Vista Philharmonic Orchestra: 49th Season “Opening Night”

Bruce Hangen, Conductor & Artistic Director

Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 7:30pm

The Concert Hall at Groton Hill


La forza del destino: Overture
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Danzón No. 9
Arturo Márquez (b. 1950)

The Soul’s Expression
Eleanor Alberga ((b. 1949)

I. George Eliot: Blue Wings
II. Emily Brontë: The Sun Has Set
III. George Eliot: Roses
IV. Elizabeth Barrett Browning: The Soul’s Expression

Guest soloist: Christopher Humbert Jr., bass-baritone


Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Chanson romanesque
Chanson épique
Chanson à boire

Guest soloist: Christopher Humbert Jr., bass-baritone

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
Margaret Bonds (1913-1972)

Guest soloist: Christopher Humbert Jr., bass-baritone

Pictures at an Exhibition
Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

The Gnome
The Old Castle. A troubadour sings.
Tuileries Garden. Children quarrel.
Bydlo – Oxen cart
Ballet of Unhatched Chicks
Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle
Limoges – The Market
Catacombs – With the Dead in a Dead Language
Baba Yaga’s Hut on Hen’s Legs (a clock)
The Great Gate of Kiev

Vista Philharmonic Orchestra

Bruce Hangen, Artistic Director & Conductor
Stone Family Endowed Music Director’s Chair

Violin I
*Alice Hallstrom, Concertmaster
Anabelle Hangen, Associate Concertmaster
Tony Morales
Stuart Schulman
Mona Rashad
Jane Dimitry
Allan Espinosa
Rebecca Hawkins
Shuang Yang
Stacey Alden
Jorge Soto
Joanne Sadler
Lauren Cless

Violin II
*Stanley Silverman
Lynn Basila
Todd Hamelin
Laura Papandrea
Nicki Payne
+Angel Hernandez
Susan Turcotte-Gavriel
John Guarino
Job Salazar
Caterina Yetto

*Peter Sulski
Darcy Montaldi
+Dorcas McCall
Oleg Soloviev
Robert Kennedy
Lauren Nelson
Steven Sergi
Caroline Drozdiak
Karen McConomy

*Young Sook Lee
Shay Rudolph
Susan Randazzo
Priscilla Chew
Ben Swartz
George Hughen
Nathan Kimball
Nathaniel Lathrop

*Kevin Green
Robb Aistrup
Michael Simon
John Wall
Justin McCarty
Kate Foss

*Jessica Lizak
Caitlyn Schmidt
Dianne Spoto

*Nancy Dimock
Laura Shamu
Ben Fox

*Hunter Bennett
Sandra Halberstadt
+William Kirkley

*Ken Radnofsky

*Hazel Malcolmson
Isaac Erb
Susannah Telsey

*Michael Bellofatto
Nancy Hudgins
Nick Auer
Laura Crook Brisson

*Mary-Lynne Bohn
Mark Emery

*Peter Cirelli
Peter Charig
Donald Robinson

*Michael Stephan

*Karl Seyferth

*Aaron Trant
Piero Guimaraes
Richard Kelly
Greg Simonds
Mike Zell

*Emily Lewis

Piano / Celesta
*Bonnie Anderson

Librarian: Kate Weiss

+Groton Hill Music School Faculty

PROGRAM NOTES by Maestro Bruce Hangen

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) is arguably the most influential opera composer of the 19th century.  Having created “Tosca”, “La Traviata”, “Othello”, and so many other now-standard dramatic operas, Verdi is still a major presence on the world’s opera stages but also – through his opera’s overtures – on the concert stage.  The overture to “La forza del destino” (“The force of destiny” – 1869) is one of those overtures that has earned its place on the stage as a dramatic and forceful curtain opener to a symphony performance.

Arturo Márquez (born 1950) is Mexico’s most frequently performed composer today.  Several of his compositions were commissioned by Maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, of which the Danzón No. 9 (2017) is one.  The whole series of danzón compositions derives from the Cuban dance form upon which it is based.  This is one very successful, very impactful orchestral interlude.

