Concert of “Musical Orientalism” Art Songs at Amherst College March 14
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Local tenor Peter W. Shea, accompanied by soprano Brenda McDonald, pianist Gregory Hayes and Amherst College students Octavia Foarta ’07 and James Montana ’07 as narrators, will present an afternoon of lieder from Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, in the Center for Russian Culture in Webster Hall at Amherst College. The Amherst College Department of German, the European Studies Program and the Eastman Fund are sponsors of the concert, which is free and open to the public.
Primarily based on Goethe’s cycle of poems from “Book Suleika” in West-Öestlicher Divan, the concert will feature composers such as Franz Schubert, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf and others. Whether in playful oriental masks, amorous dialogue, passionate confession or voluntary submission, the spiritual joining of the poet Hatem and his beloved young Suleika comes to a climax in the lovers’ dialogues or duo-dramas, which will also be performed in spoken language. A side-by-side program booklet of the lieder texts and their English translations will be available at the concert.
Peter W. Shea, whose musical interests include art song and vocal chamber music of all eras, is a frequent tenor soloist with groups such as the Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra, the Hampshire Choral Society and the Brattleboro Community Chorus. He has sung professionally since 1972, throughout New England and the Hudson Valley. Brenda McDonald, praised for her clear soprano voice, is currently the music director at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shrewsbury, Mass. Her recent operatic roles have included Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Adele in Die Fledermaus. Greg Hayes is a senior lecturer in music at Dartmouth College and was previously on the faculties at Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges. A pianist and harpsichordist, he conducts the Da Camera Singers in Amherst, and performs regularly with the New England Bach Festival, the Vermont Symphony and the Mohawk Trail Concert series.