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Italian Opera and French Romantic poetry for spring

Posted: Thursday, May 03, 2001

"Renaissance, Romance, Poetry and Music for Spring"

When:

8 p.m. Saturday.

Where:

Northern Light United Church.

Admission:

$10 at Hearthside Books, $12 at the door.

Opera to Go is back with a musical celebration of spring.

"Renaissance, Romance, Poetry and Music for Spring," a performance Saturday night by singers Joyce Parry Moore and Bill Garry, with pianist Sue Kazama, marks the return of Opera to Go.

Parry Moore is the artistic director of Opera to Go, a Juneau arts organization she established in 1996 to make opera accessible to audiences of all ages. Parry Moore had a baby 17 months ago and put her opera activities on hold.

"This is kind of a rebirth for me and Opera to Go. That's why I called it 'Renaissance,'" she said. "It's the time of year where everything is coming alive again and it feels for me artistically like I'm coming alive again."

Pianist Kazama said Parry Moore has taught her a few things about the pieces on Saturday's program.

"She is really good about explaining the context of the pieces and what the poems are about," Kazama said.

Parry Moore received her master's degree in opera from the Boston Conservatory, and lived and performed in New York City for five years before moving to Juneau in 1994. She has acted and sung in a number of Juneau Lyric Opera and Perseverance Theater productions.

Parry Moore said there is a tendency for people to feel intimidated by opera.

"I like to make people feel at ease," she said. "I usually talk about the opera scenes before we do them, so people know what's going on. But we'll do them in the original language, which is Italian."

The Saturday night performance will include more than opera. The first half will feature art songs, selections of poetry set to music.

"In opera it's not so much the words as the voice," Parry Moore said, "and in art songs the emphasis is equally on the poetry as music."

She said 19th century French composer Hector Berlioz set six poems by French poet Theophile Gautier to music in a piece she'll sing called "The Summer Nights." The work is representative of the Romantic period works of the 19th Century.

"It's beautiful music," Parry Moore said. "It's French, written for soprano and orchestra but Sue and I are doing a piano orchestra - not having an orchestra of my own."

Parry Moore will also be singing four poems by Emily Dickinson. She said that around 1950 American composer Aaron Copeland wrote melodies and musical arrangements for a dozen of Dickinson's poems. She'll also perform a song by Indian mystical poet Rabin Dranath Tagore, set to music by Victorian-era composer John Alden Carpenter.

Italian Opera will be featured in the second half of the program. Parry Moore will sing a solo aria from "Don Pasquali" by Donizetti.

Singer Bill Garry, a familiar face from numerous Juneau Lyric Opera productions, will join Kazama and Parry Moore for works by Puccini and Verdi. Parry Moore and Garry will do a scene from Giacomo Puccini's opera "Tosca" and another from Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata," both 19th century works.

"Bill is a father who tries to convince me to leave his son," Parry Moore said of the Verdi piece. "It's dramatic like Puccini but musical like Mozart."

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.



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