Bob Sherman [00:00:07] Hello everybody. I'm Bob Sherman. And it's that joyful time again when Martina Arroyo and a group of rising young singers come to tell us about this year's bubbly production of Die Fledermaus on this 2161st edition of the Young Artist Showcase.
Bob Sherman [00:00:31] Yes, once again, the Herald W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation is underwriting our studio session, which today looks ahead to the upcoming production of Johann Strauss' most popular opera. And that's Saturday June 13th, 7:30 pm at the Hunter College Playhouse. As always, the presentation is under the auspices of the Martina Arroyo Foundation, and what I love, is that it means that the great soprano herself is back with us at WQXR.
Bob Sherman [00:01:00] Martina, welcome!
Martina Arroyo [00:01:01] Hello. I'm so glad to be here.
Bob Sherman [00:01:03] Well, I am delighted. When you were starting your career, did you have anything like the "Prelude to Performance" to prepare you and help you move into the professional ranks?
Martina Arroyo [00:01:13] Well I attended Hunter College. And at Hunter College, there was a good workshop that had resided there and so I was a member of that workshop. But most of the time I don't think there were such opportunities available to us.
Bob Sherman [00:01:26] So, it's kind of coming full circle because your production is at the Hunter College Playhouse, right?
Martina Arroyo [00:01:31] Yes! As a matter of fact we're there because of that beginning.
Bob Sherman [00:01:34] Well, isn't that great! Now you must tell us very quickly. The last couple of years, we've always had two operas and three or four different performance dates. Now, you've got one date and one opera. What happened?
Martina Arroyo [00:01:48] Well, we were preparing for the following year which is an anniversary year. This is our anniversary year but we're going to start a new with two operas and we hope to have them be splendioso.
Bob Sherman [00:01:58] Which anniversary? Do you remember?
Martina Arroyo [00:01:58] Oh, come on. Don't ask me my age. Or their age.
Martina Arroyo [00:02:08] I think... What is it? 15th? 15th. Good. Who counts up that high these days? And we will be doing something special we think.
Martina Arroyo [00:02:15] But, this is also special because we have a wonderful cast of singers all individually great. And as personalities, easy to work with and ready to give. So, I hope you would love them as much as we do.
Bob Sherman [00:02:29] Well, let's get started and see what you're ready to give us first. We're going to begin with a trio comprising Jimin Park, Yejin Lee, and Lisa Faieta. Lisa-- you lost the toss so you're going to tell us what this trio is all about.
Lisa Faieta [00:02:46] This trio is called "So muss allein". It's near the beginning of the opera. Eisenstein is about to go to jail for eight days. His wife, Rosalinda, and their maid, Adela, sings with him to express how terribly sad they are that he's going to be away.
Bob Sherman [00:03:00] And our little studio group here full of singers and guests are providing our audience. Our trio from Die Fledermaus: Lisa Faieta, Jimin Park, and Yejin Lee. Lisa, why did you come over here. You said everybody is sad, but they don't sound terribly sad. They sound pretty happy actually.
Lisa Faieta [00:03:22] Yep that's the fun of it. And it's great because Strauss wrote all the humor right into the music.
Bob Sherman [00:03:30] Let's proceed now to Alfred's drinking song. And we have here: CongJu Song. Set the scene for us.
CongJu Song [00:03:39] Ok. In this scene, I am entering Rosalinda's apartment as her former lover because I have heard from Dr. Falke that her husband will be going to the jail. Can I rekindle this romance? Let's find out.
Bob Sherman [00:07:36] And, Rosalinda has returned in the person of Lisa Faietta. And we heard as Alfred was CongJu Song. Now, one thing I haven't mentioned is our fine pianist is Matthew Lobaugh.
Bob Sherman [00:07:36] And Martina, you must tell us that there's no pianist at the performance, actually. You got full orchestra. Is that right?
Martina Arroyo [00:07:36] Indeed, we do.
Bob Sherman [00:07:36] And what else is there? Fully staged and fully costumed? All that stuff, right?
Martina Arroyo [00:07:36] Fully costumed. Yes! It's really as much a complete performance as possible. And they're very excited about it because where the were the guests come, we'll have extra guests, past members of the club. And we're looking forward to it this year!
Bob Sherman [00:07:49] Oh, you're talking about the party scene with Olovsky?
Martina Arroyo [00:07:50] The party scene. Yes.
