OUR 105TH SEASON
Jamie Barton, Mezzo-Soprano
Kathleen Kelly, Piano
Friday, January 26, 2018
1225 Elm Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Matinée Musicale’s First-Ever Evening Recital
Recently honored with the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award by the Metropolitan Opera, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton is also the winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, both Main and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
In addition to the recital, Ms. Barton will conduct a free and open to the public Master Class at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music on Thursday, January 25th from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, presented jointly by Matinée Musicale and the Voice Faculty of CCM.
In the 2017/18 season, Ms. Barton appears in recital with Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, debuts at the Teatro Real Madrid as Leonor in La favorite, and returns to many of America’s most-loved opera houses. She sings Adalgisa in Norma at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera, Eboli in Don Carlo at Washington National Opera, and Fricka, Waltraute/2nd Norn in her first complete Ring cycle at San Francisco Opera. Orchestral debuts include Handel’s Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bernstein’s Jeremiah Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra in Finland. Following a Verdi Requiem with her hometown orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Jamie embarks on a recital tour with pianist Kathleen Kelly, including the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Of You, commissioned by Carnegie Hall.
Last season, Ms. Barton released her debut solo album, All Who Wander, featuring songs by Mahler, Dvorak, and Sibelius. She returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Fenena in Nabucco and Jezibaba in a new production of Rusalka, both simulcast in cinemas worldwide, and to Houston Grand Opera as Waltraute/2nd Norn in Götterdämmerung. She also made her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut as Princess Eboli in Don Carlo, and debuted with the New York Philharmonic as Fricka in Das Rheingold. Other recent concert engagements include a debut at Wigmore Hall and returns to the symphony orchestras of Toronto and Iceland, as well as the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand at Carnegie Hall and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The winner of the 2014 International Opera Award in the Young Singer category and the 2014 Marian Anderson Award, Ms. Barton’s recent operatic performances include Adalgisa (Norma) at the Met, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Opera, Giovanna Seymour (Anna Bolena) at the Met and Lyric Opera of Chicago, Fricka (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre) at Houston Grand Opera, Waltraute/2nd Norn at Washington National Opera, Cornelia (Giulio Cesare) at Oper Frankfurt, and Fenena at Seattle Opera and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Future seasons include returns to San Francisco Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera.
Ms. Barton has appeared in recital across the U.S. and U.K., including performances with Ann Arbor’s University Musical Society, Baylor Distinguished Artist Series, Carnegie Hall, East Alabama Arts, Princeton University Concerts, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Welsh College, San Francisco Performances, Seattle Opera’s Wagner and More, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Tucson Desert Song Festival, and Vocal Arts DC. In the 2017/18 season, she appears at Carnegie Hall, Celebrity Series of Boston, Matinée Musicale Cincinnati, and in venues in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
Kathleen Kelly enjoys a wide-ranging and dynamic musical life as a pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Ms. Kelly has been notably associated with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and the San Francisco Opera. She joined the faculty of the University of Michigan in 2015 as that school’s first Coach/Conductor of Opera, leading performances of Giulio Cesare, Gianni Schicchi, L’heure espagnole, Così fan tutte, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Dinner At Eight. Since returning to the US, Ms. Kelly has led performances of Le nozze di Figaro at Wolf Trap, the premiere of Emmerich Kálmán’s Arizona Lady at Arizona Opera, and Francesca Zambello’s critically acclaimed Ariadne on Naxos at the Glimmerglass Festival. She also conducted the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt, starring Frederica von Stade.
In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Kelly joins mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton in recital on a six-city US tour. She leads performances of Hänsel and Gretel for El Paso Opera, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field for Detroit Chamber Winds, and returns to the Merola Program where she trained as an apprentice coach to conduct the Schwabacher Concerts for their 60th Anniversary Season. She is a guest coach this season at Michigan Opera Theater, the Lyric Opera of Chiacago’s Ryan Opera Center, Opera McGill, and the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
Ms. Kelly has performed internationally as a recital pianist: at Weill Hall, the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center, Vienna’s Musikverein, in the Mahlersaal of the Vienna State Opera, Manhattan’s Neue Galerie, on the Schwabacher Series in San Francisco, at the Tucson Desert Song Festival, and at numerous universities and colleges across the United States. Recital partners have included Jamie Barton, Christine Goerke, Michael Kelly, Troy Cook, Amber Wagner, Susan Graham, Albina Shagimuratova, Valentina Naforniță, Joyce DiDonato, and Thomas Hampson. She has curated art song series for the Houston Grand Opera and the Vienna State Opera, and currently is artistic director of the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is also a writer, librettist, and arranger.