Eleanor Alberga (born 1949) is a Jamaican-born resident of England whose works have been performed by the BBC Proms, Covent Garden Opera, and various other venues around the world.  The Soul’s Expression (2017) is Alberga’s setting of four poems by women from 19th-century England: two poems by George Eliot (a pen name for Mary Ann Evans), and one each by Emily Brontë and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. We are exceptionally pleased to bring Christopher Humbert to our stage to sing the solo role in this piece.

Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1934), Maurice Ravel’s very last songs, are a tripartite – albeit brief – exploration of Don Quixote singing to his beloved Dulcinea.  Each of the three songs is made distinct by being based on three different Spanish dance forms: the quajira, the zortzica, and the jota, in that order.  As with the Alberga composition, the English translations will be projected on the wall behind the Vista Philharmonic in performance.

Russian composer Modeste Mussorgsky (1831-1881) composed the Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874 for solo piano.  It is a tour de force for the virtuoso pianist, incorporating all manner of techniques, colors and moods.  Architect and painter Viktor Hartmann had devised a series of pictures, put on display after his unexpected death, of various actual and imagined places and people.  Inspired by the orchestral possibilities inherent in the piece, at least ten different composers have attempted arranging this piano piece for full orchestra.  The most obvious – performed and arguably successful arrangement – is this one by Maurice Ravel.  Ravel’s orchestration (1922) is true to Mussorgsky’s original in form and structure: beginning with a “Promenade”, which is interpolated several times in the piece, there proceeds a full ten different movements of widely-varied and totally unrelated pictures devised by Victor Hartmann.  We perform this piece as a tuneful and uplifting conclusion to the Vista Philharmonic’s Opening Night performance of the 2023-24 concert season.


Christopher Humbert Jr., bass-baritone

With his “rich baritone voice” and “towering and alluring” stage presence, bass-baritone Christopher Humbert Jr. has proven a favorite with audiences across the U.S. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Mr. Humbert has appeared in multiple operatic and theatrical productions throughout his home state, including: Opera Columbus, Mid-Ohio Opera, Nightingale Opera Theatre, in which he has been seen in The Consul (Secret Police Agent), The Mikado (Pooh-Bah), A Little Night Music (A Little Night Music), Dido and Aeneas (Aeneas), Kiss Me, Kate (Fred Graham), and La Cenerentola (Alidoro). He has since performed with The Seagle Festival, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Annapolis Opera, Detroit Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Opera Theatre Saint Louis. In addition to opera, Mr. Humbert is a frequent oratorio and concert soloist: Requiem (Mozart), Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott (Bach), St Matthew Passion (Schütz) Johannes-Passion (Bach), and Messiah (Händel). He has also debuted as a baritone soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra in a collection of works by African-American composers, including various spirituals by Margaret Bonds as well as Eleanor Alberga’s The Soul’s Expression, which he is performing tonight.

A first place finalist in Opera Guild of Dayton’s Tri-State Vocal Competition (2019), Mr. Humbert has since joined the Benenson Young Artist program at Palm Beach Opera, and made his professional debut as Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen under the baton of Anetolli Allemandi, alongside operatic inspirations like J’Nai Bridges and Rhiab Chaieb. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Opera Performance from Boston Conservatory, and is a graduate of the Capital University Conservatory of Music. For the 2023-2024 season, Mr. Humbert will be with the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Fred and Joan Reynolds and family


Camilla Blackman
Bruce and Sue Bonner
Peter and Karen Burk
Barbara and John Chickosky
Priscilla Endicott
Matt and Judy Fichtenbaum family
Phil and Carolyn Francisco
David Gaynor and Bernice Goldman
Bruce Hauben and Joyce Brinton/The Helen G. Hauben Foundation
Mark and Jeanne Hubelbank
Mary Jennings and Jim Simko
Simon Jones and Richard Gioiosa
Bob and Sue Lotz
Carole and Art Prest
Pam and Griff Resor
The Riggert Family
Phil and Dorothy Robbins
Shepherd’s of Townsend
David and Bobbie Spiegelman
Randy Steere and Paul Landry