A Trip Across the Street
First off, I'd like to give you a video of my performance at the French Concert Saturday night. The video isn't first rate. The angle is awful and the lighting is so bad that you can't even see that I'm wearing a tie. But until I find a nicer video, which should be around somewhere, enjoy!
Sunday was just as busy of a day as any other, if not busier. We had four big things to be at - The studio artist Martin Katz masterclass at 11:30, the Mendelssohn concert intro with Karen Holvik at 1:45, a masterclass with Peter Sellars at 4, and then finally the Anthony Dean Griffey and Margo Garrett recital at 7:30. At the German concert intro, we somehow made it through everyone's songs in two hours. The concert will be on Saturday at 5:30, right between the Thomas Hampson masterclass and the finale American Song Book concert, and again during dinner time - so I'm not expecting much of a turnout. But it will still be a very good, well-organized concert with lots of variety. Peter Sellars is quite a character with quite the head of hair. His masterclass was in Zipper Hall, the large one, and two of the studio artists got the chance to sing in it! Mishael Eusebio and Cristobal Arias, both from Juilliard. They both were wonderful, to the point where I think everyone was a little surprised at how wonderful they were. The Griffey and Garrett recital was absolutely beautiful, especially the second half which included a Ralph Vaughan Williams set with string quartet and a classic Aaron Copland set. Those two brilliant artists really soared with that music, and for their encores, they performed two more American songs: "Simple Song" by Leonard Bernstein (which didn't leave a dry eye in the house) and a very soulful rendition of "This Little Light of Mine".
Monday started off the last week of work here with a bang. I had my last lesson with Bill McGraw, a coaching with my pianist Jennifer Tung, an Alexander class with Audrey Luna, and then three hours of rehearsal for the American SongBook concert coming up on Saturday night. We rehearsed all of the group numbers, got a run-down of the rehearsal schedule for the week, and then both of my numbers got staged that night. I'm actually going to be the first voice heard at the very beginning of the concert and right after intermission, so I'm really excited for the concert. But it's going to be a lot of work to get there. Thank goodness Amy Burton and John Musto are the ones in charge. With them, the show will be spectacular.
Tuesday was pretty light, I only had one masterclass, a tour of Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is right across the street, and a concert to see in the evening featuring guest artist Jesse Blumberg, baritone. Huh, I feel like if I weren't at SongFest that wouldn't feel like a light day. The Disney Hall tour was arranged by Marc Stern, who gives millions to Disney Hall and to SongFest every year, so it was completely free, and I was part of a group of sixty. Natalie Sheppard let me use her nice Nikon camera to take some photos, so all of those are below as a slideshow for you to enjoy. The coolest part of the building was that there are gardens along the rooftop in the back and even a children's amphitheater hidden up there. The architecture is also absolutely stunning inside and out, as that's kind of what the building is famous for. The recital in the evening was absolutely wonderful, and probably the most memorable recital that SongFest has provided so far in the program. Jesse Blumberg sang Schumann's Liederkreis set, a French set by Ravel, and finished with a smorgasbord of Charles Ives songs. Martin Katz was his collaborative pianist, and that was also a real treat. Katz is so incredible because he really is the authority on art song - we as an audience don't have to be apprehensive about tempo or dynamics or inflection or anything because we all pretty much accept that he knows best and whatever he does is right. He never disappoints. Together, Blumberg and Katz showed us what real storytelling through song is, and the whole program was enthralled the entire time. What's even cooler is that Blumberg is an alum of CCM! He did his masters degree there under Bill McGraw, and I actually sat next to McGraw at the concert. He was so unbelievably proud.