The Yale Voxtet and the Sebastians perform French Music in New Haven and New York

November 21, 2023

On Friday, November 17, the Yale Voxtet combined forces with the Sebastians for a program of French music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Sprightly instrumental works alternated with vocal solos and ensembles for a lively mix of textures and styles.

Each of the Voxtet members had a turn at solo work, and each delivered with accuracy and grace. A trio of treble voices was particularly poignant, with Juliet Ariadne Papadopoulos, Sandy Sharis, and Veronica Roan singing Jean-Baptiste Lully’s motet Regina coeli. In Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s pastoral La couronne de fleurs, all eight Voxtet members assumed roles as shepherds, gods, and goddesses to compete for a crown of flowers in their praise of Louis XIV. Buoyant tempos from director Jeffrey Grossman gave Charpentier’s music a bucolic sparkle.

The Sebastians provided clarity and elegance in their playing, both with the singers and on their own. This is an ensemble of individual virtuosos who listen intently to each other, breathing together and carefully balancing their sound. Either the Voxtet or the Sebastians would have created an enjoyable performance alone—hearing them in combination was a luxury of sound.

The ensembles also performed the following night in their “Voices of Versailles” concert at Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church in New York City, featuring Charpentier’s La Couronne de fleurs. View a slideshow of photos from the concerts in New Haven and New York and mark your calendars for the Voxtet spring concert on March 8.

— Laurie Ongley

Photo taken at Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church in New York City by Grace Copeland