Martha Graham

In the words of the American dancer choreographer and the pioneer of modern dance:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open.”

Jungian Analyst Elisabeth Pomès in Toronto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phillippe Jaroussky

Vendro con mio diletto (Vivaldi)

Whenever I hear countertenor Philippe Jarrousky, I am transported into another world - a world of ethereal sounds, where purity reigns supreme. A violinist by formation, Philippe Jarrousky discovered the countertenor voice when he went to a concert of baroque music and heard Fabrice di Falco. He was so moved by that voice that he decided to explore and study that particular way of singing. This piece by Antonio Vivaldi, Vedro con mio diletto, earned him the “Victoire de la Musique” in Paris, Salle Pleyel, in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natalie Dessay

Chacun le sait (G. Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment)

Natalie Dessay is a true inspiration for me because of the passion she brings to whatever she is singing. In La Fille du Régiment (G.Donizetti) she brings the house down with her comical abilities combined with an amazing flexibility and agility in her coloratura. She can also bring her audience to tears in her portrayal of the great heroines of the romantic repertoire. Her interpretations display intelligence, commitment and authenticity. She has become a role model for my own singing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercedes Sosa

Gracias A La Vida

Argentine folk music singer Mercedes Sosa, known as La Negra, was best known as the “voice of the voiceless ones.” In the words of Helen Popper, she "fought South America's dictators with her voice and became a giant of contemporary Latin American music". When I first heard her live in a concert in Toronto, her warm voice and lush tone, her warmth and her strong stage presence drew me in. I was mesmerized by her performance. This particular song, Gracias a la Vida (Thank you to Life) is a tribute to Chilean poet Violeta Parra. It has become one of her signature songs. Mercedes Sosa died in September 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

R. Strauss

Final Trio from Der Rosenkavalier

It might well be the most beautiful trio ever written, certainly my favorite trio in an opera. Love is expressed by three characters - The Marschallin (Princess Marie-Thérèse), her lover Octavian, and Sophie, a young woman. Octavian and Sophie have fallen in love. The Marschallin recognizes that the day she so feared has come, as Octavian hesitates between the two women. In the emotional climax of the opera, the Marschallin gracefully releases Octavian, encouraging him to follow his heart and love Sophie. The extraordinarily beautiful music underlines the intense emotions of blissful love, gratitude and sorrow. This performance was given for the Metropolitan Opera 100th Anniversary Gala in 1983.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nina Simone

Don't let me be misunderstood (1964)

If I had to characterize the American singer and pianist Nina Simone, I would use the words “intense passion.” Also known as The High Priestess of the Soul, Nina Simone paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Her loose vibrato and slightly androgynous timbre, due to her very low vocal register, add to the intensity of her performances. Nina Simone was also a civil right activist. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood carries the subtext of the American Civil Rights Movement.