Soprano Janet Obermeyer steps into the spotlight with her long-time collaborator, pianist Leslie De’Ath, in a recital of songs by Richard Strauss for a showcase performance Nov. 1 at 7:30pm in York’s Tribute Communities Recital Hall.
Obermeyer's appearance on the York concert stage is the second event in the 2011-2012 Faculty Concert Series of York’s Music Department.
Left: From left, Leslie De'Ath and Janet Obermeyer
She has held a lifelong affinity for the intimacy and emotional accessibility of the classical art song. Her concert will feature some of the best-known and loved works in the genre: Strauss’ haunting Four Last Songs (Vier letzte Lieder). The final works completed by the composer, Frühling (Spring), September, Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep) and Im Abendrot (At Sunset) offer a beautiful and profound meditation on death. Composed in the aftermath of the Second World War, shortly before Strauss’ death in 1949, the songs are suffused with a sense of calm.
The concert is a harbinger for the duo’s upcoming CD, Strauss - Four Last Songs - 14 Lieder. Slated for release in early 2012, the recording will be Obermeyer’s fifth and her second with De’Ath. The duo’s previous album, Songs of Love and Longing, a collection of the lieder of Franz Liszt, drew international accolades. Described as “calm pools of pleasure and sorrow” by Soundscapes magazine, it was hailed as “ravishing” by the UK’s Daily Telegraph and “the best interpretation of these works heard in a long time...possibly ever!” by the Deutsche Schallplatten Awards.
Obermeyer travelled to the Netherlands, England and Scotland last year to perform Four Last Songs, accompanied by De’Ath for the UK portion of the tour. Her other recent appearances as a recitalist include the Liszt Memorial Museum in Budapest and Théâtre de La Monnaie in Brussels. Back home in Ontario, she is welcomed by enthusiastic audiences each year at the North American Liszt Society's Great Romantics Festival in Hamilton.
Right: Max Liebermann's 1918 portrait of Richard Strauss
Obermeyer has showcased her vocal gifts in performances with leading chamber ensembles and orchestras across Canada, the US and Europe. Her credits include Mozart's Requiem with the Rochester Philharmonic; Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Lobegesang Symphony II with the Toronto Symphony and Vancouver Symphony; and Bach's Mass in B minor with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Among her career highlights has been the Canadian premiere performance of Gloria in excelsis Deo, the recently rediscovered seven-part masterwork for soprano by Georg Frederic Handel.
Her upcoming performances include Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Symphony Hamilton at the Burlington Performing Arts Center on November 17 and Handel's Messiah with the Bach-Elgar Choir and Hamilton Philharmonic December 16.
Obermeyer teaches in York’s burgeoning classical vocal performance program. Graduates of the program are starting to make their mark nationally and internationally. Recent alumni of the program include Stefanie True, winner of the Adair Prize at the 2011 London Handel Competition; Vanessa Lanch, third-place winner in the 2011 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition, who is currently performing and recording under the baton of Andrea Mellis in Vienna; and lyric coloratura soprano Vania Chan, who made her Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall as a first prize winner in the Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition and appears regularly with New York Opera Forum and Opera Manhattan Repertory.
De’Ath is a pianist, conductor, vocal coach, accompanist, author and educator. He has shared the stage and recording studio with many of Canada’s finest singers. He performs regularly with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Canadian Chamber Ensemble and chamber groups including Contrasts, Trio Laurier and The Poulenc Trio. For more than three decades, he has been a member of the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University, teaching piano performance, lyric diction and piano literature, and serving as music director for the Opera Program. He is associate editor of the Journal of Singing.
"The Lieder of Richard Strauss” featuring Janet Obermeyer is the second of four performances in the Faculty Concert Series spotlighting faculty artists in the Department of Music at York University. Upcoming concerts will feature violinist Jacques Israelievitch and pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico (Jan. 17, 2012) and improv pianist Casey Sokol (Feb. 14, 2012).
Tickets are $15, or $5 for students and seniors. A three-concert package is $30. For tickets, contact the Box Office at 416-736-5888.
Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.