Rising-star soprano Susanna Phillips - who returned to the Metropolitan Opera to acclaim in Don Giovanni earlier this season - will make her Carnegie recital debut in Weill Recital Hall tonight, February 8, with a program that ranges from Schubert, Chausson and Granados to Berg, Messiaen and GorDon Myers.
Phillips has been praised for her "attractive, splendidly musical performances" (Chicago Tribune) and her ability in recital to convey "emotions and memories radiantly" (Aspen Times). The Carnegie performance is part of a tour with pianist Myra Huang that will see the pair travel from the singer's native Alabama to Philadelphia and, finally, to New York. Next, Phillips will sing in Mozart's Requiem with the Baltimore Symphony (Feb. 28-March 3), and she returns to Carnegie Hall on March 14 to star as Stella in a concert performance of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, leading up to fully staged run at Lyric Opera Chicago (March 26-April 6).
The program for Phillips' Carnegie recital debut underscores her fascination with music from all eras and in various languages, as well as her dedication to new music. Along with the three "Ellens Gesang" lieder of Schubert, the soprano will sing three mélodies by Chausson and "Le Temps des lilas" from his Poème de l' amour et de la mer. Then it's Berg's Seven Early Songs, Book II of Messiaen's Poèmes pour Mi and four Spanish songs by Enrique Granados. Phillips and Huang cap the program with selections from Do You Sing, Mr. Twain?, a cycle by American composer GorDon Myers (b. 1919) that sets to music some of Mark Twain's wittiest remarks.
Phillips will draw on her Deep South roots for A Streetcar Named Desire, Previn's 1998 opera of the 1947 Tennessee Williams play. In the semi-staged concert production at Carnegie Hall directed by Brad Dalton, Phillips will portray Stella Kowalski, the understanding sister and lustful wife, opposite Renée Fleming's Blanche Dubois and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes's Stanley Kowalski. The March 14 performance at Carnegie is part of Fleming's "Perspectives" residency and will feature the Orchestra of St. Luke's led by Patrick Summers. Phillips and Streetcar then travel to Lyric Opera of Chicago for performances on March 26 and 29 and April 3 and 6, conducted Evan Rogister.