Bob Sherman [00:07:51] Well, we'll get to that in a little while here.
Martina Arroyo [00:07:53] Yes, I know I am a little faster than you are.
Bob Sherman [00:07:55] Yeah, well you're ahead of everybody. We know that.
Martina Arroyo [00:07:57] Oh, yeah right.
Bob Sherman [00:07:58] But we are going to proceed to Adele's song and this is Yejin Lee. So, tell us just briefly where we are, what you are doing, and why you're so happy.
Yejin Lee [00:08:12] For this aria, Adele has run into her employer, Eisenstein, at a party with Prince Orlowski. He believes that he recognizes Adele, but she convinced him that a chambermaid never be found at a party such as this fancy one.
Yejin Lee [00:08:27] So, Adele keeps mocking him and laughing at him.
Bob Sherman [00:08:36] Adele, come over to the microphone here! We've heard Yejin Lee. And very quickly, tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Yejin Lee [00:08:45] Hello everyone. My name is Jason Lee. I'm from South Korea. And I am attending the Manhattan School of Music. I just finished my master's degree at MSM. So, I'm so grateful to be part of this program and be Adele.
Bob Sherman [00:09:02] And how difficult is it to laugh in the middle of a song?
Martina Arroyo [00:09:08] It's not difficult for her at all!
Yejin Lee [00:09:12] I felt it's just like me. I really love to laugh all the time so it was not too hard for me.
Bob Sherman [00:09:21] I heard earlier that Martina gives classes. Has she worked with you?
Martina Arroyo [00:09:27] Oh, not nearly as much credit should be given to me as they should take for themselves and with their coaches. Please, I had very little to do with this production. It's been a wonderful experience watching them grow and watching them come from one step to another, but they've done it without my help.
Bob Sherman [00:09:43] Well, if you give classes you must be helping them somehow.
Martina Arroyo [00:09:47] Yeah, I'm helping them not to forget the next line or something like that. But, let's not place credit where it's not really do.
Bob Sherman [00:09:55] [laughs] I don't believe that for a minute. Tell us how it was working with Martina.
Yejin Lee [00:10:02] [laughs]
Bob Sherman [00:10:02] Nevermind that she's here. Pretend she's not here.
Yejin Lee [00:10:05] Now I see her face. [laughter].
Martina Arroyo [00:10:06] That's the only one I've got!
Yejin Lee [00:10:09] Yeah. It is really helpful for us to connect to the characters. And then we have been discussing about our character and how do I feel for my character. So, it's really easy to approach our character. It was really worthwhile in our process.
Martina Arroyo [00:10:33] Well, they worked with their stage director and with the coach. They give so much! I really give comparatively little. They bring so much to the program as well. And this is great.
Bob Sherman [00:10:44] Does it help, Martina, when the character that they are playing is kind of similar to the personality they have in the first place? I mean I get that impression from Yejin that she's a bright, bubbly kind of person.
Martina Arroyo [00:10:56] Yes, I wouldn't want her to do the tragic scene from some other opera. But, on the other hand if it's in her to do another type of opera, she would be able to do it just as well as this one. And I'm sure she has these qualities in her personality.
Bob Sherman [00:11:11] All right. When we get to Lady Macbeth we'll talk to you both separately, alright?
Bob Sherman [00:11:17] Meanwhile, we are going back to Die Fledermaus. And let me remind, there's only one performance of the opera at 7:30 pm, Saturday July 13th. It's at the Hunter College Playhouse. And, I even have a box office number here which if you'd like to order tickets (212)772-4448.
Bob Sherman [00:11:40] We're now going to reunite the happy couple of Rosalinda and Eisenstein which means a reconnection with Jimin Park and Lisa Faietta.
Bob Sherman [00:11:55] So, what's going on here? You both were glad to get away from each other and now here you are back again!
Lisa Faieta [00:12:02] Rosalinda and Eisenstein are both now at Prince Orlovsky's party. Eisenstein is there to pick up women and Rosalinda is there to catch him doing it. So, she's disguised herself as a Hungarian Countess so that she can seduce him and steal his pocket watch to use as proof against him later.
Bob Sherman [00:12:21] More at the party from Lisa Faietta and Jimin Park. Our pianist is Matthew Lobaugh deputizing for the orchestra that will be at the July 13th concert and performance of the opera at Hunter College.
