Tenor Eric Ferring to Release New Single 'N'est-ce Pas?' From WE HAVE TOMORROW Album

The album showcases important cycles by Samuel Barber, Gabriel Fauré, and Arthur Shepherd, as well as songs by Florence Price, Johannes Brahms and Amy Beach.

By: Sep. 26, 2023
Tenor Eric Ferring to Release New Single 'N'est-ce Pas?' From WE HAVE TOMORROW Album

Emmy-winning, Billboard Chart-topping American tenor Eric Ferring will release a new album, We have tomorrow, on Friday, October 6, 2023 on Delos. An ambitious collection of art songs with a chamber music emphasis, performed with pianist Madeline Slettedahl and Paris-based string quartet Quatuor Agate, the album showcases important cycles by Samuel Barber, Gabriel Fauré, and Arthur Shepherd, as well as songs by Florence Price, Johannes Brahms and Amy Beach.

Praised for his "beautifully round and warm timbre, expressive, and with great finesse" (Olyrix) Ferring's expertise ranges from early bel canto repertoire and the music of Handel and Mozart to the origination of contemporary operatic roles. Liner notes have been contributed by Chicago music writer Roger Pines and the first single from the album, N'est-ce pas? from Fauré's La bonne chanson, is available to stream today on all platforms.

We have tomorrow is the result of many years of collaboration between Ferring and Slettedahl, most recently their 2022 album, No Choice but Love (Lexicon Classics), a recital disc highlighting LGBTQIA+ voices described by BBC Music Magazine as "an emotional punch in vivid vocal and pianistic colours." Textura named the album one of the best of the year, calling it "a remarkable collection, not only for the statement it makes but for its glorious music and the duo's illuminating treatments."

Ferring and Slettedahl open We have tomorrow with Samuel Barber's five Mélodies passagères, the composer's interpretation on a series of French-language poems by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Through the five-part song cycle, Barber uses deftly shifting technique, from the lilting character of Un cygne ("A swan") to the dissonance of the final song, Départ ("Departure").

Two songs by Florence Price follow, starting with Hold Fast to Dreams. This stirring setting of Langston Hughes' short poem Dreams - opening with a prelude reminiscent of church music and closing in a dramatic flourish of piano and voice - echoes the poet's message on the sustaining power of our hopes and aspirations in bleak times. The album's title track, We have tomorrow, brings triumphant, soaring tones to a second work by Hughes: his poem Youth, a call for young people to use the brightness of their futures as an opportunity to strive toward justice.

For "Gestillte Sehnsucht" and "Geistliches Wiegenlied" from Johannes Brahms's Zwei Gesänge, Ferring and Slettedahl are joined by Quatuor Agate violist Raphaël Pagnon. In "Gestillte Sehnsucht" ("Longing at rest"), a setting of a poem by Friedrich Rückert, Brahms uses Baroque forms, with a contrasting middle section, to evoke a quiet evening juxtaposed with unfulfilled wishes and longing that disrupt its peace. In "Geistliches Wiegenlied" ("Sacred lullaby"), based on a text by poet and playwright Emanuel Geibel, Brahms uses elements of the medieval Christmas carol, Joseph, lieber Joseph mein.

The rest of Quatuor Agate - Adrien Jurkovic, Simon Iachemet and Thomas Descamps -join the ensemble for three songs by Amy Beach. Jurkovic is featured on Ecstasy (op. 19), one of the composer's most successful works within her own lifetime, while Iachemet performs on Chanson d'amour (op. 21), her setting for a text by Victor Hugo. Descamps and Iachemet are both featured on Two Songs, Op. 100 - a work based on texts by Bertha Ochsner and Jessie Hague Nettleton and known for its soaring melodies, compelling choral harmonies, and engaging piano accompaniments.

Arthur Shepherd's Triptych for High Voice and String Quartet, based on texts by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore (the first non-European to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature), is the composer's most frequently performed work. In a sensitive and melodic interpretation of the text, Shepherd supports the vocal part with rich contributions from the string quartet, combining sonorous harmonic background with subtle countermelodies.

The album closes with Fauré's La bonne chanson, a song cycle of nine mélodies for voice and piano. Based on works by the French poet Paul Verlaine, the cycle incorporates recurring themes that carry through from song to song, uniting in the final song, "L'hiver a cessé" ("Winter has ended"). Described by the composer as his "most spontaneous" work, the cycle was dedicated to the French singer Emma Bardac - who had marriages to both Claude Debussy and Parisian banker Sigismond Bardac, but carried on a love affair with Fauré, who reportedly saw her as his muse.

About Eric Ferring

Eric Ferring made his anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2021-2022 season singing Pong in Turandot, followed by Tamino in The Magic Flute, Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, a Royal Herald in Don Carlos, and covering Grimoaldo in Rodelinda. He made his debut at Santa Fe Opera, singing Fenton in Sir David McVicar's new production of Falstaff,as well as his Spoleto Festival (USA) debut in Beethoven's 9th Symphony. In the fall of 2022, Ferring released his solo debut album with pianist Madeline Slettedahl titled No Choice but Love: Songs of the LGBTQ+ Community with Lexicon Classics. His performance in Chicago Lyric Opera's production of Pagliacci was nominated and won a 2022 Emmy Award.

