On the evening of Friday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m., Harper Hall was host to a semi-annual Area Recital by Lawrence’s own vocal performance majors. The recital gave many in the voice department the opportunity to showcase years of work.
The recital began with “Lonely House” from the opera “Street Scenes” performed by junior Jack Murphy. The performance gave the languid melody a kick that mitigated the insidious song’s soporific sonorities. Another highlight came three songs later, as senior Emily Richter, fresh off a National Opera Association conference win in opera scenes, gave a powerful delivery of “Song To The Moon” from “Rusalka.” Junior Kyree Allen gave a hearty performance of “There’s A Boat That’s Leavin’ Soon For New York,” jettisoning all restraint to the wind in a complete performance of acting and vocal prowess. A piece by Jean Sibelius, “Swift the Springtime Passes,” was another surprising gem performed by senior Maggie Smith. Jesse Grace received loud applause both before and after his performance of “Tout Gai,” a charmingly peppy little piece by Maurice Ravel. Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” made a surprising appearance, to those who may have only heard this piece performed by wind and string instruments, the use of the vowel “ah” on every note cannot be said to have improved it much. Still, the performance by senior Pari Singh managed to give this tune a measure of grace. The recital concluded with another selection from “Porgy and Bess,” as sophomore Zachary Adams took us home singing “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’.”
This recital was eye-opening to those who have been through the music theory sequence three years ago and may have imagined vocal recitals to be mostly German Lieder. But while there were a few of 18th century Germany’s greatest hits sprinkled in, the program showed a pleasing variety in style. There were pieces by George Gershwin, pentatonic-based folk songs, lieder and arias galore. The performances ranged from delicately cherished to Itzhak Perlman-like gusto, and the breadth of this concert overall was dauntingly impressive. The recital was stuffed to the brim, as a panoply of performers took their turn on the big stage, showcasing all they have been working on in the practice room. Yet the 90-minute long recital never felt as if it were dragging. Each selection was deliciously short, and the proceedings flowed uninterrupted as every performer added their own three-minute contribution to the wealth of melodies pouring forth like the mighty Ohio river. Indeed, the night was downright breezy, finishing a whole 10 minutes ahead of schedule. All the performers deserve great praise, but we should also laud those who coordinated the recital; it has recently become haute couture within the Con to be free and easy with encores, going past the appropriate single brief encore to sport two encores of ponderous length, sometimes adding 20 minutes to one’s recital. Thankfully, the vocalists heeded that age-old advice to leave the audience wanting more, and a glorious evening of vocal performance concluded with satisfying brevity.