Theresia Bothe
Peter Croton

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Derek Lee Ragin, Theresia Bothe, Peter Croton




The Bothe/Croton duo is pleased to announce that they are joining forces with the extraordinary Derek Lee Ragin, with whom Peter toured and recorded regularly in the 1990s. Their first trio project, a CD of lute songs and solos by John Dowland and Peter Croton "REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST" has been recently released by Guild. The trio is available for performances with a program which includes works from this recording, other music from the 17th and 20th centuries as well as Negro Spirituals.                    

Regarded as one of the foremost vocal artists of our day, Derek Lee Ragin has achieved special renown for his pioneering efforts in establishing countertenor singing as an art form in his native United States and abroad. The subtlety of style, purity of tone, and emotional impact of his singing have brought new dimensions of expression to the countertenor's art. The beauty of Ragin's voice came to the attention of a wider international audience when he was heard on the soundtrack to "Farinelli," the acclaimed Sony Pictures Classics feature film based on the life of the great 18th-century castrato.                            

In great demand as a master of Baroque vocal style, he is also an inspired interpreter of contemporary music. His performances of such diverse repertoire are characterized by an unusual warmth and expressivity, and he has received unanimous accolades from critics and audiences throughout the world.               

In recent seasons Mr. Ragin sang the 1739 (first performance) version of Handel's Israel in Egypt in Budapest, debuted Der Name der Rose by Munich composer Enjott Schneider (a composition for countertenor and organ written especially for him), and with the London-based group Florilegium, returned to the Budapest Early Music Festival and the Handel Festival in Halle, Germany. Mr. Ragin appeared in the Munich Opera's production of Rinaldo, and toured Austria and Germany with the Vienna Konzertverein. He sang Handel's Messiah in Cleveland with Apollo's Fire, collaborated with the Aulos Ensemble in a Christmas program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and appeared in San Francisco with the American Bach Soloists. He also returned to Australia for performances in Sydney and Melbourne with the Brandenburg Orchestra. Last season he sang Belize and several other roles in the world premiere of Peter Eötvös' Angels in America at the Châtelet in Paris, appears in the world premiere of Jonathan Dawe's Prometheus at the Guggenheim, and will tour throughout the US with the baroque ensemble Rebel.                              

Other highlights include the New York Philharmonic world premiere of Kancheli's "And Farewell Goes Out Sighing"; performances of Bach's St. John Passion with the London Philharmonic; Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice in Vienna and at the Rheingau Music Festival; and Kancheli's Diplipito with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival and again in Stuttgart when the work was recorded for ECM. He performed Handel's Alexander Balus in St. Paul, Minnesota; concerts with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra in Cologne and Munich; and Bach cantatas with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra in Milan and London which were recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. Other engagements include performances of The Messiah with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Louisville Bach Society; and the role of Anfinomus in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with the Netherlands Opera in Sydney.                                                

In the summer of 1998, Mr. Ragin sang in Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at Tanglewood with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony. He has appeared at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and at Salzburg, most recently in Gyorgi Ligeti's re-written opera Le Grand Macabre, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and directed by Peter Sellars. The production was also presented in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet. He appeared in recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; sang the role of Arsamenes in Handel's Xerxes at the Seattle Opera, and in a return engagement at the Metropolitan Opera, sang the role of Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Derek Lee Ragin was born in West Point, New York and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He first studied the piano, and went on to begin his formal vocal training at the Newark Boys Chorus School. He later attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he majored in piano and music education. With a swiftly moving career, he made a series of highly acclaimed debuts, notably at the Metropolitan Opera in Handel's Giulio Cesare ; in recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1991, and at the Salzburg Festival in Gluck's Orfeo with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra in 1990. He made his London recital debut at Wigmore Hall in 1984, and was immediately re-engaged for the following year.

Mr. Ragin's discography includes Italian lute songs with Peter Croton, Handel cantatas, and a disc of spirituals entitled Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit, all for Channel Classics. He recorded the role of Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice for Philips Classical, the title roles in Handel's Tamerlano and Teseo for Erato, and the role of Poro in the world premiere recording of Johan Adolf Hasse's Cleofide on the Capriccio label. With the Atlanta Symphony and Robert Shaw, Mr. Ragin performed and recorded Bernstein's Chichester Psalms and the world premiere of the composer's Missa Brevis. The recording subsequently won a 1995 Grammy Award, and his recording of Giulio Cesare with Concerto Koeln received a Gramophone Award in 1992.

Among Mr. Ragin's other awards are first place winner in the Purcell-Britten Prize for Concert Singers in England, and First Prize at the 35th International Music Competition in Munich. He also lent his voice to Farinelli, a film about the famed 18th century castrato which won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film in 1995. The soundtrack won the Golden Record award the following year in Cannes.

Audio samples
Derek Lee Ragin - alto, Peter Croton - lute

Arie di Romanesca
by Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
from 'Italian Lute Songs'
Channel Classics CCS 4092

Cruda Amarilli
by Sigismondo D'India (1582-1629)
from 'Italian Lute Songs'
Channel Classics CCS 4092

D. L. Ragin - baritone, Th. Bothe- soprano
P. Croton - lute
The Waking
words by Theodore Roethke
music by Peter Croton

from 'Remembrance of Things Past''
Guild GMCD 7341

Videos on YouTube

Ragin, Bothe, Croton


Excerpts from various pieces (9.45): Frescobaldi, Kapsberger, Croton, Spirituals


Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (3.39)


Every time I feel the spirit: (2:55)