Heartbreak, high notes, and more! (or, Road to recital, part 2)


I wrote last week about the recital I'm giving in Tel Aviv with Dan Deutsch on Saturday, March 7, and I'm excited to tell you all a bit about some of the pieces on my program, and what they mean to me.

(A couple of notes:  If you don't want to know in advance what some of the pieces on my recital program will be, then this blog post is full of spoilers.  Also, if you do want to know what the full program will be, and you happen to be in Tel Aviv on March 7, then come to the Felicja Blumental Music Center and you'll find out.). :)

Una voce poco fa (from Il Barbiere di Siviglia, by Rossini) - there aren't many better ways to start off a recital, than with one of the most delicious arias in the repertoire.  Rosina, the teenage protagonist of the opera, has just fallen in love with the mysterious Lindoro, and she swears he will be hers.  She then goes on to say that she is sweet, respectful, obedient, loving, BUT (that's in capital letters) if anyone gets in her way, she will be a viper!

You can see why I love singing that aria so much.

I'll also sing a song by Schubert, but it takes a much different, and darker, tone.  His song Sehnsucht (D. 516) is written with text by Mayrhofer, who frequently wrote poems about alienation.  In Sehnsucht, he contrasts those feelings of alienation with images of spring.  In Schubert's setting of the poem, those themes are heightened and more starkly contrasted.

Pace non trovo - few songs capture the volatile, conflicting and contrasting feelings of romantic love the way Liszt's setting of Petrarch's sonnet does.  Not surprisingly, this song is also one of the most extreme and operatic of the art song repertoire. The whole song describes love in opposites.  "I find no peace, but I am not inclined to war. ... I burn, yet I'm turned into ice. ... I fly to heaven, and yet I lie on the ground."  (Liszt's and Petrarch's tendencies to write in an extreme way--musically and poetically--go so well together, that if it weren't for the fact that they lived about 500 years apart, I would have said they were a great songwriting team.)

Debussy's group of songs, Ariettes OubliĆ©es, has a special place in my heart.  This isn't only because his settings of Paul Verlaine's poems are second-to-none.  It is mainly because each of these songs paint unbearably vulnerable scenarios, whether about love, desperation, or wonder.

Israeli songs - Israeli songs are important to me since they've been a major part of me since I've been growing up.  For this reason, and also because the pairing of music and poetry in Israeli songs is to-die-for and should be heard even more frequently in concert, programming them as much as possible is a priority to me.

At the end of the concert, I'll be performing an aria that's new to me!  I won't give it away now, but I can promise that it will have heartache and high-notes!  (That's as potent a combination as any I know!)

I'm looking forward to even more recital prep and talk in the coming days, as well as the concert itself, of course!