December 3, 2022, 6pm at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church
w/film by Shane Meador starring Cyra Ottinger
Free Admission RSVP Required
The Little Match Girl Passion is a stunning musical work of art. It tells the Hans Christian Andersen story of a young girl forced to sell matches for food during the holiday season in Paris, France.
It occurred to me that presenting this work immediately after Thanksgiving as we move into the Christmas holiday season would be timely as we reflect on the blessings in our own lives.
We have assembled an extraordinary cast of vocalists and musicians for The Little Match Girl Passion. The work will be Act 1 of our concert. Act 2 will feature our talented performers in sensational arrangements of beloved Christmas tunes from a multitude of genres that will bring down the house!
This family friendly concert is for everyone but we specifically recommend that children be 10 years or older. Seating is limited and reservations are required so please RSVP on this site for the 6pm performance. This will be an evening of artistry and joy.
While there is no charge to attend, we will gratefully accept donations to fund this and other concerts hosted by Simpsonwood UMC. Please donate at this link: www.littlematchgirldonate.com
Thank you for your support of classical music in Peachtree Corners!
David Troy Francis Director of Music, Simpsonwood UMC
Summary: On a freezing New Year's Eve, a poor young girl, shivering and barefoot tries to sell matches in the street. Afraid to go home because her father would beat her for failing to sell any matches, she huddles in the alley between two houses and lights matches, one by one, to warm herself. However, the girl is ignored by passersby as no one buys from her, leaving her to suffer alone in the cold weather.
In the flame of the matches, she sees a series of comforting visions: the warm iron stove, the lovely roast goose, the great glorious Christmas tree. Each vision disappears as its match burns out.
In the sky she sees a shooting star, which her late grandmother had told her means someone is on their way to Heaven. In the flame of the next match she sees her late grandmother, the only person that ever treated her with love and kindness. To keep the vision of her grandmother alive as long as possible, the girl lights the entire bundle of matches.
When the matches are gone the girl freezes to death, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the girl's body with a smile on her face, and express pity. They do not know about the wonderful visions she had seen, or how happy she is with her grandmother in Heaven.
excerpt from the little match girl passion "god have mercy"
“With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.” — The New Yorker
about the little match girl passion
In his program note, David Lang writes:
What drew me to The Little Match Girl is that the strength of the story lies not in its plot but in the fact that all its parts—the horror and the beauty—are constantly suffused with their opposites.
The girl's bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories; her poverty is always suffused with her hopefulness. There is a kind of naive equilibrium between suffering and hope ....
My piece is called "The Little Match Girl Passion" and it sets Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl" in the format of Bach's "Saint Matthew Passion," interspersing Andersen's narrative with my versions of the crowd and character responses from Bach's Passion. The text is by me, after texts by Han Christian Andersen, H. P. Paulli (the first translator of the story into English, in 1872), Picander (the nom de plume of Christian Friedrich Henrici, the librettist of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion), and the Gospel according to Saint Matthew.
The word passion comes from the Latin word for suffering. There is no Bach in my piece and there is no Jesus—rather the suffering of the Little Match Girl has been substituted for Jesus's, elevating (I hope) her sorrow to a higher plane.
In 2019, writers of The Guardian ranked The Little Match Girl Passion the 15th greatest work of art music since 2000, with Andrew Clements calling it "one of the most original vocal works of recent times. Extracts from Andersen’s story and from St Matthew’s gospel are interleaved with closely woven vocal writing, that is [...] often comfortingly tonal and hauntingly affecting." The Little Match Girl Passion has been described as "a 21st century classic".
Soprano Tiffany Uzoije has gained attention as a “tonally and technically impressive performer”. She has been praised for her “authentic and rich tone” as well as her “engaging stage presence”. Ms. Uzoije studied at Belmont University under the training of soprano Jocelyn Fisher. During her time at Belmont, she performed with Nashville Opera and was featured in a recording of Porgy and Bess as the Strawberry Woman with the Nashville Symphony conducted by John Mauceri for the Decca label. Ms. Uzoije studied opera and vocal performance at The Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Currently Ms. Uzoije lives in Atlanta, Georgia and regularly appears in productions at Atlanta Opera. She has been featured in roles such as Mrs. Charlton in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Handmaiden in Turandot and most recently, Annie in Porgy and Bess. Ms. Uzoije has performed two solo concerts with the Rome Symphony Orchestra in Rome, Georgia. She is featured regularly in recitals and other performances in Georgia.
