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Monday, December 17 , 2018, 3:07 am | Overcast 54º


Gerald Carpenter: Dawn Upshaw to Sing Schubert, Ives at CAMA Concert

Soprano Dawn Upshaw will offer a CAMA Masterseries recital at the Lobero Theatre on Sunday. Click to view larger
Soprano Dawn Upshaw will offer a CAMA Masterseries recital at the Lobero Theatre on Sunday. (Dario Acosta​ photo)

Incomparable not only for her pure tone and technical virtuosity, but also for the range and complexity of her repertory, soprano Dawn Upshaw will offer a recital as part of Community Arts Music Association’s Masterseries at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Upshaw, with the deft collaboration of pianist Gilbert Kalish, will sing songs by Charles Ives, Franz Schubert, Olivier Messiaen, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and William Bolcom.

Kalish, taking a solo turn, will play the third movement, “The Alcotts,” from Ives’ Piano Sonata No. 2—“Concord, Mass., 1840-1860” (1915).

This is truly a CAMA concert for connoisseurs, containing for the most part works we should have heard years ago but somehow never got around to. I can’t vouch for the Ives or the Bartók selections, but most of the afternoon’s songs will probably please us more than we would have expected.

Messiaen’s “Amour oiseau d’étoile,” in particular, is an astonishingly beautiful piece, haunting and ethereal — at least, as Upshaw sings it. And in the middle of all this unfamiliarity, we will be rewarded with a perfect rendering of one of Schubert’s most beautiful songs, “Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel.”

If the Ives baffles you, I recommend that you pick up and read a copy of Thomas Beer’s unique 1926 work of American intellectual history, The Mauve Decade.

Beer (1889-1940) was a near contemporary of Ives and partakes of the same sensibility — satirical and affectionate at the same time. His take on the American culture in the 19th century is similar to that of Ives, but, being prose instead of music, is far easier to absorb.

Tickets to Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish are $39 and $49. Click here to purchase tickets online, or call 805.963.0761. Tickets also are available at the Lobero box office, 33 E. Canon Perdido.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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