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Bliss. Gerhaher. NYFOS. Piau. Oropesa.

2016-17 Season

BlissNovember 15, 2016
Ben Bliss
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GerhaherDecember 6, 2016
Christian Gerhaher
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NYFOSJanuary 22, 2017
NYFOS
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PiauFebruary 21, 2017
Sandrine Piau
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Oropesa March 11, 2017
Lisette Oropesa
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SchwanewilmsApril 20, 2017
Anne Schwanewilms
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Ariodante May 2, 2017
Ariodante
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BeczalaMay 3, 2017
Piotr Beczala
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Vocal Arts DC
PO Box 42423
Washington, DC 20015
202-669-1463
info@vocalartsdc.org

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University of Maryland Opera Studio
Wagner Society DC

 

2016-2017 Season

Vocal Arts DC welcomes you to our 2016-2017 season of exciting debuts and eagerly awaited return engagements. Our normal recital venue, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, will undergo a year-long renovation starting this summer of 2016, and we, like our colleagues at Washington Performing Arts, have chosen the Theatre of the Arts at the Van Ness campus of the University of the District of Columbia as our "home away from home." The concert hall there reopened in the spring of 2015 following its own complete renovation. With 600 seats, fine sightlines and acoustics, and ample knee room for our patrons, it is both a half-block from the Van Ness metro Red Line stop and equipped with its own attached parking garage, which leads directly into the spacious main lobby.

Our 2016-2017 soloists include three exciting and very different sopranos. French soprano Sandrine Piau and her longtime collaborative accompanist, Susan Manoff, have recorded together and drawn rave reviews worldwide. German soprano Anne Schwanewilms has only appeared in Washington once previously-a recital for us that drew raves in January of 2010-and we are thrilled to welcome her return with Malcolm Martineau at the keyboard. Young American soprano Lisette Oropesa is quickly ascending to stardom. The enthusiastic reception given to her New York solo recital debut in January of this year prompted us to invite her to make her Washington solo recital debut. Two other esteemed artists whose only prior Washington appearance together in 2007 occurred under our auspices, baritone Christian Gerhaher and pianist Gerold Huber, have since then been high on our subscribers' "most frequently requested" list, and we are very glad to bring them back. The always popular New York Festival of Song will return with Steven Blier and Michael Barrett as duo-pianists in a program paying homage to the vocal music of Tchaikovsky. Their young soloists include the outstanding Ukrainian soprano Antonina Chehovska and Russian baritone Alexey Lavrov, who captivated our audience when he appeared with NYFOS in their "Letters from Spain" program in April of 2015. Our season is bookended by tenors: we will open with the Gerald Perman Fund for Emerging Artists recital by the wonderful young lyric tenor Ben Bliss, who will make his New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall just a few days after his appearance here. We conclude with the first Washington appearance of the sensational Polish tenor Piotr Beczala in concert with pianist Martin Katz.

As an added benefit for you, our subscribers, we are offering a special opportunity this year:  we are co-presenting, with Washington Performing Arts and the Kennedy Center, a concert performance of Handel's Ariodante, conducted by Harry Bicket and The English Concert in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, with an all-star cast led by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. Excellent seats in all price ranges are currently set aside that you can purchase through us by including the cost of tickets to this concert performance with your order. Your tickets for Ariodante will be mailed when we send you your subscription seats this fall.

2016-2017 Season Brochure

Click here to purchase a Full Season Subscription.

Click here to purchase a Mini-Subscription.

Click here to purchase tickets to Handel's Ariodante.

More Information ..........................................................................................................................................

Single Ticket Purchases

Single tickets for all concerts in Vocal Arts DC's 2016-2017 Season are now available. Single tickets for non-subscribers cost $50.00 each.

To purchase single tickets online, click HERE or call 202-785-9727. ..........................................................................................................................................

Discovery Art Song Competition

Vanessa Vasquez, soprano
Thursday, May 19 at 6:30 pm

Danielle Orlando, pianist

On Thursday evening, May 19 at 6:30 pm hear a program of vocal selections as diverse and colorful as the masterpieces on display at The Phillips Collection. Soprano Vanessa Vasquez, winner of the 2015 Vocal Arts DC Discovery Art Song Competition, offers a program of songs entitled Vocals & Visuals by composers including Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Fernando Obradors, Rebecca Clarke, and Ben Moore, inspired by artworks in The Phillips Collection by such artists as Augustus Vincent Tack, Paul DuBois, Arthur G. Dove, George Inness, Marjorie Acker Phillips, and Ernest Lawson, among others. Ms. Vasquez, an Arizona native and alumna of Catholic University, is currently a Young Artist in Residence at Philadelphia prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts.

More Information >  ..........................................................................................................................................

'My Favorite Song'

Welcome to the monthly feature of the Vocal Arts DC web site in which guest contributors select one song that has a special, personal meaning for them, sharing specific reasons about why they find the music and lyrics irresistible, and choosing a performance that they feel ideally captures the spirit of that song.

