Saturday, October 09, 2010

Finding Home: An Eclectic Evening with Soprano Elisabeth Harrington and Friends

With HSU faculty and graduates collaborating—including one of her own former students—soprano and HSU Music professor Elisabeth Harrington sings an eclectic program of opera, art songs, musical theatre and jazz, in concert at Fulkerson Recital Hall on Saturday October 9.

Harrington’s former student is baritone Christopher Hatcher, and their music together suggests the range of this evening’s program. They perform selections the 19th century comic opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti, with Jonathan Webster—another recent HSU graduate--on piano. They combine earlier on a piece by innovative 20th century French composer Gabriel Fauré: his “Pavane,” with a haunting melody that’s been recorded many times on a variety of instruments, with and without the vocal part. HSU Music faculty member Laura Snodgrass joins them on flute, with Jonathan Webster again on piano.

Harrington begins the evening with one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s earliest published works, written when he was 17. Exsultate, jubilate has been described as his first masterpiece. Harrington sings the final “Alleluia” section, which a Mozart biographer called "a jewel of a piece with its high spirits and its wit.” HSU faculty members Gil Gline and Robin Miller join in, on trumpet and piano.

With HSU staff pianist John Chernoff accompanying, Harrington sings Les adieux de l’hôtesse arabe, a song with a Middle Eastern flavor by Georges Bizet, and ( joined by Laura Snodgrass) Trois Chants de Noël for Soprano, Flute and Piano by 20th century Swiss composer Frank Martin.

Harrington sings three songs by Ricky Ian Gordon, an eclectic contemporary American composer of musical theatre and song cycles. Gordon is known for creating music for the words of modern poets, and Harrington’s selections include “Heaven” (with lyrics by Langston Hughes) and “Wild Swan” (text by Edna St. Vincent Millay.) She also sings Gordon’s signature song, “Finding Home” from his 1999 show, Dream True. Pianist John Chernoff accompanies.

With HSU faculty member Robin Miller on piano, Harrington ends the evening with a song that combines opera and jazz: “The Girl in 14 G” by Jeanine Tesori, from the Kristen Chenowith album, Let Yourself Go.

Elisabeth Harrington and friends perform on Saturday October 9 at 8 pm in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets: $8/$3 students and seniors from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. A Faculty Artists concert produced by HSU Department of Music.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye Online, Humboldt Beacon, Tri-City Weekly.

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