Handel's Messiah

Special Event

Rosary Cathedral

December 3, 2017

Concert Time: 4:00 pm

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Sara Jobin, conductor
Nicole Greenidge Joseph, soprano
Aleks Romano, mezzo-soprano
Don Bernardini, tenor
Timothy LeFebvre, baritone
Toledo Choral Society, Richard Napierala, director
Terra State Choral Society, Richard Napierala, director

Handel’s Messiah returns to the glorious acoustic of Rosary Cathedral. The TSO joins forces with local choirs and international vocalists in this holiday tradition. Last year’s performance sold out, so get your tickets to the Messiah of the season!


Grammy-nominated conductor Sara Jobin has a passion for opera, new and American repertoire, and sacred music.

She is Chief Conductor of the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, and Resident Conductor of the Toledo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Toledo Opera,

In 2004, she had the honor of making history as the first woman to conduct mainstage subscription performances at San Francisco Opera, conducting Tosca with Carol Vaness and Der fliegende Holländer with Nina Stemme. Jobin has returned to that podium for 16 performances of five different productions since then, including Philip Glass' “Appomattox” and the world premiere production of “The Secret Garden.”

Jobin has guest conducted the opera companies in Arizona, Baltimore (where she was again the first woman), Pittsburgh, Santa Barbara, Anchorage, Tacoma, and Idaho. She has also conducted the Dayton Philharmonic, Symphony Silicon Valley, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and the Bochumer Philharmoniker.  Internationally, she has also led American operas in Szeged, Hungary, and Avignon, France, and brought one in workshop form to Shanghai.

Her first full-length recording, the comedy “Volpone” by John Musto, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Her discography also includes a Brubeck premiere with beloved mezzo Frederica von Stade.

As a freelancer, Jobin particularly seeks out projects that increase cross-cultural or interfaith understanding.  Recently she led a performance of the Bach B minor Mass at Dachau in memory of Noorunisa Inayat Khan, a Sufi Muslim who gave her life as a British spy in WW II.  She premiered Mohican composer Brent Michael David’s “The Purchase of Manhattan,” told from the Native American perspective, at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York, and portions of Shelia Silver’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” a work still in progress, at the Opera America New Works Forum.

Named a Leonard Bernstein Music Scholar by Harvard College, Jobin tends to defy traditional categories. She earned her black belt in judo on the same day as conducting “Beethoven's Fifth” for the first time. She sang for many years in the Glide Ensemble, a gospel choir featured in the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith; prefers to ride a bicycle for transportation year round; and is looking for more opportunities to conduct sacred music. Tired of operas where the women die victimized by society, Jobin founded the Different Voice Opera Project in collaboration with Carol Gilligan.

Jobin comes from a multi-colored, multi-faith family with a strong tradition of social justice activism.  She pledges her talent to increase the peace.


Nicole Joseph, a native of Oregon, is equally at home on both the operatic and concert stage. Following the completion of her Masters degree at the University of Michigan, Ms. Joseph made her professional debut as Beatrice in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers with Kentucky Opera, and as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) and Micaëla (Carmen) with Opera Modo in Detroit. She is also featured with Michigan Opera Theatre’s Community Outreach program as the Miller’s Daughter (Rumpelstiltskin) and Voluptua (La Pizza con Funghi). Additional roles include Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Papagena (The Magic Flute), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Susanna (Le Nozze de Figaro) and Musetta (La Boheme).

In great demand as a recitalist and soloist, Nicole performs frequently across the United States. As a member of the widely acclaimed choral group, Conspirare, Nicole was a featured soloist on their 2015 Grammy award-winning recording, Sacred Spirit of Russia. As a concert soloist in the Detroit-area, Nicole has performed with Motor City Lyric Opera, Flint Symphony, Oakland University, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, and Southern Great Lakes Symphony. Nicole has also performed with various regional festivals and orchestras in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and New York.

Nicole is also the winner of numerous awards and competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera Auditions (MI), James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, Nicholas Loren Vocal Competition, Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition, American Traditions Competition and Career Bridges Foundation award.



Mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano has been hailed as representing “the best of the new operatic training and integrated performance.” Consistently praised for her integrity of character and lush vocal presence, Ms. Romano was awarded First Prize in the 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. She was a 2015 Sullivan Foundation Career Development Award winner and second place winner in the Southeast Region of the 2015-2016 Metropolitan National Council Auditions.

After making her return during the summer to the Glimmerglass Festival as Aurelio in The Siege of Calais, Ms. Romano’s 2017-2018 season began with a debut with Madison Opera essaying the title role in Carmen. She also made her debut with Austin Opera singing the Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos.

The 2016-2017 season featured company debuts with Portland Opera and Piedmont Opera as Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri, a return to Washington National Opera as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, and another company debut with both Baltimore Concert Opera and Opera Delaware in the role of Arsace in Semiramide. She joined the roster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago to cover the role of Dulcinée in Don Quichotte. On the concert stage she appeared with the Kansas City Symphony for performances of the Mozart Requiem, and the Jacksonville Symphony for Handel’s Messiah.

Ms. Romano returned to Washington National Opera as Mercedes in Carmen, Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, and covered the role of Wellgunde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung, during the 2015-2016 season. Additionally, she premiered the first act of Sheila Silver’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, as part of Opera America’s New Works Showcase and in workshop performances in Key West, FL.

A Mid-Atlantic Regional Finalist and Encouragement Award Winner in the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Romano was also awarded the prestigious Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Prize from Yale School of Music. In summer 2014, Aleks covered Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Sondra Finchley in An American Tragedy at The Glimmerglass Festival. Ms. Romano is also an alumna of the Wolf Trap Studio (2011, 2012).

A huge proponent of art song and concert repertoire, Ms. Romano has been seen in solo recital at Yale University and Bard College, and presented a joint recital at the National Opera Center with other Domingo-Cafritz young artists in the spring of 2015. Previous concert appearances include the Yale Philharmonia (Woolsey Concerto Competition Winner, 2014), Voices of Cooperstown, the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. She has received additional prizes from Opera Theater CT (First Place, Amici Vocal Competition, 2014), Yale University (Lotte Lenya Scholarship, 2013), the Bard College Concerto Competition (2009, 2010), the Classical Singer University Competition (national semifinalist, 2010), and the Presser Foundation (2009).


The internationally acclaimed American tenor Don Bernardini continues to earn highest accolades for his passionate, dramatic interpretations of bel canto heroes of Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart and Verdi, enriched by golden tone and rare musicianship. His stage directing of many of these same operas has been widely acclaimed as inventive and unique. On the concert stage, Mr. Bernardini brings depth and excitement to the choral works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini, and Verdi.           

Recent highlights include his return to the Stadttheater Bern for performances of “Die Zauberflöte,” “Don Giovanni,” “Macbeth” and “Manon,” having been seen there earlier in the leading tenor roles in “L'Elisir d'Amore,” “Così fan Tutte,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Tosca,” “La Traviata,” “Werther” and the title role in Mozart's “Idomeneo.” The latter role he also performed with Maestro Adam Fischer at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Germany and at the Palacio de Congresos Zaragoza, Spain. Guest engagements include his débuts at the Opera Festivals of Avenches and Bellinzona, Switzerland (“Il Barbiere di Siviglia”), at the Staatsoper Hannover (“La Cenerentola”), the Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine (“Simon Boccanegra”), Stadttheater St. Gallen (“Barbiere” and “Werther”), at the Theater Basel (“Maria Stuarda”), and at the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck in the title role of Rossini's “Otello.”            

His May 2003 performance as Gennaro in Donizetti's “Lucrezia Borgia,” performed and recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London with Nelli Miricioiu in the title role, was a great success as was his 2004 Atlanta Opera debut as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” During that season he also appeared in Verdi's “Nabucco” in Bern, sang Liszt's “La Messe Solennelle” in Valencia, Spain, “Così fan Tutte” in Nuremberg, Germany, as well as multiple concert performances throughout Europe. The summer of 2005 marks Don Bernardini’s engagement at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, for Mozart’s “Mitridate.” In 2008 and ‘09, performances throughout the United States included singing Cavaradossi in San Antonio Opera’s “Tosca”, Delaware Opera’s Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus” and concerts with the Evansville Symphony, Ft. Wayne Philharmonic and Wintergreen summer festival.

