Claudia Hommel and Elizabeth Doyle Perform Tonight at Mayne Stage Theater

Cabaret singers Claudia Hommel and Elizabeth Doyle will be accompanied by classical pianist Eugenia Cheng and accordionist Patricia Spaeth in a program that interweaves song and projected artwork. Called "Vocal Canvas" by its creator Claudia Hommel, the multilayered, multimedia performance tour de force is the collaborative work of an A-list of Chicago's dynamic entertainers and artists past and present.

Taking advantage of the Mayne Stage's state of the art recording and projection facilities, the Vocal Canvas concert will be filmed by Jason Madeja and illustrated by artwork of 19th and 20th century artists such as Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Rouault, Solana, Matisse and Picasso, and contemporary artists and photographers like Jennifer Taylor, Ann Erpino, Elaine Wagner to complement the lyrics and themes of the songs.

John S. Wilson of the New York Times wrote "Claudia Hommel brings a sense of theater with her when she goes into cabaret...Miss Hommel's voice can be strong and soaring, and she uses it to excellent dramatic effect in her lusty Spanish and French songs." Recently returned from Paris where she co-led the first International Singers Jazz Workshop, Ms. Hommel will spin her soprano voice on songs of French impressionist composer Gabriel Fauré and add a certain je ne sais quoi to character songs by Enrique Granados, Hugo Wolf, Christopher Berg, Harnick & Bock, and Parisian cabaret favorites.

Elizabeth Doyle lends her sultry mezzo voice to a repertoire of French art songs by Reynaldo Hahn and Fauré, and songs of her own composition. One of Chicago's favorite singer-pianists and long-time magnet at the former Pump Room, the Metropole, and guest of Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz ) for this occasion, Ms. Doyle will be standing, leaving the ivories to pianist Eugenia Cheng.

Londoner Eugenia Cheng brings a passion for art songs, a habit she shares generously at her monthly Liederstube, playing for singers of classical song at the Fine Arts Building (meeting tonight, August 8). What brings Dr. Cheng to Chicago is another kind of crossover, an appointment as visiting senior lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Chicago.

To help bridge the divide between cabaret and classical, long-time cabaret favorites Bob Moreen and Johnny Rodgers are on hand as Masters of Ceremony.

The entire concert will be recorded by filmmaker Jason Madeja. Using the concert footage as its base, Madeja will treat two songs as the subject of a short art film. The concert performance of Bravo pour le clown (written for Edith Piaf) and Elizabeth Doyle's Like a Tree will be joined in the editing room by images, green-screen and live-action circus footage (with MSA Circus Arts) to create a virtual cinematic symphony of song.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has awarded Claudia Hommel its maximum $5,000 Individual Artists Program Grant to seed the concert and film project. Hatchfund, a recent spinoff from the non-profit arts advocacy foundation US Artists, has selected the "Bravo/Trees" project to provide crowd-sourcing support.

Key to the project is the audience, ready to explore the intersection of classical music, the art of cabaret, and the visual arts. Admission is free and open to the public.

If the concert wins their heart, the audience (already numbering over 70 ten days in advance) will be among the first in line to help raise the needed funds to complete the project.

Tonight, August 19. Seating from 6 PM to 6:30. The cameras roll promptly at 7 PM.

Reservations are essential to assure a seat. Visit's TicketWeb [] or call 773-509-9360 for more details.

Visit to learn more about Claudia Hommel and Vocal Canvas concerts.

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