Bob Sherman [00:12:38] Now, we've been talking about everything happening at Prince Orlovsky's party. So, we might as well meet Prince Orlovsky. And that means, Elisabeth Harris. Come over to the table we can say a quick hello. What about you makes it appropriate to sing a Russian aristocrat at the German party?
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:01] I think that it's a combination of my personality and my voice that enables me to get into this role. It's a really good fit. I have a lot of fun.
Bob Sherman [00:13:11] And where are you from? Not from either country that I mentioned or this one I would suspect.
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:15] No, I'm from New Zealand actually.
Bob Sherman [00:13:17] New Zealand! Pretty far away!
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:18] Yes!
Bob Sherman [00:13:19] How did you get here?
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:20] I got here to study my masters at the Manhattan School of Music and I've just graduated.
Bob Sherman [00:13:23] And you're also at MSM? Great! Now, how do you avoid singing with a New Zealand accent?
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:32] Well, I did a lot of oratorio work in New Zealand and that really helped me develop a neutral accent. So, I think from that. And then furthermore my studies with that Kathyn LaBouff at Manhattan School of Music really helped me discover IPA.
Bob Sherman [00:13:47] How to discover what?
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:48] The International Phonetic Alphabet which is like a godsend for how to pronounce different different languages.
Bob Sherman [00:13:56] Really? That's fascinating. I must say I didn't know about it.
Elisabeth Harris [00:13:59] Yeah. It's wonderful.
Bob Sherman [00:14:00] Okay. Now, tell us what it's like to work with her or have her coach you or tell you how to get more out of your role.
Martina Arroyo [00:14:08] So, he doesn't want to believe that I do the least work with these singers.
Martina Arroyo [00:14:13] They work with wonderful coaches, a fabulous stage director, conductor, and the coaches privately. I come in and say hello once in a while. And if something isn't going right to say "Whoops" and leave it at that.
Bob Sherman [00:14:27] So, wait a minute! What do you see that isn't going right that needs correction?
Martina Arroyo [00:14:31] I haven't seen very much in this group. This is a wonderful group that gives a lot of themselves and they're always available to rehearse and that makes it especially nice.
Martina Arroyo [00:14:41] I think you can even hear it in the singing.
Bob Sherman [00:14:43] Well, we can. But listen. You provide inspiration if nothing else. So tell us again, what does Martina do?
Bob Sherman [00:14:51] I mean she just hangs around and drinks coffee?
Martina Arroyo [00:14:53] Yes!
Elisabeth Harris [00:14:54] You know, what I've enjoyed about the role classes with Ms. Arroyo has been the fact that she's given us a place to be able to talk about character. And how to get into the character and how to approach that and motivation. The other day we were discussing commedia dell'arte and how to put that into the opera. And I think that really adds so much to what the director and what the conductor and the coaches are working with us on because it gives us more of a foundation and more of a breadth and depth to our work.
Bob Sherman [00:15:27] Well, you said you have the right personality for Prince Orlovsky. How does that fit in? How would you describe your personality?
Elisabeth Harris [00:15:34] I grew up in a big family so I always had to be very loud at family gatherings and always take center stage and I think Orlovsky is a bit like that as well. Even though he's supposedly bored but I think that's more of a pretense. I think he loves to have a good time and get the character Falco is there to give it to him.
[00:15:53] OK. Well listen. We have your song up next if you will!
Bob Sherman [00:15:59] Martina Arroyo. We just heard Elisabeth Harris. But, 15 minutes ago, you were saying something about Prince Orlovsky's party and alumni and all that stuff. And I didn't know what you were talking about. So, tell us what's happening at the party.
Martina Arroyo [00:16:11] Well, Prince Orlovsky has invited people and they'll come in and bring the guests and show their personalities how they are. I don't know exactly what you want me to tell you about that party. You have to go to the performance to find out!
Bob Sherman [00:16:23] I see. It's a secret.
Martina Arroyo [00:16:23] We'll see guests at that party too.
[00:16:26] All right. We're going to take a brief intermission here and then on with Die Fladermaus. And again a quick reminder, it's at the Hunter College Playhouse and it's July 13th at 7:30 pm. The box office number is (212)772-4448. And with that we'll step out for a few moments here on the McGraw family's Young Artist Showcase.
Bob Sherman [00:16:50] I'm Bob Sherman and we are here enjoying previews of Strauss's Die Fledermaud. The production coming up at the Hunter College Playhouse. That's July 13th, 7:30 pm. The box office number is (212)772-4448.
