The year of 2017 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767-1830), the most important Brazilian colonial composer. His music was never performed in Israel until PHOENIX's premiere of his remarkable Requiem at the Abu Gosh Festival. This was the closing of a cycle, since PHOENIX's director, Myrna Herzog, was responsible for the first performances of the music of José Mauricio on period instruments in 1986, in Rio de Janeiro, at the Museum of Modern Art.

The program is a musical trip to Rio de Janeiro c. 1815, when it was the seat of the Portuguese Empire. It is a showcase of what was heard in Rio's streets, salons, at the Opera, the Church and the concert hall. In addition to José Maurício Nunes Garcia's breath-taking Requiem of 1816, it includes music by Portuguese composer Marcos Portugal, by Damião Barbosa de Araújo from Bahia (active in Rio during this period), and a popular dance, the Lundu.


In 1808 the Portuguese Royal family fleeing from Napoleon arrived to Brazil. Scattered in several ships,the whole court, with their servants and the Royal Chapel, 15,000 people bringing a library with more than 60,000 books, landed in the port of Rio! Their stay, which lasted until 1821, brought about a true cultural revolution. Our program focuses on the music created and performed in Rio de Janeiro during this time.


The works are performed on period instruments, including classical clarinets, classical bassoons, classical flute, natural horns, early timpani and period string instruments. For the lundu, popular instruments such as the rabeca and the cavaquinho are used. 

We wish to convey our hearty thanks to Philippe Castejon & Castejon Music EditionsMonica Lucas, Roberto Rodrigues & Conjunto de Música Antiga da USP, and to Musica Brasilis, for their invaluable help with the musical scores. 

We thank the Abu Gosh Festival, whose support gave us the courage to undertake this huge project.

 This project has the support of the Embassy of Portugal in Israel and of the Camões Institute.


                                                   New logo Embaixada                                          Camoes

Haifa, the  Holiday of Holidays Festival

December 9th at St. Joseph’s Church, HaMeginim 78, Wadi Nisnas, at 11 am.
Tel  03-7316561 

On the program

 padre-jose-mauricio-n-garcia-lanzellotti1The most important works of José Maurício were composed after the arrival of the Portuguese Royal Family to Brazil in 1808, when the composer became also Master of the Portuguese Royal Chapel, emigrated from Lisbon. In 1811 the Portuguese opera composer Marcos Portugal (1762 - 1830) arrived to Rio, and shared with José Maurício the responsibility for the music of the Portuguese court in Brazil, sharing the post of "Mestre da Capela Real". 

José Maurício’s famous Requiem was made for Queen Maria I (1734 - 1816), nicknamed the Pious and the Mad, Queen of Portugal and Algarves from 1777 until her death, and also Queen of Brazil from 1815. Maria lived in Brazil for eight years, and died in the city of Rio de Janeiro in March 20, 1816. The Requiem Mass by José Maurício was ordered by the Senate Chamber and was sung at the Church of Ajuda, on the occasion of the celebration of the religious service for the Queen. It is reported that such service would have exceeded in magnificence all other expressions of sympathy for the death of Queen. Some days after the Queen's death, the composer's mother also passed away, and it is believed that for this reason the Requiem is such a powerful and emotional work.

Marcos Portugal light
Born in Lisbon, Marcos Portugal had immense success as an opera composer, achieving international fame still unsurpassed in the history of Portuguese music. He came to Brazil in 1811 at the request of King John VI and remained in Rio de Janeiro when the Portuguese court returned to Portugal, in 1821, continuing to serve his pupil, the king’s son, as he became the First Emperor of Brazil, D. Pedro. Marcos Portugal died a Brazilian citizen in Rio de Janeiro in 1830. The composer wrote the first official national anthems of both Portugal and Brazil and left a major mark in Brazilian music. Representing the lighter side of the life in Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 19th century, we shall present one of Portugal's modinhas (music typically heard at Rio's salons) and an aria from his comic opera Oro non compra amore - his first opera staged in Rio, the same year he arrived, at the birthday of Queen Dona Maria I, on December 17, 1811.

