Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano
Warren Jones, piano
Saturday, May 3, 2014
This performance is made possible in part through the generous support of The Bernard Osher Foundation.
Stephanie Blythe on the Importance of Art Song
POULENC: Poèmes du Ronsard
LÉO FERRÉ: La vie antérieure; L'invitation au voyage
JACQUES BREL: Le pieds le ruisseau; Ne me quitte pas; Amsterdam
NÖEL COWARD: Zigeuner; Mad About the Boy; Nina
COLE PORTER: Night and Day; Tale of the Oyster; You Do Something to Me
BUDDY DESYLVA/LEW BROWN/RAY HENDERSON: Button Up Your Overcoat; You’re the Cream in My Coffee; The Best Things in Life Are Free/Sunny Side Up
MICHAEL CLEARY: Singin’ in the Bathtub
IRVING BERLIN: What’ll I Do
About This Performance
The New York Times has called Stephanie Blythe “a once-in-a-generation opera singer” whose exquisite artistry becomes more apparent with each performance. Equally beloved and acclaimed on the recital stage, she is a champion of American song who has avidly commissioned new music from U.S. composers and brilliantly essaying repertoire made popular by the iconic Kate Smith, kindling a compelling musical debate about what makes music American.
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered to be one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed artists of her generation.
Ms. Blythe has sung in many of the renowned opera houses in the US and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris. Her many roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila , Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, and Giulio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Il Trittico, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Baba the Turk in The Rake's Progress, Ježibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites; Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Ino/Juno in Semele.
Ms. Blythe has also appeared with many of the world's finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at the BBC Proms. The many conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alan Gilbert, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.
A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall in Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center in both its Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presenter by the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances.
A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg, Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Smith which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Alan Smith and featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones.
Ms Blythe starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice, Il Trittico, Rodelinda, and the complete Ring Cycle. She also appeared in PBS's Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic's performance of Carousel and her acclaimed show, We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith. Her recordings include her solo album, as long as there are songs (Innova), and works by Mahler, Brahms, Wagner, Handel and Bach (Virgin Classics).
This season, Ms. Blythe returned to the Metropolitan Opera for the new production of Falstaff and made her debut at the San Diego Opera in Un Ballo in Maschera. She also appeared in concert with the New York Philharmonic and toured the US with Les Violons du Roy. Upcoming engagements include recitals in Princeton and San Francisco and the role of Gertrude Stein in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's 27 at the Opera Theater of Saint Louis. Next season's many engagement include her returns to the Metropolitan Opera for The Rake's Progress, the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Il Trovatore, and Carnegie Hall for a recital in Stern Auditorium.
Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award.
Warren Jones, who was named as "Collaborative Pianist of the Year" for 2010 by the publication Musical America, performs with many of today’s best-known artists: Stephanie Blythe, Christine Brewer, Anthony Dean Griffey, Bo Skovhus, Eric Owens, and Richard “Yongjae” O’Neill—and is Principal Pianist for the exciting California-based chamber music group Camerata Pacifica. In the past he has partnered such great performers as Marilyn Horne, Håkan Hagegård, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Barbara Bonney, Carol Vaness, Judith Blegen, Salvatore Licitra, Tatiana Troyanos, James Morris, and Martti Talvela. He is a member of the faculty of Manhattan School of Music as well as the Music Academy of the West, and received the “Achievement Award” for 2011 from the Music Teachers National Association of America, their highest honor. He has been an invited guest at the White House to perform for state dinners in honor of the leaders of Canada, Russia, and Italy; and three times he has been the invited guest of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court for musical afternoons in the East Conference Room at the Court. A graduate of New England Conservatory, he currently serves on the Board of Visitors for that institution; and has been honored with the Doctor of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory. His discography contains 29 recordings on every major label—and his newest musical ventures include conducting, having led sold-out critically-acclaimed performances of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Mozart’s Die Zauberfloete in recent summers. In December 2014 he will lead the world premiere of a new operatic version of A Christmas Carol, starring Anthony Dean Griffey, music by Iain Bell and libretto by Simon Callow, at the Houston Grand Opera.
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