|Areti Giovanou, Thornstein Árbjörnsson, and Stefanos Koroneos|
Consequently we just sat back and let the music wash over us, catching only a few words here and there. Baritone Stefanos Koroneos delivered the songs with intensity, sad as they were. These songs were composed by Oscar winner Greek composer Manos Xatjiidakis as part of a play called "Captain Michaelis"which was, in turn, based on Kazantjakis book " Freedom or Death". The songs were recorded for voice and piano but were orchestrated two years ago for Mr. Koroneos.
Ms. Giovanou's piano amazingly reproduced the sounds of the bouzouki which we remember from our time spent in Greece.
The Icelandic portion of the program took us back to a recital at Juilliard in which one of the students had written an opera in Icelandic. The clipped Nordic sound lends itself very well to humor, which can also be said for English. Tenor Thornstein Arbjörnsson has a sweet voice and an engaging manner in which he described the folk songs of his country--dealing with elves and nature. He had us smiling before he even began.
Our ears found their footing at the end of the program when the two voices joined for a beautiful duet in Italian--Rossini's "I Marinai", the final song of his Soirées Musicales, sometimes called "Li Marinari". It is a song of courage and mastery of the storm before being greeted by a rainbow and with expectations of an affectionate homecoming when back on land.
(c) meche kroop