The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Soloists named for ‘Messiah’ performance

Submitted information

Every other year, The Van Wert County Foundation, in cooperation with First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, presents a performance of Handel’s Messiah. This year’s performance will be Sunday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.

The performance includes a 60-member community chorus, a professional chamber orchestra, and soloists. Soloists for this year’s performance are soprano Kirsten Osbun Manley, mezzo-soprano Tina Bunce, tenors Shawn and Richard Mathey, and bass Sean Cooper.

Osbun Manley is resident artist in music and co-director of the musical theatre program at Ohio Northern University, where she teaches voice and diction for singers and directs the opera workshop program. She has appeared in recital and concert in performance venues throughout the Great Lakes region.

Messiah soloists include (clockwise from top left) Richard Mathey, Kirsten Osbun-Manley, Tina Bunce, Sean Cooper and Shawn Mathey. (photos submitted)
Messiah soloists include (clockwise from top left) Richard Mathey, Kirsten Osbun-Manley, Tina Bunce, Sean Cooper and Shawn Mathey. (photos submitted)

Recently, she was the featured soprano soloist in Mozart’s Mass in C minor and Ralph Vaughan William’s Serenade to Music with the Lima Symphony Orchestra. She has considerable opera and musical theatre experience, including roles in The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Magic Flute, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Candide, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. She will be making her first Van Wert Messiah appearance.

Sandor Bunce is primarily known for her work in oratorio and on the concert stage. She has excelled as soloist in performances of many of the great works for choir and orchestra, including Verdi’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Mahler’s Second Symphony, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Ninth Symphony, and the St. John and St. Matthew Passions of J.S. Bach.

Recently, she participated in weeklong residencies at Chester and Liverpool cathedrals in England.  She is a member of the Bowling Green vocal ensemble Opus 181 and the Canterbury Singers, USA.  In addition, Bunce maintains a private studio in Bowling Green and Findlay. Bunce last performed Messiah in Van Wert in 1995.

Richard Mathey is no stranger to Van Wert and First United Methodist Church. He has been guest soloist in Messiah, as well as The Seven Last Words of Christ on several occasions. In addition, he has been guest conductor for district, regional and state music festivals. Making his singing debut in 1971 at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, he has since performed 17 leading operatic tenor roles and has soloed with symphonies throughout the Midwest.

As director of choral activities and professor of music at Bowling Green State University for 32 years, Mathey became famous as conductor and director of both the Men’s Chorus and mixed choirs, taking them on tour all over the United States.

Mathey’s pride and joy, his son, Shawn, has become a very distinguished tenor in his own right. Shawn Mathey performs in the most important and distinguished opera companies and music festivals in the world, including the Paris Opera, the Operahaus Zurich, the Salzburg Festival, Frankfort Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Washington National Opera.

This season, Mathey made his debut in Seoul, Korea, as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, followed by one of his signature roles, Tamino in Kansas City. He then debuted two extremely rare roles at the Opera de St. Etienne in France, which will be recorded for commercial release.

He has also performed with the Cincinnati and Toledo Operas, as well as Opera Hong Kong, and will make his first Van Wert appearance as he joins his father in the tenor roles of Messiah.

Cooper, praised for his “rich,” “powerful,” and “well-tempered” vocal production has performed both Broadway and opera roles in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Guam. His roles include Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance. His opera performances include Raphael in Haydn’s Creation, Jesus in Bach’s Passion of St. John and numerous Messiah and Beethoven Ninth performances.

He has also performed with the Detroit, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Toledo, Lima, Warren and Oakland, Michigan, symphonies. His musical theater experience includes Riverdance! On Broadway, Carousel, The Fantastiks, Gypsy, South Pacific, and Jesus Christ Superstar. This is Professor Cooper of Bowling Green State University’s second Van Wert Messiah performance.

Paul Hoverman, Senior Choir director at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, will be the conductor, while Gloria Wendel and Annette Hoverman are rehearsal accompanists. Jake Wilder of Van Wert has assisted in sectional chorus rehearsals.

The 7 p.m. performance is open to the public, with doors opening at 6 p.m. A free-will offering will be taken.

POSTED: 12/06/14 at 8:08 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News