David Weigel and Chris Reynolds
David Weigel, Bass-Baritone
Chris Reynolds, piano
April 14, 2021
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts
David Schwan, host
H. Leslie Adams – selections from Nightsongs (11′)
II. Drums of Tragedy
III. The Heart of a Woman
V. Since You Went Away
Lili Boulanger – selections from Clairières dans le ciel (13′)
I. Elle était descendue au bas de la prairie
II. Elle est gravement gaie
III. Parfois, je suis triste
IV. Un poète disait
V. Au pied de mon lit
Alberto Ginastera – Cinco Canciones Populares Argentina, Op, 10 (11′)
Hailed as “heroic” and “stentorian” (San Francisco Chronicle) and possessing an “imposing, mahogany voice” (Opera News), American bass-baritone David Weigel is a third-year Ensemble Member of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. During his tenure with the program, Mr. Weigel has performed The Voice of Neptune/Idomeneo, First Minister/Cendrillon, Dr. Grenvil/La traviata, First Prison Guard/Dead Man Walking, the Bonze/Madama Butterfly, and Sourin/The Queen of Spades. Prior to the cancellation of Lyric’s 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was scheduled to sing Angelotti/Tosca, Leone/Attila, Antonio/Le nozze di Figaro, and Father Trulove/The Rake’s Progress.
In 2019, Mr. Weigel sang the title role in Le nozze di Figaro at the Aspen Music Festival, for which Opera News described him as an “impressive performer with a big, richly colored baritone.” He was a member of Merola Opera Program in 2017 and 2013, performing Death/Sāvitri and Collatinus/The Rape of Lucretia respectively. Other roles performed include the title role and Leporello/Don Giovanni, Sprecher/Die Zauberflöte, Don Basilio/Il barbiere di Siviglia, Colline/La bohème, and Bottom/A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mr. Weigel grew up in Asheville, NC and is an alumnus of Furman University (Bachelor of Music), The University of North Carolina Greensboro (Master of Music), the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (Professional Artist Certificate), and the University of Michigan (Doctor of Musical Arts).
First-year Ryan Opera Center pianist Chris Reynolds has made a name for himself as both a soloist and a collaborator. Reynolds is currently a doctoral candidate at The Juilliard School. He recently concluded his run as performance pianist for Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s chamber opera Intimate Apparel at the Lincoln Center Theater. Other recent performance venues include Bayreuth, Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, WQXR, the Kyoto Summer Music Festival, and National Sawdust. A two-time winner of the Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital Auditions, he has been a fellow at SongFest and Aspen, as well as a Schwab Rising Star at Caramoor as part of the New York Festival of Song Emerging Artist Series. Reynolds has worked at the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater as an opera coach/répétiteur. He has given a series of lecture-performances at Columbia University (on Schubert’s Winterreise) and Union College in Schenectady (on Liszt’s Piano Sonata and thematic transformation). He has been on the faculties of the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie, William Paterson University, and the Mostly Modern Festival. Reynolds holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Julian Martin, Margo Garrett, Brian Zeger, Lydia Brown, Jonathan Feldman, JJ Penna, and Cameron Stowe. In July 2020, Reynolds appeared in Lyric’s Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter concert.
Chris Reynolds is sponsored by Nancy Dehmlow, Loretta N. Julian, and Philip G. Lumpkin.
H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932)
selections from Nightsongs (1961)
H. Leslie Adams is the winner of the 2015 Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, he attended school in California, and served many years as a choral conductor, show musical director, and educator, before becoming a composer full time in 1979. His unique music touches a wide variety of musical tastes and preferences.
While residing in New York City during the early 1960s, Adams met the writer and poet Langston Hughes. Adams expressed his great response to the work of the poet, as well as a desire to set some of the author’s poetry to music. Following a brief period of written correspondence, Hughes granted Adams formal permission to set a number of the texts to music. Among these were “Prayer” and “Fantasy in Purple”” the latter being renamed “Drums of Tragedy”. Adams later set four other poems by Black poets, compiling them together to create the cycle Nightsongs.
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918)
selections from Clairière dans
le ciel (1914)
Lili Boulanger and her older sister Nadia, who is best remembered as possibly the most influential music teacher of the twentieth century, grew up in the Paris of Fauré, Debussy, and Stravinsky. Born into a musical family – her father and grandfather taught at the Paris Conservatory and her mother was a professional singer – Lili Boulanger began her study of music at a very young age. Nadia, ever supportive and encouraging, guided her sister’s early music education. Lili Boulanger’s childhood was marred by ill health. Her delicate health prevented her from attending school regularly, but Lili’s prodigious musical aptitude allowed her to learn in months what normally took years.
At the age of 20, Boulanger won the coveted Prix de Rome for her cantata Faust et Hélène. She was the first woman to be accorded this honor. During her residency in Rome, Boulanger wrote one of her best-known compositions, the song cycle Clairières dan le ciel. The cycle is a setting of thirteen poems by Francis Jammes, which explore the lamenting passions, both sensual and modest, of the narrator’s lost love. These songs illustrate some of Boulanger’s musical traits – quiet solemnity and a harmonic language firmly rooted in Impressionism. Sadly, Lili Boulanger died of Crohn’s disease four years later. Nadia devoted her life to championing her sister’s musical legacy.
Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Cinco Canciones Populares Argentinas, Op. 10 (1943)
Alberto Ginastera is recognized and honored as a pioneer in developing contemporary Latin American music. He was born in Buenos Aires and would study and later teach at the National Conservatory. He travelled to the United States following World War II, gaining popularity there after winning a Guggenheim fellowship in 1946. Ginastera’s music incorporates the rich heritage of Argentina’s folklore and musical idioms, fusing them with his own twentieth-century techniques.
Cinco canciones populares argentinas (Five Argentine Popular Songs) are stylized settings of folk songs. Using anonymous traditional texts, Ginastera set five types of Argentine folk songs/dances. Chacarera is a spirited driving song with displaced rhythmic stresses while Triste is a melancholy love song and Zamba a lilting song/dance. Arrorró is a tender lullaby and we end with Gato, an energetic dance with improvisatory stamping feet and guitar interludes.
Don’t miss the Illinois Philharmonic String Quartet
next week on the
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!
Wednesday April 21, 12:15pm