Audio recording

Graduate recital in voice

The repertoire chosen for my recital is comprised of arias and art songs that reflect the natural human emotions of love and loss. This musical journey is vast in descriptive text taking the listener through a part of the imagination where power, fear and solace are intertwined. The recital begins with Italian opera and is followed by French melodie, German lied, Spanish folk song, American song and opera in French. Frederic Handel (1685-1759) was a German born composer known for his opera composition. Throughout his years of writing for opera, Handel was set apart from his contemporaries because of his outstanding and superior ability to express with immediate conviction the emotions of the characters in the context of the aria. In his opera, Giulio Cesare (1724) the arias are more elaborate and musical expression is more consistently connected to drama. Non disperar, Act I Scene V, is Cleopatra's first aria. It is sung after it is reveals that her brother, Tolomeo sent Caesar the head of Pompey as a gift to win his alliance. She is distressed and quickly devises a plan to charm Caesar. Handel's Cleopatra is much younger than the Shakespearean queen and her youthful urgency is evident in this aria. The aria begins with quick sixteenth notes that are pressing forward into a melody that introduces the vocal line. There are sudden dynamic changes from forte to piano that also give insight into her character and mood. For example on the word "amor," there are extended and decorated melismas that indicate her determination to utilize her beauty and sensuality to seduce Caesar. Cleopatra sings Se Piela in Act II Scene VIII. Recognizing that Caesar is in a vulnerable position and could be killed by the Egyptians she begs the gods for help. This aria is one of the most moving arias in the opera encompassing her serenity and quiet fear. Delicate passages that descend slowly and quietly are the centerpiece of this da capo aria. There is a sense of sacredness and steadiness in the music that is indicative of Cleopatra's uncertainty and honest request for help. (See more in text.)

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