The Brazilian composer Damião Barbosa de Araújo (1778-1856) had an important musical and compositional activity in Brazil in the first half of the 19th century, as Chapel Master in the Cathedral of Bahia. He came to Rio de Janeiro at the invitation of the Portuguese King D. João VI and worked in his court in Rio. He is presently considered the second most important colonial Brazilian composer after José Maurício. His Memento is not a liturgical work, but a prayer done in the house of those who had just passed away (in the velório, when people come to pay a last homage).

The lundú or lundum was a popular sensuous African dance  brought to Brazil by Bantu slaves. The one in our program was collected slightly after the writing of José Maurício's Requiem, by Spix and von Martius in their Reise in Brasilien (Travels in Brazil).  In a long journey, between 1817 and 1820, the botanist  Johann Baptist Von Spix and the zoologist Carl Friedrich Philipp Von Martius traveled thousands of miles through the country, visiting São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco, Piauí, Maranhão, Pará and Amazonas. 

The program

José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767-1830) – Abertura em réMyrna Herzog conductos PHOENIX  GALIL ELION2 
 ז'וזה מאוריסיו נונס גרסיה (1767-1830) - פתיחה ברה


Damião Barbosa de Araújo (1778-1856) - Memento Baiano  
דמיאן ברבוסה דה אראוז'ו (1778-1856) - ממנטו מבאהיה


Marcos Portugal (1762 – 1830) - Cuidados, Tristes Cuidados
"מרקוס פורטוגל (1762-1830) - "דאגות, דאגות עצובות


Lundum  - danse collected in Brazil by Spix and von Martius, 1817-1820
לונדום - ריקוד עממי מברזיל לפי ספיקס ופון מרסיוס 1817-1820


Marcos Portugal - Qual piacere e qual diletto, Aria for soprano with clarinet obbligato from the opera Oro non compra amore (1804) 
מרקוס פורטוגל - אריה "איזו הנאה ואיזה תענוג" מתוך האופרה "זהב לא קונה אהבה" (1804) לסופרן עם קלרנית אובליגטו


José Maurício Nunes Garcia - Requiem for the Portuguese Queen Maria I (1816)
 (1816) ז'וזה מאוריציו נונס גרסיה - רקוויאם למלכה הפורטוגזית מריה הראשונה  



Requiem solo

Soloist singers: Sofia Pedro (soprano, Portugal) - Michal Okon (soprano), Ron Silberstein (tenor), Yair Polishook (bass)

Clarinet solo: Gili Rinot

Special guest: Ricardo Rapoport (Brazil) – classical bassoon & Brazilian cavaquinho

Conductor, musical director, cello & rabeca: Myrna Herzog

The Upper Galilee Choir (directed by Ron Zarchi)

The PHOENIX orchestra on period instruments:
*Yaakov Rubinstein, Sharon Cohen, Noam Gal,  **Lia Raikhlin, Nahara Carmel, Fabiol Cezma – violins
Miriam Fingert, Tami Borenstein– violas
Lucia D’Anna – cello
Antonino Tertuliano – doublebass

Moshe Epstein – classical flute

Gili Rinot, Nurit Bloom – classical clarinets
Ricardo Rapoport (Brazil) - classical bassoon & cavaquinho , Alexander Fine – classical bassoon
Alon Reuven, Ruty Varon – natural horns 
Nadav Ovadia – timpani


Sofia Pedro (Portugal)



Sofia Pedro PhotoBorn in Lisbon, Sofia recently graduated with a bachelor degree from the Conservatory of Amsterdam, in the class of Sasja Hunnego. Her earlier singing studies started in the voice class of Joana Levy, which she concluded with a maximum classification. She was a finalist of the 9th Classical Singing competition of the Rotary Club Foundation, in Portugal, in 2016.

Sofia is a founding member of Ensemble Seconda Prat!ca. With this group, she has performed in the Festival d'Ambronay and Festival du Sablé (France), Sevicq Brezice (Slovenia), Oude Muziek Festival (The Netherlands), Internationale Händel-Feestspiele Göttingen and Heinrich Schütz Musikfest (Germany), Stockholm Early Music Festival (Sweden) and in Latvia and Portugal. The ensemble's first recording, "Nova Europa", was released in 2016 by Ambronay Éditions.

