Dear Patrons, due to the spread of COVID-19 in the US, all RCAS Concerts have been canceled. Please, be safe and thank you!
Tchaikovsky and His Contemporaries
Continuing RCAS's celebration of Tchaikovsky's 180th anniversary, soprano Inna Dukach, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cio-Cio San in 2018, and bass Denis Sedov, who has appeared at the Met, La Scala, Covent Garden and other leading opera houses, will sing art-songs by Russia's most famous composer and by his contemporaries César Cui and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The performance, with pianists Vera Danchenko-Stern, RCAS founder and artistic director, and Michael Sheppard will also feature Modest Mussorgsky's masterpiece, Songs and Dances of Death, sung in its entirety by Sedov.
"The show was an incredible evocation, beautifully and dramatically sung by Susana Poretsky, of another era and place. She used some props, as in the song "Your Little Note", which says, I found your note in the back of a bureau; when I was 17, I did not know what to say; now I have nothing to say. Susana had a tiny folded up piece of paper in her hand, she tore it into little pieces, and let them fall to the floor.
She sang "Blue Kerchief", pulling a blue kerchief from her music stand. The singer Klavdia Shulzhenko sang it at more than 500 concerts during the Siege of Leningrad, and it became an anthem during WWII. Have you heard of the 900-day siege by the German Army? I recall traveling to the Soviet Union in December 1963 and spending Christmas day in Leningrad. I learned there of the siege and was shocked it had happened, and possibly more shocked I had never heard of it.
After the concert, pastries, and wine appeared as I exited. I gorged a bit on pastries. I started to walk out and turned back, deciding to tell Susana how much I liked her program and singing. She said she saw me in the first row of the auditorium and gauged her performance by watching me."
Friday, December 11, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.
Tchaikovsky 180th Celebration Continues
Romances and Arias by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff
Save the date for the finale of the Russian Chamber Art Society’s celebration of Tchaikovsky’s 180th anniversary year. In a festive program of romances and arias by Tchaikovsky and his younger colleague Rachmaninoff — two composers who defined Russian romanticism — RCAS founder and Artistic Director Vera Danchenko-Stern and pianist, Michael Sheppard, will accompany American soprano Shelley Jackson, winner of second prize at the 2017 Maria Callas Grand Prix, and much-admired Finnish American baritone Timothy Mix.
Enjoy the reviews of the "Mighty Five and Friends" concert:
“The delight and excitement that await music lovers at the Russian Chamber Art Society’s concerts” – Leslie Weisman
Leslie Weisman wrote in DC Metro Theater Arts about RCAS’s April 12 season finale, “The Mighty Five and Friends”:
The first [of six songs by Rimsky-Korsakov], “Not the Wind Blowing from the Height,” was sung by [soprano Zhanna] Alkhazova with a sweet purity and clarity, a skillfully controlled vibrato, and an exquisite ease that made the high notes, from pianissimo to mezzo forte, seem effortless. The last of these, the brief but affectingly melancholy “On Georgian Hills,” [mezzo-soprano Anastasiia] Sidorova infused with emotional urgency and youthful sadness.
Alkhazova’s masterful “Marfa’s Aria” from Mussorgsky’s The Tsar’s Bride was distinguished by a complementarity of rich, round, warm sounds and fresh, light, clear, graceful ones, topped off by a ringing, thrillingly brilliant high note. Sidorova’s “Lyubasha’s Aria” from the same opera, her carefully modulated voice and alternately flashing and stricken eyes drawing an unsparing picture of the young woman’s jealousy and doubt, was equally masterful.
[Bass Grigory] Soloviov excelled in the dark and angry “The False Note” and “Poisoned Are My Songs,” both by Borodin, and was deliciously evil in Mussorgsky’s “Song of the Flea” (famously sung by Mephistopheles). His malevolent “Ha, ha, ha, ha” was both relentlessly declamatory and infectiously humorous in spite of itself, his eyes glittering madly, his mouth opened wide, lips curled to expose a wolf-like set of teeth.
[Pianist Vera] Danchenko-Stern’s keen attentiveness to each phrase, sometimes even down to the syllable, evinced an intimate knowledge not just of the notes she was playing but of the ones the soloists were singing, and the performance, national, and compositional history behind them.
To read the complete review, click here
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