Composer/Pianist Felix Jarrar & Friends to Conclude 2020 Virtual Performances With Holiday Special ‘Felix Navidad’

By Chris Ruel

Composer/Pianist Felix Jarrar will wrap his virtual performances for 2020 with a filmed recording of “Felix Navidad” on Wednesday, December 23, at 7:30 p.m. EST. The holiday special will stream on ​the composer’s YouTube channel​.

“Felix Navidad” features soprano Théodora Cattarel, mezzo-soprano JoAnna Pope, and bass-baritone Joseph Beutel. Beutel garnered a 2021 Grammy® Award nomination in the Best Choral Performance category.

The premise of “Felix Navidad” centers on the lives of the four performers and their decision to gain a sense of connection to one other and their loved ones by putting on a special holiday concert.

The program incorporates three world premieres written by Jarrar: “Bobby,” with text by Jarrar; “Voyelles,” a French art song with text by Rimbaud; and “Traumlieder,” a set of German songs for which Jarrar used text by Nikola von Lenai. Along with the premieres, the multilingual film includes performances of standard repertoire favorites and Christmas music.

Jarrar will also showcase his 2019 song cycle, “Betwixt Birth & Borders.” The cycle, with text by Bea Goodwin, takes a thought-provoking, politically charged look at the Nativity.

Jarrar is a composer/pianist whose list of accomplishments includes performances at Symphony Space, (le) poisson rouge, BAM’s Fisher Hillman Studio, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Amongst his approximately 118 works, he has written over 100 art songs, 9 operas, two string quartets, and a cantata.

Cottarel most recently appeared in Poulenc’s “La voix humaine” and has sung leading roles in “Die Zauberflöte,” “Don Giovanni,” “La clemenza di Tito,” and “Cosí fan tutte.”

Pope has developed a presence in the Boston opera scene and throughout New England, most notably at Boston Lyric Opera as the Wife of Peter in Ruders/Bentley’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Grammy® Award nominee, bass-baritone Joseph Beutel’s international career includes performances in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. Beutel has sung with Santa Fe Opera, Minnesota Opera, and the New York Philharmonic. He has also appeared on the Carnegie Hall stage, singing the role of Peter in Elgar’s “The Apostles” with the American Symphony Orchestra.