A dream team on a dream theme: Opera Young Artists prepare for recital

“Dream team” has taken on a whole new meaning for the Chautauqua Opera Young Artists as they prepare for the second Artsongs in the Afternoon recital of the season.

The performers, along with their audience, will embark on a journey to the dream world at 4:15 p.m. today in the Hall of Christ. Their individual sets and collaborations give insight to dreams interpreted by different composers and music styles.

Emily Urbanek, the recital pianist, assisted the artists in picking their repertoire and developing the “Dream Theme.” She collects all of the material from the artists and chooses pieces that will complement the program.

“Sometimes, a theme emerges for a recital and sometimes it doesn’t,” Urbanek said. “But this one, I had several ideas for all the singers, and they got back to me and told me what they liked.”

Kasia Borowiec, soprano, will perform Rachmaninoff’s Son (“The Dream”), Op. 38, No. 5; Margaritki (“The Daisies”), Op. 38, No. 3; and Vesennie Vodi (“Spring Waters”), Op. 14, No. 11.

“These three pieces share a Russian outlook on dreams,” Borowiec said. “How they can make us happy but also make us sad, dreams are great but they are not always real.”

Borowiec said in the first piece, the narrator sees the dreams and talks about it, but it’s just a dream. The second piece is about personification of women as daisies and how the narrator is just overwhelmed by them. The poetry is evocative and very sensual.

“ ‘Spring Waters,’ the last piece, is about waking up from the dream of winter even though there is still snow on the ground it’s starting the melt, and new life is coming,” she said. “I did my best to pick songs that fit our theme.”

Elliott Paige, tenor, will perform a three-song set composed by H. Leslie Adams, which includes the songs “Since You Went Away,” “The Heart of a Woman” and “Creole Girl.” Paige said he saw a woman on a journey in self-discovery throughout the music.

Paige said his set has a linking story line and goes along with the theme, whether it be sleeping dreams, dreamscapes or dreams and hopes for the future.

“In ‘Creole Girl,’ she follows her dreams and finds peace within herself by seeing her heritage and what’s made her the woman that she is today,” Paige said.

Leah Hawkins, mezzo, will perform “Quatre poèmes grecs” by Louis Vierne. These pieces also carry out the dream theme as the composer portrayed hope for love and sadness from love.

“These songs are for voice and harp, and for me nothing says dream quite like a harp does,” Hawkins said.

The first piece, “Le Repos,” Hawkins said, the desire to obtain a greater love beyond one’s self, and this is expressed throughout the song. In the second piece, “Chanson pour Avril,” the composer takes the rebirth idea of spring and compares it the sadness love can bring.

“For me, spring is a happy time of rebirth, but in the song, it speaks of the rain as teardrops,” she said. “This piece paired with the harp gives the feeling of someone lost in love and lost in your head, for me that’s dreamy.”

Hawkins wanted to accompany the theme but also bring music to the audience they do not usually get to hear.

“As an African-American woman, it’s important for me to promote and preserve the music of people who are of African descent,” she said. “I am singing things by an Afro-British composer, a Haitian poet and African-American composer.”

There is something for everyone to enjoy, Urbanek said, including a wide variety of compositional styles and poetry.

“I am very excited for the performance,” she said. “I think everyone is going to find something they like.”