Bob Sherman [00:17:08] And Martina Arroyo who has convinced us that she doesn't do anything except come in and say "hello".
Martina Arroyo [00:17:13] Not anything! I just don't do as much as you think.
Bob Sherman [00:17:16] But, there are people who do a lot of work.
Martina Arroyo [00:17:21] Our conductors, our stage director...
Bob Sherman [00:17:23] Well, who are they? Tell us about them.
Martina Arroyo [00:17:25] The conductor this year is Valery Ryvkin, and the stage director is Alan Fisher, who knows a great deal about this type of opera. It's very different from serious opera where the soprano dies at the end you know. So, they have another approach to it altogether and they need to have someone who can lead them up to that and into their approach properly.
Bob Sherman [00:17:46] Very good.
Martina Arroyo [00:17:47] So, I'm not that person. That is really, Alan.
Bob Sherman [00:17:51] OK. Now, one of the characters we have not met yet is Dr. Falka. And that means we have not met Michael Parham yet. So, hello Michael!
Michael Parham [00:18:00] Hello. Good to be here.
Bob Sherman [00:18:01] So, tell us a little... 10 words or less of the your story of your life.
Michael Parham [00:18:06] I'm from Chattanooga Tennessee. I sang in the Boys Choir there for eight years which is where I learned and love to sing. Then, I attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and got my Masters from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
Bob Sherman [00:18:21] You've traveled around quite a bit.
Michael Parham [00:18:22] Just a little bit. Yes.
Bob Sherman [00:18:23] Are you settled in New York now? Or are you just here for this?
Michael Parham [00:18:25] No, I am not.
Michael Parham [00:18:26] Actually, I moved from Las Vegas in January and have been kind of on the road doing gigs ever since.
Bob Sherman [00:18:33] Good for you!
Michael Parham [00:18:34] Yeah. A very good problem to have! I haven't had time to settle down in anywhere quite yet.
Bob Sherman [00:18:39] Well, tell us about Dr. Falka and what he's doing in this particular scene.
Michael Parham [00:18:43] Absolutely! Dr. Falka is a close friend of Eisenstein who got drunk with him at a party about three years ago where Eisenstein left him on a bench in his costume as the bat (which is where he got the name Dr. Fledermaus). In this scene, I'm at the party at Orlovsky's villa that I kind of put together with Orlovsky for his entertainment. But also, from my revenge on Eisenstein for that moment. So in this aria, everything has gone to plan thus far and I'm inviting everyone to a toast where we start referring to each other as the informal you.
Bob Sherman [00:19:18] Very good! So pretty much the folks we have met before are now joined by Michael Parham.
Bob Sherman [00:19:26] Not too many of us left to applaud here but, great music here in the studio from Die Fledermaus. We heard Michael Parham, Lisa Faieta, Jimin Park, Yejin Lee, and Elisabeth Harris.
Bob Sherman [00:19:42] Now we're going to save our Fledermaus finale for a while because some of the artists have additional pieces for us. Jimin Park, I think you're up first.
Bob Sherman [00:19:53] Tell us when you're not "champagning in the Fledermaus", you're going to do something with Hamlet that involves some kind of nice bubbly stuff. First of all, tell us about you. Where are you from?
Jimin Park [00:20:04] Hello, my name is Jimin Park. I'm from South Korea and I study at the Manhattan School of Music.
[00:20:12] Hamlet sings a drinking song in which he called for wine and laughter to dispel his sadness since he lost his father from his mother and his brother.
Bob Sherman [00:20:27] So you will drink for us here in the studio, yes.? Once again our pianist is Matthew Lobaugh.
Bob Sherman [00:20:35] Fine. We've heard Jimin Park and Hamlet's drinking song. Thomas is the composer.
Bob Sherman [00:20:43] Now, Michael Parham. We just met him a few moments ago. He's part of the scheming in Fledermaus. But now you're going to take us to a different time place and everything else. Tell us about this aria, if you will.
Michael Parham [00:20:59] Absolutely! I'll be "Bella siccome un angelo" from Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti. In this aria, Don Pasquale has asked Dr. Malatesta to help him find a wife. He's disinherited his nephew because he would not marry a woman he wanted. So, he's decided he's going to marry someone instead. Dr. Malatesta thinks this is absolutely absurd but, pretends to play along.
