Home Theatre Harlem Chamber Gamers invite stellar vocal artists for various Harlem Songfest II – Seen and Heard Worldwide

Harlem Chamber Gamers invite stellar vocal artists for various Harlem Songfest II – Seen and Heard Worldwide

Harlem Chamber Gamers invite stellar vocal artists for various Harlem Songfest II – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United StatesUnited States Numerous, Harlem Songfest II: Terrance McKnight (host), Janinah Burnett (soprano), Jasmine Muhammad (soprano), Lucia Bradford (mezzo-soprano), Martin Bakari (tenor), Kenneth Overtone (baritone), Harlem Chamber Gamers / Damien Sneed (music director). Miller Theater at Columbia College, New York, 9.6.2023. (DS)

Curtain Name for Harlem Songfest II © Bob Curtis

Damien Sneed / Scott Joplin – ‘Overture’ (Treemonisha)
Handel – ‘Therefore, Iris, Therefore Away’ (Semele)
Verdi – ‘Tempo, tempo, mio Dio’ (La forza del destino)
Bizet – from Carmen:Je dis que rien ne m’ épouvante’, ‘Habanera’, ‘Votre Toast/Toreador Tune’
R. Strauss – ‘Hab mir’s gelobt’ (Der Rosenkavalier)
George Gershwin – ‘My Man’s Gone Now’ (Porgy and Bess)
Mary Watkins – ‘My Son, My Baby’ (Emmett Until)
Damien Sneed – ‘There’s a Balm in Gilead’ (Non secular Sketches)
Dorothy Rudd Moore – ‘Fourth of July Speech’ (Frederick Douglass, arr. Damien Sneed)
Harry Lawrence Freeman – ‘Voodoo Queen Aria’ (Voodoo)
Margaret Bonds – ‘He’s received the entire world in his palms’ (arr. Damien Sneed)

Summer season is right here, and a songfest live performance is an ideal match to the season of taking it simple. With a mix of beloved European nineteenth-century arias and twentieth-century works from Black and ladies composers, the Harlem Chamber Gamers underneath the course of Damien Steed succeeded at what they set forth to do: carry nice music to the Harlem neighborhood and make it clear that, sure, a classical orchestra may be genuinely various. Gamers harked from many backgrounds and creeds, and it was refreshing to look on stage and see the pastiche of New York Metropolis folks sitting earlier than the viewers, taking part in enrapturing music.

Harlem Chamber Gamers keep a long-time, tight relationship with the classical radio host Terrance McKnight, who launched the night’s works via the lens of historic adjustments. His virtuosic talking type pumps up an viewers even within the sometimes reticent classical halls, and he minced no phrases on the significance of strengthening variety within the arts. Why? Effectively, the programming answered it – completely different, worthwhile tales will likely be instructed when you may have a broader bench of musical administrators and musicians. The crowning music of the night, ‘My Son, My Baby’, was from Mary Watkin’s new opera, Emmett Until. Until was lynched in Mississippi on the age of fourteen. Mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford because the mom utilized her beautiful, character-driven type of interpretation to chant, sing, communicate and practically cry out this heart-jolting, unjust story in a powerfully dense lyrical aria.

New works on burning subjects had been carried out subsequent to hallowed requirements like Richard Strauss’s ‘Hab mir’s gelobt’ trio from Der Rosenkavalier – strengthening the far-reaching community of the feelings and experiences that solely music can seize for generations to return. Soprano Jasmine Muhammad elevated this already elegant trio efficiency with a outstanding, buttery-like shaping of her voice that transcended any earthly rendition of magnificence one may think.

The night additionally harked again to early-twentieth-century Black composition in opera. Composer Harry Lawrence Freeman, as McKnight defined, modified the function of the Black character in opera from a determine perpetually marginalized and vilified to an individual who presents a vastly wealthy tapestry of expertise to surprise at and have fun. Soprano Janinah Burnett blew the roof off the ‘cardboard-box’ that’s the uptown Miller Theater along with her phenomenal efficiency of the ‘Voodoo Queen Aria’ from Voodoo. The viewers roared in delight.

The magic of this summer time live performance, full with mosquitoes who infiltrated the entrance doorways and even a couple of folks gently scolded for carelessly leaving on cell telephones, was that it made abundantly clear how the previous, the brand new, the revered and the historically silenced actually can all embrace a stage collectively. There’s room, and loads of it: that is the one option to rejoice within the huge expertise of humankind.

And favorites will nonetheless be favorites for folks from all walks of life gathered collectively. Bizet’s ‘Toreador Tune’ was carried out to the viewers’s glee by all three feminine vocalists together with the luxurious tenor Martin Bakari and highly effective baritone Kenneth Overton – whose triumphantly soulful sound made for a toreador rendition that might simply seize the hearts of viewers members as a lot because the costumed feminine suitors on stage!

The Harlem Chamber Gamers Curtain name © Bob Curtis

The Harlem Chamber Gamers have been hitting the stage strongly for the previous two seasons after the easing of the town’s pandemic, and their agency maintain on bringing the great thing about artwork nearer to uptown group audiences is one to look at intently in coming seasons. It’s effectively definitely worth the journey, wherever you reside.

Daniele Sahr



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