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.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Tami Petty and Michael Sheetz

We know well that the talented Tami Petty won the Joy in Singing award in 2014; we were there and wrote enthusiastically about her gifts communicating the essence of song to the audience. Since that auspicious debut, we have seen, heard, and enjoyed Ms. Petty's gifts a number of times at the Brooklyn Art Song Society and once with The Bohemians. Yesterday we enjoyed her gifts even more at a salon graciously hosted by one of Joy in Singing's devoted members.

Perhaps it was the intimacy of the surroundings or perhaps Ms. Petty has been working on her English diction because we got every word of her English--the only quibble we had four years ago.

The theme for the afternoon put women composers front and center. We had just heard Clara Schumann's "Liebst du um Schonheit" Friday night and wrote how it shouldn't take second place to Mahler's setting. Ms. Petty's performance reinforced our belief. The luster of her instrument and attention to detail in the phrasing were amplified by gesture and facial expression. We want to hear this song again and again!

Ms. Petty's German ist perfekt and served her well in Alma Mahler's "Ich wandle unter Blumen", another lovely entry in the female composer sweepstakes.

We heard some lovely French as well and always admire a singer who can switch gears for each language. Regine Wieniawski (Poldowski) set Paul Verlaine's  "L'heure exquise" in 1917, a quarter century after Reynaldo Hahn did so --another tempting pair for Mirror Visions Ensemble. The two settings are different but equally lovely. The start is delicate but Ms. Petty opened up her sizable voice whilst collaborative pianist, known mainly through his work with Classic Lyric Arts, put forth some lovely arpeggi.

Cecile Chaminade's songs were popular in her time--all 125 of them!  There were clubs celebrating her oeuvre right here in the USA. Yesterday we heard the delightful "Ecrin" which was performed in a most flirtatious manner. The French was crystal clear but one got the message even if one didn't understand the language.

Pauline Viardot's "Madrid" was written for the mezzo fach but that didn't stop Ms. Petty who conveyed the high spirited vocal line whilst Mr. Sheetz conveyed all the flamenco inflected accompaniment. We loved it!

The remainder of the songs were in English but that didn't stop us from enjoying them! Amy Beach's "The Year's at the Spring" was familiar to us but "Take, O Take Those Lips Away" was new to us.  Clara Edwards' "Into the Night" was filled with longing and quite lovely.

Liza Lehmann's  "Evensong" was seriously sentimental but her "There are fairies at the bottom of our garden" is filled with sly humor and Ms. Petty used just the right amount of camp, to the delight of the audience.

We even got to hear Mr. Sheetz perform Fanny Mendelssohn's "Pastorella" which reminded us of "Lieder ohne Worte" inasmuch as we were writing words in our head!  Indeed, Fanny probably wrote a lot of music that got passed off as her brother's because of restrictions enacted upon women by society and their families.

A fun aspect of yesterday's salon was that different guests were selected to read a brief bio about each composer. So many women composers were prevented from performing; others composed out of financial necessity.

As encore, we got "SHE'S got the whole world in HER hands". We couldn't keep from thinking that Ms. Petty has the world of art song in HER hands! That spiritual never made so much sense! And who can get a song across better than Ms. Petty!

Did you know that Joy in Singing is the oldest art song organization in the USA! Did you now that you too may be eligible to attend one of these intimate salons? We highly recommend the experience.

(c) meche kroop

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