Songs of love for Valentine’s Day


Jenny Sabliov, Staff writer

On Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. in Walker Recital Hall, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Katherine Soroka, mezzo soprano adjunct voice faculty, will present a recital full of love songs in six different languages.
According to the Post Gazette, her singing has been acclaimed as “masterful” and with “heartfelt vocalism.”
As a proponent of contemporary music, she has performed at a variety of festivals, concert halls and universities.
She has performed an extensive range of repertoire over the years, including performing with a variety of orchestras.
Soroka has also worked in the senior management of the New York Philharmonic as well as in a variety of other administrative positions.
One of her most recent performances was as Baba in “The Medium” this past Halloween, hosted by the D’Angelo Opera Theatre.
The works on her recital hail from 15 different composers and span over three centuries.
Soroka considers this recital “an old-fashioned recital” consisting of art songs that honor the power of communication through poetry and music in miniature.
“Without fanfare and costumes, in three minutes of music the art song creates an entire world with four elements: poet, composer, singer and accompanist,” Soroka said.
For this recital, Soroka draws on her early inspirations of internationally renowned singers from the Columbia Artists Community Concert Series who would perform art song recitals on the stage of her high school gymnasium in North Dakota.
She fell in love with the art form through this series.
While she enjoyed popular music and the bands of the day, she fell in love with poetry set to music by classical composers.
Soroka and Nathan Carterette, piano, will open the recital with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s concert aria “Chi’io mi scordi di te,” which is a dual concerto for voice and piano that premiered with Mozart himself on piano.
Following this piece will be “Élégie” by Jules Massenet, with cellist Kellen Degnan, instructor of cello, accompanying Soroka.
Carterette will accompany Soroka on Georges Bizet’s “Adieux L’Hotesse du arabe,” Maurice Ravel’s “Nicolette” and Francis Poulenc’s “Violon.”
Soroka’s performance of Ravel’s “Kaddisch” will be in honor those who died in the Tree of Life tragedy in Pittsburgh, which deeply affected her.
Following this, Carterette will give a solo performance of “L’isle Joyeuse” by Claude Debussy before the recital pauses for a brief intermission.
After the intermission, Soroka and Carterette will perform four of the five songs from the five-song cycle from “Rückert Lieder” by Gustav Mahler.
Mahler wrote this song cycle of five Lieders (a type of German romantic era songs) based on poems written by Friedrich Ruckert.
Following the work by Mahler, Jonathan Moser, violin, will join the duo for “O Cease thy singing” by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Soroka and Carterette will resume their duet with Nikolai Medtner’s “Night Song.”
Visiting artist Mark DuBois, English horn, from the State University of New York at Fredonia, will join them to perform the “Wedding Song” by Judith Shatin, which is based on Marlowe’s “A Passionate Shepherd.”
The final four songs were chosen due to Soroka’s fondness for cabaret and musical theatre. They are: “This house” by Leonard Bernstein, “My Funny Valentine,” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, “Hello Young Lovers” by Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein and “I Carry Your Heart” by Kesselman.
This is not the first collaboration between Soroka and Carterette.
They began collaborating in Pittsburgh, performing Johannes Brahms and then an all-Mahler concert and solo art song recital including songs by Medtner, with “fiendishly difficult” accompaniments.
“He is a consummate colorist at the piano and loves the song literature. With Nathan, any repertoire is possible,” Soroka said.
This recital will last a little over an hour including intermission.
It is free and open to the public.