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Lyric Fest Announces 20th Anniversary Season Featuring the World Premiere of COTTON by Damien Geter & More

The season will feature celebrations of Lyric Fest and Earth Day; a biography in music about Winnaretta Singer; and works by Arne Dørumsgaard, and Rodgers and Hart.

Lyric Fest Announces 20th Anniversary Season Featuring the World Premiere of COTTON by Damien Geter & More

Lyric Fest today announced their 2022-2023 season, which coincides with the organization's 20th Anniversary. Highlights include the world premiere of COTTON composed by Damien Geter, inspired by the cotton photography of acclaimed artist John Dowell, starring Denyce Graves and Justin Austin; celebrations of Lyric Fest's beginnings and of Earth Day; a biography in music about Winnaretta Singer, American-born Singer Sewing Machine heiress and influential music patroness; and works by Arne Dørumsgaard, and Rodgers and Hart.

The season kicks off with Elysian Fields, a celebration of Lyric Fest's beginnings. Concerts will be held on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 3:00pm at the Academy of Vocal Arts and Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 7:30pm at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Featuring solos and duets by two rising vocal stars, soprano Magdalena Kuźma, and mezzo-soprano Sun-Ly Pierce, who will present an evening of "dawns, visions, and dreams" in song. These two exciting young artists are alums of Music Academy of the West - which is where Lyric Fest co-founders Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward first met and dreamed of creating a song series that would become Lyric Fest. Ward joins the concert on piano.

Lyric Fest then presents two performances of A Singer's Singer - A Biography in Music of Winnaretta Singer, An American Patroness in Paris, held on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 3:00pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where Lyric Fest began, and Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 3:00pm at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Winnaretta Singer hosted the most famous salon in Paris in the early 20th century. Trail-blazer and philanthropist, she lived life on her own terms and ahead of her time. This far-reaching, but little known story takes a look at 50 years of Singer's influence on music and on Paris. The concert explores how Singer was a patroness of Debussy, Ravel, Faure, and D'Indy, and commissioned works from Satie, Weill, Stravinsky, Poulenc, deFalla, and Milhaud, among many others. Her story will be told through the songs that were performed in her Paris salon, and through letters and biographical narration. Includes supertitles and video animation, with singers Danielle Talamantes, soprano, Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano, Jorell Williams, baritone, Laura Ward, piano, and Suzanne DuPlantis, script and narration.

On Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 7:00pm at the Moorestown Community House in Moorestown, New Jersey, and Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 7:00pm at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Lyric Fest presents works by Arne Dørumsgaard in Ode to the Lost Song: Arne Dørumsgaard. The 20th century Norwegian composer made it his life's work to compile and arrange hundreds of new settings from four centuries of old, forgotten songs, and his exquisite song arrangements have been performed by recitalists for over seventy years. The concert features soprano Victoria Okafor and baritone Byron Jones, with Laura Ward at the piano and Suzanne DuPlantis serving as narrator.

The centerpiece of the season is an extraordinary new social justice work that brings together music, poetry, and fine art photography. COTTON is inspired by the cotton photography of Philadelphia artist John Dowell, whose work explores in penetrating, superimposed images centuries of racial injustice, and the story of American history and its wealth told through the lens of the cotton industry. COTTON premieres at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 7:30pm, followed by a second performance at The Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 7:30pm presented by Washington Performing Arts. This large scale multimedia event features collaborations with composer Damien Geter; opera stars mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves and baritone Justin Austin; Lyric Fest's co-founder pianist Laura Ward; plus eight major African American poets that include Lauren Alleyne, Charlotte Blake Alston, Nikki Giovanni, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Trapeta Mayson, Glenis Redmond, Afaa Michael Weaver, and Alora Young to create unforgettable performances that will bring to words and music Dowell's evocation of "African American ancestral strategies of survival, and the little-known history of slavery in New York City."

