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Polenzani. Deshayes. Cargill. NYFOS. Rose.

2014-15 Season

PolenzaniJan 14, 2015
Matthew Polenzani
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DeshayesFeb 3, 2015
Karine Deshayes
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CargillApr 7, 2015
Karen Cargill
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NYFOSApr 30, 2015
New York Festival of Song
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RoseOct 19, 2014
Matthew Rose
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YendeNov 6, 2014
Pretty Yende
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Brancy Dec 10, 2014
John Brancy
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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

 

Wednesday Evening, January 14


Matthew Polenzani, Tenor
and
Julius Drake, Piano

One of the most admired lyric tenors of his generation, Matthew Polenzani is at the peak of an international career that has garnered acclaim through appearances with virtually every leading opera house, symphony orchestra, music festival, and concert hall. With an impressive discography and videography spanning the repertoire from Schubert and Liszt songs to operas by Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, and Wagner, he blends beauty of tone with musical refinement and deep expression.
More Information > 
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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.

Single tickets are now on sale through the Kennedy Center box office for all seven concerts. Full season subscriptions and mini-series subscriptions are also available directly from Vocal Arts DC.

2013-2014 Season Brochure

Click here to purchase a Full Season Subscription.

Click here to purchase a Mini-Subscription.

Click here to purchase Individual Tickets.

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

'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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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.
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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

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

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