Press Release
Season Brochure

Menus Plaisirs

Venetian Carnival

La Sposa dei Cantici


A Baroque Wedding Feast


It Takes Two Bach’s 4th “Brandenburg” Concerto, Haydn’s Concerto in F Major for violin and harpsichord, and other works for two or more soloists. With Marc Destrubé, Paul Leenhouts, Kathryn Montoya, and Matthew Dirst.

Magnificat Bach’s Magnificat plus ceremonial works by Gabrieli and Handel, in collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Singers.

A Vienneses New Year Concert and Gala Festive music by the legendary composers of the Viennese royal court: Mozart, Gluck, Schmeltzer, Fux, and Johann Strauss. With Lauren Snouffer and John Holiday.

Acis and Galatea Handel’s pastoral masterpiece directed by Tara Faircloth. With Blair Doerge, Ryland Angel, Derek Chester, Michael Kelly, and Timothy Jones.

Divine Recreation Musical settings of texts from the Song of Solomon by Monteverdi, Buxtehude, and Part I of Handel’s oratorio Solomon. With Melissa Givens, Ellie Jarrett Shattles, and Tony Boutté.


Paradise Found A journey from worldly torment to heavenly ecstasy with music of Scarlatti, Couperin, Rameau, and Handel

Musical Alchemy J.S. Bach’s “Brandenburg” Concerto No. 5 with prize-winning soloists, and music of Frederick the Great’s personal composer, J.G. Janitsch

Bach and Time A seasonal all-Bach program on the subject of time in its multiple dimensions

La Resurrezione A telling of the Resurrection story by G.F. Handel, with vocal fireworks, beautiful melodies, and a stellar cast

Heaven and HellIn collaboration with the New York Baroque Dance Company, some of Monteverdi’s most imaginative scores are brought to Houston in a staged program


La Dirindina A Domenico Scarlatti intermezzo and string concerti arranged from his keyboard sonatas

1610 Vespers On the 400th anniversary of Monteverdi’s grandest sacred work, in collaboration with the Orpheus Chamber Singers

Musical Resolutions Handel's Apollo e Dafne plus instrumental works by Bach and Telemann

St John Passion Bach’s sacred drama, with the Moores School Concert Chorale

Forbidden Pleasures Music for the castrati from Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti


A Musical Offering Works by Bach and Telemann evoking far-flung locales

Hail! Bright Cecilia Purcell’s ode to the patron saint of music, in collaboration with the Houston Chamber Choir

A Neapolitan New Year The American première of J. A. Hasse’s serenata Marc Antonio e Cleopatra

Springtime in Paris French Baroque chamber works for voices and instruments

Les Plaisirs de Versailles Chamber opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier at Rienzi

Roman Holiday Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno


Legendary Lovers Cantatas and operatic scenes by Clérambault, Handel, Hasse, and Gluck

Rockin’ Rococo CPE Bach, Cello Concerto No. 2 and “Der Frühling” Chamber works of J-Ph. Rameau

Bachanalia 2008–2009 J. S. Bach wedding cantatas, oboe concerto

Women on the Verge Music for three sopranos by Rossi, Carissimi, and Haydn

Il Trionfo del Tempo
G. F. Handel

Messiah G. F. Handel. in collaboration with Moores School of Music Concert Chorale

A Musical Pleasure Garden Songs and sonatas of Handel, Arne, Shield, and their contemporaries. Outdoor performance at Bayou Bend


Mad Women Baroque mad scenes by Purcell, Handel, and Clerambault

Wired Bach Instrumental music by the Bach family

Love and War Madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi

Clandestine Classics Handel’ Gloria and Bach’ Ich habe genug

A Marian Feast Religious music by A. Scarlatti

When in Rome Carissimi, Mazzocchi, and Gallerano

Duelling Divas Handel and Bach


Stravaganze! Scarlatti, Handel, and Vivaldi

Celestial Sirens Music for the Concerte delle donne

Biber, Bach, and Bubbly Brandenburg V, Orchestral Suite II, “Non sa che sia dolore”

Flavio G. F. Handel

Portraits d’amour French Baroque portraits

La Resurrezione G. F. Handel



Suonare e cantare Music of the Scarlattis

Clori, Tirsi e Fileno G. F. Handel

La descente d’Orphée aux enfers M. A. Charpentier

Goldberg Variations J. S. Bach

..Mozart @ 250 Sonatas and Trios

Lettere d'amore Monteverdi and his contemporaries

The Art of Buxtehude Vocal and instrumental chamber music

Esther G. F. Handel            



Actéon M. A. Charpentier

Piano Trios and Songs J. Haydn

Stabat Mater D. Scarlatti

La Concettione della Beata Vergine A Scarlatti

St John Passion J. S. Bach

Hagar and Ishmael A. Scarlatti


Il primo omicidio A. Scarlatti

Vespers of 1610 C. Monteverdi

La Giuditta A. Scarlatti

Matthew Dirst

“The range and quality of Dirst’s creations are as remarkable as the relentless ease with which he brings it all off.”

