Six Singers on the Rise

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The New York debut has long been a rite of passage for classical musicians. These half a dozen promising young singers have recently or are about to make debuts on New York area stages. Here's what to watch and listen for.

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

The young American soprano Sara Jakubiak has tackled the standards: the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Mimi in La bohème. But she also has an unconventional streak, appearing on a Naxos collection of Charles Ives's offbeat songs. This season she makes her New York City Opera debut as Dede in A Quiet Place, Leonard Bernstein's final work for the stage. Once panned, the opera is now getting a second chance in its overdo New York premiere in October and November.

Corey Weaver
As Ruiz in Il trovatore at the San Francisco Opera

Visit the web site of Andrew Bidlack and you’ll find the expected publicity photos from Mozart and Verdi productions, many with the San Francisco Opera where he held the prestigious Adler Fellowship. But look closely and you'll also find Bidlack on the field beside the San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders. Yes, the tenor has a sideline specialty singing the national anthem. This fall, however, he's the nobleman Baron Lummer in Strauss’ Intermezzo at New York City Opera (his debut) as well as an appearance in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Carnegie Hall on December 23.

Balance Photography

The young American tenor Nicholas Phan has been on a fast track lately: he made his local mark appearing with the New York Festival of Song and in a well-received recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009 (Opera News praised his “admirably ductile tenor”). Half-Greek and half-Chinese, Phan has a special knack for English art songs, and on November 12 he performs a recital of Britten and Purcell at Carnegie Hall. That same month he tackles the tenor role in Carmina Burana with the San Francisco Symphony.

Palermo, Italy-born mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson is only 23 but she’s already graduated from the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and appeared in multiple Met productions. This month she’s singing in the Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of El Gato Con Botas ("Puss in Boots"), the 1947 children's opera by the Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge. The New York Times noted that Costa-Jackson “gave voice to Puss with her silvery and dark-hued mezzo-soprano, which she wielded with feline flair.”

Hen Howard

Some singers explode onto the scene. The tenor Paul Appleby has taken a measured but steady approach, appearing over the past few seasons with the New York Festival of Song. WQXR listeners got a chance to hear the recent Juilliard graduate when he sang selections by Grieg, Britten and Roussel in a recent edition of Wings of Song, a recital series co-hosted by Elliott Forrest and Marilyn Horne. A winner of the 2009 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Appleby gives a recital at Alice Tully Hall on November 30.


Andrew Chiciak

Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique was one of two soloists for Jacques Lacombe's debut as music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra last month. (The other soloist was Joshua Bell.) De Bique showed her range in selections by Bellini, Mozart, Gounod, and Gershwin. A Manhattan School of Music graduate and winner of the Young Concert Artists auditions, she also recently sang a Mahler Eighth with the New York Philharmonic and began a residency at the Basel Opera in Switzerland.

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Comments [5]

Slender divas would be nice for a change. I appreciate your interest.

Oct. 18 2010 10:05 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

An interesting dilemma on the horizon. It appears that the new breed of opera stars has no qualms about singin on the wild side.

Will WQXR relegate them to the non-classical genre and keep them off the air?

Oct. 18 2010 07:51 AM

So excited to hear and see these stage animalz in new york!

Oct. 07 2010 09:36 PM
Justin from Northeast USA

An unfortunate title - a backhand swipe at the cliche' of the Fat Lady of Opera can seem to imply that thin singers are somehow better... for whatever reason. Miss Blythe - a lovely large lady of opera whom I will be presumptuous enough to assume these 'thin' young singers quite admire, no?

Oct. 06 2010 06:53 PM
Michael Meltzer

The New York recital debut in recent years has often been more of an anti-climax, since the NY Times decided it had better things to do then review debuts.
If WQXR continues announcements like this one, you will be contributing a very much needed service to the arts and to the public!

Oct. 06 2010 12:26 AM

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