banner
Brownlee. Rose. Yende. Brancy. Polenzani.

2013-14 Season

BrownleeMay 13, 2014
Lawrence Brownlee
More >

 

2014-15 Season

RoseOct 19, 2014
Matthew Rose
More >

 

YendeNov 6, 2014
Pretty Yende
More >

 

Brancy Dec 10, 2014
John Brancy
More >

 

PolenzaniJan 14, 2015
Matthew Polenzani
More >

 

DeshayesFeb 3, 2015
Karine Deshayes
More >

 

CargillApr 7, 2015
Karen Cargill
More >

 

NYFOSApr 30, 2015
New York Festival of Song
More >

 

Vocal Arts DC
PO Box 42423
Washington, DC 20015
202-669-1463
info@vocalartsdc.org


facebook

OUR NETWORK PARTNERS


University of Maryland Opera Studio
Wagner Society DC

 

Tuesday Evening, May 13, 2014


Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor
and
Kevin Murphy, piano

Back by popular demand following his acclaimed Vocal Arts DC recital debut in 2009, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee continues to expand his already enormous international fan base.
More Information > 

..........................................................................................................................................

2014-2015 Season


With six outstanding singers, ranging from established stars to those still on the brink of international fame, all making Washington, DC recital debuts, plus the return by popular demand of New York Festival of Song, we are delighted to introduce our exciting 2014-2015 season. As our nation's only subscription concert series dedicated exclusively to the presentation of classical song recitals, we are proud to offer our patrons extraordinary quality at exceptional value, as well as enough variety in programming to provide something for all tastes. A superbly gifted singer, fully immersed in great music and poetry, accompanied only by piano or chamber ensemble, can transport us and make the world seem a better place, lifting our spirits, offering solace, providing catharsis. As an audience, we share in the visceral and emotional immediacy of that experience together. The Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, with its marvelous acoustics and unmatched intimacy, is an ideal venue in which to enjoy every vocal and interpretive nuance.

2013-2014 Season Brochure

Click here to purchase a Full Season Subscription.

Click here to purchase a Mini-Subscription.

More Information (Season Brochure PDF) ..........................................................................................................................................

Soprano Natalie Conte and Baritone Matthew Morris to Present Recitals in Spring 2014

Vocal Arts DC announces that soprano Natalie Conte and baritone Matthew Morris, both of Maryland, have been chosen as the two winners of the 2013 Art Song Discovery Competition. Co-adjudicators of the finals, held on Saturday, May 11 at the music department of George Washington University, were Nancy Gustafson, General Manager of the Castleton Festival; Michael Heaston, Director of both the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera and the Young Artists Program at the Glimmerglass Festival; and Peter Russell, General Director of Vocal Arts DC.

Vocal Arts DC will present Ms. Conte and Mr. Morris jointly in a series of art song recitals in the greater Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area in the spring of 2014, in venues and on dates to be announced in the near future.
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.

This month's 'My Favorite Song' entry is from Eugene Karl Montoya, a graduate student who is as passionate about "all things vocal" as he is knowledgeable, and who has availed himself with great appreciation of our complimentary tickets for students.

Cécile Chaminade (music) and Edouard Auguste Louis (libretto): "Ah, Chantez, Chantez" (Ah, Sing, Sing)

Immediately following freshman year at Vanderbilt University, I decided to learn German as a complete beginner at a language school in Munich where I would first foray into the ancestral language of my paternal grandmother. It did not take long to find atop the prestigious Bavarian department store, Ludwig Beck, the most incomparable classical music CD shop I'd ever seen. I would spend hours in the store listening for free to the rarest opera or a historical live symphonic performance as the store's custom was to open any item for preview before purchase. One of the first purchases I did make that summer was a Deutsche Grammophon sampler composed of tracks from the latest albums of their big name artists. The sampler included Ah, chantez, chantez from Cecile Chaminade's L'été which has since become one of my favorite pieces for voice and pianoforte and neatly captures the spirit of that summer's cultural immersion. Once you listen to it, it will likewise whisk your mind away not in particular to Munich but to the salons and parlors of artistic sophisticates living in late Victorian Paris such as Georges Bizet, Jacques Offenbach and Ambroise Thomas.

Structurally, the song's melody follows a clear, repetitive stanza format analogous to the cheery poem about summer that it's based upon. The monochromaticism of the song lends itself to a single mood direction throughout the piece where the danceable tune (almost reminding one of a Bach Allemande based on French medieval dances) builds up excitement and resolves with exuberant top notes. I tend to enjoy this song most when it's dark and stormy outside and I have a nice cup of tea and something to read at hand. The most enjoyable listening element is knowing that this music belongs to a specialist variety that satisfied the composers' own creative pursuits. In those days (as now), composers would write opuses by commission from monarchs and theatrical producers, but they would write parlor songs like this for their own enjoyment and/or the delight of their salons, guilds, and small music appreciation societies. While it's unlikely that famous French Romantic composer Georges Bizet would have heard this exact song, which was written one year before his death, it is conceivable that he would have heard similar songs played by Chaminade herself throughout her early career. In many ways these kinds of songs are part of another sub-genre of Romantic that could be dubbed a 'composer's composer song' much like a Soirées Musicales by Gioacchino Rossini, which is rarely performed in its entirety.

Chaminade is fairly unknown today and her works have not stood the test of time as well as her contemporaries. She is a remarkable figure who warrants further study; her training was heavily vested in Baroque and Classical, but she herself composed Romantic chamber works as refined as those of the eminent Gabriel Fauré. Perhaps she is not well known because of her gender or because she did not write transnationally successful operas or even larger-scale symphonic works like Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique. Ambroise Thomas commensurately remarked of her that "This is not a woman who composes, but a composer who is a woman." Ultimately, chamber artists like this one become the footnotes of musicologists and deep lovers of song cycles, but like Franz Schubert's Erlkönig, her songs can be interpreted as mini opera's. I'm particularly impressed with the theatrical profundity conveyed here by Anne Sofie von Otter's timbre and technique; the word painting of this ballad is not superficial and it conveys the same level of messaging that any opera air could. The vocal pyrotechnics sound simple to the ear but are incredibly demanding on the vocalist; if done well they sound almost mathematical as they do here with perfect calculation, pitch, and breath but not compromising on tonal or human warmth. The balance between the voice and the whirlwind piano line makes this a true duet and highlights the virtuosity of both instruments making it a delightful addition to any vocal enthusiast's collection.

"Ah, Chantez, Chantez" (Ah, Sing, Sing)
Performers: Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano), Bengt Forsberg (pianoforte)

Click here to view previous month's submission.

..........................................................................................................................................

Peter Russell Named General Director of Vocal Arts DC

Peter Russell, a noted figure in American opera, has been named as General Director of Vocal Arts DC (incorporated as The Vocal Arts Society). In his new position, Russell will assume responsibility for both the artistic and business management of Vocal Arts DC, working closely in the field of artistic programming with the organization's founder and President Emeritus, Dr. Gerald Perman, who is stepping down as Artistic Director to become Artistic Director Emeritus.
More Information > 
...........................................................................................................................................

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 >
..........................................................................................................................................

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 >

button button
Education Programs

discovery
Art Song Discovery Series Winners of the Vocal Arts DC competition appear in free recitals at various venues in the community each Spring. More >

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
Young Artists Competition
An annual, juried competition for singers in the greater Washington area. Find more information here. More >

 

"My Favorite Song"

Archive of Past Selections

about useducation current season tickets about useducationcurrent seasontickets