In advance of Tchaikovsky’s upcoming 180th anniversary year, the Russian Chamber Art Society’s 2019 holiday concert will be a unique and festive tribute to the beloved composer. Though best known worldwide for his ballets, orchestral works and operas, Tchaikovsky displayed his supreme gift for melody in more than 100 Russian art songs or “romances.” Exceptional young lyric tenor Fanyong Du, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Odessa National Academy of Music in Ukraine, will perform a selection of Tchaikovsky’s most exquisite romances with pianist Vera Danchenko-Stern, RCAS founder and artistic director. Also, violinist Katya Poplyansky, recently a Rebanks Fellow at Canada’s Royal Conservatory; cellist Souren Bagratuni, silver medalist in the 1986 International Tchaikovsky Competition; and pianist Alexander Shtarkman, faculty artist at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, will play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50, “a la mémoire d’un grand artiste,” dedicated to Moscow Conservatory founder Nikolai Rubinstein.
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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