Carnegie Hall Presents Three New York Premieres Performed by Jessica Rivera, Kelley O'Connor, and Robert Spano Tonight
Tonight, October 29 at 7:30 p.m., soprano Jessica Rivera and mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor are joined by pianist Robert Spano on a program featuring three New York premieres, two of which are Carnegie Hall co-commissions.
Ms. O'Connor and Ms. Rivera have collaborated in concert halls and on modern operatic masterpieces including Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar and John Adams's El Niño. This unique program features Ms. O'Connor performing the New York premiere of David Bruce's That Time With You, a four-song cycle that she co-commissioned with Carnegie Hall. Ms. Rivera sings the New York premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff's Monica Songs, another Carnegie Hall co-commission. Two selections from The Kitchen Songbook by Gabriela Lena Frank will also have their New York debuts, sung by both Ms. O'Connor and Ms. Rivera. Completing this diverse program, the artists present vocal duets by Saint-Saëns, Mendelssohn, and Gounod, as well as Debussy's erotically charged Chansons de Bilitis and Mompou's haunting "Combat del Somni."
Written for Ms. O'Connor, David Bruce's otherworldly song cycle, That Time With You, features texts by Glyn Maxwell. The poems speak of love and loss through music inspired by the sorrowful sentiment present in the music of English Renaissance composer John Dowland and American blues artists. Jonathan Leshnoff's Monica Songs, performed by Ms. Rivera, is a six-piece set that balances themes of life and death and love and loyalty through music set to texts by Emily Dickinson, E.E. Cummings, and the Old Testament. Ending the evening, Ms. O'Connor and Ms. Rivera will perform two duets dedicated to culinary creations-the first works in composer Gabriela Lena Frank's The Kitchen Songbook. Featuring texts co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, "Honey" focuses on the relationship between a mother and daughter, while "Sofrito"-a nod to the Latin American starter of fried onions, garlic, and tomatoes-sizzles with romance.
Opened in September 2003, Zankel Hall-Carnegie Hall's modern, underground performance space-celebrates its tenth anniversary this season with concerts that reflect the wide variety of music for which the venue has become known, including appearances by up-and-coming and established artists in the classical, jazz, world music, and pop genres.
About the Artists
As one of today's leading voices in new music, Jessica Rivera has worked with esteemed conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. She was heralded in the world premiere of John Adams's A Flowering Tree, which she performed for her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle, as well as with the Cincinnati Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and London Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Rivera made her European operatic debut in John Adams's Doctor Atomicwith the Netherlands Opera, a role that she reprised for her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Metropolitan Opera.
Ms. Rivera made two appearances at Carnegie Hall last season as a part of composer Osvaldo Golijov's residency as holder of the Debs Composer's Chair, including performances of La Pasión según San Marcos conducted by Robert Spano and Ayre with the St. Lawrence String Quartet. Ms. Rivera's other recent highlights include performances of John Adams' El Niño with the St. Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon. She has also performed Adams's Nixon Tapes with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Committed to the art of recital, Ms. Rivera has performed in concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. A champion of new music, Ms. Rivera received a commission from Carnegie Hall for the world premiere of The Adulteress, a song cycle by Nico Muhly, in 2009.
Mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. This season she will perform in John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary, the world premiere of John Harbison's Crossroads with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. In addition, Ms. O'Connor will sing under the batons of Franz Welser-Möst, Michael Tilson Thomas, Vladimir Jurowski, and Donald Runnicles.