We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Ms. Worsham, Mr. Brancy, Mr. Greenhalgh, Mr. Bielfield, Ms. Winters, and Mr. Bliss
The fall music season has gotten off to a dazzling start this past week with a major boost from Steven Blier whose New York Festival of Song always gives us something to celebrate.  Performing at Henry's, the consummately hospitable Upper West Side institution known for yummy food and professional service, Maestro Blier brought his crew of wildly talented young singers to entertain the overflowing crowd with a selection of songs suited to the season.

Mr. Blier wears many hats and wears all of the them well, with a jauntiness that makes everyone feel good and fall instantly in love with him.  He hosts the event, narrates with charming anecdotes, arranges the music and performs at the piano; but, most importantly perhaps, he seeks out just the right singers to suit his upbeat style.

The evening began with a big bonus--the inimitable Miles Mykkanen performing "Sing for your Supper" from The Boys from Syracuse by Rogers and Hart.  His charming persona was the perfect start for the evening and "Sing for your Supper" will now be he title for all the NYFOS evenings at Henry's.

Leading off the programmed part of the evening was tenor Kyle Bielfield whose seductive voice made "Dream with Me"...well...dreamy!  This lovely romantic song was composed by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Comden and Green.  (You will hear more from us in the near future about Mr. B's newly-released CD with Lachlan Glen which is already topping the charts.)  Mr. Bielfield was joined by barihunk (OH, NO, we didn't just say that!) Tobias Greenhalgh for the spirited "Rumba Blanca" by Armando Oréfiche.  The always wonderful baritone John Brancy, newly back in NY after some major successes abroad, sang Marc Blitzstein's "Stay in My Arms" and was just as wonderfully listenable later in the program in Cole Porter's "Night and Day".

The women on the program were no less delightful.  Corinne Winters sang Xavier Montsalvatge's "Paisatge del Montseny" and Jésus Guridi's folk poem "Cómo quieres que adivine" which suited her voice to a "T".  Lauren Worsham was absolutely adorable in two timely songs about auditions, as Mr. Blier pointed out that autumn in New York is all about auditions.  Ms. Worsham has a fine sense of theater and we in the audience were given a hefty dose of what it's like to go to open calls.

Mr. Greenhalgh made some really good music with Kurt Weill's setting of Maxwell Anderson's text in "September Song" which Mr. Blier said he had neglected for many years after a hefty overdose.  It was indeed time to revive this nostalgic number.

Tenor Ben Bliss played guitar and sang "Forever My Friend" by Ray LaMontagne, following which he sang "Au fond du temple saint" with Mr. Greenhalgh and we almost fell off our chair in amazement to hear this gorgeous operatic voice.  Regular readers will have no doubt which song we preferred.  Just sayin'.

The satisfying evening was brought to a close with the entire cast singing Vernon Duke's "Autumn in New York";  summer is over and we have ushered in the autumn in high style.  These delightful evenings of fine food, wonderful music and good fellowship fill up fast and we promise to let you know about the next "Sing for Your Supper" event in enough time to get your table at Henry's.

© meche kroop

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