Samuel Viggiano

Leonard Bernstein: "I Hate Music!"

In an American society that values Disney's latest musical movie and Billboard Top 40 hits over opera and art song, we are faced with a dilemma: what keeps art relevant? When deciding on my favorite song, I considered relevancy rather than what I try to "belt out" in the shower.

I first heard Leonard Bernstein's comical musical masterpiece "I Hate Music" at a close friend's recital. The recital was meant for academic purposes, but exceeded the expectations of academia and entertainment through the artist's mastery of challenging and unique vocal works, including repertoire from Mozart to Debussy, Brazilian jazz, and of course, Bernstein's "I Hate Music."

The song is one of five in Bernstein's cycle "A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano and Piano" and is anything but childish. "I Hate Music" requires strong vocal technique and fluid musicianship. The song is considered "atonal," or not written within a key or mode. Yet, the melody is surprisingly hummable and recognizable. Bernstein's accompaniment does very little to aid the singer musically, however provides supportive drama, much like Schubert's lieder accompaniment.

The vocal range and capabilities of the singer are tested by the tessitura (or range) and ever-changing style, as are the singer's musical aptitude and acting ability. The song begins with a giant leap scaling a typical soprano's range, followed by a disjunctive chromatic, yet catchy, melody. After the virtuosic beginning, the singer suddenly jumps into vocal patter with changing and asymmetrical meters.

While considering its musical difficulties, the singer must also understand and develop an appropriate character presentation. Although the song cycle's title alludes to children's songs, the cycle is anything but. "I Hate Music" comments with child-like simplicity on the "state" of music, claiming music is, " a lot of men and a lot of tails/Making lots of noise like a lot of females/Music is a lot of folks in a big dark hall/ Where they really don't want to be at all/With a lot of chairs and a lot of heirs/And a lot of furs and diamonds." This perception of music encapsulates the attitude millennials and young audience currently feel towards opera and art song, yet so many continue to love to sing and explore the music.

The composer, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), although not a millennial, held a similar attitude towards music. Hailed as the "dean of American music," Bernstein championed symphonic and orchestra music, ballet, film, and theater music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for piano. A multifarious composer, author, and musician, Bernstein wrote some serial music, but later rejected the musical movement that many composers considered was the next popular musical form. His "I Hate Music," among his other notable choral, vocal, and orchestra works, is a reflection of his attitude, that music can be simultaneously enjoyable, intelligent, and virtuosic. His timeless song cycle, among his other works, remains a relevant musical staple which comments on that state of music while displaying superior musical qualities.

I HATE MUSIC (1943)
A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano and Piano

1. My Name is Barbara  2. Jupiter Has Seven Moons  3. I Hate Music!  4. A Big Indian and a Little Indian (Riddle Song)  5. I'm a Person Too

I hate music but I like to sing
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
But that's not music
Not what I call music, no sir

Music is a lot of men and a lot of tails
Making lots of noise like a lot of females
Music is a lot of folks in a big dark hall
Where they really don't want to be at all
With a lot of chairs and a lot of heirs
And a lot of furs and diamonds

Music is silly
I hate music but I like to sing
La, la, la, la, la

Click here to view previous month's submission.

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maltman About Vocal Arts DC

Hear world-renowned singers
and discover tomorrow's stars

You’ll hear them here first!  Vocal Arts DC has given Washington recital debuts to many of the great singers whose names are familiar to lovers of vocal artistry throughout the world.  We pride ourselves on identifying and bringing to Washington singers -- often already celebrated on the European opera and concert stage -- who are on the cusp of attaining world-wide fame and achieving sensational success on the US opera scene.  

Our 22nd season begins with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and pianist Warren Jones giving an "American Songbook" program. This is followed by New York Festival of Song, a longtime favorite of Washington audiences, who bring their delightful, and timely, arrangement of three Broadway shows of the 1930's to town in "Mr. Gershwin Comes to Washington." Following NYFOS, soprano Christine Brewer returns and she and pianist Craig Rutenberg give an October 31 recital of Spanish and American song. Baritone Russell Braun and pianist Carolyn Maule traverse Schubert's Winterreise on November 7. DC favorite, tenor Vinson Cole performs on December 12, and he is followed by British tenor Toby Spence, a Washington debut, who rounds out the season, on January 16.  More Details >

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what video What's an Art Song?

Watch a video, hosted by Elizabeth Daniels, of young singers presented in recital by Vocal Arts DC at the Kennedy Center this past spring as part of the America Sings in the Nation's Capitol. Click Here >

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Education Programs

school
Take Song to our Schools Classroom programs presenting young professional singers and song to students around the region inspire the singers and audience of the future. More >

young artists
Discovery Art Song Competition
An annual, juried competition for singers in the greater Washington area. Find more information here. More >

 

"My Favorite Song"

Archive of Past Selections

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