Last Wednesday, May 7, a large audience packed Graves Hall’s Timken Room to hear the joint vocal recital of Tara Anderson ’03 and James Chou ’03. Their program was well chosen, and they each sang three sets of songs in various languages including Italian, German, and French. Though the repertoire appeared very challenging, both musicians performed exceptionally. One aspect of the program that made the recital entertaining for the audience was the decision to switch off between the sets instead of having each performer sing straight through one half of the recital. The choice also ensured that the performers stayed fresh for each and every moment of the recital. The program started out with Chou’s rendition of four Italian songs. His rich bass voice filled the room, and he easily mastered the Italian lyrics with perfect diction. Accompanied by Instructor in Music and School Organist Carolyn Skelton, this first set was a great opening to the program. Chou did an especially wonderful job with the final selection from the set “Per la Gloria d’adorarvi” by Giovanni Bonocini. His clear tone shone through as he beautifully sang this love song with emotion and poise. Anderson followed with her first set. The featured songs included two arias by Baroque composer Georg Frideric Handel. As each piece began, Anderson’s pleasant soprano voice filled the room, and she demonstrated her ease and comfort on stage throughout the performance. Chou finished off the first half of the program with a triumphant aria from Haydn’s “Creation.” His confident smile and strong singing made this piece Chou’s finest work of the evening, and a wonderful way to end the first half of the recital. A brief intermission followed. After the intermission, Anderson sang three lovely songs by German composer Robert Schumann. These pieces were sweet and well performed. Anderson matched the gentle lyrics of the first song “Leis’ rudern hier, mein Gondolier,” with her gentle tone and pleasant style. Her mastery of the German lyrics was also remarkable, and the Schumann set was Anderson’s finest presentation of the evening, as she demonstrated her vocal ability and her personal connection with the music. Chou continued the evening with three French songs. The first of the set, “Berceuse” by Ambroise Thomas, was a tender lullaby, which showed off a softer side of Chou’s voice and stage personality. Chou also performed the final two pieces of the set perfectly, delighting the audience with his thorough command of the music and the language. Anderson finished the recital with her set of French songs. She brilliantly performed each one with a beautiful tone and a light-hearted attitude. All three songs appeared to be extremely challenging both in melody and lyrics, yet Anderson met the challenge with spirit and excellence. At the conclusion of the recital, Anderson and Chou received a boisterous standing ovation from the pleased audience. Anderson and Chou have dedicated large amounts of time to singing at Andover. Both study under Adjunct Instructor in Voice Allen Combs, and Anderson and Chou are respectively four- and three-year members and soloists in the Academy Chorus and Cantata Choir. Anderson also cantors for Roman Catholic services, and Chou is a two-year member of the select Fidelio Society. The pair’s experience in ensemble singing shined through during their recital with their confident and pleasant stage presence. If anything, their experience in ensembles served to strengthen their solo performances. The contrast between the two vocal ranges, from Chou’s deep bass to Anderson’s soprano, also served to give the recital depth. Their hard work was evident throughout every moment of the performance, and they should be very proud of their achievements.
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