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Project Advisor 1
She to the Sea and In Sun and Rain, the titles of my two recitals, encapsulate the essence of the music performed in each installation. The first recital, She to the Sea, was a presentation of classical vocal repertoire including art songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Claude Debussy, German lieder by Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann, and Italian arias by Francesco Cilea and Pietro Mascagni. These selections demonstrated my vocal abilities through a classical lens. Giving myself permission in this recital to be expressive and evocative through classical music allowed me the freedom to go forth boldly in performance. This opened the door for me to give a thoughtful and emotional performance. The pieces I selected with the help of David Sytkowski, who not only advised me throughout this whole process but also worked with me as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist, were not only wrought with complex emotions but also gave me the space to be literarily and philosophically analytical. Parsing out meaning, creating my own translations, and writing out my own interpretations of each piece was an extremely fulfilling part of the process that aided immensely in preparing me for the performance of this first recital.
In Sun and Rain was the title of my second and final recital. This performance was in the style of a cabaret in which I presented each song with some speaking between certain selections. Communicating with the audience through speaking gave me the opportunity to share entertaining anecdotes and to directly name some sources of inspiration and dedication. The repertoire presented in this recital was in the vein of musical theatre. An immense passion of mine, musical theatre is a contemporary means of expressing the human experience through performance. Drawing inspiration from personal experience, family, and friends gave me the emotional resources to be authentic in how I performed the repertoire and to be an effective storyteller. The written pieces I endeavored to complete before this performance gave me the emotional foundation I needed in order to present a grounded and engaging performance of this compelling musical material.
These recital performances pushed me to trust myself and my musical knowledge, instincts, and even quirks. Getting myself to let go of the tight grip I was using to hold onto each song as though doing so would prove that I truly knew the material was a scary leap but one that was necessary for building cohesive and expressive performances. Letting audiences see the vulnerable, brash, silly, excited, scared, and empowered parts of me was a challenge I am so glad I faced. Thank you to everyone who nudged me forward and who knew I could do it before I did.
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Cohen, Danielle Vada, "She to the Sea and In Sun and Rain" (2023). Senior Projects Spring 2023. 346.
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