World-renowned vocalist set to perform with Chamber Music Society

A world-renowned vocalist is crossing the pond for her recital debut with The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

Dame Sarah Connolly hails from Northern England but she's known around the world for her mezzo-soprano tone and wide-ranging repertoire.

"She's the most galvanizing, the most exciting singer performing," enthuses Miles Cohen, Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society (PCMS). "And it's a big deal for us to have her. We've tried for close to five years now to have her on the series."

In honor of her musical success, she was appointed a Dame Commander by the Order of the British Empire in 2017.

"She started off singing in all the great opera halls," Cohen says, explaining that what brought her initial acclaim and fame is the fact that she sang Mozart. "But, she's not just a Mozart singer. She also sang a lot of early music."

And there have been roles written for her.

This concert is titled Dreams, Desires, and Nighttime Mysteries, and it's the only show Connolly will be performing in the U.S. this year.

"The first thing you notice is her voice," Cohen says, "It's a very powerful voice, but at the same time it's velvety. It's got a subtleness to it."

Connolly will be joined on stage by pianist Julius Drake.

"He's been performing and recording with her for over two decades," Cohen says. "That chemistry, that intimacy they have on stage together, that's very apparent."

The program features four composers from the 19th and 20th centuries.

"We start it off with a composer that we know very well with Johannes Brahms," Cohen says. "You will see songs of love and abandonment and heartbreak."

The evening continues with works by Hugo Wolf.

"His songs are much like him; they're just super compact," Cohen says. "They're written in like fits and starts and they have a ton going on in them."

The second half of the program includes works by Claude Debussy and a heartbroken Alexander von Zemlinsky.

"It is a dark time in Zemlinksy's life," Cohen explains. "He wrote all about sadness and his love leaving him, love departing."

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society: Sarah Connolly
Friday, March 22 @ 7:30pm
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Perelman Theater
300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

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