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Wednesday, March 20 , 2019, 5:15 am | Partly Cloudy 53º


Soprano’s Sweet Sounds Hit the Spot at Sunday Concert

Dauri Kennedy treats the audience to her polished voice and richly varied program.

When it’s hotter than blazes outside, a good place to stay cool is a replica of a Gothic stone church, in this case Trinity Episcopal of Santa Barbara, where Dauri Kennedy on Sunday delivered a fine treat of a concert to her audience.

Kennedy has a nicely polished soprano, put to good use here in some early pieces and, in the second half, some sophisticated numbers from the likes of Cole Porter and Lee Hoiby. She received firm support from her piano accompanist, Val Underwood, who is the former music director of Trinity.

Kennedy began her program with Addio Corindo ... Vieni Vieni by Pietro Antonio Cesti, a 17th-century Italian composer who was held in high esteem by his contemporaries. She had a sweet vocal temperment and good command of the dramatics of the piece. What followed was Le Violette by Demonico Scarlatti, a slightly later work that she sang with gusto.

Among her other pieces was one that is a favorite of mine, Panis Angelicus by Cesar Franck. Franck, a Belgian, set this earlier work for organ, for three soprano voices, for a number of different combinations. I found it especially effective as a solo for Kennedy’s rich soprano.

Mozart’s Alleluia from Exultate Jubilate was, as always, a joy to hear. As a mainstay of the soprano repertoire, it is a treasure. Kennedy delivered it with passion, just as it merits.

Three Spanish works included Con que la lavare by Joaquin Rodrigo, two works by Fernando J. Obradors, and La Maya from Goyescas by Enrique Granadso, very dramatic and sung by Kennedy with great flare. She obviously enjoys singing dramatic songs and does them very well.

After an intermission, Kennedy returned with an amusing Tale of the Oyster by Cole Porter: “Down by the sea lived a lonesome oyster, Every day getting sadder and moister.”

I confess to having never heard it before, and Kennedy inclusion of it in her program was delightful.

She sang songs by Ricky Ian Gordon and Lee Hoiby, again just offbeat enough to be unfamiliar and worth hearing. Gordon has written operas and art songs, as has Hoiby. They are highly thought of in serious-music circles in New York, but not that often performed in mainstream U.S concerts. Kennedy was generous in bringing them to her listeners on Sunday.

She was to end her program with spirituals, which I was unable to stay and hear. It speaks to her versatility that she can conclude such a richly varied program with those beloved folk pieces.

The fact that Kennedy is also involved in teaching young people in Santa Barbara means that the community is enriched by her presence in many ways.

Jubilate, indeed!

Margo Kline covers the arts as a Noozhawk staff writer.


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