Celestial Rossini

Saturday 4 November, 7.30pm
The Concourse, Chatswood

409 Victoria Av, Chatswood, 2067         Directions

Peter Ellis:   Conductor

Ashlee Woodgate:   Soprano
Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin:   Mezzo soprano
Joshua Oxley:   Tenor
Henry Wright:   Bass

Willoughby Symphony Choir

Haydn:   Te Deum No 2 in C
Stravinsky:   Pulcinella Suite
Rossini:   Stabat Mater






Adults $40
Pensioner $30
Student/junior $12

Tickets available here

In his enduringly popular Stabat Mater, Rossini's contemplation of the Virgin Mary's suffering over the crucifixion of her son, tenderness and nobility are favoured over grief and despair. The music is powerful and resolute, lighting a path towards the "glory of Heaven" which is magnificently revealed in the Finale. The poet Heinrich Heine said of the première in Paris that it was as if the theatre had become "a vestibule of Heaven." Replete with gorgeous vocal solos and profound choral and orchestral writing, this work presents a wonderful opportunity for the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic to join forces in a performance with the Willoughby Symphony Choir and a fine quartet of soloists under the baton of Peter Ellis.

As much as some critics may have raised their eyebrows at Rossini's ventures into the serious world of sacred music, around the year 1920, Igor Stravinsky's sudden engagement with 18th-century music shocked many. Defiantly, however, Stravinsky described his neoclassical ballet Pulcinella as "the epiphany through which the whole of my late work became possible." While largely preserving the melodies and bass lines of the original works by Pergolesi and several of his contemporaries, Stravinsky uses novel tone colours and playful rhythmic and harmonic distortions to subvert the classical framework, affectionately creating what has been described as a "collision of convention and modernity." For the concert hall, Stravinsky created a suite of eleven short movements which brilliantly capture the wittiness and occasional tragicomedy of this delightful ballet.

Ashlee Woodgate - soprano

Australian soprano, Ashlee Woodgate holds a Bachelor of Music (performance) from the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music graduating with Distinction in 2015. She is currently in the final year of the Masters of Music Studies (Opera Performance) program at Sydney Conservatorium Opera School and holds an Associate Diploma in classical voice.

Ashlee has successfully performed a number of roles; opera credits include: Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro) for Opera Hunter, Despina (Cosi fan tutte) and Herald of Dawn (The Fairy Queen) with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as well as Fiordiligi in (Some of) Cosi fan tutte at Newcastle Conservatorium of Music. In 2015, Ashlee joined the ensemble for Pacific Opera and Sydney Symphony Youth Orchestra’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen under the baton of Alexander Briger AO. In December 2016, she made her debut as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah at Sydney Town Hall and invited to return in 2017.

2017 began with an opportunity to undertake a chorus internship with Opera Australia for their production of Tosca. This exciting year continues with Ashlee singing the title role in Cavalli’s La Calisto (Sydney Conservatorium of Music), whilst preparing to make her role debuts as Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Opera Hunter) and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Sydney Conservatorium of Music).


Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin - mezzo soprano

Chinese mezzo-soprano Barbara (Yuanyuan) Jin studied for three years on scholarship at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music, China. In 2013, she relocated to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to complete her Bachelor of Music as a recipient of the International Student First Prize Scholarship. She currently graduated in Masters of Opera Performance, studying with Maree Ryan AM. She is a recipient of the Diane Wishart and Quin Quin Foundation scholarships. She is in the 2017 Young Artist Program with Pacific Opera.

Joshua Oxley - tenor

Joshua Oxley in a exciting young tenor based in Sydney. During studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, he won a full scholarship to the prestigious ESTIVO Summer School in Verona, Italy. Here he studied with Lella Cuberli and Fabio Centanni. He has been tenor soloist for St. Andrew’s Cathedral (Handel, Messiah; Bach, Cantata No. 4, No. 80, No. 115) and has sung as a ley clerk and deputy at both St Andrew's Cathedral and St Mary's Cathedral. Other solo concert performances include Mozart Requiem, Bach; St John Passion, Rossini; Petite Messe Solennelle, Bernstein Mass (Conservatorium Centenary) and many more.

Joshua has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Tchaplitsky (Tchaikovsky, Pique Dame, cond. Ashkenazy), in the ensemble for Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer (cond. Robertson), and for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s concert performance of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust (cond. Sir Andrew Davis). Roles Joshua has performed include Alfredo (Verdi, La Traviata, Opera New England), Don Ottavio (Mozart, Don Giovanni, Opera Hunter),Mozart (Rimsky-Korsakov, Mozart and Salieri, Bare Bones Opera), Remendado (Bizet, Carmen, Opera New England), Pane (Cavalli, La Calisto, Sydney Conservatorium of Music), and Frederic (Sullivan, Pirates of Penzance, Chatswood Musical Society). At the Sydney Eisteddfod, Joshua has twice been the recipient of the Ronald Dowd Memorial Prize, Finalist in the Opera and Arts Vocal Final, Semi-finalist in the Opera Scholarship, and 2nd Place in the Joan Sutherland Memorial Prize (21-25).

He was also awarded the BBM Scholarship for Music to fund a study trip to the United Kingdom. During his time overseas, he was accepted into Dennis O’Neill’s academy of voice in Cardiff, Wales. Currently he is studying with Rowena Cowley, completing a postgraduate diploma at the Sydney Conservatorium, and is an associate artist with Pacific Opera.

Henry Wright - bass

Henry was awarded a scholarship to study a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and throughout his first year he has enjoyed principle roles in both the 100th Anniversary Concert at the Opera House and in the 2015 Con Opera production of English Eccentrics by Malcolm Williamson. In December, he sang as bass soloist in Mosman Musical Society’s “Messiah”.

In 2016, Henry was the Bass soloist in St. Stephen’s Uniting Church Sydney’s “The Crucifixion”. Henry also went on the Sydney Conservatorium of music's "Great Southern Tour" as a soloist. He also covered the role of Don Alfonso in The Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s production of “Cosi Fan Tutte” as well as performing excerpts from the opera in a concert with Sydney University Symphony Orchestra. Henry also performed as a part of “The Young Opera Stars” of “Woolworth’s Carols in the Domain.

In 2017, Henry was selected to represent the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the “Estivo 2017 Summer School” in Verona, Italy. Henry is delighted to be performing as a soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.