Bel Canto Chorus Ends Season with Transcendent Russian Masterpiece, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil

MILWAUKEE, WI (April 30, 2019)—Bel Canto Chorus closes out its 88th season with All-Night Vigil on Friday, May 17 at the Basilica of St. Josaphat. The concert will focus on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s profoundly moving masterpiece. In memory of late chorus member, Carlie Beaudin, Bel Canto will also perform “In Paradisum” by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.


One of the world’s most celebrated sacred choral works, Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” is a combination of haunting Russian chant and intense harmonic complexity. Known for his extravagantly romantic piano concertos, Rachmaninoff stunned the musical world in 1915 by composing this liturgical work for the Russian Orthodox Church. The unaccompanied choral masterpiece incorporates texts taken from the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil celebrated on the eve of great feasts. Drawn from a number of chant traditions, it brings the listener on an introspective journey from great sadness to extreme joy and peace. It is a spiritually uplifting and transcendent piece of music.


“This incredible work has been a touchstone for me,” says music director Richard Hynson. “Throughout my career I have come back to this piece several times to discover new depths of beauty and meaning. Like exquisitely decorated Russian Easter eggs, each movement presents a unique and richly nuanced emotional, dramatic, and musical message.” Likewise, due to the technical demands it makes on singers, and requiring complete engagement with the texts, “All-Night Vigil” is regarded as one of the most challenging works in the a cappella choral repertory.


The concert will then close with a piece by contemporary Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. “In Paradisum” takes text from the Requiem Mass and provides imagery of angels awaiting the entrance of a soul into paradise. The piece will be dedicated to late fellow chorus member, Carlie Beaudin, who was killed in January. Her husband Nick will say a few words prior.



Individual tickets are on sale now for $29.50 and $35; student and senior discounts available starting at $19. Purchase online at or by phone at 414-481-8801.

Sign Up for Arts Beat

Get involved with local arts news. Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and you'll always have local performing arts information at your fingertips.