American Soprano Rachel Evangeline Barham, whose voice has been described by the Washington Post as “ample . . . precisely articulated and confident,” is best known for importing her keen sense of theatricality to the concert repertoire. In addition to her specialty in Baroque music and oratorio, Ms. Barham is sought after by contemporary composers due to her vocal versatility and sensitivity to text. Ms. Barham’s recent solo album Up Toward the Sky (Guild 7819, October 2019), with pianist Jeremy Filsell, features previously unrecorded and under-recorded American art songs highlighting the poetic and musical voices of women. An engaging and innovative recitalist, she has performed frequently in DC venues including the Mexican Cultural Institute, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Church of the Epiphany (Tuesday Concert Series), and DACOR Bacon House, as well as in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Hawaii. Her engaging program notes and translations are popular with audiences and reflect her curiosity about the creative process and her love for bringing words to life.
Ms. Barham is a veteran of the oratorio repertoire, having performed Requiem settings of Fauré, Mozart, and Brahms. As a Young American Artist with the City Choir of Washington, she received critical acclaim for performances of Magnificat settings of Bach, Stanford, Mozart, and Berio (a Washington-area premiere); she has returned to The City Choir to sing Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum, and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. She performed Haydn’s Theresienmesse with the Arts Chorale of Winchester, and she is a frequent soloist with Cantate Chamber Singers, most recently in Handel’s Israel in Egypt and DiOrio’s Stravinsky Refracted and notably in Handel’s monumental Brockes Passion. Ms. Barham’s extensive ensemble appearances include Videntes (the Schola Cantorum of the Church of the Epiphany), Opera Lafayette, Gallery Voices, and a guest appearance with the award-winning Medieval music trio Eya at the National Gallery of Art. She was one of four singers to premiere The Initiation, an exciting collaboration between composer Stephen Gorbos and artist Dawn Whitmore brought to life on the labyrinth at the Georgetown Waterfront Park.
Ms. Barham has received enthusiastic reviews for her chamber opera premieres at the Capital Fringe Festival, starring as Cassie in Andrew Earle Simpson’s opera The Outcasts of Poker Flat (2012), where she “devour[ed] her meaty role” (Robert Battey, The Washington Post); in 2010, she was chosen as a Fringe Favorite musical performer for her leading role as Sonia in Kyle Gullings’s opera Oblivion. She created the role of Mrs. Simpson in Maurice Saylor’s 2009 opera Unfinished Sermons (a parable for church performance) and was seen as the Milliner in the National Symphony Orchestra’s semi-staged performance of Der Rosenkavalier (conducted by Christoph Eschenbach) alongside an all-star cast including Renee Fleming and Stephanie Houtzeel (2014).
self-portrait, stand-up paddleboard. Copyright 2016 Rachel Evangeline Barham