Explore the art song through American composers in a program featuring vocalists Sarah Nelson Craft and Barry L Robinson. The concert will span America’s rich heritage of musical styles including classical, jazz, musical theater, and spirituals from composers Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Margaret Bonds, Henry Thacker Burleigh, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and CVM’s own Mazz Swift.
American Art Song
FREE, all ages welcome
Saturday, July 9 @ 1pm
St. Paul Lutheran Church – 440 Hoboken Ave, Jersey City, NJ
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Aaron Copland: Selections from Old American Songs I & II
Charles Ives: Songs My Mother Taught Me, The Circus Band, The Things Our Fathers Loved, and The New River
Cole Porter: So In Love
George Gershwin: Embraceable You
Margaret Bonds: The Negro Speaks of Rivers (lyrics by Langston Hughes)
John W. Work This Little Light O’ Mine
Spiritual: Deep River
Henry Thacker Burleigh: Southland Sketches for violin and piano
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue *abridged, arr. by Christopher Cooley
Mazz Swift: Compassion Through LovingKindness Meditation for violin and voice
Performed by Sarah Nelson Craft (mezzo-soprano), Barry L Robinson (baritone), Mazz Swift (violin), and Christopher Cooley (piano).
Sarah Nelson Craft, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Sarah Nelson Craft is a “born storyteller” whose commanding, versatile voice has caught the attention of audiences around the world. Carnegie Hall recently presented her in a solo Spotlight Recital with pianist Warren Jones, a triumphant performance that drew high praise from critics; Opera News described her performance as “exquisite… glowing… charming… affecting… Craft fully inhabited the music with intensity and focus.” The previous season brought her to France where she participated in “The Song Continues: Paris Residency” presented by Carnegie Hall at the Opéra Bastille. Ms. Craft made her Caramoor Festival mainstage debut in 2013 as Ninetta in Verdi’s Les vêpres siciliennes and in several concerts there for which she was noted as a “young singer to watch out for” (taminophile.com). She also received critical acclaim for her performance as Giunone in Handel’s Agrippina with New York City’s operamission: she “knocked this exciting aria out of the park” (Parterre), and her “imposing mezzo scored in Giunone’s lone aria” (Opera magazine).
Highly sought after as a concert soloist, Ms. Craft recently performed at Alice Tully Hall with the American Classical Orchestra in Mozart’s Coronation Mass and at Carnegie Hall with the Masterworks Festival Chorus in Vivaldi’s Gloria. 2012 marked her Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall as the alto soloist in both Bach’s Mass in B minor and Handel’s Messiah with the National Chorale. Other notable performances have included Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Mahler’s Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, both with Princeton Pro Musica, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra. Other favorite concert roles include Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion and Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, Copland’s In the Beginning, and Duruflé’s Requiem.
Barry L Robinson, baritone
American baritone Barry L. Robinson, recently made his international operatic debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin in Prokofiev’s L’amour des trois oranges. This season, he “dug into [the role of the priest Fojo] with passionate commitment” (New York Times) for a revival of Harry Lawrence Freeman’s Voodoo, not heard on the operatic stage for 80 years. As Fojo, Mr. Robinson was praised for his “ideal, thrillingly doom-laden deep baritone for the sinister spells and invocations” (Parterre Box). He is a recent 2015 recipient of an encouragement award from The Wagner Society of New York. In previous seasons, he has been featured in concert at Teatro Sodre in Uruguay and the world renowned Mozarteum Argentino Festival in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A rising talent, Mr. Robinson has been lauded for his “amazing, robust” voice and “potential for operatic stardom” (New York Amsterdam News).
Mr. Robinson began his career with the operas of Mozart, singing Leporello in Don Giovanni, Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and both Il Conte and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro. He has also had success with 20th century roles including the Herald in Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace and Frank Chambers in The Postman Always Rings Twice by Stephen Paulus. His current repertoire features the baritone roles of Verdi’s opere serie, French Grand Opera, Russian opera, and the Germanic repertoire of R. Strauss and Wagner.
This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of The National Endowment for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, Thomas A. Degise, County Executive, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.