Lyric Fest celebrates the planet with Metamorphosis of Plants: A Lieder Celebration for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 8:00pm presented by Longwood Gardens, in the Ballroom, in Kennett Square PA, and for a free concert on Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 7:30pm at the Peabody Conservatory of Music's Griswold Hall in Baltimore, MD. This concert of German art songs (Lieder) is inspired by the great German poet, statesman, and botanist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his poem, The Metamorphosis of Plants. Featuring botanical songs with Goethe's poem interspersed throughout and read in English, this intimate performance is modeled after the European salon experience, and will feature accompanying botanical video animations and supertitles at Longwood. Featuring Kristina Bachrach, soprano, Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano, Andrew Fuchs, tenor, and Randall Scarlata, baritone, with Laura Ward, piano. This concert is ticketed exclusively through Longwood Gardens.

The season closes with Bewitched: The Bothered, Bewildered Songs of Rodgers and Hart on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 7:00pm at the Moorestown Community House and Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 7:00pm at the Academy of Vocal Arts. This year's tribute to the Great American Songbook brings the effortless, spun-out melodies of Richard Rodgers and the tart, heart wrenching lyrics of Lorenz Hart. Their work spanned over two decades of song-writing that produced 500 songs and 28 Broadway shows. These enduring standards bear the unique thumbprint of a fruitful but rocky partnership. Experience their songs and their story with Suzanne DuPlantis and Brian Major, and with composer and arranger John Conahan.

Concert Information

Elysian Fields: Dawns, Dreams, Visions - A Celebration of Lyric Fest's Beginnings


Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 3:00pm
The Academy of Vocal Arts | 1920 Spruce St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/elysian-fields/

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 7:30pm
Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church | 625 Montgomery Ave | Bryn Mawr, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/elysian-fields/

Artists:
Magdalena Kuźma, soprano
Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano
Laura Ward, piano

A Singer's Singer - A Biography in Music of Winnaretta Singer, An American Patroness in Paris


Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 3:00pm
First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia | 201 S 21st St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/a-singers-singer/

Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 3:00pm
The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill | 8855 Germantown Ave | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/a-singers-singer/

Artists:
Danielle Talamantes, soprano
Marjorie Maltais, mezzo-soprano
Jorell Williams, baritone
Laura Ward, piano
Suzanne DuPlantis, narrator

Ode to the Lost Song: Arne Dørumsgaard


Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 7:00pm
Moorestown Community House | 16 E Main St | Moorestown, NJ
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/ode-to-the-lost-song-arne-dorumsgaard/

Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 7:00pm
The Academy of Vocal Arts | 1920 Spruce St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/ode-to-the-lost-song-arne-dorumsgaard/

Artists:
Victoria Okafor, soprano
Byron Jones, baritone
Laura Ward, piano
Suzanne DuPlantis, narrator

COTTON


Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 7:30pm
The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral | 19 S 38th St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/cotton/

Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at 7:30pm
The Kennedy Center, Terrace Theater | 2700 F St NW | Washington, D.C.
Tickets: Single tickets will be available through Washington Performing Arts; available to the public after Labor Day
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/cotton/
Presented by Washington Performing Arts

Damien Geter - COTTON [World Premiere]

Artists:
Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano
Justin Austin, baritone
Laura Ward, piano
John Dowell, fine art photography

Metamorphosis of Plants: A Lieder Celebration for Earth Day


Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 8:00pm
Longwood Gardens Ballroom | 1001 Longwood Rd | Kennett Square, PA
Tickets: Ticketed exclusively through Longwood Gardens; on sale August 16, 2022
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/metamorphoses-of-plants/

Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 7:30pm
Peabody Conservatory of Music, Griswold Hall | 17 E Mt. Vernon Place | Baltimore, MD
Tickets: Free and open to the public
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/metamorphoses-of-plants/

Artists:
Kristina Bachrach, soprano
Kathryn Leemhuis, mezzo-soprano
Andrew Fuchs, tenor
Randall Scarlata, baritone
Laura Ward, piano

Bewitched: The Bothered, Bewildered Songs of Rodgers and Hart


Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 7:00pm
Moorestown Community House | 16 E Main St | Moorestown, NJ
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/bewitched/

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 7:00pm
The Academy of Vocal Arts | 1920 Spruce St | Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: $25 advance purchase, $30 at the door
Link: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2188098®id=3&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Flyricfest.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/concerts/bewitched/

Artists:
Suzanne DuPlantis, mezzo-soprano
Brian Major, baritone
John Conahan, pianist

About Lyric Fest

Lyric Fest has been hailed in the press as "An irresistible mix of high art and humane feeling... As entertaining as a well-managed party" (Broad Street Review). Founded in 2003 with the goal of celebrating and revitalizing the art song tradition, it is the only performing arts organization in the Mid-Atlantic region with a primary focus on song in all its varied expression.

