The Oswego Opera Theater announces a Sunday afternoon concert to open the 2011-12 Season, historically its 33rd consecutive year. “Two Sopranos and a Mezzo” will be held on Sunday, October 2, 2011, at 2:00pm in the Church of the Resurrection, 120 West 5th Street in Oswego, between West Bridge and West Cayuga Streets. A reception for the artists will follow, and all attendees are invited.
The concert features three members of the Oswego Opera Theater’s professional company. Soprano Eileen Mackintosh of Port Jervis was last heard as Aïda in 2009’s “Opera Love Scenes” production, and soprano RoseMarie Cerklewich of Hannibal performed the role of Micaëla in 2008’s Carmen.
Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Bouk of Hamilton was heard as Aïda’s nemesis Princess Amneris, also in 2009. Company Pianist Rebecca Horning will accompany the singers.
Miss Mackintosh and Miss Bouk will also be appearing in Oswego Opera’s new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte November 4th and 6th as Fiordiligi and Dorabella respectively. Miss Mackintosh maintains a full-time private voice studio and is the newly-appointed Chorus Master for the Delaware Valley Opera, in addition to recently singing the Verdi roles of Lady Macbeth and Aïda, and that of Abigaille in his Nabucco in 2012. Miss Bouk will appear with Syracuse Opera twice during the 2011-12 season, as Flora in La traviata in October and as Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly next spring.
The October 2 concert will include three excerpts from Richard Strauss’s Viennese comedy and greatest popular success Der Rosenkavalier, as well as the Four Last Songs with Miss Mackintosh. These songs are especially poignant as they are the last music he wrote in his very long career (b. 1864, d. 1949), and as the final inspiration of his wife Pauline, herself a soprano, who was older than Strauss and outlived him by only eight months. All of Strauss’ operas and vocal works carried truly magnificent music for soprano; one has only to hear the beautiful Final Trio from Der Rosenkavalier to recognize this.
The concert also features one of the great coloratura arias from Mozart, “Ach, ich liebte,” Constanza’s first aria from The Abduction from the Seraglio, with Miss Cerklewich. Two groups of songs rarely heard in programs today will be performed by Miss Mackintosh and Miss Bouk. Miss Mackintosh will sing five songs by the American Ernest Charles (1895-1994), a singer and radio personality who wrote 45 songs between 1930 and 1950 known for their rubato, sweeping vocal lines, sumptuous melodies and ingenuous charm. One in particular is the Viennese waltz “Let My Song Fill Your Heart,” which will open Miss Mackintosh’s set. Ernest Charles was championed by the first lady of Syracuse music and singing, Helen Boatwright.
Better known than Charles is German-born Kurt Weill (1900-1950), best known for his collaborations with his wife, the actress and chanteuse Lotte Lenya, and the playwright Bertolt Brecht. His best-known work is The Three-Penny Opera (which has the writer’s favorite song, “Mack the Knife”), and “September Song” from Knickerbocker Holiday. After moving to the U.S. under persecution by the Nazis, he wrote for Broadway. Miss Bouk will present four numbers from One Touch of Venus (1943), including “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” and “Speak Low.”
The final work on the program is by Gioachino Rossini, his “Cat Duet,” of which it may be said that it’s the “cat’s meow.”
Tickets for this concert are $10 regular admission, $8 Seniors and all academic faculties and staff, and $5 for all students. Tickets will be available by reservation (315.638.1085) or at the door. For further information about this concert, or about the production of Così fan tutte in November, visit Oswego Opera’s web site at www.OswegoOpera.org, or call 315-638-1085.