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Kate Royal courtesy of Uli Weber and EMI Classics

The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will perform with British soprano Kate Royal at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 at Williams Center for the Arts.

The concert expands upon the 3-B’s of classical music (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms) to include works by Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten. The concert is Orpheus’ first performance of Beethoven’s powerful Seventh Symphony, a landmark for the Grammy-Award winning orchestra.  Another ‘first’ for Orpheus is the exciting collaboration with Royal, who will sing the delicate poems of Arthur Rimbaud, set to music by Benjamin Britten in his masterpiece, Les Illuminations.

London-born Royal has wowed audiences through­out England and Europe with her lush voice and compelling artistry. Described by Opera Today as “a glamorous singer, with a polished sultriness in her low-lying soprano,” Royal appears with Orpheus before her Metropolitan Opera debut next May.

Recognized internationally as a phenomenal chamber orchestra, Orpheus takes a unique approach toward chamber music in that the ensemble works without a conductor. It is a self-governing organization, making the repertory and interpretive decisions ordinarily assumed by a conductor through a collaborative effort. Orpheus has received numerous distinctions and awards, including a 2001 Grammy Award for Shadow Dances: Stravinsky Miniatures, a 1999 Grammy Award for its jazz-inspired Ravel and Gershwin collaboration with Herbie Hancock, a 1998 Grammy nomination for its recording of Mozart piano concerti with Richard Goode, and the 1998 “Ensemble of the Year” award by Musical America.

Tickets are free for Lafayette students, $6 for students at LVAIC schools, $5 for faculty and staff, and $27 for the public. They can be obtained by calling the Williams Center box office at (610) 330-5009.

Other performances in the 2010-11 Chamber Music series will be another appearance by Orpheus with violinist Vadim Gluzman, Jan. 28, $27; Piffaro with King’s Noyse and soprano Ellen Hargis, March 9, $18; and the Venice Baroque Orchestra, April 16, $22.

The 2010–2011 Performance Series at Lafayette College is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Josephine Chidsey Williams Endowment, the J. Mahlon and Grace Buck Fund, the Croasdale Fund, the Dr. Aaron O. Litwak ’42 Fund, the Class of ’73 Fund, the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and National Dance Project/New England Foundation for the Arts. Special thanks to the F.M. Kirby Foundation for its sustaining support.

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