BACH B-MINOR MASS – This week at San Francisco Symphony

Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

RAGNAR BOHLIN, Director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, will lead the SF Symphony and Chorus in performances of Bach’s B Minor Mass on March 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th at Davies Symphony Hall and on March 17th at the Mondavi Center for the Arts at UC Davis. The performances feature the Davies Symphony Hall debuts of soprano Ingela Bohlin, mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims, and bass-baritone Shenyang. Also performing are mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor and tenor Nicholas Phan.
Click here to purchase tickets on-line: B-MINOR MASS


One of only a small number of dedicated orchestra choruses, the San Francisco Symphony Chorus is recognized internationally as one of America’s finest. Established in 1972 at the request of then-Music Director Seiji Ozawa, the 142-member Chorus, consisting of 30 paid and 112 volunteer singers, gives a minimum of 26 performances each season and has sung under the many of the world’s major conductors, including SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, SFS Conductor Laureate Herbert Blomstedt, Kurt Masur, Neville Marriner, Roger Norrington, Yuri Temirkanov, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Robert Shaw. In 2010, the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus won a Grammy for Best Choral Performance for their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, and previously won that award for recordings of Orff’s Carmina Burana and for Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem. The 2003 SFS Media recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, featuring the women of the Chorus, won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Album.  The Chorus is also featured in the second season of Keeping Score, the SFS’s national television program, on the episode featuring Ives’s Holiday Symphony. The episode aired on PBS in October 2009 and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.


RAGNAR BOHLIN – began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in March of 2007. In 2010, the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus (under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and Bohlin, respectively) garnered three Grammy Awards for their recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, including Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album.  Bohlin currently teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has taught at the Royal Academy in Stockholm, and in February 2008 he was a visiting professor at Indiana University. In June 2010, Bohlin made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, and in the summer of 2011 he will appear as guest conductor of the São Paulo (Brazil) Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.


INGELA BOHLIN, Soprano – is an established concert singer and has worked extensively throughout Sweden including appearances with Norrköping, Swedish Radio and Malmö Symphony Orchestras. She has also appeared with Les Talens Lyriques conducted by Christophe Rousset; has sung Mozart’s orchestration of Messiah at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival with Ivor Bolton; Mozart Mass in C Minor with the Mozarteum Orchestra at the Salzburg Summer Festival with Jannick Nezet-Seguin; Mozart Requiem with the Swedish Radio Orchestra and Manfred Honneck; Bach Christmas Oratorio with Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra under Paul McCreesh and took part in a concert tour and recording of Bruckner Mass in F with the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées and Philippe Herreweghe.

ABIGAIL NIMS, Mezzo-Soprano – has garnered critical acclaim in opera, concert, and recital performances singing repertoire which spans from Bach, Handel and Mozart, to Britten, Crumb, and contemporary premieres. Her 2010-11 season currently includes her debut with Wexford Festival Opera as “Veruca Salt” in Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket, a role which she created at the opera’s workshop performances in New York City through American Lyric Theater in the 2008-09 season. She also appears as “Despina” in Così fan tutte with Palm Beach Opera, returns to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to sing Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Mozart’s Requiem with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with the Providence Singers.


SHENYANG, Bass Baritone – embodies a 21st century bridge between the cultures of East and West. He performs this season on an international tour with Edo de Waart and the Hong Kong Philharmonic with performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and excerpts from Mahler’s Des knaben Wunderhorn, also Handel’s Messiah with Helmuth Rilling and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his appearance with SF Symphony in Bach’s Mass in b minor, Shenyang appears at Carnegie Hall in a concert performance of Mozart’s Zaïde with Ensemble ACJW conducted by David Robertson. Shenyang also returns to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera to reprise his portrayal of “Colline” in La Bohème conducted by Carlo Rizzi.

KELLEY O’CONNOR, Mezzo-Soprano. During the 2010-11 season the California native’s impressive calendar includes performances of Berio’s Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Berlin Festival, excerpts from Roussel’s Padmâvatî with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, Bach’s Missa Brevis in F Major with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Kurt Masur and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with Stéphane Denève and the Seattle Symphony as well as with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and with Edo de Waart and the Milwaukee Symphony, and Britten’s Spring Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.


NICHOLAS PHAN, Tenor – is considered one of the rising young stars of the opera world. He made his debut this season with the Seattle Opera as “Count Almaviva” in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and goes on a tour with Alan Curtis and his acclaimed orchestra Il Complesso Barocco in performances of “Ariodante” which includes performances at the Barbican in London, the Théâtre de Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Festpielhaus in Baden-Baden, and in Madrid. Recent opera performances have included his debuts at the Glyndebourne Opera and in Dusseldorf, and appearances with the New York City Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Arizona Opera, Opera de Lille, and Frankfurt Opera. His growing repertoire includes the title roles in Acis and Galatea and Candide,  “Count Almaviva” in Il barbiere di Siviglia, “Nemorino” in L’elisir d’amore, “Lindoro” in L’Italiana  in Algerie, “Fenton” in Falstaff, “Tamino” in Die Zauberflöte, “Don Ottavio” in Don Giovanni, “Don Polidoro” in La Finta Semplice, and “Lurcanio” in Ariodante.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at:

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