Pamina. A huge fan of Gilbert & Sullivan’s operettas, Sarah has appeared as Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, Angelina in Trial by Jury, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance.

Ms. Lawrence appeared as Christine Daaé as a member of the Third National Tour of The Phantom of the Opera and in Phantom: The Vegas Spectacular. In recent seasons, she has also appeared as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte with the Peninsula Music Festival, the title role in Lyric Opera of the North’s production of Semele, the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, and as an Equity guest artist with The Duluth Playhouse as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. The current season includes an appearance with Colder By The Lake in Older By The Lake and a return to the Duluth Playhouse, this time as Lily in The Secret Garden, as well as another turn as Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance as a part of the Tall Ships Festival in Duluth.


With polished, elegant vocalism and committed dramatic portrayals on-stage, American mezzo-soprano JAMIE VAN EYCK appeals to audiences and critics alike as a compelling artist in opera and concert. This season, she sings Rosie Chayney in The Manchurian Candidate for Austin Opera, and Ariodante in Handel’s Ariodante at National Sawdust in New York City, with director R. B. Schlather. She sings Dido and the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas on tour with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and scenes from The Crucible and The Turn of the Screw for the Institute for Women Conductors with Nicole Paiement for the Dallas Opera. She sings excerpts from new operas on Fort Worth Opera’s Frontier’s Showcase, and covers the role of Jacqueline Kennedy in Fort Worth Opera’s world premiere of JFK, by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek.

Jamie made her debut with Arizona Opera as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, earning praise from Opera Today for “singing her arias with polished tones and bringing the audience thoughts of first l love.” Jamie has also sung the role for the Bar Harbor Music Festival and Opera Theater of St. Louis. In concert, she has performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the American Symphony Orchestra and Madison Symphony, and Handel’s Messiah with the Phoenix Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and Utah Symphony. She recently made her New York City solo recital debut with pianist Jocelyn Dueck at The National Opera Center. Recent festival appearances include concerts for California’s Ojai Festival and Ojai North, Dido in Dido and Aeneas for Moscow’s Golden Mask Festival, and recitals for the Grahamstown and FynArts Festivals in South Africa.

A frequent recitalist, Jamie has appeared in repeat engagements with the Wolf Trap Foundation, the Dallas Museum of Art Concert Series, and New York’s Five Boroughs Music Festival. In concert, she has performed Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the American Symphony Orchestra and with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. With the National Symphony Orchestra, she was a soloist in This Way to Broadway with Marvin Hamlisch, and she sang The Old Lady in Candide, for which The Washington Times declared, “her robust and authoritative instrument carried the day!” She has been featured in several Pops concerts with conductor Keith Lockhart, and she made her Broadway debut in Jerome Kern’s Music in the Air for New York City Center.

Bridge Records recently released Jamie’s second recording for the label titled, Complete Crumb Edition Volume 15, featuring George Crumb’s American Songbook V: Voices from a Forgotten World. The disc has been praised as “consistently wonderful” and “not to be missed” by Classics Today. She has also recorded for Albany Records and Centaur Records. An avid proponent of new music, Jamie has sung two world premiere performances at Carnegie Hall, including Ned Rorem’s Three Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. At Tanglewood’s Festival of Contemporary Music, she performed the role of Mama in the North American staged premiere of Elliott Carter’s What Next? under the baton of James Levine. For her leading role, the Hartford Courant proclaimed that she “performed beautifully with exacting musical precision and strong charisma.” Her performance can be seen on the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s DVD release of the opera.


CALLAND METTS is enjoying a widely varied career. Metts has performed in such operas as Mozart’s Die Zauberflote & Le Nozze di Figaro, Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’amore, Verdi’s La Traviata, Bizet’s Carmen and Numerous Gilbert and Sullivan operettas with such opera companies as Opera Columbus, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Marin Opera, Chicago Opera theater
and Greensboro Opera.

Equally at home on the musical theater stage, Cal has recently performed the roles of Emile Debeque in South Pacific, and Man #1 in I love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Billy Bigelow in Carousel and Harold Higgins in My Fair Lady to name a few.

Metts has sung with the Symphonies of St. Louis, Milwaukee, Columbus, Madison, Madison Chamber Symphony, Rockford, Sheboygan, Cheyenne, Pensacola and Walla Walla in such works as Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s B minor Mass, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, Orff’s Carmina Burana and numerous Pops concerts.

As a stage director, Cal’s recent work includes It’s a Wonderful Life and The Producers at the Duluth Playhouse and Gianni Schicchi and Cavalleria Rusticana for Lyric Opera of the North.

Cal and his wife are the Artistic Directors of Lyric Opera of the North. Recent productions include Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.


Hailed by the critics as possessing a “resplendent voice” and “rich, burnished sound” with “formidable skill” and a “commanding grace and strength,” bass-baritone PETER VAN DE GRAAFF has sung to great acclaim throughout the world.

In Europe, he recently returned from Salzburg where he was a featured soloist at the International Vocal Symposium. He has performed and recorded a Mass by Jan Vorisek with the Czech State Symphony under Paul Freeman and has also sung Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis throughout the Czech Republic and Poland with the Czech Philharmonic. He appeared in Berlin with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron. In Budapest, he sang with the Budapest Concert Orchestra in Verdi’s Requiem and in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Chamber Orchestra joined him in a Mozart Mass.

As a recitalist he appeared in Tokyo. His singing has also taken him throughout the United States, where his appearances include engagements with the Houston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Wichita Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony, Richmond Symphony and many, many others. Conductors with whom he has worked include Pierre Boulez, Christopher Wilkins, Paul Freeman, Bernard Labadie, Paul Hillier, Joseph Silverstein, Robert Page, Thomas Wikman, Jane Glover, Klaus-Peter Seibel, Victor Yampolsky, James Paul, Daniel Hege and Nicholas Kraemer, among many others.

Mr. Van De Graaff has made a specialty of the baroque repertoire and this has brought him as soloist to the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, Costa Rica International Music Festival, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, Pittsburgh Bach Choir, Grand Teton Music Festival, St. Louis Early Music Festival, Boulder Bach Festival and many other festivals and concert series throughout the country. He and his soprano wife have been responsible for the modern premieres of several early 18th century chamber operas called “intermezzi.”

He has also been active in the opera house and has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera, Rochester Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Cedar Rapids Opera and many other companies. Future engagements include performances in Colorado, New York, Tennessee, Mississippi, Chicago, Maryland, Hawaii and China. His recordings include 3 intermezzos on the Naxos label and Menotti’s The Medium, Vorisek Mass in B-Flat and Mozart arias and duets, all on the Cedille label.

Van De Graaff resideds with his wife Kathleen in Eugene, Oregon. He is music director for KWAX where he also continues his syndicated radio show.