Michael Parham [00:21:25] So, in this aria I'm describing a girl who's as beautiful as an angel.
Bob Sherman [00:21:31] And our encore from Michael Parham has taken us to Donizetti's Don Pasquale again with pianist Matthew Lobaugh.
Bob Sherman [00:21:39] Now Congju Song-- where are you? We haven't heard you in ages, here. You came in at the very beginning as a lover. And then weren't you invited to the party to Orlovsky's party? Didn't you get there?
Martina Arroyo [00:21:56] You were in jail!
Bob Sherman [00:21:59] Oh, you're in jail too so you can't get out. [laughs] Sorry about that. But your encore aria will take us to another great operetta.
CongJu Song [00:22:08] I will sing "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz". My role's name is Sou-Chong and I am getting married to another woman tonight. I told my love Lisa that the wedding was just a formality to follow the tradition. So I sing "Dein ist men ganzes Herz" meaning my heart is only in love with Lisa.
Bob Sherman [00:22:28] I think the English version is "Thine is my heart alone". But if you will, hear it the original German. This again is CongJu Song and our pianist Matthew Lobaugh.
Bob Sherman [00:22:42] Wonderful performance here! Competing operetta, but let's not quibble about that. It's from Franz Lehar's "The Land of Smiles" and we call it "Thine is my heart alone". CongJu Song, here in the studio with pianist Matthew Lobaugh.
Bob Sherman [00:23:00] Alright. We have drifted away from Die Fledermaus so I want to come back there for our grand finale.
Bob Sherman [00:23:07] It is again the production at the Hunter College Playhouse coming up July 13th, Saturday evening at 7:30.
Bob Sherman [00:23:15] So we're back at Orlovsky's party and the Countess is now going to demonstrate. I take it, Lisa Faieta (you'll have to make sure I have it right) that you're going to demonstrate your Hungarian background with this csardas.
Lisa Faietta [00:23:29] Yes. My disguise is not working on all of the party guests so I've decided to prove how Hungarian I am by singing the Czardas.
Bob Sherman [00:23:39] But it's in German still, nonetheless. You're Hungarian isn't too hot these days, is it?
Lisa Faietta [00:23:43] Well, the piece is not in Hungarian.
Bob Sherman [00:23:45] Aren't you a lucky one?
Bob Sherman [00:23:51] Our final excerpt from Strauss's "Die Fledermaus". A final preview of the upcoming performance at Hunter College Playhouse. Once again it's Saturday, July 13th at 7:30 pm. I'll see you all there by the way! So great thanks to Lisa Faieta (who just sang the Czardas), Yejin Lee, Jimin Park, CongJu Song, Elisabeth Harris, Michael Parham, our pianist Matthew Loboaugh, and the lady who by her own admission "doesn't do very much around the place": Martina Arroyo.
Bob Sherman [00:24:26] Always a joy to have you and your wonderful singers here. So, many thanks.
Martina Arroyo [00:24:30] Thank you. We love coming. See you next year.
Bob Sherman [00:24:31] Yes. 15th anniversary!
Martina Arroyo [00:24:32] Okay! We'll be here.
Bob Sherman [00:24:36] Meanwhile, it's been longer than that that we've had a chance to have a greeting from our benefactor in chief. Here is Terry McGraw.
Terry McGraw [00:24:45] Well, thanks Bob. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing some of the wonderful young musicians we introduce on Young Artist Showcase go on to become part of our musical mainstream and it happens all the time on this program.
Terry McGraw [00:25:00] It shows we're not only on the right track, Bob, but leading the way towards a great American future in the arts.
Terry McGraw [00:25:07] I hope you'll all join us again next week.
Bob Sherman [00:25:10] Thank you Terry.
Bob Sherman [00:25:11] Next week, we will pay another of our occasional trips to the Manhattan School of Music and attend to the wonderful teenagers and two of the pre-college division orchestras. Enjoying along the way music of David Diamond and William Grant Still. Plus, with the divisions own concerto competition winners, violinist Abigail Nishiwaki to play Sibelius and we'll also have pianist Esteban Castro playing the first concerto of Prokofiev.
Bob Sherman [00:25:40] Our studio engineer this week: Irene Trudel. Max Fine is my producing colleague every week, and most weeks, I'm Bob Sherman.
Bob Sherman [00:25:49] Good night everybody.
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