PERFORMING ARTS...Felicity Lott

By Daniel Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 11, 2006; C02

… the delightful performance by esteemed British soprano Felicity Lott and accompanist Graham Johnson at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater on Thursday evening focused … on whimsy and character. In a program of songs creatively gathered under the title "Fallen Women and Virtuous Wives," Lott variously became women of rectitude, loneliness and depravity, expertly wielding her focused and flexible voice with its warm radiance and gleaming top.…

Along with beautiful characterizations of Brahms and Schumann songs, Lott called forth the tragic heroine Ophelia in radiantly delivered works of Richard Strauss.

After intermission, the musicians skillfully plumbed such gorgeous, lighthearted French works as Reynaldo Hahn's pleasingly sinister and melodic "It Is Very Bad to Be Unfaithful." Lott also delivered a trio of Noel Coward songs with confidence and panache.

At every turn, Johnson played with a continual sense of balance and rapport that was sensitive to the texts and mood. The Vocal Arts Society of Washington presented this memorable evening.

Program

Virtuous Women and Fallen Wives

Weill        
Prologue: Nanna’s Lied (Brecht)

Haydn                          
Die zu späte Ankunft der Mutter (Weisse)
Mozart                         
Die Alte (Hagedorn)
Schumann
Lieder der Braut II (“Laß mich ihm am Busen hangen”)  (Rückert)
Brahms                         Mädchenlied (Heyse)
Wolf                             
Ich hab in Penna (Ital. trad. Heyse)

Strauss
Drei Lieder der Ophelia, Op 67

Wie erkenn ich mein Treulieb vor andern nun?
Guten morgen, 's ist Sankt Valentinstag
Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre bloss

arr. Hughes      
I know where I’m going (trad.)     
Walton                         
Wapping old stairs (anon.)
Bliss 
The return from town (St. Vincent Millay)
arr. Britten                    
Polly Oliver (trad.)

Weill                            
Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib? (Brecht)
Here I’ll stay (Lerner)

Roussel                       
Réponse d’une épouse sage (Chinese poem trans. H Giles, H Roché)
Fauré                           
Une sainte en son auréole (Verlaine)
Duparc                         
Au pays où se fait la guerre (Gautier)

Coward                        
Spinning song
Alice is at it again
A bar on the Piccola Marina

Poulenc                       
La dame de Monte Carlo (Cocteau)

Hahn                            
C’est très vilain d’être infidèle(Guitry)     
Oscar Straus                
Warum soll eine Frau kein Verhältnis haben? (Grünwald)
Murray Grand               
What’s a lady like me (Grand)