Archive for the ‘lieder’ Tag
The Melding of Classical Voice & Dance
Thanks to my friend Sara, last night I attended one of the freshest, most daring shows I’ve seen in a very long-time. Somehow, it hadn’t even entered my radar before her mention of it. The first half was the World Premiere of “Wheel in the Middle of the Field,” presented by Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and featuring a quartet of the current Adler Fellows, two of whom I touted in their Merola debut last year. The second half was “Rasa,” a piece performed by the dancers alone.
Other than brief insets within an opera, I’ve only seen the melding of dance with live classical voice a handful of times. The most effective have been Iphigénie en Tauride at the SF Opera (’07), with choreography by Phillipe Giraudeau, Purcell’s King Arthur by the Mark Morris Dance Company (Zellerbach, ’96), and Christopher Wheeldon’s “Sea Pictures” at the SF Ballet, set to Elgar’s song cycle, and sung by mezzo and Adler Fellow Katia Escalera (’01). This happy meeting of two of my favorite disciplines always leaves me wanting more. When I saw the listing of this program, I felt it was kismet, and clearly the product of someone thinking outside the box. Ultimately, this is the sort of risk that is a requirement if these art forms are to survive, having the power to woo the younger audiences we all pray for.
Alonzo King said about the project: “The challenge is to integrate body, mind and intention, within the individuals themselves and between the two different disciplines. I encourage them to explore and expand into their physical bodies, using the entire body as a vocal cord. I initiate exercises in being, not doing. Being without armor—which is difficult to do—is believing that what you are is enough.” That intent proved to be very successful.
The performance began with the Adler quartet taking the stage: Ryan Belongie, Sara Gartland, Maya Lahyani, and Austin Kness, (with accompanist Allen Perriello in the pit). The women wore beautiful, shimmering slate blue dresses, just below the knees in length. Gartland’s was spare with spaghetti straps, and Lahyani’s with an additional expressive band of fabric hanging down on her left shoulder. The men were in black, both with a subtle nod to a masculine, japanese Samurai silhouette. Surprisingly, they began not to sing, but to dance! The results were mixed, but it was quite unexpected and engaging. I respected the total emotional commitment from them, especially to something they aren’t presumably well-trained in.
On October 20, 2009 LIEDER ALIVE! presents a benefit recital, featuring Heidi Melton (soprano), Eleazar Rodriguez (tenor), and John Parr (piano). It will be at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall, at 8:00pm.
Eleazar, an elegant lyric tenor from the current crop of Merolini, will offer Beethoven’s Adelaide, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe in the first half. And, Heidi will offer three Brahm’s lied, AND the Wesendonck Lieder in the second half. This is Heidi’s last scheduled public performance in the Bay Area, before she jets off to New York, and then Berlin. I believe she is covering the Trovatore Leonora at SFO, so only an indisposition by Sondra Radvanovsky (and the understudy) would give us her Leonora so soon.
Visit the LIEDER ALIVE! main site for other event or general program info.
My friend Heidi Melton now has a footprint on youtube. After understudying Alceste for Christine Brewer at Santa Fe Opera, and Chrysothemis for Debbie Voigt at the Met this winter, she’ll continue to emerge as THE leading dramatic soprano of the next generation. Someone in france recorded and has just posted excerpts from her recital, likely from the same time as her Amelia, in last season’s Un Ballo in Maschera at Opéra National de Bordeaux.
Although a “pirate” recording, and perhaps not sanctioned by the artist, this is a wonderful introduction to her art, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing her live. Even though the sound quality is not ideal, her voluptuous bottom and molten top are in full display here. Be sure to listen to her other three videos posted as well, either in the youtube “Related Videos” or in my vodpod sidebar widget.
Stay tuned for news of her October recital for LIEDER ALIVE! at the SF Conservatory of Music (details not yet available). It will be her last Bay Area performance for some time, as she will then be on her way to New York, and Berlin in ’10.