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The Wings of Song

The Wings Of Song
Soprano Emily Helenbrook returns to the Friends of Vienna

Soprano Emily Helenbrook just started her senior year at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, but she will make a welcome return to the Friends of Vienna to open their 40th Anniversary Season on Sunday, September 13 at 3:30pm in the Unity Church, 1243 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Emily, who will be accompanied by Eastman pianist Kurt Galván in a program of arias and songs by Mozart, Erik Satie, Hugo Wolf and Poulenc, has enjoyed an increasingly high profile on the local classical music scene. She was a featured singer in a rare performance of Beethoven’s complete incidental music to Goethe’s Egmont on the BPO Classical series at Kleinhans under JoAnn Falletta last March, and in July she sang in an all-Mozart program in the Mary Seaton Room under the baton of BPO associate conductor Stefan Sanders.

For her FOV recital, Emily will offer an encore performance of the Mozart arias she sang with the BPO, including Blondchen’s aria “Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln”, from The Abduction from the Seraglio. “The servant Blondchen, scolds the brute, Osmin, who roughly tried to seduce her,” says Emily, “in a aria that has a very high range, stretching to a surprising three high E’s. In Le Nozze di Figaro, Susanna sings her aria “Deh vieni non tardar” in the garden while waiting for the complicated web of schemes to unravel. She knows that her beloved Figaro is nearby, so she sings this beautiful love song within earshot of him, just to tease him. This piece is a pleasure to sing, and given that Susanna is role I dream about playing someday, I feel so lucky to be able to sing her aria as she really is the brains behind the entire opera.”

Very much aware of the differences between singing art songs and opera arias, Emily says “It’s so important that the singer is connected to the text and the poetry before presenting an art song. Interpretation of art song and poetry in general is often developed through our own emotions and how we personally would process things such as love, or attraction, or grief, or anger. While opera arias are also developed through emotion, these emotions usually stem from how the operatic character would react to certain situations, not how the performer as a person would react. So in a way, you could say that art song can provide an intimate glimpse into the character of the individual performer, which can be both interesting and varied. On the other hand, operatic singing can provide a glimpse into these characters in their particular stories, which speaks to the performer’s interpretation of these situations.”

The song section of her recital will include “Bedeckt mich mit blumen” from Hugo Wolf’s 1890 Spanisches Liederbuch and two selections from the composer’s 1891 Italienisches Liederbuch collection, “Schweig einmal still, du gars’’ger Schwätzer dort” and “Ich hab in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen.” French song selections include musical maverick Erik Satie’s La Diva de l’Empire (The Diva of the Empire), a French popular song with lyrics by Dominique Bonnaud and Numa Blès, as well as selections from Francis Poulenc’s 1939 song cycle Fiançailles pour rire.

Tickets: $10/$5 students.


Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim

At 3:30pm on Saturday September 12, the Buffalo Suzuki Strings will sponsor a recital at the Musical Arts Center, 4 Webster Street in North Tonawanda, by David Kim, a 1979 Williamsville North High School graduate who has been the Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999. Kim, who started playing the violin at the age of three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the age of eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. In addition to his role as concertmaster Kim appears as a soloist with his orchestra every season, most recently a few weeks ago in the Mendelssohn Concerto under the baton of Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. His instruments are a J.B. Guadagnini from Milan, Italy ca. 1757 on loan from the Philadelphia Orchestra and a Michael Angelo Bergonzi from Cremona ca. 1754. The recital will be followed at 5pm by a free masterclass.

Tickets: $12/Students $10.

Reservations: 743-8728

Pianothon at Pausa

The Pausa Art House on Wadsworth continues its mission as the leading commercial venue for musical experimentation in the Buffalo area. On Thursday September 10 at 8pm, Pausa will host an event that is being billed as a pianothon, or a marathon for piano. A full dozen of the best pianists currently performing locally, in several different genres, will take a turn at the keyboard of house Yamaha for a night of classical piano works as well as jazz standards and improvised works. Works by classical composers such as Rachmaninoff and Boulez will be performed by pianists Eric Huebner, Nicholas Emmanuel and Jade Conlee. Walter Kemp III, Kevin Doyle, Bobby Jones, Robert Merlin Davis and Jonathan Rizzo will offer uunique interpretations of jazz standards, and George Caldwell and Ed Chilungu will perform their own original compositions while Hangyu Bai and Jihheng Tang will perform traditional Chinese music.

Tickets: $7.


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