'Do-It-Yourself Messiah'

December 21, 2010

(RELEASE) A beloved Chicago holiday tradition since 1976, this year's concert will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.

"The Do-It-Yourself Messiah is a wonderfully collaborative production that I have savored participating in over the years," said Doss, a Grammy Award winner. "It is extremely evident why Chicago takes such pride in this world-class holiday tradition."

The "Do-It-Yourself Messiah" brings together a world-class conductor and soloists, an all-volunteer orchestra of local professional and amateur musicians and thousands of chorus/audience in a thrilling performance of Handel's masterpiece.

Chicago is proud to think of Doss as one of its own. After studying at Indiana University with Walter Cassel and Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, he became an apprentice artist with the Santa Fe Opera, which led to him becoming a member of what was formerly known as Chicago's Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. He has since delighted Chicago audiences for more than a quarter century, including performances in 10 seasons at Lyric Opera of Chicago since 1984 as well as doing concerts and recitals for the Lyric Opera Chapters.

In addition to past performances of "Messiah," Doss has appeared at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Cinque in "Amistad," Alidoro in "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella") and Escamillo in "Carmen."

Doss' performance in Chicago follows an impressive tour of Italian opera houses (many being debuts) as Jochanaan in "Salome" with Florence's Teatro del Maggio, the famed Arena di Verona as Escamillo in "Carmen," Balstrode in "Peter Grime"s with Teatro Regio Torino, Jochanaan at Bologna's Teatro Comunale, Escamillo at Theatro Municipale di Salerno, and his debut at Teatro La Fenice in Venice as Premysl in "Sárka." He finished last season with Teatro Real in Madrid as Jochanaan, having opened with that role at the beginning of the season with the Deutsche Staastoper Berlin. Upcoming engagements include Klingsor in Teatro Regio Torino's "Parsifal," Amonasro in "Aida" with The Vienna State Opera and Méphistophélès in "Faust" with the Santa Fe Opera.

Highlights of past seasons include a Verdi opera role debut at La Scala (among his many other roles there) as Amonasro in "Aida," a house debut in the same role at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the title role in Boito's "Mefistofele" with Oper Frankfurt, Escamillo in his debut at Teatro alla Scala, the title role in Handel's "Giulio Cesar"e with Cleveland Opera, and Mendelssohn's "Elijah" with the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Originally intended as an Easter oratorio, Handel's "Messiah" tells the story of Jesus' birth and life. Over the years, however, it has become more popularly associated with Christmas. The "do-it-yourself" idea was born at a small church in rural England more than 30 years ago and was first staged in Chicago in 1976. Audience members are seated according to voice range (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and sing with a full orchestra and four soloists.

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