The 2022-2023 season included a return to Opéra de Rouen and debuts with the Opéra de Paris as Lurcanio in Ariodante and the Opéra national du Rhin as Tamino. The 2023-2024 season includes a return to Opéra de Rouen, debuts with Opéra de Lille, Haymarket Opera, and the Dubuque Symphony, recitals for Florentine Opera and the Sociedad Filarmónica de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as a world tour of Rodelinda with The English Concert.

Ferring's numerous awards include top prizes at many competitions including the George London Foundation for Singers, Glyndebourne Opera Cup, Gerda Lissner Foundation International Voice Competition, American Opera Society of Chicago, the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, as well as grants and awards from the Richard Tucker Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Santa Fe Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

He is a native of Dubuque, Iowa and graduated from Drake University with his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and The Boston Conservatory with his Master of Music in Opera Performance. Ferring is a graduate of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Ryan Opera Center and the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program. He is also the Project Curator for Lexicon Classics and the Executive Director of the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC). For more information, visit www.ericferring.com or @ericferring on Instagram.

About Madeline Slettedahl

"Extraordinarily expressive" (Seen and Heard International) pianist Madeline Slettedahl is an enthusiastic collaborator, recitalist, and highly sought after operatic coach. A current member of the Houston Grand Opera music staff, additional appointments include Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Wolf Trap Opera, Aspen Music Festival, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she received her training as part of the Patrick G. And Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center.

An avid recitalist, she has made recent appearances with leading operatic singers of today at Carnegie Hall's Citywide Concert Series, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts, the Collaborative Art Institute of Chicago's Lieder Lounge, Green Lake Festival of Music, and the Cincinnati Song Initiative Recital Series, as well as chamber music engagements with Icicle Creek Chamber Players, Bellingham Festival of Music, and TwickenhamFest. Additional fellowships include the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program, The Song Continues with Marilyn Horne, and Renée Fleming's SongStudio program at Carnegie Hall. She also attended Music Academy of the West, where she won First Prize in the Marilyn Horne Song Competition.

She made her recording debut in 2022 with the highly-acclaimed Billboard charting album, No Choice but Love, with rising star tenor, Eric Ferring, for Lexicon Classics. Madeline holds degrees in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance, from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and Western Washington University, respectively.

About Quatuor Agate
Formed in 2016, the Paris-based Quatuor Agate studied at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Eberhard Feltz, in Paris under the guidance of Mathieu Herzog, and with the Quatuor Ebène at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich. In 2021, they were prize winners at the YCAT International Auditions.
Highlights this season include debut recitals at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the Lammermuir Festival in Scotland. They return to Wigmore Hall and collaborate with the Modigliani Quartet at the TauberPhilharmonie and the Diotima Quartet at the Lange Nacht der Streichquartette in the Prinzregententheater in Munich. In 2023, they record the complete Brahms Quartets for the Appassionato label which will be released in February 2024.

Over the last year, the Quatuor Agate has made their debut at Wigmore Hall and given recitals across Europe at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, Brucknerhaus Linz, Tauber Philharmonie Weikersheim, the Verbier, Salon-de-Provence, Radio France and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festivals. They also recorded with Frank Braley and Gabriel Le Magadure for the Appassionato label which will be released in Fall 2023.

The Quartet is artist in residence at the Fondation Singer Polignac, resident at Pro-Quartet in Paris, and Associate Artist at the Festival la Brėche in Savoie. In 2016, they founded the CorsiClassic Festival.

The Quatuor Agate is grateful for support from the Günther-Caspar Stiftung and the Fondation Banque Populaire. For more information, visit
quatuoragate.com or find them on Instagram @Quatuor.Agate

We have tomorrow Tracklist

Samuel Barber - Mélodies passagères
1. Puisque tout passe [1:41]
2. Un cygne [2:40]
3. Tombeau dans un parc [1:55]
4. Le clocher chante [1:13]
5. Départ [1:47]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl

6. Florence Price - Hold Fast to Dreams [1:50]
7. Florence Price - We have tomorrow [1:15]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl

Johannes Brahms - Zwei Gesänge
8. Gestillte Sehnsucht [6:26]
9. Geistliches Wiegenlied [5:28]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Raphaël Pagnon

10. Amy Beach - Ecstasy (op. 19) [2:31]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Adrien Jurkovic
11. Amy Beach - Chanson d'amour (op. 21) [5:03]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Simon Iachemet
Amy Beach - Two Songs, Op. 100
12. A Mirage [2:53]
13. Stella viatoris [3:23]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Thomas Descamps, Simon Iachemet

Arthur Shepherd - Triptych for High Voice and String Quartet
14. He it is [6:20]
15. The day is no more [4:32]
16. Light, my light [4:07]
Eric Ferring, Quatuor Agate

Gabriel Fauré - La bonne chanson
17. Une sainte en son auréole [2:16]
18. Puisque l'aube grandit [2:05]
19. La lune blanche [3:00]
20. J'allais par des chemins perfides [1:57]
21. J'ai presque peur, en vérité [2:23]
22. Avant que tu ne t'en ailles [2:50]
23. Donc, ce sera par un clair jour d'été [2:47]
24. N'est-ce pas? [2:48]
25. L'hiver a cessé [3:30]
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Quatuor Agate

Total Time: 77:02

Delos DE 3593
UPC: 013491359328
Christopher Willis, Sound Engineer, Mixing/mastering
Julia Faulkner, Producer
Gillian Riesen/Emitha LLC, Album Cover Design
Roger Pines, Program Notes
June 1-4, 2023, WFMT Studios, Chicago, IL

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