Vocal Artists Management presents the 7th Annual Artist Showcase in Review
Vocal Artists Management presents the 7th Annual Artist Showcase
James Greening-Valenzuela, manager
Stacey Stofferahn, Alison Davy, Cynthia Leigh, Deborah Lifton, sopranos; Eunjoo Lee-Huls, Thea Lobo, mezzo-sopranos; Eric Malson, accompanist
Marc E. Scorca Recital Hall, Opera America National Opera Center, New York, NY
June 16, 2016
Vocal Artists Management (www.vocalartistsmgmt.com) presented the 7th Annual Artist Showcase at the National Opera Center America on June 16, 2016. Featuring six singers from their roster (four sopranos and two mezzo-sopranos), they offered one of the most eclectic programs this listener can recall hearing. There was “something for everyone,” including thirteen works from Baroque, Romantic, Viennese school (omitting the triskaidekaphobic Arnold Schoenberg, of course), and contemporary periods. It was to prove to be both an enjoyable and edifying evening.
To start with few words about the venue, the recital hall has the intimate feel of a salon, with seating on this occasion for sixty-four people. The design has clearly taken acoustics into consideration as well. I would also like to take the time to commend the organizers for providing synopses of the works, which gave the listener a reference point to understand the underlying meanings, a very valuable thing that is overlooked almost all the time.
Soprano Stacey Stofferahn led off with Ain’t it a Pretty Night from Susannah by Carlisle Floyd and I Want Magic from A Street Car Named Desire by André Previn. The dreamy coquettishness of Susannah and Blanche was portrayed by Ms. Stofferahn with charm and a voice to match. It was an impressive start.
Mezzo-soprano Eunjoo Lee-Huls followed with George Handel’s Hence, Iris Hence Away from the opera Semele, and Von ewiger liebe, Op 43, No.1 by Johannes Brahms. She navigated the vocal gymnastics of the Handel with confidence, and her excellent German diction in the Brahms made quite an impression on this listener.
Soprano Alison Davy was up next. Her two selections, Hugo Wolf’s Bedeckt mich mit blumen and Grace by Michael Tilson Thomas, showed her stylistic versatility to great advantage, from the poignant despair of the Wolf, to MTT’s comical celebration (in what was essentially an expression of admiration for Leonard Bernstein).
Soprano Cynthia Leigh followed with two highly polished performances – Marietta’s Lied from the opera Die Tote Stadt by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and The Maid and the Nightingale (from Goyescas) by Enrique Granados. Ms. Leigh has the assured technique of a seasoned performer.
Mezzo-soprano Thea Lobo was up next. She offered a playful rendition of The Owl and the Pussycat by Igor Stravinsky. Her Tief gebückt, the 4th movement of the Cantata BWV 199 by J. S. Bach, was exquisite.
Soprano Deborah Lifton was the final performer for the evening. She offered three works. Try Me, Good King, from Anne Boleyn by Libby Larsen, was an impressive display of power, and her negotiation of the extreme upper register was flawless. Joaquin Rodrigo’s ¿Con qué la lavaré?, from Cuatros Madrigales Amatorios, was heartbreaking. Richard Strauss’ Muttertändelei, Op. 43, No. 2 was a pleasing finish, with Ms. Lifton capturing the essence of the mother who can’t stop bragging about her child. It was a delightful performance.
Eric Malson was the unsung (no pun intended) hero of the evening. To accompany six different singers with such different repertoires is no mean feat, yet Mr. Malson did so with consummate skill.
At the end all the performers joined together on the stage for a group bow to the enthusiastic audience. Congratulations to all.