The NEW YORK FESTIVAL OF SONG (NYFOS) presents a new program entitled Women, on Tuesday, December 4 at 8:00PM at Merkin Concert Hall. One of the highlights of its 2012-2013 season, this will be an evening exploring the lives of women, narrated both in their own words, and also observed through the eyes of men.
Single tickets are available for $40-$55, with discount tickets available for students at $10, and a limited number of advanced purchase Real Deal tickets at $20. Every concert is accompanied by a post-show wine reception with the cast.
The program, hosted by NYFOS artistic directors and pianists Steven Blier and Michael Barrett, will feature world premieres by composers Mark Adamo, Harold Meltzer, Carla Kihlstedt, and Mohammed Fairouz. Rounding out the program will be songs by John Musto, Ned Rorem, Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg, Thea Musgrave and Judy Collins.
Three rapidly rising singers return to NYFOS: soprano Corinne Winters, who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2011; mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke; and baritone Andrew Garland, whose previous NYFOS appearances have been praised for their commanding intensity.
The composer Mark Adamo, who first came to prominence with his opera Little Women, contributes a new song cycle: The Racer’s Widow. The cycle, to be sung by Sasha Cooke, combines contemporary humor and timeless sentiment through five poems by Linda Pastan, Louise Gluck, Marge Piercy, Sara Teasdale, and the only male poet of the group, Tennessee Williams. Blier says “Mark writes modern music that is tonal, and he’s not afraid of opulence, melody and emotions other than anger. He is also deeply sensitive to the relationship of words and music, a natural gift for a composer who also writes his own libretti. His next big premiere will take place in June of 2013 at San Francisco Opera: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, written for Sasha Cooke.”
Violinist, vocalist, and composer Carla Kihlstedt contributes a new piece titled A Woman’s Body. Inspired by Susan Sontag’s matter-of-fact list of observations about her own body, Kihlstedt asked some favorite women for their own lists, which make up the lyrics to the piece. The song finds universal resonance in the unique one-gender-level-removed storytelling of baritone Andrew Garland.
NYFOS presents its first-ever work in Arabic with Mohammed Fairouz’s A Prayer to the New Year. The four-movement piece sets the hopeful words of Fadwa Tuqan, a 20th Century Arabic woman, as a duet for soprano and mezzo. Fairouz, just 27, has already been critically acclaimed and recognized for his talent. Straddling Eastern and Western idioms, Fairouz has emerged as a leading musical force of his generation; his work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
The fourth and final premiere is by Harold Meltzer, who presents a setting of a Sharon Olds poem Topography as a duet for soprano and mezzo. NYFOS premiered Meltzer’s elegant song cycle Beautiful Ohio in 2010, to great acclaim.