Lyric Fest has produced and presented over 100 distinctly crafted and curated concert programs. Each has featured multiple artists of national and international stature sharing song through theme and story, together with the spoken word. The organization has defined commissioning new works as an integral part of its mission and programming philosophy. To date, Lyric Fest has commissioned an impressive body of more than 200 new American songs from many of the nation's preeminent composers.

Lyric Fest is run by two of its founders, artistic directors Suzanne DuPlantis and Laura Ward. Known for their excellence and innovation in creating rich, thematic, accessible concerts, Lyric Fest performs throughout the Philadelphia region, and has brought programs to Washington DC; Moorestown, NJ; Wilmington, DE; New Orleans, LA; Pittsburgh, PA; Brooklyn and New York City, NY; and San Jose, CA. Learn more about Lyric Fest at lyricfest.org.

About Suzanne DuPlantis

Suzanne DuPlantis is Founder and Artistic Director of Lyric Fest. With a passionate commitment to song, and a belief in its power to reach all listeners, Suzanne enjoys sharing this vision with Lyric Fest audiences in novel and dynamic ways in creative program building; in writing scripts and program notes; through graphic design and by creating innovative song videos. Noted for her moving renditions of songs and her intimate way with an audience, "DuPlantis deeply imprints the music with her personality with great emotional underpinning" (The Philadelphia Inquirer). She made her New York debut at Alice Tully Hall with Musica Sacra and her Kimmel Center debut in Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Orchestra 2001. Her career in opera has spanned debuts with companies across America in roles from Rossini's heroines Rosina and Isabella, Carmen to Waltraute. In oratorio, chamber music and song, Suzanne has appeared with many of Philadelphia's premiere music organizations including The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble, Bucks County Choral Society, Singing City, The Wister Quartet, and Orchestra 2001. She has premiered new works written for her, including by Kile Smith, Andrea Clearfield, Robert Maggio, Roxanna Panufnik, Logan Skelton, Allen Krantz and Benjamin C.S. Boyle. She has recorded Brian Gaber's Ancestral Waters for mezzo, orchestra and jazz trio, and has recently released a CD of American Songbook Standards, Lazy Afternoon - Songs of Love and the South.

About Laura Ward

Laura Ward is pianist and Artistic Director of Lyric Fest, www.lyricfest.org, a unique vocal recital series in Philadelphia. As a distinguished collaborative pianist she is known for both her technical ability and vast knowledge of repertoire and styles. Concert engagements have taken her to Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Spoleto Festival (Italy), and the Colmar International Music Festival and Saint Denis Festival in France. She has served on the faculty of The CoOPERAtive Program at Westminster Choir College, the Academy of Vocal Arts, Temple University, Ravinia Festival Steans Institute, Washington Opera, University of Maryland, and the Music Academy of the West. Laura's discography includes Lineage with Grammy-nominated baritone, Randall Scarlata, In This Blue Room: Lyric Fest Performs Songs of Kile Smith, Daron Hagen 21st Century Song Cycles, Hat er mir Rosen Gebracht: Songs of Joseph Marx with soprano Kendra Colton, Songs of Innocence and The Raven with The Raven Consort, and, most recently, Spirits in Bondage: Songs of Benjamin C.S. Boyle. Laura is also a recording artist and editor of song accompaniments for publisher Hal Leonard having co-edited: Richard Strauss: 40 Songs, Gabriel Fauré: 50 Songs, and Johannes Brahms: 75 Songs, and recorded over 2,000 song accompaniments for Hal Leonard Publishing. These volumes help countless singers and pianists experience, learn and enjoy the art song repertoire, and help introduce a world of art song to many who have had little exposure to classical song. A native of Texas, Laura received her Bachelor in Music degree from Baylor University, holds a Masters in Collaborative Piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and a Doctorate In Collaborative Piano from the University of Michigan where she was a student of Martin Katz.


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