Peachtree Corners native Elizabeth Schall trained under Opera Atlanta’s Rebecca Kier and has performed with the acappella group With Someone Else’s Money. She has a Bachelor Degree from Harding University where she sang with two Concert Choirs. Elizabeth received her Masters in French from Middlebury College and spent a year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. She sang with the French language choir at Middlebury. She has been a featured soloist in recent concerts and with the Simpsonwood UMC Chancel Choir.
Travis Hall, an Atlanta Native, is a graduate of Columbus State University. He has performed in MainStage, and specialty concerts for Capitol City Opera, Steamboat Opera, and in the chorus for the Atlanta Opera. In the spring of 2022 Travis performed as a soloist in the Aid for Ukraine concert at Shallowford Presbyterian In the summer of 2018, completed the prestigious "German for Singers" immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont. Travis earned his first professional credits in 2020 performing in the ensemble of Capitol City Opera's “Romeo et Juliette”. Most recently, Travis will perform Monostatos and cover Tamino on full scholarship in Steamboat Opera’s 2021 production of Die Zauberflöte. Travis’ most recent performances were in the chorus of The Atlanta Opera’s Pirates of Penzance and Barber of Seville.
Samy Itskov, a longtime resident of the Atlanta area, has spent the past six years participating in productions with the Atlanta Opera as a member of its chorus, as well as performing with the recently established Atlanta Concert Opera and the Atlanta staple of Capitol City Opera. He was most recently seen in the chorus for the Atlanta Opera’s productions of The Barber of Seville and The Pirates of Penzance, as Dr. Bartolo in ACO’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and as Gregorio in Capitol City’s production of Roméo et Juliette. Samy received his Bachelor’s of Music from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa in 2016.
Noah is an 18 year old seasoned percussionist and musician. He has sung in halls across the world and performed percussive arts on a national scale. He is entering a music performance degree under the study of John Lawless at Kennesaw State University in the fall. Last summer, he performed independently with Drum Corps International. He has set that aside to be an instructor at Wesleyan, Denmark High School, and North Gwinnett High School in the winter.
Drew Lakly has received the honor of being the 2nd chair bass in the highest orchestra at the Florida State University summer camp, being accepted into the Fayette Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and being Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra’s 4th chair bass. He is a student of Gloria Allgood, the assistant principal double bass of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and he has been selected by his school to perform the Dragonetti Bass Concerto as a soloist.
david troy francis
Mr. Francis has enjoyed a 50+ year career of musical excellence and performs in recital throughout America and Europe. He has ten cds available including the world premiere recording of Mr. Rorem's Eight Etudes for Piano on the cd entitled The Americans. The Los Angeles Times raves of Mr. Francis’ playing: "consistently absorbing whether in lyrical repose or propulsive fury." Two of his best selling CDs include his unique and compelling arrangements of American Hymns. Mr. Francis was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and is best known for his steadfast championing and performance of contemporary American music. He is the creator, composer, musical director and executive producer of the runaway smash hit musical BARK! - the 3rd longest running production in Los Angeles theatrical history. The wildly successful show has been mounted in theatres from Florida to Alaska and internationally in Brazil and Scotland. He is the artistic director of the Roswell Music Club and the Alpharetta Music Club, and is the proud director of music at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. www.davidtroyfrancis.com
Mike Boustead has enjoyed a tremendously varied musical career. He graduated from the prestigious Scoring for Film and Television program at the University of Southern California where he studied composition with film composer legends David Raksin, (Laura, The Bad and the Beautiful), Elmer Bernstein, (The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments), Leonard Rosenman, (East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause). His piano composition, Prelude No. 1, was recorded by David Francis, of which, The Los Angeles Times said, “think Chopin at Le Club Hot”. He has worked as an orchestrator for various films including Disney’s 101 Dalmations. While living in Los Angeles, Mr. Boustead worked as music editor on many wonderful films including Remember the Titans, Collateral, Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Princess Diaries, The Pursuit of Happyness and others. He has over 30 films to his credit. Mr. Boustead is a co-producer of the smash hit musical BARK! which ran for two years in Los Angeles (3rd longest in history), 7 months in Chicago, and in 2018 at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. BARK! has been licensed in over 20 cities and continues to thrill audiences across the country.