Thursday, February 26, 2015

Maria Valdes at the Rex

Wednesday evening, Maria Valdes performed songs in Spanish & English in the salon at the Rex Hotel. She introduced each pair of songs & explained that this was an abbreviated version of a recital program bringing together different aspects of her heritage. In the 1st half we heard music with popular appeal by Spanish & Cuban composers. Ms. Valdes sings with control, strength & solidity. Her voice was a bit sultry & dark in pair of songs by Ernesto Lecuona, & she easily reached the high notes in Andalucía. She lightly acted out a pair of zarzuela numbers, ending with a big sound that pushed against the walls of the room.

The 2nd half consisted of contemporary songs in English, which were often dreamy & presented at lenient tempos. She made sure to acknowledge her accompanist Sun Ha Yoon after 2 jazzy selections by John Musto. The performance ran about an hour & was followed by a Q&A. When creating programs, Ms. Valdes starts with the poetry, then works her way backward to the songs. This program contains much unfamiliar music, so she had difficulty finding some of the scores. Ms. Valdes is also an Adler Fellow at the SF Opera & announced that she will sing Barbarina & cover Susannah in this summer's Figaro & be Papagena in next season's Magic Flute. The audience laughed when Ms. Yoon explained that the difference between working with instrumentalists & singers is that instrumentalists don't like to be coached. An audience member mentioned Lady Gaga's performance at the Oscars.

The salon is in a busy hotel, & we heard occasional rattling, thumping & voices from next door. The performance was well-attended & little crowded. I was introduced to Adler Fellows Anthony Reed & Eddie Nelson, who happened to sit near me, & they joked about being cast as "Meisters" for next season.

§ Maria Valdes, soprano
Sun Ha Yoon, piano

Salon at the Rex



Blas de Laserna: EI Jilguerito Con Pico de Oro
Antonio Literes: Confiado Jilguerito (from Acis y Galatea)

Ernesto Lecuona: Malagueña

Pablo Luna: De España Vengo (from EI niño judio)
Manuel Fernandez Cabellero: Esta es Su Carta (from Gigantes y cabezudos)


John Duke: Selections from From the Sea: Five Songs for Soprano
                      I. All Beauty Calls You to Me
                      V. Oh, My Love

Charles Ives: The World's Highway
                     At Parting

John Musto: Recuerdo (from Recuerdo)
Penelope's Song (from Penelope)

Tom Cipullo: Touch Me (from Late Summer)
Aaron Copland: Laurie's Song (from The Tender Land)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Hotel Rex

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