Erica Papillion-Posey & Clayton G. Williams to Bring SOULS OF THE SOIL to Detroit
Following a sold-out summer European tour, Erica Papillion-Posey, mezzo-soprano and Clayton G. Williams, baritone will perform their blockbuster concert series, Souls of the Soil, for Detroit audiences.
In collaboration with the Michigan Comprehensive Service Network, the duo will present Souls of the Soil, a program that has been enjoyed by sold-out audiences throughout the United States and Europe. The concert will include opera arias, art songs, African American spirituals, jazz, and musical theatre selections accompanied by pianist, Dr. Stanley Waldon on Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 4:00pm at the Bethel A.M.E Church (5050 Antoine Street, Detroit, MI 48202).
"It is truly an eclectic musical array," Ms. Papillion-Posey commented when discussing the pieces chosen for the program. "The audience at Bethel A.M.E. will undoubtedly be familiar with the African American spirituals but we hope to make other musical genres, like opera, more accessible to the listener."
Hosted by Mistress of Ceremonies Claresta Williams-Ivy, the program is a fundraiser for The Michigan Comprehensive Service Network, which provides assistance to people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. The proceeds from this concert will go towards HIV/ AIDS treatment, awareness programs, and other health services.
"I am thrilled to present Souls of the Soil at my home church Bethel A.M.E, to a congregation that nurtured my spirit and my talent. I am truly a product of Detroit." Clayton G. Williams stated, "This concert is my way of giving back to the community and I hope that it truly benefits those who are struggling with HIV and AIDS."
In 2013, mezzo-soprano Erica Papillion-Posey made her professional North American debut in what has become her signature role of Carmen, where she, ".... captured Carmen's slinky sexiness, radiating allure and trouble... She had the vocal power to sing a soft, seductive "Habanera" in a hall-filling, rounded voice, lingering over the phrases as the men in the square watched. She snapped off the Spanish-style ornaments of the "Seguidilla", and was especially compelling in the lower register, where Carmen's sultriness comes through..." [South Florida Classical Review]. After being hailed as, "... the best Carmen this city has seen in decades" [El Nuovo Herald] the Miami Lyric Opera has engaged Ms. Papillion-Posey for another performance of Carmen in November 2014.
Following sold out performances in Louisiana and Colorado, Ms. Papillion-Posey most recently embarked on a European recital tour entitled Souls of the Soil in collaboration with baritone, Clayton Graves Williams. The overwhelming popularity of the program, which features an eclectic array of American music, compelled the duo to schedule additional performances throughout Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York during 2014.
In 2010, Ms. Papillion-Posey made her international operatic debut as Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica at the Tuscia Opera Festival, under the baton of maestro Stefano Vignati. The demand for her "wonderful voice... full of grace and sensuality" [El Nuevo Herald] and her fierce commitment to character keeps European audiences coming back for more. Memorable European performances include the title role of Carmen, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte both with the Tuscia Opera Festival, Annina in La Traviata with Teatro Kizmet Opera, and Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Siena Opera.
Stateside, Ms. Papillion-Posey's notable roles include her portrayal of Princess Akara in the world premiere of The Lady or the Tiger, an adaptation of Frank Stockton's beloved short story by composers Cherise Leiter and Leanna Kirchoff. Ms. Papillion-Posey's "purely exciting and rich voice" [Arte & Musica Magazine] was also featured as Baba in The Medium, Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte, and in the title role in The Rape of Lucretia.
A prolific concert artist and recitalist, Ms. Papillion-Posey's repertoire includes performances of Handel's Messiah, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater under the direction of Timothy Léon in Tarquinia, Civita di Bagnoregio, Castilione, Capranica and Ronciglione in addition to several solo recitals.
Most recently Ms. Papillion-Posey was named a semi-Finalist to the Paris Opera Awards. Last year, Ms. Papillion-Posey was named a Continuo Arts, Milton Cross Young Artists Winner after being named the organization's Rising Star Young Artists Winner in 2012. Other accolades and awards include first and second place winner of the Vocal Arts Competition of Colorado, respectively in 2005 and 2006, International Lyric Academy of Rome e Viterbo Award, AMICI of Denver Scholarship, Dante Alighieri Music Scholarship Competition, Jeff Bradley Music Scholarship Fund, E. Stoddard Young Endowment Scholarship, Stratton Faulhaber Scholarship, Coulter Norbloom Scholarship Grant and Joseph Docksey Career Development Fund Award.
Ms. Papillion-Posey earned a Master of Music degree and Advanced Certificate in Vocal Performance (both with honors and distinction) from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music. She also holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She currently studies with renowned mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry.
Learn more about Erica at www.ericapapillion-posey.com.
Clayton G. Williams, a baritone was educated in the Detroit Public Schools where he attended the selective Detroit School of the Fine and Performing Arts (DSA). He obtained a B.A. degree in Music from the Winston-Salem State University and earned his Master's degree in Music at the Manhattan School of Music. While at Winston-Salem State he not only sang in the University Chorus and University Men's Choirs, he also conducted the University Chorus in selections from Handel's Messiah.
Clayton has studied voice at the Siena Summer Music Program in Siena, Italy twice where he completed a six-week intensive vocal performance program. At the Manhattan School of Music's summer festival he was casted as Papageno in Mozart's Magic Flute and Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. He was also a cast member of a musical revue called Coming to America featuring music all composed by Irving Berlin. While in graduate school, Clayton performed in Broadway Babies doing scenes from Shall We Dance by Ira and George Gershwin and Musilda, a musical parody based on Ronald Dahl's Matilda currently being performed on Broadway and Mignon Dunn's Opera scenes as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
Clayton is also a recipient of the Brazeal W. Dennard Scholarship, Thurgood Marshall College Fund Scholarships, and a regional winner of the NBA Gold-Standard Scholarship during its inaugural year, and a member of the Mu Beta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc.
He has been coached by Hilda Harris, Dan Gettinger, Bill Fabris, Linda Brovsky and Michael Krzankowski and is currently a student of Professor Maitland Peters.
Learn more about Clayton at: www.claytongwilliams.com.