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William Hite, tenor - Craig Smith, piano

Sun, February 25th, 2007
4:00 pm

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William Hite has been described by The Boston Globe as “a breathtaking communicator”, the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that Hite in Purcell’s King Arthur “lavished the music with considerable eloquence”, and The Wall Street Journal deemed his Apollo in Monteverdi’s Orfeo “outstanding”. The Boston-based tenor’s warm tone and vivid portrayals have garnered critical acclaim all over North America with early music groups, symphony orchestras and opera companies. He has appeared with such groups as the American Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Washington Bach Consort, the New York City Ballet, the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Tafelmusik and Philharmonia Baroque in repertoire from the Baroque to contemporary music.

Mr. Hite’s recent oratorio engagements include the Monteverdi Vespers with Portland Baroque, the St. Matthew Passion Evangelist with the Boston Cantata Singers, Ralph Vaughan Williams Hodie at Dartmouth University, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Handel and Haydn Society and Messiah with Duke University, the North American première of Telemann’s oratorio Alexander’s Feast with the Louisville Bach Society. He is scheduled to appear this season in the North Americam première of Telemann’s oratorio Der Tag Des Gerichts with the International Institute for Culture and in Berlioz’ L’Enfance Du Christ with the Boston Symphony, which he will repeat with the same conductor — Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos — and the Dresdener Philharmonie next season. Also upcoming are performances of Bach’s St. John Passion, Monterverdi’s Vespers, Haydn’s Creation and Lord Nelson Mass and a Monterverdi/Rossi concert with the New York Collegium.

His Baroque operatic credits include numerous performances at the Boston Early Music Festival, where he appeared in productions of Purcell’s King Arthur, Rossi’s Orfeo, Cavalli’s Ercole Amante, sang the role of Orfeo in Peri’s Euridice with Long Beach Opera, the role of Damon in Acis and Galatea with the Pittsburgh Camerata and the role of Ulisse in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse with the Toronto Consort and with Boston Baroque.

Most recently he appeared with the Cantata Singers as Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and his other contemporary roles include Roderick Usher, which he created, in the world première of the Philip Glass opera The Fall Of The House Of Usher at the American Repertory Theater and at Kentucky Opera; the première of Theodore Antoniou’s opera The Bacchae, which was performed at the Athens Festival in the Herodion at the foot of the Acropolis, Life Is a Dream with Dinosaur Annex in Boston and at Amherst, which won the composer Lew Spratlan the Pulitzer Prize; and the role of the Astronaut in Charles Fussel’s The Astronaut’s Tale.

Mr. Hite’s festival appearances in North America include Tanglewood, Santa Fe, Banff and Vancouver. In Europe he has performed at Academie Musicale in Saines, France, at Aix-en-Provence and at the Holland Festival Oude Muzieke.

Mr. Hite’s discography includes a recently released Centaur CD of Handel’s The Triumph Of Time And Truth. He has also recorded Mozart’s Requiem for the Denon label under the direction of Andrew Parrott and is featured on numerous award-winning CDs with the Boston Camerata as well as with the medieval music ensemble Sequentia.

Bill Hite tells us that he grew up in the midst of Amish country in Pennsylvania, where he played football in school and trombone and euphonium in the marching band. He also sang a lot around the house, in school choruses and at choral festivals. Invited to attend the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, he found others “nerdy enough to like singing” as much as he did and decided to go to college to study singing.

At the University of Kansas he was in a rock band called The Deal and heard Monteverdi and Britten’s War Requiem for the first time. It was a terrific place. At the Boston Conservatory of Music for a graduate degree, the highlights were productions of Così with Lorraine Hunt, Victoria Livengood and Lisa Saffer and Offenbach’s “staggering masterwork” The Isle of Tulipitan, in which he participated.

The “two coolest places” at which he has sung were the opera house at Versailles, where he did a French baroque concert on the same stage on which Lully had walked, and the Herodion in Athens where, when on stage, you look up at the temple of Nike and the Parthenon.

Bill Hite likes the singing of Fritz Wunderlich, Shawn Colvin, Claudio Villa and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and believes that all music has the power to change people.

He currently resides in the Connecticut River Valley with his wife Paula, daughter Olivia and Luca the cat. When not touring the world “using his singing voice to change the public’s notion of what constitutes art”, he teaches at the University of Massachusetts in the Department of Music and Art.

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