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August 23, 2014
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From Tusten to Vienna and back again


For the past four years my husband, baritone Gabriel Wyner, and I have been living in Vienna, Austria studying in the Master’s Program at the Konservatorium Wien. I have been unbelievably fortunate to find a great vocal teacher, Frau Uta Schwabe. She is hard-core and generous, and she has helped me to free my voice so that I can communicate with my entire body and being. After receiving a 2 (American B) my first semester, I called her to ask her what I could do to deserve a 1. With no hesitation, she said, “Sie sind ein 3, aber Sie arbeiten viel.” (“You are really a 3, but you work hard.”) Last year, she came up to me at the end of the semester and whispered, “I gave you a 1, a real 1.” If there were ever an argument against today’s fear of Bs and Cs on report cards, this is it. I knew how much work I needed to do and, when I received the top mark, I knew it was the result of effort and not just talent.

This Friday, July 8 at 7 p.m., I will be returning to the Tusten Theater in Narrowsburg to sing a recital. I’ll sing a dramatic aria by Wagner, a tragic aria by Puccini and a sexy Viennese waltz by Robert Stolz. There will be a set of American songs by Samuel Barber, and my husband will sing a cycle of French songs by Gabriel Fauré. Closest to my heart are the songs in the second half, by composers who fled Europe on the eve of World War II. This section will feature propaganda artist Hanns Eisler, forgotten master Ernst Toch, and movie wunderkind Erich Korngold. We will be accompanied by Violetta Zabirchenko on the piano.

All proceeds will go towards my coming audition trips though Europe. The suggested donation is $15; students are admitted free.