Voice students to showcase range in repertoire

Eleven Voice Program students will perform in a recital at 7:30 p.m. tonight in McKnight Hall. There’s no particular theme to the event, Voice Coach Don St. Pierre said, and it benefits the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.

The students and their accompanists are: Lawrence Mitchell-Matthews, Christian Davakis, Gabriela Fagen and Max van Wyck with Martin Dube; Britta Loftus and Elise Volkmann with Jean-Paul Bjorlin; Kyuyoung Lee, Miles Herr, Michael Hawk and Guillaume Poudrier with Don St. Pierre; and Alex Frankel with Bénédicte Jourdois.

Poudrier, a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University and a first-timer at Chautauqua Institution, said he’ll be performing three pieces.

“My first piece is ‘Morgen!’ by Richard Strauss. It’s considered to be one of his masterpieces,” Poudrier said. “It’s really, really beautiful — just this meditative piece that audiences always love. Strauss’ music is very effective in creating ambiance.”

In addition, Poudrier will perform Rossini’s “Di Tanti Palpiti” and Debussy’s “Beau Soir.” He said his time in Chautauqua has helped his skills as a performing artist exponentially.

“It has been a life-changing experience. I have been able to accomplish and check off so many things,” Poudrier said. “I had a lot of technical vocal goals that I wanted to work on and, you know, sometimes it takes working with a different person and a new set of ears for it to click. Like fixing little pitch problems — I’ve been able to do so much of that. For me, this is the most important thing for my development and getting a solid foundation.”

Lee, also in Chautauqua for his first season with the Voice Program, said Chautauqua feels like home.

“It’s such a great experience for me — to have such great singers and wonderful coaches and amazing master classes as well,” Lee said. “I learned tons of things when I did Ariodante. This has been such a good time for me.”

Lee will also perform three pieces: Liszt’s “I vidi in terra angelici costumi,” “Go, Lovely Rose” by Roger Quilter and Heimliche Aufforderung No. 3, Op. 27, composed by Richard Strauss.

While he’s already gained a lot from his training with Marlena Malas and the Voice Program, Lee hopes to come back.

“Most of all, I really feel like family with my Connections,” Lee said. “It’s great honor to have these great people — they really support me.”

Loftus, a student at the University of Richmond and also finishing up her first summer at Chautauqua, will perform Schumann’s “Frauenliebe und -leben.”

“I have sung three of them before, but I decided to dive into the story and emotion a bit more this time around,” Loftus said. “They are about a young girl’s coming of age and her discovery of a man who becomes her entire world. She’s completely enthralled with the idea of being his lover and even — for the sake of it being very traditional — ‘serving’ him as a wife.”

Like Lee, Loftus said her time with the Voice Program has benefited her in numerous ways.

“It has been extremely inspiring to be surrounded by people who are so invested in studying and pursuing voice,” Loftus said. “I have learned that this profession is going to have many frustrating moments, but it is important to never let go of the meaning and musicality of what you’re singing, because that is what will truly connect you to your audience.”