She has attended masterclasses of Dame Emma Kirkby, Isabel Rey, Claron McFadden, Ira Siff, Alexander Oliver, John Potter and Elena Dumitrescu Nentwig.

Sofia has performed the following roles for staged operas in her previous schools: Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni), Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica (Puccini), Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart), Carmen in Carmen (Bizet), Belinda and 2nd Woman in Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Bruxa/Witch in Hänsel und Gretel (Humperdinck), Maman and Libellule in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges (Ravel), and Eurydice in Orphée et Eurydice (Gluck). In 2017, Sofia sang the role of Spirit in Cendrillon (Massenet) with the Dutch National Opera Academy, and she currently prepares the opera Fairy Queen (Purcell) with ensemble Seconda Prat!ca. She has performed as a soloist in Requiem (Mozart), Kaiserrequiem (Fux), Petite Messe Solennelle (Rossini), Messiah (Händel), Gloria (Vivaldi), Magnificat em Talha Dourada (Eurico Carrapatoso) and Missa Crioula (Ariel Ramirez).

Sofia holds a bachelor degree in Archaeology, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Ricardo Rapoport (Brasil/France)


Rapoport wroclavOn completing his bassoon studies with Noël Devos in his home city of Rio de Janeiro - where he also studied guitar, viola da gamba (with Myrna Herzog), composition, conducting and architecture — RICARDO RAPOPORT joined the Symphony Orchestra of Brazil.  In 1984 he moved to Paris to refine his playing with Maurice Allard at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, where he was awarded a Premier Prix in bassoon.

After completing a chamber music course with Maurice Bourgue, he received a French government grant to follow the Advanced Studies in Music programme at the Banff Center in Canada, concentrating on baroque bassoon. Since then, alongside his chamber-music and solo work, he performs and records regularly with various Early Music ensembles, such as Le Parlement de Musique, Les Musiciens du Louvre, La Petite Bande, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Ensemble Matheus and Le Concert Spirituel, among others. 

Ricardo Rapoport also has a passion for contemporary music, which he frequently performs, and has been involved in various contemporary premiere performances. He currently teaches bassoon, baroque bassoon and chamber music at the Conservatoire National de Région in Rennes, and is regularly invited to participate in festivals and masterclasses in both Europe, Brazil and the US. 

His world-premiere recording of Antoine Dard's "6 Sonatas for Bassoon and Bass Bass" (1758), published by the Ramée label with Pascal Dubreuil at the harpsichord, was a great success for critics and audiences [5 diapason, 4 Monde de la Musique, 5 Rivista Musica (Italy), 5 Rondo (Germany), etc.].




"This unique event of the 51st Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival (June 3rd 2017), researched and conducted by Brazilian-born PHOENIX founder and director Myrna Herzog, offered festival-goers a totally new listening experience, with the ensemble transformed into a full orchestra performing on period instruments from the Classical period. 

Sofia Pedro’s luxuriant, easeful and substantial voice reached all corners of the Kiryat Yearim Church, as she eyed her audience, teasing it with the word-painting of [Marcos Portugal’s] love-struck aria. Gili Rinot's playing of the clarinet obbligato role was suave and richly shaped. 

Herzog's performance of Garcia's Requiem presented the rich possibilities of the work. Her large orchestra highlighted the score's vibrant colors. The result was an orchestral canvas of great richness and subtlety, offering as much interest to the players as to the audience. The Upper Galilee Choir gave a most impressive, finely detailed, well blended and meaningful performance, its choral sound fresh and flexible. The vocal quartet’s teamwork (Pedro, Evers, Segev, Polishook) produced a sympathetic and sensitive blend. Tenor Oshri Segev's full and mellow timbre and musicality were well suited to the work. Especially imposing was Yair Polishook's performance – his vivid mix of bass timbres, careful pacing and compelling dramatic sense drawing the listener with him into the work’s emotional fabric.  

Myrna Herzog's production of Garcia's Requiem was electrifying.  Once again, she has introduced Israeli audiences to repertoire not previously heard in this country and in the most uncompromising and authentic manner.  In this ground-breaking event of great interest and beauty, the audience was swept into the excitement experienced by the artists involved in the performance." 

Pamela Hickman's Concert Critique blog.
Read the whole review here.