Next season, Harry Christophers will lead the Handel and Haydn Society in Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" and Mozart's "Coronation" Mass. That and other details of H&H's 2011-12 season were announced this week.
The "Coronation" Mass, with soprano Rosemary Joshua, will be recorded for future release on Christophers's CORO label, to form an eventual trio of live Mozart recordings alongside last season's performance of the Mass in C Minor and this season's upcoming performance of Mozart's Requiem.
Christophers will also lead a season-opening Haydn-Mozart program with fortepiano soloist Kristian Bezuidenhout; a performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with H&H's recently appointed concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky as soloist; and the annual holiday traversals of Handel's "Messiah."
Next season's guest conductors will include Rinaldo Alessandrini, Steven Fox, and Jean-Marie Zeitouni.
The "St. Matthew Passion" performances come as part of H&H's efforts to spotlight its own venerable history, in anticipation of its bicentennial in 2015. Specifically, the Society is programming each year one masterwork it premiered in this country. In the case of the "St. Matthew Passion," H&H gave the first U.S. performance in 1871, and the first complete performance came in 1879.