It is always evident when a singer communicates from the heart. Such was the case at The Santa Fe Concert Association's Festival of Song when glamorous soprano Nicole Cabell gave a warm interpretation of two Ricky Ian Gordon song cycles accompanied by Mr. Gordon himself at the piano, both artists deeply immersed in both their artistry and their abilities to communicate with the audience. The poetry, chosen by Mr. Gordon, was by African-American poet Langston Hughes, remarkable for its conciseness and (!) lines that rhymed, which was graceful to the ear. The moods vary from sorrow to exaltation and Ms. Cabell's ability to convey this variety was remarkable. We particularly admired "In the Time of Silver Rain" which might do for rain what Beethoven's sonata did for moonlight. The romanticism of "Love Song for Antonia" was followed by the bouncy "Port Town" which involved the seduction of a sailor boy. "Song for a Dark Girl" conveyed the tragedy of a lynching. And that was only the first cycle.
The second cycle, entitled "Genius Child", was introduced by Mr. Gordon with a quote about how geniuses can be and often are misunderstood. We particularly liked "Genius Child" and "To Be Somebody" about the dreams of children. The sadness of "Troubled Woman" and "Strange Hurt" let us know about some female suffering. To end on a more sanguine note, we heard the delightful "Joy".
The enthusiasm and ambition of Joseph Illick, Executive and Artistic Director of the Santa Fe Concert Association, knows no bounds and this series "Festival of Song" will be repeated next summer, with even more performances-- if he and we have anything to say about it. We regret having missed what we heard was a brilliant recital by soprano Leah Crocetto last Sunday and deplore the fact that our travel schedule will prevent us from hearing a recital by the much sought after bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni. But that shouldn't stop YOU from being there! Mr. P. will be singing lieder by Schubert and Liszt as well as canzone from Rossini.
Let it be noted that the SFCA also brought half a dozen artists from the New York City Ballet to Santa Fe for a Festival of Dance. Santa Fe is surely the place to be in the summer!
(c) meche kroop