 Mr. Bernardini has sung with such international companies as Opéra Comique de Paris, the Hamburg Oper, the Teatro del'Opera de Roma, the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, the Opernhaus in Zürich, La Fenice in Venice, the Opéra de Strasbourg (his début performance in the title role of “Roberto Devereux” was recorded live and released on Nightingale Records), the Teatro Bellini in Catania, the Teatro Massimo di Messina, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, the Monterrey Opera in Mexico, VARA Radio in the Netherlands and he has been engaged by the Teatro Colòn in Buenos Aires as well as at the annual Opera Festivals: Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Zagreb, Croatia. In North America, the companies he has performed with include the Opera Companies of Baltimore, Calgary, Chautauqua, Cincinnati, Edmonton, Grand Rapids, Hawaii, Kentucky, Knoxville, Michigan, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington, the Opera Theater of St. Louis, Opera Pacific and New York City Opera, to name a few. He has been guest soloist with the Symphony Orchestras of Columbus, Denver, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Oregon and West Virginia; the Buffalo, Evansville, Oklahoma City and Rochester Philharmonics; the Opera Orchestra of New York and the Brevard Music Festival.

In Europe, he has been soloist with Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the Musikverein in Vienna, the Mälmo Symphony, the Swedish Radio Symphony (Donizetti's “Linda di Chamounix” has been recorded live and released on Nightingale Classics), on several occasions with the ORF Symphonieorchester at the Konzerthaus in Vienna (where his performance of Bellini's “Beatrice di Tenda” was also recorded live for Nightingale under the baton of Pinchas Steinberg), the Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid (Beethoven's Ninth Symphony), the Bamberger Symphoniker (Brahms' Liebeslieder Walzer), and with the Süddeutsche Vokalensemble (Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, released as a Berlin Classics CD recording). He has also recorded the Verdi Requiem and the Gounod Mors et Vita with the Sinfonieorchester Basel.


Nationally acclaimed baritone Timothy LeFebvre has wide-ranging experience from the operatic stage to the concert hall.  Recent performances include Germont in La Traviata with Erie Chamber Orchestra, Messiah with Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Holiday Concerts with West Virginia Symphony, Germont in La Traviata with Tri-Cities Opera, Messiah with Wichita Symphony, Elijah with Evansville Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Butler County Symphony (Butler, PA), Brahms’ Requiem and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Symphoria (Syracuse, NY), and Beethoven’s Mass in C and Ninth Symphony with Berkshire Choral Festival.

Mr. LeFebvre has appeared in concert with the Jacksonville Symphony, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Wichita Symphony, Pensacola Symphony, Evansville Symphony, Symphoria (Syracuse), Butler County Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Symphony, Minnesota Symphony, Syracuse Symphony, American Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Spokane Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Rochester Bach Festival, Berkshire Choral Festival, New Dominion Chorale, Williamsport Symphony, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Syracuse Chamber Music Society, the Skaneateles Festival and the Marlboro Music Festival.  He has also appeared in concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. 

His frequently performed opera roles include Rigoletto, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Germont (La Traviata), Count (Le nozze di Figaro), Falke (Die Fledermaus), Marcello and Shaunard (La Bohème) and Father (Hansel and Gretel).  LeFebvre’s operatic experience features performances with Central City Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Sarasota Opera, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Syracuse Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Delaware, and Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. 

Mr. LeFebvre graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University and Binghamton University and is currently Associate Professor of Singing at Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  Future engagements include Mahler’s Rückert Lieder at Oberlin Conservatory, Creation with Wichita Symphony, Messiah with Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Toledo Symphony, Schubert’s Winterreise with Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Arcadia Chorale.

Program Notes




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