Heather……………………..Elinor Remick Warren
Ah, love but a day! ………….Amy Beach
S’il arrive jamais……………..Nadia Boulanger
Arianna a Naxos…………….Joseph Haydn
Of You………………………………………….Iain Bell
- in the rain
- your little voice
- Lady, I will touch you with my mind
- my naked lady framed
- i like my body when it is with your
- consider O
Excerpts from Love After 1950 ………….Libby Larsen
- Boy’s Lips
- Big Sister Says, 1967
- The Empty Song
Chanson à boire…………………………….Maurice Ravel
Never Never Land from Peter Pan………Jule Styne
By Susan Youens, from Jamie Barton’s identical Carnegie Hall program in December. © 2017 The Carnegie Hall Corporation
The first four songs on this program, devoted to different aspects of love, are all by women composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. French composer Lili Boulanger was the younger sister of the great pianist and teacher Nadia Boulanger; American composer Elinor Remick Warren was Nadia’s student. We also hear one work by the late-Romantic American composer Amy Beach.
At the age of 57, Joseph Haydn composed a virtuosic cantata in which the Cretan princess Ariadne, abandoned by Theseus, laments and rages by the seashore. Haydn—always prone to bold harmonic experimentation—vividly conveys the inner turmoil and rapidly shifting emotions of a woman in extremis.
British composer Iain Bell’s love affair with the human voice is evident in his considerable output of vocal works. His song cycle of you, on poems by E. E. Cummings, was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and receives its world premiere this evening. This work explores the experience of love through the prism of the senses and celebrates the sensual quality of the mezzo-soprano voice.
With a catalog of more than 500 compositions, Grammy Award–winning composer Libby Larsen has given many singers cause to rejoice. In her song cycle Love after 1950, different women poets tell of modern love from the woman’s (often disillusioned) point of view. Each song is a different genre: Tonight we hear blues, honky-tonk, and tango.
Two French songs follow: Maurice Ravel’s rendition of the immortal Don Quixote singing a drunken but joyous serenade to his Dulcinea, and Henri Duparc’s exquisite love song to “Phidylé,” her name permanently engraved in our memory in the wake of this inimitable French mélodie. We end with one of Richard Strauss’s most passionate love songs to “Cäcilie,” or Cecilia—the name of both the poet’s wife and the patron saint of music.
An American Neo-Romantic Woman Composer
In her book Unsung: A History of Women in American Music, Christine Ammer writes that Elinor Remick Warren was “the only woman among the group of prominent American neo-Romanticists that include Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, and Gian Carlo Menotti.” Warren studied in New York with art-song composer and accompanist Frank La Forge, prompting critic Deems Taylor to note her “undeniable gift for song writing.” In “Heather,” the piano gives us waves of wind blowing through the Scottish Highlands’ purple heather as the singer indulges in rapturous melody: All her life, she tells us, she had longed to see heather in the land of her ancestors, over the sea, and Warren finds the right music for the ecstasy of a dream come true.
The Younger Boulanger Sister: Lili
Lili Boulanger, the gifted sister of the great teacher Nadia Boulanger, died at the age of 24 after many years of struggling with Crohn’s disease. A composition student of Gabriel Fauré, Georges Caussade, Paul Antonin Vidal, and her own sister, she won the Prix de Rome in 1913 with a cantata entitled Faust et Hélène; she was the first woman ever to win this most prestigious of composition prizes in France. Her song “Attente” is a setting of a poem by Maurice Maeterlinck, the Symbolist poet, playwright, essayist, and entomologist. (He once rented an abbey in which to recover from neurasthenia and would traverse its grounds on roller skates.) In this song, one can readily hear the influence of Claude Debussy—who set Maeterlinck’s drama Pelléas et Mélisande as an opera—in the swaying alternating chords and attention to prosody in French, but Boulanger has her own signature harmonic traits.
An American Romantic
Amy Cheney Beach (or Mrs. H. H. A. Beach) was the first American woman to garner recognition both at home and abroad as a composer of the “big” genres: the symphony, sonata, chamber opera, concerto, and more. A deeply religious woman, she became essentially composer-in-residence at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York. She was also a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, to which she willed her royalties upon her death. She first made her reputation as a composer of art songs; in fact, she bought land on Cape Cod with the proceeds from just one song. Her Op. 44 songs on texts by the great English poet Robert Browning were composed for the Browning Society of Boston. In “Ah, love, but a day,” a lover tells her beloved that summer has given way to the chill of autumn in a single day’s span—“the sky’s deranged” is a wonderful phrase—and then asks if love will change too. The vulnerability of all who love is here given seasonal garb. Beach’s musical language at the turn of the century was hyper-rich late Romanticism (her biographer, Adrienne Fried Block, calls her a “passionate Victorian”), and the incessantly shifting chromatic harmonies of this song are typical of her works.
