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Subject: Nadine Sierra Recital in Dallas, January 28
From: LANE WHITESELL <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:LANE WHITESELL <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:59:52 -0500
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            Nadine Sierra gave the finest vocal recital I have attended in the last twenty years with her long-time college friend Bryan Wagorn at the piano. She opened with five Richard Strauss songs in which her long association with the pianist was quite amazing. By her second line she was floating notes in Zueignung, and I knew it was going to be an incredibly well-sung recital. Zueignung contined with a slightly slower third stanza, which drove home the final Habe Dank. The two played off each other in Allerseelen and their diminuendi in Staendchen (his to show off hers) impressed me. Caecelie continued the mood, and the final section of Morgen, taken slower and softer than I am used to, brought the audience to thunderous applause, to which she said, “It’s not me – it’s Strauss.”

            After a short break, they came back for Schubert’s Du bist di Ruh with more diminuendi to pianissimo, and Schumann’s Widmung.

            The finale of the first half of the recital was Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs. In these, not only was the musical language right, but the body language matched. I particularly remember Church Bell at night, St. Ita’s Vision, Crucifixion, and Promiscuity For total communication, talking with her hands as well as her voice, and The Praises of God and The Desire for Hermitage finished the song cycle with true communication with the audience.

            After intermission, she switched to Spanish songs, Joaquin Turina’s Homenaje a Lope de Vega, with Al val de Fuente Ovejuna especially effective. She then spoke for a few minutes about her Portuguese heritage and sang Braga’s Engehno nova, a Brazilian tongue-twister folk song, and Villa Lobos’s Melodia Sentimental. After a short break, she returned with Leonard Bernstein’s A Julia de Burgos, new repertory for me, a text about a free spirit singing to another woman who has bought into the mores of society, and expressed it with true passion.

            She performed three encores, introducing each. She dedicated Stephen Foster’s Beautiful Dreamer to Marilyn Horne (and sang it beautifully). She then stated that it was only appropriate that a singer of mainly opera should sing some opera for the audience. She dedicated Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro to her father, who always loved her to sing it, and ended with Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto.

            For such a young singer, Nadine Sierra has truly learned to communicate with her audience and to give herself in the music.

Lane A. Whitesell

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