Magnificat performance


“Ars Lyrica and Orpheus Chamber Singers presented an excellent, and sold out, concert to an enthusiastic and appreciate audience.” — Theater Jones

A Viennese New Year performance


“Ars Lyrica’s concert gala nods to the merriment associated with Vienna with a playbill that includes Strauss’ adorable Pizzicato Polka—on period instruments—alongside works by Gluck, Mozart, Fux and Schmeltzer.”— CultureMap

Jones and Givens perfoming


“a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality”
Early Music America

Ava  Pine performs


“Such theatrical works have become the calling card of Ars Lyrica and its artistic director, Matthew Dirst. They seem to evoke inspired performances by the group.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

Dirst directs


“Dirst’s crisp but expressive direction yielded impressive precision, but also rhythmic buoyancy and rhetorical freedom. Lines were lovingly shaped, harmonic crunches viscerally felt, phrases elegantly rounded off...It was one of the most glorious musical experiences I’ve had in 11 years in Dallas.”— Scott Cantrel, Dallas Morning News

Ava  Pine performs


“Dirst's direction in O Sing and the two instrumental pieces was precise and the music-making by the choir and period-instrument musicians...exciting.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

Ava  Pine performs


“...impassioned performance of strongly characterized and eloquent music.” “...played with exemplary skill and taste”
— John Vickers, Gramophone

“It's heartening to see Ars Lyrica enhancing its reputation with the release of this recording. Long may they keep the Baroque fires burning, not just in Houston but now around the world!”
— St. John Flynn, KUHF

Melissa Givens performs


“Ars Lyrica sets the standard in opening the city’s classical music season. A vividly imagined program, two riveting singers and zestful music-making combined for a great evening of Baroque music.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle

Timothy Jones and Randolph Lacey perform


“The concert meshed sparkling music with lush vocals. Ars Lyrica’s focus not merely on singing and playing, but also on acting and showing that classical music is fun, is a worthy endeavor, indeed.”
— Holly Beretto, ArtsHouston

picture of musicians


“Melissa Givens, Tracy Rhodus and Natalie Arduino...sang with vibrant style, technical pizzazz and strong communication.” “Celestial Sirens was another of Ars Lyrica’s creative and beautifully performed programs. The group continues to set the agenda for imaginative period-instrument programming in Houston.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
Listen to an excerpt: L ROSSI Udite amanti

picture of musicians


“When cultural historians plot the development of the early music movement in Houston, the Ars Lyrica presentation of Handel’s Clori, Tirsi e Fileno will be one of the landmarks.” “The Houston singers were stylish and confident. The orchestra...played with exhilarating energy.” “With the event, Ars Lyrica has established itself as the leader among Houston’s early music ensembles.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle
Listen to G. F. HANDEL Overture to Clori, Tirsi e Fileno

picture of matthew hands


“[Dirst’s] was playing of irresistible rhythmic impulse, the rhythm not of the metronome but of a fine dancer ever minutely adjusting to gravity’s tug. He commanded the music’s intellectual rigors but also luxuriated in its pure delight. And there was pretty dazzling virtuosity.”
— Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News

picture of musicians


“Countertenor Gerrod Pagenkopf...sang with gorgeous, even tone and exquisite emotional nuance. Soprano Melissa Givens offered her trademark clear sound and charming involvement as Sarah and the Angel. UH bass-baritone Timothy Jones was convincingly distraught as Abraham. Mezzo-soprano Sonja Bruzauskas sang Ishmael with bright color and youthful vigor. Dirst led a crisp, expressive performance...the small ensemble played with zest.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle


“Dirst led a vigorous performance that revealed the brilliance and depth of Scarlatti’s music very well. Every singer poured great intensity into the music. The accompaniment by the continuo group — harpsichord or organ, theorbo or Baroque guitar, Baroque cello and occasionally double bass — was exquisitely sensitive and colorful.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle


“The musicians made the city proud. The Houston Chamber choir, instrumental ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston and visiting wind band the Whole Noyse offered the first period instruments performance — and possibly the Houston premiere — of the great Vespers of 1610 by Claudio Monteverdi. Thursday’s first-class performance...elicited warm, sustained applause from the discerning crowd in the acoustically excellent Moores Opera House.”
— Charles Ward, Houston Chronicle


“Ars Lyrica’s presentation came as close to opera as I’ve ever seen with three sterling singers, crisp articulation from the period string-and-continuo band, and intelligent, detailed direction.”
— Rosemary Ponnekanti, Arts Houston