The Older Boulanger Sister: Nadia
Nadia Boulanger achieved honors at the Paris Conservatoire, but, believing that she had no particular gift as a composer, she became a teacher whose students included Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Elliott Carter, Virgil Thomson, David Diamond, and many others. She did, happily, compose on occasion, and we hear the eighth and final song from her cycle Les heures claires, composed in company with her friend Raoul Pugno, a pianist renowned for his performances of Mozart. For this work, she chose poetry by one of the founders of Symbolism in Belgium, Emile Verhaeren (who narrowly missed the Nobel Prize in 1911 when it was awarded to Maurice Maeterlinck). In “S’il arrive jamais,” the lover addresses the beloved, declaring that should their love ever decline into misery or banal pleasure, they should seek death together. From the waves of desire heard throughout in the piano, we can tell that such a death would be glorious, but that the day has not yet arrived.
A Solo Cantata by Haydn
The Ariadne of Haydn’s secular cantata Arianna a Naxos was the daughter of the legendary Cretan king Minos, who ruled three generations before the Trojan War, and Pasiphaë, whom Poseidon caused to fall in love with a bull—the Minotaur was the monstrous result. Ariadne fell in love with the hero Theseus and gave him a skein of woolen thread that he might escape from the labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. Theseus fled Crete with Ariadne but abandoned her on Naxos, an island in the Aegean and the birthplace of Dionysus. By some accounts, Theseus abandoned her because the gods commanded it, and in others because he himself wished it. Dionysus found Ariadne lamenting in the throes of fresh grief on the shores of Naxos and married her there; the scene of his arrival is the subject of Titian’s magnificent Bacchus and Ariadne of 1520–1523, now in London’s National Gallery.
Arianna a Naxos was a masterpiece of Haydn’s old age. It was probably composed in Vienna sometime before February 9, 1790—the date of a letter Haydn wrote from Hungary (where he had been in the Esterházy family’s employ for many years) to Maria Anna von Genzinger, the wife of Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s Viennese doctor Peter von Genzinger. What the warmth of like-minded friends meant to a man unhappy in his marriage and isolated at the Hungarian court is evident in this letter, in which Haydn speaks of Maria Anna’s 16-year-old daughter Josepha (“Peperl”) singing his Ariadne cantata. We do not know who wrote the text for this cantata, but it recalls earlier Ariadne laments in many particulars. Here, the Cretan princess at first wonders where Theseus has gone, declares her love for him, and laments that she will die without him. Only gradually realizing that she has been abandoned, she gives way to despair and, finally, rages against the unfaithful barbarian who has treated her so cruelly.
Haydn begins with the mise-en-scène—Theseus’s boat disappearing into the distance and Ariadne on the shore, waking from sleep and looking about for her vanished lover—and a long keyboard introduction that enacts the princess’s slow awakening: “Teseo mio ben, dove sei?” (“Theseus, my love! Where are you?”). After a long recitative full of beautiful details (the luminous piano figuration when Ariadne invokes rosy dawn, and the sudden move to a different harmonic location when she wonders whether Theseus has gone hunting) comes a lamentation-aria in B-flat major, “Dove sei, mio bel tesoro?” (“Where are you, my sweet treasure?”). The fragmentation of the text in places (a stylized evocation of sobbing) and the darkened phrases where the pianist plunges to the bottom of the Haydn-era keyboard are only a few of the aria’s special features. For her realization that no one hears her, and her increasing desperation, Haydn creates a rapidly shifting recitative, “Ma, a chi parlo?” (“But, to whom do I speak?”), which begins with Ariadne climbing a cliff to look for her lover—we hear the climb illustrated in the piano. There is a moment of massive despair as she declares, “Più speranza non v’è, tradita io sono” (“All hope is gone, I am betrayed”). A tonal adventurer throughout his life, Haydn sends Ariadne’s music on voyages to many a distant location before the final aria, “A che morir vorrei” (“Would that death might come”), which begins with the vestiges of her former regal dignity and devolves into anguish and outrage. In some versions of the tale, Ariadne dies half-crazed; the ending of this cantata seems to imply the grimmest of conclusions beyond the final measure.
Iain Bell’s New Work
Iain Bell’s prolific output of vocal works has earned him the attention of great singers and audiences alike. His first opera, A Harlot’s Progress, was premiered in 2013 and followed by such significant works as song cycles The Undying Splendour, These Motley Fools, and Away. Carnegie Hall commissioned Bell’s of you, a cycle of six songs on poems by E. E. Cummings.
The first song, “in the rain-,” conveys the first sparks of thought about a lover, deepening and developing in texture as rain softly falls, while “your little voice” depicts the joys of hearing a lover from afar. “Lady,i will touch you with my mind.” is more intimate; the quiet insistence of a deep piano ostinato resonates as the accompanying upper register echoes the voice and affirms its intent. It is followed by “my naked lady framed,” which has to do with sight—piano textures encapsulate the voice as a frame to a picture. The vocal line progresses through ever-decreasing intervals, emulating the increasing intimacy of sensual love. The electricity of touch is captured in “i like my body when it is with your,” while “consider O” is a testament to all the senses, likening their qualities to the heavens at night. It begins with a primal statement of intent, after which the voices move playfully through a description of celestial planes.
