George London Foundation to Welcome Christine Brewer and Dominic Armstrong, 4/6
One of America's most beloved sopranos, Christine Brewer, who won a George London Award in 1991, and 2013 George London Award winner Dominic Armstrong, called a "clarion-voiced tenor" by The New York Times, will share the stage for the third and final event in the season's George London Foundation Recital Series. Pianist Craig Rutenberg joins the singers for the recital on Sunday, April 6, 2014, at 4:30 PM at The Morgan Library & Museum.
Christine Brewer will perform the world premiere of a new work by Douglas Cuomo, "Sorry for Your Loss." As Brewer explains, "The text for the song came from an NPR contest called 'Three-Minute Fiction.' I heard this on the radio and had Doug go to the web site and have a listen. He then contacted the writer, Lisa Rubenson, for her permission to use the text." The story plays out in a series of voice messages from "Christine" to "Nick" that reveals their tangled past. (Click here to read the story, that begins, "Hi, it's me - Christine. I can't believe you still have this number.") Brewer will also sing songs by Benjamin Britten, and the final aria, "My Long Life," from Virgil Thomson's opera about Susan B. Anthony to a Gertrude Stein libretto, The Mother of Us All.
Dominic Armstrong will sing Beethoven's song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, selections from Britten's Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, and a collection of songs by Roger Quilter. The program will conclude with the two singers performing a duet from Gloriana, Britten's opera about Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex.
The George London Recital Series presents pairs of outstanding opera singers, many of whom were winners of a George London prize early in their careers or are recent George London Award recipients. Dominic Armstrong's March, 2013, George London Award-winning performance of Grimes's Mad Scene from Britten's Peter Grimes can be viewed here, available in the George London Foundation website's Media Library. About this winning turn, The New York Times said, "Dominic Armstrong's gripping rendition of the mad scene from 'Peter Grimes' was ... remarkable: an unsettling, powerful performance in which Mr. Armstrong used his muscular tenor as a vehicle to bring Britten's art to life."
Christine Brewer in November 2013 received praise for her performance in Britten's Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at London's Barbican Centre, The Spectator calling her "superb" in the role of Lady Billows. Her 2012-13 season was highlighted by her participation in the world premiere of Douglas J. Cuomo's Doubt (based on the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play and film by John Patrick Shanley) at Minnesota Opera, about which The Associated Press said, "The loudest applause deservedly went to Christine Brewer, the distinguished American soprano who may have found the role of a lifetime as Sister Aloysius," and the Minneapolis Star Tribune said, "Christine Brewer makes her one of the most fully realized characters in contemporary opera."
Dominic Armstrong made his New York Philharmonic debut unexpectedly last November when he stepped in at the last minute to sing Britten's Spring Symphony, a piece he had never performed before. The New York Times said, "he sang the demanding solo role with assurance, stamina and subtlety." Armstrong also received critical praise for his performance last season as Prologue/Peter Quint in the New York City Opera's production of The Turn of the Screw, and he made his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut in Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.
The Legacy of George London: The goal of the George London Foundation, the support and nurturing of young singers, was an abiding interest of the great American bass-baritone George London, who devoted a great part of the time and energy of his later years to this purpose. "Remembering his difficult road to success, George wanted to devise a way to make the road a little easier for future generations of singers," said George London Foundation President Nora London. Initially created under the auspices of the National Opera Institute, the George London Awards program has been administered since 1990 directly by the Foundation as a living legacy to George London's own exceptional talent and generosity. www.georgelondon.org
Soprano Christine Brewer (1991 George London Award), a native of Grand Tower, Illinois, is recognized as one of the foremost singers of our age. This season her engagements include Albert Herring with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and War Requiem with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, to mark Britten's centenary year, and the Vier Letzte Lieder in Tokyo with Jonathan Nott. Later this season she returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for The Sound of Music and to the Opera Theatre of St Louis as Mme Lidoine in Les dialogues des Carmélites.