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Acclaimed Soprano Julianne Baird to
Perform for UW-Eau Claire Artists Series

RELEASED: Oct. 25, 2007

Julianne Baird
Julianne Baird

EAU CLAIRE — Internationally acclaimed soprano Julianne Baird will present "The Musical World of Benjamin Franklin" Wednesday, Nov. 7, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Artists Series concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

Baird will be joined by harpsichordist John Chappell Stowe and narrator Edward Mauger in this visit to an earlier time in American history.

In the words of Baird and Mauger, "Benjamin Franklin's long and eventful life progressed from a working-class childhood in Boston and the print shops of Philadelphia to the royal courts of Europe. He became the most celebrated author, scientist and diplomat of colonial times. Like all Franklin's enthusiasms, his musical life was just as variegated and fully engaged. Benjamin Franklin wrote ballad lyrics and politically satirical songs and even constructed musical theory to justify the timelessness of his beloved Scots ballads. He attended concerts and operas, promoted emerging American musicians, and invented a musical instrument that became the rage of Europe."

The program reflects Franklin's musical eclecticism with its assortment of American tunes, Scots ballads and keyboard music popular in Philadelphia during the late 18th century, closing with a drinking song in which the audience is invited to participate. It also includes Handel arias that were popular in London while Franklin was a diplomat there and arias from Gluck's opera "Orpheus," a performance Franklin attended in Paris "the very night the opera house burnt down."

Baird has been hailed a "national artistic treasure" (The New York Times) and as a peerless performer in the repertory of the baroque. She maintains a busy concert and recording schedule of solo recitals and performances of baroque opera and oratorio.

With 115 recordings to her credit on Decca, Deutsche Gramophone, Dorian and Newport Classics, Baird is one of the world's ten most recorded female artists. In addition to her major roles in the acclaimed series of recordings of Handel and Gluck operatic premieres, her recent CDs include "Benjamin Franklin's Musical World" with Ensemble Philomel (Spiritoso Records), "Gloria — Handel in Rome" (Lyrichord), and "Flaming Rose," a recording of Handel German arias and trio sonatas with Tempesta di Mare (Chandos).

Recognized internationally for her scholarship, Baird is the author of "Introduction to the Art of Singing" (Cambridge University Press), now in its third printing, used by singers and professional schools around the world.

Stowe is professor of organ and harpsichord at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music. His instructional activities also include improvisation, continuo playing, organ design and literature, and coaching the UW-Madison Early Music Ensemble. With John Aley, trumpet, he has recorded "Windows" of Petr Eben on the T.O.G. label. His solo recording on the 1863 Wadsworth organ at St. James Church in Madison has been released by Ethereal Recordings.

Mauger, the program's narrator, is the author of the bestselling books "Philadelphia Then and Now" and "Philadelphia in Photographs" and the managing director of Paideia, an organization that celebrates the 18th century. He has served as narrator for a number of Julianne Baird's recital programs, including "The Jane Austen Songbook" and "Crazy for Love and Music," which explores the genre of the Mad Song, inspired by 17th and 18th century nobility's voyeuristic relationship with Bedlam, London's public insane asylum. In recent years he has been featured on "Good Morning America" and on the History Channel's "Sex in the Eighteenth Century." His next book, "Atlantic City Then and Now," is scheduled for release in September 2008.

Tickets for the Artists Series performance are $15 for the public, $13 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $5 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

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JS/NW

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