Modern Women’s Views of Love
Libby Larsen, who in 2010 won the George Peabody Medal for her outstanding contributions to music in America, has composed an impressive body of music for voice. Her song cycle Love after 1950 comprises five interior monologues about love by five different women poets, each in a different musical genre. It was commissioned by Susanne Mentzer for the nonprofit organization Artistic Circles, and was premiered on August 7, 2000, at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. Punning on the title of Robert Schumann’s 1840 song cycle Frauenliebe und -leben(A Woman’s Love and Life), Larsen calls her creation “the new woman’s Frau, Love ’em and Leave ’em.” Larsen’s work also tells of a woman’s love and life, but this time, no men mediate for women: The female poets, composer, singer, and pianist tell us directly of desires more complicated, heated, and frank than those of an earlier age (at least in print). “Boy’s Lips” is built around two gestures taken from traditional blues: a slide downward of an octave, and blues triplet figures. The virtuosic center of the cycle is “Big Sister Says, 1967,” with its honky-tonk piano accompanying a singer who, as Larsen writes, “rats, teases, pushes, and pulls her voice as incessantly as adolescent women subject themselves to the perpetual motion machine of cosmetic beauty.” “The Empty Song,” with its drained bottle of Spanish shampoo signifying the empty end of an affair, is a slow tango; a partner dance originating in Buenos Aires and marked by sensual smolder, its appearance here is ironic.
About Maurice Ravel
Born to a Swiss father and a Basque mother, Maurice Ravel always felt close to his Basque heritage and hence to all things Spanish. He studied composition with Gabriel Fauré and acknowledged this master as a primary influence on his craftsmanship as a composer, along with the 1889 Paris Exhibition, which exposed him to Javanese gamelan and Russian music. After Debussy’s death in 1918, he was widely regarded as France’s leading composer.
Ravel did not write many songs, but they extend throughout his active career. The three songs collectively entitled Don Quichotte à Dulcinée—evidence of his attraction to Spanish sources—come from his final period. They were commissioned for a film adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’s classic novel, directed by Austrian filmmaker Georg Wilhelm Pabst with the great Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin cast in the title role. (Ravel was late in delivering the goods, so Jacques Ibert was brought on to write the songs used in the movie.) In Ravel’s trio of songs, Don Quixote appears in three guises—lover, warrior, and drinker—with each song representing a different Spanish or Basque dance. The “Chanson à boire” calls on the cross-rhythms of the jota to portray inebriation born of both love and wine.
About Henri Duparc: Consummate Achievement
The long-lived Duparc composed only 17 mélodies before falling victim to a mysterious neurasthenic disease that prevented him from composing anything in the final 48 years of his life. As if in compensation for such a hideous fate, his songs are among the greatest in the French language, their subtlety and gravitas beyond the reach of most of his contemporaries.
The half Creole, half French poet Leconte de Lisle founded the Parnassian school of poetry, whose adherents reacted against Romanticism by writing poems that combine chiseled forms, a coolly objective tone, and, frequently, exotic locations. From the poet’s Études latines, Duparc plucked “Phidylé” for one of his last and loveliest songs. At the start, refined sensuality is evoked by limited motion to neighboring harmonies; from there, ravishment proceeds apace. By the time the musical persona has bid his beloved “repose” three times in succession, we are, in Graham Johnson’s words, “putty in Duparc’s hands.”
About Richard Strauss
“Actually, I like my songs best,” Richard Strauss once said to the great bass-baritone Hans Hotter. While one should take that statement with a grain of salt given Strauss’s lifelong commitment to opera (Salome, Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, and others) and the strength of his early orchestral tone poems, it is true that his first compositions include numerous songs and his last work was also a song; in between, he would return to the genre periodically, with wonderful results. His conservative father, Franz (who was principal horn player of the Munich Court Orchestra) forbade any exposure to Richard Wagner’s music, but his son immersed himself in Tristan und Isolde. Strauss’s music is remarkable for its Wagnerian richness, Mozartian elegance and depth, idiosyncratic late-Romantic harmonic language, and emotional warmth.
The somewhat overripe Romantic poem for “Cäcilie,” by Heinrich Hart, was inspired by the poet’s wife of the same name. Strauss’s setting, with its repeated, litany-like phrase, “Wenn du es wüßtest” (“If you only knew”), is one of his best-known Prachtstücke (“display pieces”), a marvelous vehicle for accomplished singers.
© 2017 The Carnegie Hall Corporation