Press Release December 20, 2018

December 20, 2018: For Immediate Release

Date: December 20, 2018

Location: Berkeley, CA

For further information call 510-433-9599 or email Jan Murota, publicity chair, at Also see website:


Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride to be performed in early January by the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra (BCCO) under the direction of Maestro Ming Luke.

Ming Luke will lead the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra in three performances of The Spectre’s Bride by Antonín Dvořák. Performances will take place at Hertz Hall on the U.C. Berkeley campus on Friday, January 4 (at 8pm); Saturday, January 5 (at 3 pm); and Sunday, January 6 (at 3 pm.) The concerts are free, donations gratefully accepted.

Three soloists, all winners of BCCO’s Young Vocal Soloist Competition, perform with a full orchestra. Julia Metzler, soprano, sings the role of the young-bride-to-be; Christian Ketter, tenor, sings the role of the spectre; and André Chiang, bass, narrates this spooky romance along with the chorus

“Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride is a rarely performed and intensely dramatic musical ghost story. This macabre tale speaks of an undead spirit attempting to take an innocent maiden on a ghastly journey to the underworld. Dvořák’s brilliant writing and orchestration brings this tale to life,” says Maestro Ming Luke.

Originally commissioned in 1885 by the City of Birmingham, Dvořák’s composition, titled in Czech Svatební Košile, is based on a poem by Karel Jaromir Erben derived from a ghostly folktale. After three years of waiting for her long lost bridegroom, a ghost claiming to be her fiancé appears. He drags her through swamps and over thorns to a graveyard wedding. Along the way he throws away her rosary, prayer book, and the cross her mother gave her. When he throws out the traditional Czech wedding clothes she made, she realizes her suitor does not have her best interests at heart. When he leaps thirty feet over a wall, she flees inside a nearby building and bolts the door. The bridegroom entreats the corpse, lying on a plank in the room where she has hidden herself, to rise and unlock the door. The soprano solo in movement 17 echoes the first soprano solo of movement 2; both prayers to the Virgin Mary. In the first solo she prays in despair and grief; in the last she prays for forgiveness and salvation. The bass and chorus relate the denouement to the story as the morning sun lights up the graves now littered with fragments of the white wedding garments the maiden had sewn for herself and her groom. Dvořák combines folkloric qualities with charming melodies and brilliant composition. Do not miss a rare opportunity to hear this masterpiece.

Maestro Ming Luke joined BCCO as its musical director in 2011, becoming the third music director to lead BCCO since its founding over 50 years ago. The Maestro is widely recognized for his innovative music education techniques with the Berkeley Symphony’s Music in the Schools, where he is Associate Conductor and Education Director. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the San Francisco Ballet, the Merced Symphony’s Music Director, and Program Director of the Blackburn Music Academy at Festival Napa Valley.


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