Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano, and Warren Jones, piano, perform All American Song


8 p.m., Friday, February 1, 2013
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts
Tickets: $55, $45, $35.

Image: S BlytheThe great mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe steps off the opera stage to appear in an intimate duet recital with pianist Warren Jones in a program entitled "All American Song" at 8 p.m., Friday, February 1, 2013, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The performance is sponsored in part by Venü Magazine. A pre-performance discussion with Laura Nash, Fairfield University associate professor of music, takes place at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are: $55, $45, and $35.

The world-renowned Stephanie Blythe has starred on opera stages in the U.S. and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris. Ms. Blythe regularly appears in productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including in the Met's new production of Wagner's Ring Cycle, "Der Ring des Nibelungen." She also stars in this season's "Un Ballo in Maschera"and appeared in the New York Philharmonic Orchestra's presentation of "Carousel." Just prior to her performance at the Quick Center, she will have completed another starring role in the Metropolitan Opera's "Il Trovatore," as the gypsy Azucena.

As one of today's most popular and respected vocal superstars, Ms. Blythe is also a champion of the Great American Songbook. She tours nationally with her "All American Song" program plus a separate Kate Smith retrospective. Her "All American Song" recital at the Quick Center is part of a current tour that culminates later this year with an encore performance in Lincoln Center's American Songbook series and recital in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium.

Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including "Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson" by the late James Legg, which is featured on the Quick Center program; "Covered Wagon Woman" by Alan Smith, which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and "Vignettes: Ellis Island," also by Alan Smith and featured in a special television program entitled "Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones."

The Quick Center program also includes music by Cole Porter: "Night And Day," "The Tale Of The Oyster," "You Do Something To Me"; Irving Berlin: "You Don't Want My Peaches," "What'll I Do?", "I Love A Piano"; the songwriting team of Buddy Desylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson: "Button Up Your Overcoat," "The Thrill Is Gone," "You're the Cream In My Coffee," and "The Best Things In Life Are Free/Keep Your Sunny Side Up"; Samuel Barber: Three Songs, Op. 10, "Rain Has Fallen," "Sleep Now," "I Hear An Army"; and Edward Confrey: "Kitten On The Keys."

Her many operatic appearances include the title roles in "Carmen," "Samson et Dalila, "Orfeo ed Euridice," "L'Italiana in Algeri,""La Grande Duchesse," "Tancredi," "Mignon," and "Guilio Cesare"; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in "Il Trittico," Fricka in both "Das Rheingold" and "Die Walküre," Waltraute in "Götterdämmerung," Azucena in "Il Trovatore," Ulrica in "Un Ballo in Maschera," Baba the Turk in "The Rake's Progress," JeĹžibaba in "Rusalka," Jocasta in "Oedipus Rex," Mere Marie in "Dialogues des Carmélites," Mistress Quickly in "Falstaff," Ino/Juno in "Semele," and Orlofsky in "Die Fledermaus."

Ms. Blythe has performed with some of the world's finest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at the BBC Proms. The many conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York City by Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, the 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been presenter at the Supreme Court at the invitation of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances.

Image: W JonesHer recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award.

Pianist Warren Jones, who was named as "Collaborative Pianist of the Year" for 2010 by the publication Musical America, is Principal Pianist for the California-based chamber music group Camerata Pacifica. He is a member of the faculty of Manhattan School of Music as well as the Music Academy of the West and received the "Achievement Award" for 2011 from the Music Teachers National Association of America, their highest honor. Three times he has been an invited guest to the White House to perform for state dinners. A graduate of New England Conservatory, he currently serves on its Board of Visitors and has been honored with the Doctor of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory. His discography contains more than 25 recordings. His newest musical ventures include conducting, and he will return to the podium for performances of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" in 2013.

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396).  Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.

Image: Stephanie Blythe, Photo Credit: Kobie van Rensburg.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 7, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 144