BACH IN BALTIMORE PREMIERES HOLLIS THOMS’ OPERA ON NOVEMBER 5 AT CHRIST LUTHERAN CHURCH
September 7, 2017
(Baltimore)—Bach in Baltimore announced today that it will premiere Hollis Thoms’s one-act opera, And did the world with devils swarm, all gaping to devour us…, on November 5 at 4 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church located at 701 S. Charles Street in Baltimore.
Maryland composer and librettist Hollis Thoms’s one-act opera commemorates the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s legendary nailing of the 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This public questioning of the Catholic Church by Luther, at that time a Catholic priest, would mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Thoms’ opera opens in October of 1525, eight years after Luther posted his 95 revolutionary opinions. The former priest now finds himself embroiled in tumult—he is now the most widely read author in Germany and the world, but his controversial ideas and writings are being blamed for the Peasant’s Revolt. Internally, Luther is obsessed with the devils around him, real and imagined. In the midst of this, Luther’s wife, the former nun Katharina von Bora, reveals to him that she is pregnant with the couple’s first child. The relationship between outspoken Martin and reserved Katie forms that heart of the opera and the Reformation Movement, for together they defined Protestant family life and clerical marriages. By depicting Luther’s public and private life, Thoms hopes to show Luther not as a historical or religious figure, but as a human being dealing with both larger than life and every day concerns.
A life-long Lutheran with a staunch Lutheran upbringing, Hollis credits Martin Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach as major influences on his spiritual and musical life. Hollis has composed nearly 150 works from symphonies and operas to chamber music and solo works, both secular and sacred. In March 2011, the Bach Concert Series premiered Hollis’ Passion, based on the Gospel of John, the Gospel of Nicodemus, and a variety of religious poetry. That was his homage to Bach and this new opera is his homage to Luther. The opera includes musical fragments from Bach’s Cantatas 62 and 80 combined with original contemporary musical material. Bach was Luther’s greatest theologian and so they are treated in the opera as inseparable.
Thoms’s son, Dr. Jason Thoms, baritone, will play the role of Luther, and Sarah Bleasdale soprano, with play the role of Katie. Playing in the chamber ensemble is Sonja (Thoms) Winkler, oboe and Jonas Thoms, horn. T. Herbert Dimmock, musical director of Bach in Baltimore, will conduct the choir and orchestra. The world premiere is underwritten by the Christopher Foundation. The evening will conclude with several Bach pieces and Hollis Thoms’s Rondo 2 for horn and marimba.
Admission for the event is $20 in advance or $22 at the door. Tickets for this and all Bach in Baltimore events are available for purchase at BachinBaltimore.org or by calling 410-941-9262. Individual tickets are also available at the door 30 minutes prior to a performance. Please note that Bach in Baltimore’s performance venues vary—we perform all across greater Baltimore metropolitan area. Please consult the full schedule listed below for performance locations.
BACH IN BALTIMORE’S NOVEMBER 2017 EVENTS
World Premiere of Hollis Thoms’ One-Act Opera
And did the world with devils swarm, all gaping to devour us…
Sunday, November 5 at 4 p.m.
Christ Lutheran Church, Inner Harbor 701 S. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
Bach’s Cello Suite in G, Prelude
Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin, Adagio
Bach’s Chorale Prelude: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
Thoms’ Rondo 2 for horn and marimba
Sarah Bloomsdale, soprano
Jason Thoms, bass
Bach in Baltimore is pleased to present the World Premiere of Maryland composer Hollis Thoms’ new one-act opera that commemorates the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the 95 theses by Martin Luther. Jason Thoms will perform the role of Luther and Sarah Bloomsdale as Katie. Playing in the chamber ensemble is Sonja (Thoms) Winkler, oboe and Jonas Thoms, horn. The world premiere is underwritten by The Christopher Foundation. The evening will conclude with several Bach pieces and Hollis Thoms’s Rondo 2 for horn and marimba.
Admission: $20 in advance, $22 at the door
ABOUT BACH IN BALTIMORE
Bach in Baltimore’s mission is to perform the choral and instrumental works of Johann Sebastian Bach (and his contemporaries) and to educate the concert-going public about the musical language of Bach and the texts he chose to set to music.
We strive each month to present these works in a historically informed way that will enrich the lives of our audience members and inspire creativity. We wish to foster an appreciation for the arts, particularly for Baroque music, within the entire community. We are committed to providing educational experiences for people of all ages in order to instill a lifelong connection Bach’s music.
For more information, please visit Bach in Baltimore.
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Kristen LePine, Marketing Manager